Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair(s)

Lisa M. Berreau


Lisa M. Berreau


Alvan C. Hengge


Abby D. Benninghoff


Cheng-Wei T. Chang


Nicholas E. Dickenson


Long known as a toxic gas, carbon monoxide (CO) has been recently redefined as a health beneficial molecule produced endogenously in humans. The biological activity of CO has been extensively examined in inflammatory conditions, vasoprotection, anti-apoptotic and anticancer studies, although the mechanisms of action are still not well defined. Because CO is a gaseous molecule, a straightforward administration would be inhalation. However, this delivery method is limited to use in hospital settings under professional supervision. For improved control over the amount and location of CO delivery, metal-free and light-triggered carbon monoxide-releasing molecules are of particular current interest. Our lab is developing molecules based on flavonol scaffold that can be triggered with visible light to release CO. These molecules are also trackable in cells via their fluorescence. Conveniently, flavonols are abundant in nature in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables being well known for their anti-oxidant and anticancer properties. One of the important advantages of flavonol-based compounds is their structural amenability and ease in tuning their physical properties.

The research presented in this dissertation outlines our approach toward the development and application of highly-controlled flavonol-based CO donors as chemical tools applied to study the biological effects of CO in cellular environments. Through small structural changes of the flavonol scaffold, we developed molecules that can deliver CO outside and inside cells as well as at specific cellular compartments, such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomes. We have also developed flavonol-based molecules that can be activated to release CO only in the presence of molecules characteristic of pathological conditions. The CO-releasing compounds developed in this project are of particular current interest as they can be rigorously controlled in terms of the time, location and amount of CO released.



Available for download on Monday, December 01, 2025

Included in

Chemistry Commons