Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry



First Advisor

Brenton L. DeBoef


The primary focus of this dissertation is the synthesis and testing of cyclotriveratrylenes (CTV) as potential biomedical molecular imaging contrast agents. CTVs are bowl shaped molecules that have a hydrophobic pocket capable of reversibly binding Xenon-129 (129Xe) gas, a spin ½ noble gas, which is diamagnetic and produces a signal when a strong magnetic field is applied to it. These CTVs then create two pools of 129Xe which produce distinct signals in an NMR scan. The creation of the two pools of 129Xe is necessary for the application of an imaging technique named HyperCEST, Hyperpolarized Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer, which increases the sensitivity of the scan by up to 10,000 times. The ease of synthesis for the CTV as well as its ability to be conjugated to biochemical ligands should expedite the synthesis of targeted 129Xe biosensors.

The last chapter deals with, Process oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL), which is a pedagogical method that has demonstrated improvement in student performance, increases in attendance, and decreases in failing grades and withdrawals. A three-year study was conducted where attendance was mandatory for all students across both the POGIL and traditional lecture formats to measure the effect of POGIL. There was a decrease in the standard deviation of exam grades in the POGIL lecture sections however there was no statistically significant change in grades received by the students. This is in keeping with previous studies that have found a decrease in grades of D, F, and W’s.



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