Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry



First Advisor

Brenton DeBoef


Rotaxanes are simple molecules made by an interaction between a host and a guest.1 Research has shown that rotaxanes have the capability of exchanging a hyperpolarized inert gas atom for use in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).2 Currently, MRI contrast is enhanced by the injecting a magnetic gadolinium (III) [Gd(III)] ions into the human body prior to the imaging experiment.3 Unfortunately, these contrast agents are expensive and toxic; as a result, there is need for a cheaper and less toxic imaging agent. Additionally, it would be beneficial to develop targeted contrast agents, i.e. macromolecules that bind specific analytes, proteins, or cellular receptors within the body. By combining rotaxanes with Hyperpolarized 129Xe Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (HyperCEST), 129Xe MRI technology should be capable of imaging specific areas in the human anatomy, thus facilitating the study and diagnosis of diseases or injuries. Currently 129Xe MRI is being used to genertate images of the lungs and the brain, but with a synthetic molecule we hope to broaden this capability to include high-resolution molecular imaging.

The manuscript, “Cyclodextrin-based Pseudo-rotaxanes: An Easily Conjugatable Scaffold for Hyperpolarized Xenon Magnetic Resonance Imaging Biosensors” is the result of our preliminary work to develop a viable molecular probe. The manuscript focuses on the development of a new class of xenon-129 MRI contrast agents based on rotaxanes of γ-cyclodextrin, and the application of this new technology to the synthesis of a potential biosensor for imaging the β-amyloid plaques that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.



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