St. Petersburg State University Department of Chemistry

Division of General and Inorganic Chemistry


Transition Metal Cluster Chemistry Group



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Russian Science Foundation grant 19-13-00132, principal investigator Prof. S.P. Tunik

Design, synthesis and application of novel luminescent sensors for functional bio-imaging based on phosphorescent transition metal complexes

Current project is aimed at design and elaboration of targeted synthetic protocols for preparation of luminescent transition metal complexes, which possess predetermined photophysical and physicochemical characteristics that make possible their application in functional bio-imaging as sensors/probes for such physiological parameters as oxygen content, pH and temperature in biological samples by using advanced time-resolved macro- and microscopic techniques. Under the framework of the project it is planned to synthesize luminescent iridium and rhenium complexes, which display excitation and emission spectra in the window of transparency of biological tissues that paves the way for their application in deep in vivo imaging of oxygen distribution in such bio-objects as experimental animals and 3D models of tumors. Nontoxic complexes of this sort may also be used as indicator dyes in light-driven surgery. The project program also includes the design of the pH sensors by measurements of emission lifetime in bichromophore compounds containing pH-sensitive dye and phosphorescent emitter, which are jointed together as a FRET-pair. The structure and optical characteristics of these conjugates will display a considerable sensoric response of the emission lifetime onto pH variations in physiological interval. Additionally, it is planned to design and to synthesize biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles containing incorporated thermosensitive europium complexes for the measurement of local temperature in bio-samples with submicron resolution and the precision of ca 0.2 Celsius degree in the physiological interval of temperature.




Russian Science Foundation grant 16-13-10064, principal investigator Prof. E.V. Grachova

NIR molecular emitters based on d-f heterometallic complexes

The project is aimed at the development and design of a new generation of coordination compounds that feature predefined functional properties, namely, molecular emitters based on d–f heterometallic complexes with tunable emissive characteristics defined by the composition, structure and electronic parameters of the constituent complex blocks. The proposed approach involves the use of polytopic heterofunctional bridging ligands that selective bind and hold the d- and f-chromophores within one molecular entity. Another basic goal of the investigation lies in the detailed exploration of the key factors that determine the photophysical behavior of these polynuclear emitters.
The project is aimed at performing the studies, which are of essential significance to the basic coordination chemistry and photophysics of luminescent d–f heterometallic systems. The project’s subject matter and its principal goals and objectives are in line with the current trends of coordination chemistry, whereas its expected results, i.e. the preparation of a new class of molecular emitters, will constitute a considerable contribution to the development of the coordination chemistry and photonics of such compounds, while simultaneously creating new areas of their application in state-of-the-art technology.




Russian Science Foundation grant 19-73-20055, principal investigator Dr. J.R. Shakirova

New organometallic phosphors: design of triplet emitters with adjustable photophysical characteristics

The project implies a fundamental research to obtain a new type rationally designed luminophores based on Cu(I), Re(I), Pt(II) ions and bulky symmetric and asymmetric 2,2'-bipyridines. Also various heteroligands (phosphines, isonitriles, alkyne) as part of the described objects are capable to adjust the photophysical properties of the target compounds. Within the project, an important academic task is not only the design and synthesis of the new emitters, but the investigations of their photoluminescent parameters to establish the relationship between the electronic structure of the coordination environment and the photophysical properties.




Russian Science Foundation grant 18-73-10021 (in co-operation with Privolzhskiy Research Medical University), principal investigator Dr. I.S. Kritchenkov

Design and synthesis of phosphorescent transition metals complexes for bioimaging applications

The main scientific problem for the solution of which the project is aimed at is the design of luminescent sensors for mapping the metabolic and physicochemical parameters of biological objects, in particular, for monitoring intra- and intercellular levels of oxygen by time-resolved bioimaging or ratiometric experiments. The task of design of phosphorescent ‘platforms’ based on known types of metal complexes, which display predetermined photophysical characteristics and are suitable for modification with the help of relatively simple chemical approaches, is extremely urgent problem, the solution of which will significantly advance the experimental biomedical research, including such areas as anticancer therapy or studying the mechanisms of complex physiological processes.
Within the framework of this project, it is planned to obtain a number of new triplet phosphors that, on the one hand, can be used by themselves (either in the form bioconjugates) for imaging in ratiometric mode or using the phosphorescence lifetime imaging (PLIM). On the other hand, these complexes will be the platform, which can be easily functionalized to expand the ways of using, depending on the tasks assigned.




Russian Foundation for Basic Research grant 18-33-00954 (in co-operation with St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute named by B.P. Konstantinov), principal investigator A. Solomatina

Luminescent conjugates of Pt(II) and Ir(III) organometallic complexes with peptides for studying the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease

In the project, luminescent platinum(II) and iridium(III) complexes and their conjugates with peptides capable to pass through blood-brain barrier (BBB) and selectively bind to beta amyloid peptides will be studied. Due to the possibility of relatively easy tuning of lipophilicity and photophysical properties of coordination compounds as well as the variation of peptide structure, we will optimize properties of conjugates for using them in the study of pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Luminescent conjugates will be tested for the retaining of the ability to penetrate the cell membranes and BBB of Drosophila melanogaster, and to bind selectively to amyloid peptides in the brain. Using of the luminescent labels based on transition metal complexes can provide important information on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and processes in the brain tissues and thus it can help to determine causes of this hard neurodegeneration illness and create effective methods for its detection, prevention and therapy.






Last update: 30.08.2019; design: Ludmila Kuchina; content: Elena Grachova; (c)2012-2019.