• 3036 Shelby Hall
  • (205) 348-0454
  • (205) 348-9104
Stephen A. Woski
Associate Professor / Director of Graduate Studies
Education: Undergraduate Degree

B.S., 1986, Emory University

Education: Doctoral Degree

Ph.D., 1991, University of Michigan

Education: Other

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, 1991-1994, California Institute of Technology

Research Interests

Non-natural nucleoside synthesis, peptide nucleic acids, interactions of metal complexes with DNA, synthesis of components for molecular electronics. Our major research interest lies in the study of bioorganic chemistry. Our approach is to employ the tools of synthetic organic chemistry to examine problems in biologically relevant systems at the molecular level. By gaining an understanding of biological interactions at this level, it may be possible to develop new tools for the study of biochemistry and design novel pharmaceuticals for the potential treatment of various diseases. Much of our current work focuses on the synthesis of novel nucleosides and nucleoside mimics such as peptide nucleic acids (PNAs). DNA and PNA oligomers containing the modified residues are used to examine the basic molecular interactions such as base stacking and base pairing that control nucleic acid structure and function. The introduction of modified residues into nucleic acids can also provide tools for the detection and analysis of genetic materials associated with specific disease states. Monomers developed for these studies can be utilized as building blocks for the development of novel DNA-binding molecules. These compounds can provide an increased understanding of molecular recognition involving DNA targets. The uses of modified nucleic acids as antibacterial and antiviral medicinal agents using antisense and RNA interference strategies are also being explored. We are also interested in the interactions of metal complexes with DNA. Particularly, we are interested in the potential DNA-damage arising from the generation of oxygen radicals by redox active metal complexes under physiological conditions. Finally, we have begun collaboration with the Metzger group to synthesize molecular electronic devices. Our approach is to assemble modular subunits onto a core moiety. This highly convergent approach will allow for the efficient syntheses of numerous potential single-molecule devices.

Representative Publications

“Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as universal bases in peptide nucleic acid.” MacKinnon, K. F.; Qualley, D. F.; Woski, S. A. Tetrahedron Lett. 48, 8074-8077 (2007).

“Polarization of Charge-Transfer Bands and Rectification in Hexadecylquinolinium 7,7,8-Tricyanoquinodimethanide and Its Tetrafluoro Analog.” Honciuc, A.; Otsuka, A.; Wang, Y.-H.; McElwee, S. K.; Woski, S. A.; Saito, G.; Metzger, R. M. J. Phys. Chem. B 110, 15085-15093 (2006).

“Cytochrome c: A biochemistry laboratory course.” Vincent, J. B.; Woski, S. A. J. Chem. Ed. 82, 1211-1214 (2005).

“The Nutritional Supplement Chromium Picolinate Generates Oxidative DNA Damage and Peroxidized Lipids in vivo.” D. D. D. Hepburn, J. M. Burney, S. A. Woski, and J. B. Vincent. Polyhedron 22, 455-463 (2003).

“Fluoroaromatic Universal Bases in Peptide Nucleic Acids,” K. A. Frey, and S. A. Woski. Chem. Commun. 2206-2207 (2002).

“The Nutritional Supplement Chromium(III) Tris(picolinate) Cleaves DNA,” J. K. Speetjens, R. A. Collins, J. B. Vincent, and S. A. Woski, Chem. Res. Toxicol. 12, 483-487 (1999).

“Design of Modified Oligonucleotide Probes to Detect Telomere Repeat Sequences in FISH Assays,” J. G. Hacia, E. A. Novotny, R. A. Mayer, S. A. Woski, M. A. Ashlock, and F. S. Collins, Nucleic Acids Res. 27, 4034-4039 (1999).

“Solution Phase Synthesis of Potential DNA-Binding Molecules Based on the PNA Backbone,” H. Challa and S. A. Woski, Tetrahedron Lett. 40, 419-422 (1999).

“Nitroazole Universal Bases in Peptide Nucleic Acids,” H. Challa and S. A. Woski, Org. Lett. 1, 1639-1641 (1999).

“Incorporation and Characterization of Abasic and Phenyl Residues in Peptide Nucleic Acids,” H. Challa and S. A. Woski, Tetrahedron Lett. 40, 8333-8336 (1999).

“Disiloxane-Protected 2-Deoxyribonolactone as an Efficient Precursor to 1,2-Dideoxy-1-fl-aryl-D-ribofuranoses,” U. Wichai and S. A. Woski, Org. Lett 1, 1173-1175 (1999).

“The Synthesis of a Novel Pyrene-Containing Nucleoside and Its Incorporation into Oligonucleotides,”J. D. Frazer, S. M. Horner, and S. A. Woski, Tetrahedron Lett. 39, 1279-1282, (1998).