Surface, and Materials Chemistry
Barbara Womack LSU Alumni Professor (b. 1964)
LSU Faculty Fellow
B.A. Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, 1986
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1990
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow,
University of Texas, 1990-1992
Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Award,
LSU College of Basic Sciences Research Award, 1998
LSU College of Basic Sciences Award of Excellence in
Undergraduate Teaching, 2002
LSU Distinguished Faculty Award, 2003
Fellow of the AAAS, 2010
Distinguished Research Master in Engineering,
Science and Technology, 2011
Forest College Richard W. Hantke Alumni Teacher
general theme of the research carried out in our
laboratories is the chemistry of organized/structured
molecular assemblies, both in solution and
on surfaces, and within living mammalian
cells. Our overarching goal is the ability to
control the properties of materials by manipulating
their structure on the molecular scale, so as to
generate molecular and nanoscale materials that can
provide quantitative and qualitative information on
target analytes in biological and environmental systems.
instance, we have as a major focus, the creation of
fluorescence-based systems capable of reporting on the
presence of active proteins (enzymes) and small
molecules within cells. Both molecular probes and
those formed from nanoparticles are being developed and
utilized in living biological systems. For
example, we have been at the forefront of designing,
synthesizing, and using mammalian cell-permeable
molecular probes whose fluorescence signature is changed
upon highly selective interaction with an intracellular
reductase intimately associated with hard-to-treat
cancers, namely, NAD(P)H:quinoneoxidoreductase isozyme 1
(NQO1). To date, we have developed probes that
rapidly enter cells and have their fluorescent signal
either turned on from a dormant state or altered so that
their emission shifts to another energy. As a
result of our careful design of the turn-on probes, we
have been able to demonstrate unprecedented
differentiation of human cancer cells expressing high
levels of active NQO1 from those that do not possess
high enzyme activity levels. Our turn-on probes
are being used in pre-clinical animal studies to
establish their potential application in
fluorescence-guided surgical resection of
micrometastases, a leading cause of disease
our group is interested in constructing
stimuli-sensitive molecular architectures based on
dendrimers, surfactants (liposomes and micelles), and
polymers that can be used to trap, contain, and release
molecules; through the use of redox-responsive and
temperature-responsive functionalities at the exterior
of dendrimers and liposomes, we are able to regulate the
transport of materials from the interior of the host
system to the exterior, surrounding solution. In
addition, other redox-responsive or
temperature-responsive moieties can be placed on a
variety of materials for use in chemical sensing
applications; see a Chemical and Engineering News
article highlighting our work in this
area. This project involves the use of a variety of
analytical methods, such as NMR relaxation techniques,
fluorescence and infrared spectroscopies, and synthetic
strategies for making the host systems. Recent results
indicate that such materials will be useful in the
delivery of molecules in the body and in miniaturized
analytical systems. In addition, we have been
exploring the properties of the stimuli-responsive
moeities using MALDI-MS, in particular, their end groups
and molecular weight.
another area, we are interested in controlling the surface
properties of polymer substrates used in the fabrication
of microanalytical devices by immobilizing
nanometer-thick layers of organic and biological
molecules on the surface of the plastic substrate; such
surface modification protocols are of great importance
to microanalytical devices geared towards genomic,
proteomic, and environmental analyses. This
project is a collaborative effort with the Soper Group at North Carolina
State University and the University of North Carolina
(Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry), as well as
groups in Mechanical Engineering at LSU. In
addition, we are working with several groups in physics,
biology, and engineering to build nanoscopic sensors and
addition to these more applied directions, we are
interested in understanding the fundamentals of
adsorbate interactions (alkanethiols, isocyanides)
with metal surfaces (Pt, Au, Ag, Cu) and the
interactions of metals (evaporated, electrolessly
deposited, nanoclusters) with "sticky" (chemically
modified so as to present a binding ligand to the
depositing metal) surfaces. For example, we are
looking at ways to photopattern surfaces so that metal
deposition is confined to a given area (micrometer to
nanometer square areas). Both areas are of
interest to the microelectronics industry, as well as
the microanalytical device and sensor
to this binding of metals on surfaces is the
template-assisted formation of metal nanoclusters and
metal oxides using dendrimers as the template. We
have recently shown that ~1 nm diameter Cu nanoclusters
and 3-5 nm diameter CuO and NiO nanoparticles can be
made by reduction of M(II)-amine-dendrimer
complexes. By varying the M(II):dendrimer ratio,
we have been able to make extremely low size dispersity
metal and metal oxide nanoparticles. This work is
being used to lay the groundwork for future studies of
bi-metallic clusters and metal oxide nanoparticles that
can be used for catalysis applications, including those
associated with environmental concerns. This
project is a collaborative effort with Professors
Poliakoff, Cook, and Dellinger and their students and involves
the use of our synchrotron radiation source, CAMD.
within the McCarley Group gain a great deal of
experience in a number of areas in chemistry, biology,
and materials science due to the diverse,
interdisciplinary nature of the research
efforts. For example, you are apt to find
someone doing organic synthesis of a fluorescent probe
one day, and then discover them carrying out
multi-photon fluorescence microscopy on living cell
microtumors using said probe the next day! Or
you might find someone making a microdevice, and then
a few minutes later see that they are performing
photopatterning of the plastic surface to immobilize
proteins or DNA. Thus, the student who carries
out research in the McCarley Group will become
well-versed in a variety of topics related to
biological, analytical, physical, inorganic,
macromolecular, and organic chemistries. In
addition, their research efforts are disseminated in journals covering a broad
spectrum of disciplines, ranging from chemical biology
to macromolecular systems.
For a measure of the
impact McCarley Group publications have had, please
see the ISI
Database and Google
from the McCarley Laboratories - Please see the
following link for publications available through the
NCBI PubMed database: McCarley
As a result of their training, students in
the McCarley Group have gone on to outstanding careers
in chemistry and materials science, as noted
below. For a historical take on the 28+ PhDs and
10+ postdoctoral fellows who have been trained in the
McCarley Group, please look at the Academic
Tree Project for the McCarley Group.
Peanasky is a scientist at Corning in
Corning, NY and is carrying out work on
Robert Willicut ('97) is a
scientist in the Health and Beauty Care Division
at Proctor and Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, and is
working on polymer rheology and surface analysis
of non-traditional materials.
Tamara Nauman has been an
Instructor at LSU since 1997.
Song Lin ('00) is currently employed in the Baton
Cory Schomburg ('00)
is on the staff of Perkin-Elmer.
Pierre Floriano ('01) is at NeoTherma Oncology in
Sonya Caston-Pierre ('01) is a faculty member at
Texas Southern University in Houston, TX.
('01) is a staff scientist at ARA in Virginia, a
position she obtained after an NRC Postdoctoral
Fellowship at NIST with Dr. Laurie Locascio.
Charles O. Noble ('01) is currently at ZoneOne
Pharma in San Francisco, CA. He was a postdoctoral
researcher at the University of California in San
Francisco, CA where he worked on liposome-based
drug release agents.
Jed Aucoin ('04) is a scientist at Dow Chemical in
Hahnville, LA. He previously worked for
Martin-Marietta in their Michoud Assembly Facility
in New Orleans, where he worked on materials
characterization for the US Space Shuttle Project.
Vaidya is currently a scientist at Lynntech
at their facility in Bryan, TX where is working on
a variety of projects dealing with fuel cells. He
received his Ph.D. under the direction of Marc D.
Porter at Iowa State University.
Amy Donaldson Morara ('05) is Senior Chemist for Leidos, a spin-off of
SAIC (Science Applications International
Corporation) in Arkansas.
Mariah J. McMasters ('06) was a Scientist at
Alberto Culver in Jonesboro, AR, then she
moved to Owen
Biosciences in Baton Rouge prior to assuming
her most recent role at Spectro Chem.
Suying Wei ('06) was a postdoctoral fellow
with Professor Michael Sailor at the University of
California at San Diego working in biomaterials,
and she is now an Associate Professor of Chemistry
at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX.
Eden Pacsial-Ong (PD, 2005-2006) works as a Senior
Scientist at Karyopharm Therapeutics in Boston,
Brauch ('06) was a Scientist at the Clorox
Company in Pleasanton, CA working on mass
Henry Wiggins ('07) is a Scientist at Halliburton
in Oklahoma where he is working on analysis
methods applied to the petrochemical industry.
(PD, 2004-2007) was a postdoctoral researcher at
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is now a
faculty member at
St. John's University.
Ong (PD, 2004-2007) was a Scientist
Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson and Johnson
Company) working on
drug development, and he then became employed at
Kala Pharmaceuticals, a new start-up
pharmaceutical company in Boston.
Yuming Yang ('08) is a Scientist at Halliburton in
involved in developing surfactant systems.
Jowell Bolivar ('08) was a Scientist at Fuji
Health Science in New Jersey, moved to The
Wright Group in Lafayette, LA, and then he
became a Senior Scientist at GNC Nutra.
('09) is a Project Director with the Louisiana
Center for Transportation Safety, and previously
was the Training Core Coordinator for the LSU
NIEHS Superfund Research Program.
Jennifer S. Macalindong De Guzman ('10) is an
Instructor at the University of Louisiana; she was
previously a postdoctoral fellow at Pennington
Biomedical Research Center with Dr. Indu Keterpal.
Nicole Hollabaugh Carrier ('11) is a faculty
member at the University of North Georgia.
- Dr. Warren
Solfiell ('11) was a faculty member at Keene State
College, and before he could complete the tenure
process, he died unexpectedly in 2015.
Jerimiah Forsythe ('12) is a Scientist at
Schlumberger, a position he assumed after being a
postdoctoral fellow at Rice University in the
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular
Fabi Mendoza ('12) is a Scientist at Ventana
Pharmaceuticals in Tucson, AZ; she was previously
a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Craig Aspinwall
at the University of Arizona.
William C. Silvers ('13) is a postdoctoral fellow
at the University of Texas Southwest Medical
Center, carrying out work in cancer imaging.
Suraj Hettiarachchi ('14) is a postdoctoral
fellow at Purdue University working with Prof.
Philip S. Low on cancer drug
Rasika Nawaminage ('15) is a postdoctoral
fellow at Purdue University in the Department
James E. Winter ('15) is a Chemist at Celgene in
New Jersey working on formulation and analytical
C.J. Dubois, Jr.
(BS at LSU, '98) is a scientist at DuPont in
Texas, working on a variety of polymer projects.
He received his Ph.D. under the direction of
Professor John Reynolds at the University of
Florida, and was an LSU undergraduate researcher.
Stefanie M. Chaplin
was in the chemical, bio-, and materials
engineering department at Arizona State University
from 1998 to 2004 (PhD, 2004) where she studied Si
wafer processing techniques, a position she held
prior to her employment at Intel in Arizona.
Boussert (BS at LSU, '99) was a
graduate student in the group of Paul Alivisatos
at the University of California at Berkeley.
Tragically, Ben perished in an automobile accident
on July 16, 2005 after participating in the
graduation exercises in May of 2005.