Frederick D. Lewis Professor Emeritus

Research Statement

Our research is directed toward understanding the relationship between the unique structure of DNA and its interaction with light. The foundation for these studies is the design, synthesis, and characterization of short stable DNA base pair domains. Incorporation of organic chromophores either at the ends or within the interior of synthetic DNA hairpins and dumbbells permits study of the dynamics and efficiency of photoinduced electron transfer, energy transfer, and exciton coupling – all of which are mediated by the helical, π-stacked base pair domain. We collaborate with structural chemists, spectroscopists, and theoreticians both at Northwestern and at other universities in the U.S. and Europe. Professor Lewis is no longer accepting new undergraduate or graduate students or postdoctoral research associates in his research group; however, he continues to be actively involved in the intellectual life of his research field, writing, editing, and reviewing manuscripts

Selected Publications

  • Thazhathveetil, A. K.; Harris, M. A.; Young, R. M.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Lewis, F. D. Efficient charge transport via DNA g-quadruplexes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 1730-1733.
  • Renaud, N.; Harris, M. A.; Singh, A. P. N.; Berlin, Y. A.; Ratner, M. A.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Lewis, F. D.; Grozema, F. C. Deep-hole transfer leads to ultrafast charge migration in DNA hairpins. Nat. Chem. 2016, 8, 1015-1021.
  • Harris, M. A.; Mishra, A. K.; Young, R. M.; Brown, K. E.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Lewis, F. D. Direct observation of the hole carriers in DNA photoinduced charge transport. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 5491-5494.
  • Young, R. M.; Singh, A. P. N.; K. Thazhathveetil, A.; Cho, V. Y.; Zhang, Y.; Renaud, N.; Grozema, F. C.; Beratan, D. N.; Ratner, M. A.; Schatz, G. C.; Berlin, Y. A.; Lewis, F. D.; Wasielewski, M. R. Charge transport across DNA-based three-way junctions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 5113-5122.
  • Singh, A. P. N.; Harris, M. A.; Young, R. M.; Miller, S. A.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Lewis, F. D. Raising the barrier for photoinduced DNA charge injection with a cyclohexyl artificial base pair. Faraday Discuss. 2015, 185, 105-120.
  • Gorczak, N.; Fujii, T.; Mishra, A. K.; Houtepen, A. J.; Grozema, F. C.; Lewis, F. D. Mechanism and dynamics of electron injection and charge recombination in DNA. Dependence on neighboring pyrimidines. J. Phys. Chem. B 2015, 119, 7673-7680.
  • Neelakandan, P. P.; Zeidan, T. A.; McCullagh, M.; Schatz, G. C.; Vura-Weis, J.; Kim, C. H.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Lewis, F. D. Ground and excited state electronic spectra of perylenediimide dimers with flexible and rigid geometries in DNA conjugates. Chem. Sci. 2014, 5, 973-981.
  • Lewis, F. D. Distance-dependent electronic interactions across DNA base pairs. Charge transport, exciton coupling, and energy transfer. Israel J. Chem. 2013, 53, 350-365.

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Porter Medal, Asian, European, and Inter-American Photochemical Societies, 2016
  • Josef Michl Award in Photochemistry, American Chemical Society, 2016
  • Fellow, American Chemical Society, 2011
  • Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award, American Chemical Society, 2005
  • I-APS Award in Photochemistry, Inter-American Photochemical Society, 2003
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2001