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Environment effects on photosensitizer properties and energy transfer processes studied by means of QMMM approaches

Grant number: 21/09841-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Condensed Matter Physics
Principal researcher:Paula Homem-de-Mello
Grantee:Jhonathan Rosa de Souza
Supervisor abroad: Carles Eduard Curutchet Barat
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas (CCNH). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:18/25576-6 - Studies on photophysical and energy transfer processes of photosensibilizers with emphasis in photodynamic therapy: an approach of first principles, BP.DD


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) consists of applying light with precise energy in the presence of a photosensitizer (PS) and molecular oxygen to promote cell death. Since the efficacy of PS to be employed in PDT will depend, among other factors, on the transfer of energy to molecular oxygen, longer excited-state lifetimes and the environmental effects may favor this process. Here we propose to study the PS molecules using both quantum mechanics, and molecular dynamics approaches to evaluate structural and electronic properties of pyranoflavylium cations and porphyrin-like compounds, as well as the dynamics of interaction with molecular oxygen in different environments. In collaboration with Prof. Carles Curutchet, from the University of Barcelona, we will develop a protocol to study the interaction between oxygen and photosensitizers using hybrid quantum-classical methods. Our preliminary studies indicate significant interactions between PS and solvent molecules, once it was observed some solvatochromic effects in the spectra already simulated, even leading to the formation of persistent long-range interactions between these species. In this regard, Prof. Curutchet developed polarizable quantum-classical methods to adequately describe such interactions and the fundamental electronic properties that determine the efficiency of the studied photosensitizers. Furthermore, Prof. Curutchet has experience in simulating energy transfer processes in biosystems, a skill that can help investigate PDT processes. (AU)

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