Professor Jayawickramarajah Group

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Group Research Interest

Exquisitely controlled self-assembly in water is a key modality used by Nature to build highly functional biological systems. Research in the Jayawickramarajah group involves a highly interdisciplinary effort to develop bio-inspired functional molecules capable of undergoing specific molecular recognition events. A main thrust of our research is to study water compatible, self-assembling, synthetically functionalized oligomers that address contemporary problems.  We are currently focused on the following two research areas.


  • Development of Stimuli Responsive Protein-Binders Based on DNA-Small Molecule Chimeras. This project focuses on the development of DNA-small molecule chimeras that are programmed to bind and inhibit salient protein targets only upon non-covalent activation by specific endogenous or externally introduced trigger molecules. The development of general mechanisms for the non-covalent transformation of inactive protein inhibitors into activated compounds in the presence of specific endogenous (or externally added) stimuli is envisioned to contribute to prodrug development.
  • Development of Well-Defined Porphyrin Arrays in Water: Towards Photonic Nanostructures. This project concerns the development of photonic nanowires composed of self-assembled multi-porphyrins in water. In these assemblies, the individual chromophores are non p-aggregated and are placed, via molecular recognition, at well-defined positions. The generation of self-assembled multi-porphyrin containing photonic nanostructures in water is envisioned to have potential applications as synthetic light harvesting antennae, catalyst arrays, and chemo-responsive sensing materials.

As a result of our prepare-and-analyze philosophy, students in the laboratory will be versed in synthetic organic chemistry and chemical biology, as well as being proficient in a whole host of spectroscopic, microscopic, and analytical techniques.

Current News

April 2018

  • Hannah Case successfully defends her Honors Thesis and will be attending medical school in the fall.

May 2018

  •  Ryan Vik publishes with the Nau and Liming groups in Chemistry Select on cucurbitu[8]uril-perylene monoimide host-guest complexes.
  • Xiao Zhou publishes with the Rubstov group in Chemical Physics on the use of azido alkanes as reporters within lipid membranes.
  • Logan Fenimore from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology began his summer REU with the Janan group.

May 2017

  • Undergraduate/Masters Student Harrison Rahn successfully defends his Thesis for his Masters Degree!  Congrats Harry!

June 2017

  • Janarthanan Jayawikcramarajah gets promoted to Full Professor.  Congratulations Janan!
  • Graduate Students Noah Beltrami and Moamen Ismail join the group

September 2017

  • Xiao Zhou, Pravin Pathak, and Ryan Vik publish an article in the Journal of American Chemical Society about host-guest tethered DNA

October 2017

  • Undergraduate Student Amanda Peterson joins the group.

January 2016

  • JJ and group's work is featured in the National Institute of General Medicine Biomedical Beat Blog

March 2016

  • JJ co-organizes symposium on Supramolecular Chemistry at the ACS National Meeting in San Diego
  • Congrats Cooper for winning a poster prize at the ACS meeting in San Diego!

April 2016

  • Cooper Battle has successfully defended his Ph.D. Congrats Cooper! Cooper has also won the prestigious Tulane 34 Award.

May 2016

  • Undergraduate Student Noah Beltrami joins the group for a summer REU from the University of the Incarnate Word.

September 2016

  • Graduate Students Marie McConville and Dilanka Vidyani join the group

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