November 16, 2016 at 10:56 am

Chemistry & Biochemistry Welcomes New Faculty Member, Jessica White

Dr. Jessica White

Dr. Jessica White

Dr. Jessica White has been enjoying getting to know the students in class and around campus this semester.

In coming to Ohio University, she was drawn to the collegiality within the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department and university along with the campus’ history and beauty.

Since arriving, White says she “very quickly felt at home in Athens because the people in this community are so friendly and welcoming.”

White’s research involves designing metal complexes with desired photophysical and photochemical properties to target diseases with light. Her enthusiasm for teaching and research is readily apparent.

“I look forward to educating and hopefully inspiring the future generation of scientists, both in the classroom and in my research lab, to tackle some of society’s most pressing issues,” says White. The utilization of low energy visible light to drive chemical reactions that are not otherwise accessible provides exciting opportunities for transition metal complexes in a variety of fields. In particular, such compounds can be designed to interact with biomolecules that are important in the development and progression of diseases such as cancer. When a specific diseased site that has been treated with the compound is irradiated with low energy light, the compound is essentially activated and can have a therapeutic effect only in that irradiated location. It is important for the compound to exhibit very low toxicity due to inactivity in the absence of light exposure, as this has potential to greatly decrease the detrimental side effects that often come along with chemotherapy.

White earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Dayton and then a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2013 from Virginia Tech, working with Dr. Karen J. Brewer on inorganic photochemistry. She followed this with postdoctoral training at The Ohio State University, working with Dr. Claudia Turro to develop visible light-activated metal complexes for spatial and temporal control of drug delivery.

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