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In the Rosenthal group we study semiconductor nanocrystals, a unique material whose optical properties and electronic structure can be precisely tuned by controlling the size of the nanocrystal. In addition to developing new nanomaterials and conducting fundamental studies to understand the relationship between atomic structure and optoelectronic properties, we are specifically interested in applications exploiting the properties of nanocrystals. One of these applications is the use of fluorescent nanocrystals as biological probes for membrane proteins involved in neuronal signaling in order to elucidate molecular mechanisms in mental illness. We are particularly interested in membrane proteins that regulate serotonin and dopamine, as these neurotransmitters are implicated in depression, autism, addiction, and bipolar disorder.

Professor Sandra J. Rosenthal

Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Physics, Pharmacology, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Former Director, Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
Former Joint Faculty, Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

B.S. with Honors in Chemistry, Valparaiso University, 1987
Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1993
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, U.C. Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1993-1995

Herty Medalist, 2018
Valparaiso University Distinguished Alumni Award, Valparaiso University Alumni Association, 2015
SEC Faculty Achievement Award, 2014
Inaugural Jack & Pamela Egan Chair of Chemistry, 2011
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011
Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2009
Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, 2006
Distinguished Faculty Award, 2004
Madison-Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2004
NSF CAREER Award, 1999
NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1993