Zhaohua Dai

Zhaohua Dai

Professor
Department Chairperson
Dyson College of Arts and Sciences
Chemistry and Physical Sciences
NYC
W314
One Pace Plaza

Biography

Faculty Bio

Zhaohua Dai obtained his B.S. in 1996 from Wuhan University, the namesake of the capital city of his home province of Hubei in central China. After earning his MS in 1999 from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, he attended New York University, where he received his PhD in chemistry in 2004. After a postdoctoral stint with Professor David S. Lawrence at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he joined Pace University as an assistant professor in January 2006. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2010 and to professor in 2013. His research interests include the development of sensing systems for analytes that are of environmental, biological, and forensic importance.

Awards and Honors

  • Yilida Corporation, Hong Kong, 1997, Yilida Fellowship
  • Wuhan University, 1996, Outstanding Graduate
  • Wang and Luo Family through Wuhan University, 1995, Wang and Luo Fellowship
  • Huikai Corporation through Wuhan University, 1994, Huikai Fellowship
  • Wuhan University, 1993, Wuhan University Fellowship

Licensures and Certificates

  • Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Controlled Substance License
  • NYS Department of Health, New York State Controlled Substance License

Education

PhD, New York University, New York, 2004
Chemistry

MS, New York University, New York, 2001
Chemistry

MS, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 1999
Chemistry

BS, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China, 1996
Chemistry

Research and Creative Works

Research Interest

Fluorescent sensors for metal ions and enzyme activities Chirality

Grants, Sponsored Research and Contracts

Raman spectroscopy as a teaching tool in the Forensic Science and Chemistry courses.
Verizon Thinkfinity Foundation through Pace Provost's Office, Pace University, $14,524.32. Funded.

Investigation of the Weathering Pattern of Biodiesel as an Arson Accelerant Using a Portable Raman Spectrometer
January 2016 - June 2016. Pace Scholarly Research Committee, Pace University, $2,000.00. Funded.

Enantiospecific Hydroxylation of Alkanes Catalyzed by Transitional Metal Complexes of Chiral Tripodal Ligands Based on Tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine
June 2009 - August 2012. Petroleum Research Fund through American Chemical Society, Private, $50,000.00. Funded. Converting saturated C-H bonds directly into alcohols is very important to synthetic organic chemistry, fuel industry and other industries using petrochemical feed stock. We intend to develop catalysts for the attractive but difficult enantiospecific hydroxylation of alkanes using H2O2 as the oxidant. The FeII complexes of tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine (TPA) catalyze such reactions stereoselectively. We propose to integrate chiral factors into the TPA-FeII catalysts to turn such reactions enantiospecific. To arrange the pyridyl arms into propeller-like chiral configuration in FeII complexes and put the reactive intermediate FeV=O in a chiral bias, a methylene proton in TPA is to be substituted with a methyl group to chiral podands; in second generation catalysts, a rigidified piperidine ring will be incorporated by connecting the two chiral arms; further rigidified ligands could incorporate a second ring, resulting in chiral quinuclidine structures. Successfully developing chiral catalysts for green enantioselective hydroxylation would help decipher oxygenases’ mechanism of enantioseletivity, lead to environmentally friendly processes, and bring an awareness of how chemistry can be used to address global issues. It is an interesting topic which can be adapted to an undergraduate research setting with emphases on the modern research themes of chiral technologies and green chemistry, making chemistry more relevant to undergraduates. Successful completion of the different stages of the project would give undergraduate researchers broad exposure to analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry concepts and a strong sense of achievement, leading to careers in the discipline of chemistry.

Enantiospecific Hydroxylation of Alkanes Catalyzed by Transitional Metal Complexes of Chiral Tripodal Ligands Based on Tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine
January 2012 - June 2012. Scholarly Research Fund, Pace University. Funded.

Chiroptical Mercury Sensors
September 2011 - May 2012. Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research Pilot Program, Pace University, $1,000.00. Funded.

Updating the laboratory notebook: electronic documentation software in teaching and research
December 2009 - December 2010. Verizon Thinkfinity Foundation through Pace Provost's Office, Pace University, $15,000.00. Funded. We plan to collaboratively introduce electronic notebooks in our research and teaching labs using the LabTrack software. This effort will bring the latest developments in information technology in order to overcome the difficulties of traditional notebook keeping such as the inability to detect incorrect calculations, incompliance to established protocols and regulations, and the inability to incorporate the increasing quantity of digital information. Use of this software in the teaching laboratory will assist students in maintaining notebooks at a higher professional quality. More importantly, laboratory safety can be greatly improved due to fewer mistakes. It is time to bring lab data to the 21st century.

Engineering Selective and Sensitive Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors for Hg(II)
January 2009 - December 2010. Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Private, $43,000.00. Funded. We intend to fabricate Hg2+ sensors with high selectivity and sensitivity to help curtail and remedy mercury contamination. 1) High selectivity toward Hg2+ is to be achieved through a stereochemical control approach by incorporating sulfur-containing binding motif, such as methionine, into chiral podand and piperidine scaffolds. 2) Fluorophores such as fluorescein will be used in these sensors to afford robust fluorescence and excellent water-solubility. 3) The sensitivity of the sensor will be amplified by the use of differential circularly polarized fluorescence excitation (CPE), a new fluorescence-detected circular dichroism (FDCD) based approach since these sensor are both fluorescent and chiral. 4) We will further develop the CPE approach using a newly developed universal ellipsoidal mirror device, which can eliminate artifacts caused by fluorescence polarization. We will use this approach to reduce background interference from biological matrix such fluorescent proteins in much broader application, laying a solid groundwork for developing imaging tools to be used in conjunction with isotropic fluorescence and circular dichroism microscopy. 5) These sensors would be used to monitor of the uptake and release of Hg2+ in important organs and tissues. 6) These sensors will be used to determine the amount of mercury in important water bodies and seafood.

The Use of Activated Charcoal Strips to Detect Arson Accelerants in Man Made and Natural Shirt Fibers Washed by Hand or Laundry Products
September 2008 - December 2008. Scholarly Research Fund, Pace University, $1,353.00. Funded.

Robust Fluorescent Probes for Protein Kinase C Activity
September 2007 - December 2007. Scholarly Research Fund, Pace University, $750.00. Funded.

Engineering Selective, Sensitive and Multi-signal Chiral Fluorescent Mercury Sensors
September 2006 - December 2006. Scholarly Research Fund, Pace University, $1,500.00. Funded.

Courses Taught

Past Courses

BMB 710: Research I
BMB 711: Research II
CHE 111: General Chemistry I
CHE 112: General Chemistry II
CHE 112: General Chemistry II (Lab)
CHE 112: General Chemistry II (Lecture)
CHE 213: Foundations of Organic Chem
CHE 223: Organic Chemistry I
CHE 223: Organic Chemistry I (Lab)
CHE 223: Organic Chemistry I (Lecture)
CHE 223: Organic Chemistry I Recitation
CHE 224: Organic Chemistry II
CHE 224: Organic Chemistry II (Lab)
CHE 224: Organic Chemistry II (Lecture)
CHE 224: Orgnc Chmstry II Recitation
CHE 330: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
CHE 331: Instrumental Analysis
CHE 392: Chemistry Seminar I
CHE 395: Independent Study in Chemistry
CHE 480: Research in Chemistry
CHE 492: Chemistry Seminar II
ENS 622: Quantitative Methods in Env Sc
FOR 502: Analytical Chem & Instrumental
FOR 502: Quntttve & Instrmntl Analysis
FOR 615: Forensic Separations Chemistry
FOR 615: Separations Chemistry
FOR 620: Analytical Spectroscopy
FOR 621: Internship
FOR 699: Forensic Science Seminar
FOR 798: Research Mthd in Forensic Sci
FOR 798: Thesis I
FOR 799: Thesis
FOR 799: Thesis II
SCI 101: The Planet Earth

Publications and Presentations

Publications

Chiroptical Sensors
Elsevier.

Chiroptical Sensors
(2013, March). Oxford , U.K.:Elsevier. Vol 8 , pages 600-626. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080951676008508

Chiroptical Switches: Applications in Sensing and Catalysis
(2012, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). Molecules. Vol 17 , pages 1247-1277. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/17/2/1247/
DOWNLOAD

Dynamic Stereochemistry and Electronic Circular Dichroism of Metalloorganic Compounds
(2012, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). Nina Berova, Prasad Polavarapu, Koji Nakanishi, and Robert W. Woody (Eds.), Hoboken, NJ , USA:Wiley. Vol 2 (Issue 1) , pages 249-285. https://www.wiley-vch.de/publish/en/books/bySubjectCHD0/forthcomingTitles/0-470-64135-5/?sID=i72svrhamskdd0bqf96j546km0
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Multimode Selective Detection of Mercury by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors Based on Methionine/Cysteine
(2011, September). Chirality/Wiley. Vol 23 , pages 916-920.
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Syntheses of Chiroptical Fluorescent Ligands for the Detection of Mercury
(2011, July (3rd Quarter/Summer)). Asian Journal of Chemistry. Vol 23 (Issue 7) , pages 2852-2856.
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Visible Color Displacement Sensing System for Manganese(II)
(2009, April (2nd Quarter/Spring)). Supramolecular Chemistry/Taylor and Francis. Vol 21 (Issue 3-4) , pages 296-300. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10610270802438853#preview
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Exploring the Scope of Redox-Triggered Chiroptical Switches: Syntheses, X-Ray Structures and Circular Dichroism of Cobalt and Nickel Complexes of N, N-Bis(arylmethyl)methionine Derivatives
(2008, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). Chirality/Wiley. Vol 20 , pages 585-591.
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Visual Snapshots of Intramolecular Kinase Activity at the Onset of Mitosis
(2007, November). Chemistry and Biology/Elsevier. Vol 14 , pages 1254-1260. https://www.cell.com/chemistry-biology/abstract/S1074-5521%2807%2900357-2
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Tailoring Tripodal Ligands for Zinc Sensing
(2007, September). New Journal of Chemistry/Royal Society of Chemistry. Vol 31 , pages 1708-1718. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2007/nj/b710803f
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Light-regulated Sampling of Protein Tyrosine Kinase Activity
(2006, October (4th Quarter/Autumn)). Journal of the American Chemical Society. Vol 128 , pages 14016-14017. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja065852z
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Rigidified Tripodal Chiral Ligands in the Asymmetric Recognition of Amino Compounds
(2005, June). Chirality. Vol 17 , pages S227-233.

Ratiometric Displacement Approach to Cu(II) Sensing by Fluorescence
(2005, January (1st Quarter/Winter)). Journal of the American Chemical Society. Vol 127 , pages 1612-1613. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja0431051
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Detection of Zinc Ions by Differential Circularly Polarized Fluorescence Excitation
(2004, September). Journal of the American Chemical Society. Vol 126 , pages 11760-11761. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja047213z
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Stereochemical Control of Zn(II)/Cu(II) Selectivity in Piperidine Tripod Ligands
(2002, June). Chemical Communication/Royal Society of Chemistry. , pages 1414-1415. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2002/cc/b111259g

Presentations

Switchable Catalysis
(2015, July). Chirality 2015. International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination,

Switchable Asymmetric Catalysis of Aldol Reaction
(2015, April 30). 3rd Pace Annual Research Day. Pace University,

TRIPODAL LIGANDS AND THEIR APPLICATION IN SENSING AND ASYMMETRIC CATALYSIS
(2014, May 04). 62nd Undergraduate Research Symposium. American Chemical Society New York Section,

Chiral Analyses of Controlled Substances
(2013, July 10). Chirality 2013. International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination,

Chiral Analyses of Controlled Substances
(2012, June 12). Chirality 2012. International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination,

Multi-mode Selective Detection of Mercury by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors Based on Methionine/Cysteine
(2012, March 3). Dyson Society of Fellows Annual meeting. Dyson Society of Fellows,

Multi-mode Selective Detection of Mercury by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors Based on Methionine/Cysteine
(2011, December 12). Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Poster Presentatations. Pace: Dyson College,

Multimode Selective Detection of Mercury by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors
(2011, August 27). ACS 242nd Annual National Meeting. American Chemical Society,
DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Multi-mode Selective Detection of Mercury by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors Based on Methionine/Cysteine
(2011, May 7). 59th Undergraduate Research Symposium. American Chemical Society New York Section,

Molecular Recognition by Picolylamine-Based Tripodal Ligands and Its Application in Sensing and Asymmetric Catalysis
(2010, June 23). 11th Tetrhedron Symposium. Elsevier,
DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Mercury Detection by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors
(2010, May 8). Undergraduate Research Symposium. ACS New York Section,

Mercury Detection by Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors
(2010, April 24). Eastern Colleges Science Conference. ECSC,

Syntheses of Chiral Tripodal Ligands for the Enantiospecific Hydroxylation of Alkanes
(2010, April 24). Eastern Colleges Science Conference. ECSC,

Methionine-Based Chiroptical Fluorescent Sensors for Mercury
(2010, February 27). Dyson Fellows Annual student Conference. Dyson Society of Fellows,

Sensor Research and Forensic Science Education at Pace
(2009, October 18). ACS New York Section High School Student Research Poster Session. American Chemical society, New York Section,

Design and Synthesis of Fluorescent Sensors for Mercury
(2009, May 2). 57th Undergraduate Research Symposium. American Chemical Society New York Section,

CSI: Optical Sensors for Chemical and Biological Agents
(2009, March 12). College of Staten Island
DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Optical Metal Detectors
(2008, September 30). Cedar Crest College,

Tailoring Tripodal Ligands for Zinc Sensing
(2008, May 20). 40th ACS Mid-Atlantic Regioanl Meeting. American Chemical Society,
DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Visual Snapshots of Intramolecular PKC Activity at the Onset of Mitosis
(2008, May 18). 40th ACS Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting. American Chemical Society,
DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Design and Synthesis of a Fluorescent Sensor for Mercury
(2008, May 17). 56th Undergraduate Research Symposium. American Chemical Society New York Section,

Fluorescent Tools for Biology: Visual Snapshots of Intracellular Kinase Activity at the Onset of Mitosis
(2008, March 3). Queens College, CUNY
DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

Syntheses, X-Ray Structures and Circular Dichroism of Cobalt and Nickel Complexes of N,N-Dialkymethionine Derivatives
(2007, July 11). Chirality-2007. San Diego, CA.

Colorimetric sensors for Mn(II)
(2007, May 5). 55th Undergraduate Research Symposium. American Chemical Society New York Section,

Fluorescent Sensors for Metal Ions
(2007, March 15). CityTech, CUNY

Detection of Zinc Ions by Differential Circularly Polarized Fluorescence Excitation
(2004, July 11). 16th International Symposium on Chirality. New York, New York.

Professional Contributions and Service

Intellectual Property

Patent: Chiral piperidine and quinulclidine ligands [Non-Provisional] , United States

Professional Memberships

  • The American Academy of Forensic Science
  • The American Chemical Society

Professional Service

CUNY Research Fund [Reviewer, Grant Proposal]
MDPI [Reviewer, Journal Article]
New York University Ph.D Thesis Defense Committee [Committee Member]
Petroleum Research Fund [Reviewer, Grant Proposal]
Royal Society of Chemistry Journals [Reviewer, Journal Article]