Jonathan Sessler

Sessler, Jonathan
Position Department / Business Unit
Professor of Chemistry Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Institution Disciplines
The University of Texas at Austin Chemistry Nanomedicine
City State / Provence
Austin Texas
Country Website
U.S.A. link

Professor Jonathan L. Sessler, currently the Roland K. Pettit Centennial Professor of Chemistry at The University of Texas, is the Editor of Supramolecular Chemistry and an Associate Editor of ChemComm.

He is also a standing member of the US National Institutes of Health MSFA Study Section. He has been involved in both supramolecular chemistry and porphyrin chemistry since the time of his graduate studies with Prof. James P. Collman at Stanford University and postdoctoral work with first Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn of the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg and then with the late Iwao Tabushi in Kyoto. Quite recently, Dr. Sessler has begun to develop these interests within the context of nanotechnology and materials chemistry, as described below. Dr. Sessler has published over 350 research articles during his 20+ year independent career and is the inventor of record on over 70 issued U.S. Patents. He is also the co-author of two monographs entitled “Expanded, Contracted, and Isomeric Porphyrins” (co-author Dr. Dr. Steven J. Weghorn) and “Anion Receptor Chemistry” (co-authors Drs. Philip A. Gale and Won-Seob Cho), as well as a co-edited book on “Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry” (with Drs. Susan Doctrow, Thomas McMurry, and Stephen J. Lippard). Dr. Sessler is a co-founder (with Dr. Richard A. Miller) of Pharmacyclics, Inc., a publicly traded company (pcyc; NASDQ) that is focused on developing various biomedical applications of expanded porphyrins.

In conjunction with Dr. Martin R. Johnson, Dr. Sessler has recently co-founded a second company, Anionics, Inc., that is targeting various commercial opportunities associated with anion recognition chemistry. Dr. Sessler has served as the co-organizer of several international conferences, including the 1998 International Symposium on Macrocyclic Chemistry and the 2004 International Conference on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines, as well as numerous symposia at American Chemical Society and Pacific Basin Societies meetings. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Univ. of Texas 1992 Outstanding Professor of the College of Natural Sciences and the 2001 Izatt-Christensen Award in Macrocyclic Chemistry.
Much of Dr. Sessler’s professional attention has been devoted to the preparation and study of new analogues of porphyrins, termed called “expanded porphyrins”, that are larger than these naturally occurring blood pigments. To date a range of systems, including new porphyrin analogues containing five, six, seven, eight, and even ten pyrroles, have been prepared. Many of these have features that are not seen in normal porphyrins (which contain four pyrrole subunits). These include, inter alia, an ability to coordinate cations of the lanthanide and actinide series, bind a range of anions, absorb light in the far-red spectral regions, and adopt twisted, figure-eight conformations while retaining complete conjungation. These properties have made expanded porphyrins of potential use in a range of “real world” applications, including drug development, anion sensing, and radioactive waste remediation.

The key attributes of expanded porphyrins are also making them of interest in the area of nanotechnology and materials research development. To date, much of the emphasis to date has been on the use of expanded porphyrins as novel liquid crystal precursors. Here, the goals have been to produce systems that are isotropic in the absence of an added analyte, but which become mesotropic when exposed to external species of interest (e.g., an actinide cation or a electron deficient explosive material). Other work in progress involves the use of expanded porphyrins to solubilize carbon nanotubes, as well as the preparation of oligomeric materials with novel conducting properties.

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