James Canary

Department Chair; Professor of Chemistry
B.S., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., UCLA; NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University

Phone: 212-998-8422
Office: Brown Building, 29 Washington Place, Room 364
Lab Homepage

Areas of Research/Interest
Organic, bioorganic, and bioinorganic chemistry; chiral materials; nanoscience; molecular imaging; supramolecular chemistry

Research Description
Dr. James W. Canary's group uses molecular modeling and organic synthesis to engineer materials with designed properties at the interface between biomedical chemistry and nanoscience. One effort in the group is the application of stereochemistry to the development of materials for molecular electronics and nanotechnology . We design and synthesize molecules containing "triggers" that induce shape changes and optical responses. Such behavior might be useful in the future development of optical display or electronic technology. A second area of research involves imaging. We design of molecules for fluorescent sensing metal ions of importance to neurobiology. Other imaging projects are underway in collaboration with scientists at the NYU School of Medicine. In collaboration with Ned Seeman's group, we develop methods for DNA- directed assembly of organic polymers. The goal is to harness the exquisite structural control of DNA nanotechnology for the synthesis of organic materials and devices.


Li, D.; Wang, X.; Shi, F.; Sha, R.; Seeman, N.C.; Canary, J.W.  “Templated DNA Ligation with Thiol Chemistry,” Org. Biomol. Chem. 2014, 12, 8823–8827. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c4ob01552e

Udomprasert, A.; Bongiovanni, M.N.; Sha, R.; Sherman, W.B.; Wang, T.; Arora, P.S.; Canary, J.W.; Gras, S.L.; Seeman, N.C.  “Amyloid Fibrils Nucleated and Organized by DNA Origami Constructions,” Nature Nanotech., 2014, 9, 537-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2014.102 

Zhang, Y.; Soon, P.C.; Jerschow, A.; Canary, J.W.  “Long-Lived 1H Nuclear Spin Singlet in Dimethyl Maleate Revealed by Addition of Thiols,” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl., 2014, 53, 3396-99. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201310284

Isaacman, S.; Buckley, M.; Wang, X.; Wang, E.Y.; Liebes, L.; Canary, J.W.  “Targeted Amplification of Delivery to Cell Surface Receptors by Dendrimer Self-Assembly,” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2014, 24, 1290-3.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.01.063

Soon, P.C.; Xu, X.; Zhang, B.; Gruppi, F.; Canary, J.W.; Jerschow, A.  “Hyperpolarization of Amino Acid Precursors to Neurotransmitters with Parahydrogen Induced Polarization,” ChemComm, 2013, 49, 5304-6.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C3CC40426A

Ye, M.; Guillaume, J.; Liu, Y.; Sha, R.; Wang, R.; Seeman, N.C.; Canary, J.W.  “Site-Specific Inter-Strand Crosslinks of DNA Duplexes,” Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 1319-29.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C2SC21775A

Royzen, M.; Canary, J.W. "Structural Parameters in 8-Hydroxyquinoline Tripodal Ligand Complaxex in Zonc(II) affect Flourescence Quantum Yield," Polyhedron, 2013, 58, 85-91, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.poly.2012.11.027

Wang, X.; Bergenfeld, I.; Arora, P. S.;* and Canary, J. W.*.  “Reversible Redox Reconfiguration of Secondary Structures in a Designed Peptide”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2012, 51, 12099-12101.

Gruppi, F.; Xu, X.; Zhang, B.; Tang, J. A.; Jerschow, A. A.;* and Canary, J. W.;*.  “Peptide Hydrogenation and Labeling with Parahydrogen”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2012, 51, 11787-11790.

Wang, X.; and Canary, J. W.;*.  “Rapid Catalyst-Free Hydrazone Ligation: Protein-Pyridoxal Phosphoramides”, Bioconjug. Chem. 2012, 23, 2329-34.

Gruppi, F.; Liang, J.; Bartelle, B. B.; Royzen, M.; Turnbull, D. H.; and Canary, J. W.;*.  “Supramolecular Metal Displacement allows On-Fluorescence Analysis of Manganese(II) in Living Cells”, Chem. Commun. 2012, 48, 10778-80.

Liu, Y.; Wang, R. S.; Ding, L.; Sha, R. J.; Seeman, N. C.; and Canary, J. W.  “Templated synthesis of nylon nucleic acids and characterization by nuclease digestion”, Chem. Sci. 2012, 3, 1930-1937.

Joyce, L. A.; Canary, J. W. and Anslyn, E. V.*.  “Enantio- and Chemoselective Differentiation of Protected alpha-Amino Acids and beta-Homoamino Acids with a Single Copper(II) Host”, Chem.-Eur. J. 2012, 18, 8064-8069.

Dai, Z.; Mortezaei, S.; and Canary, J. W.  “Spectroscopic Analysis: Chiroptical Sensors”, Eric M. Carreira and Hisashi Yamamoto Comprehensive Chirality, vol. 8; Elsevier, 2012, 600-624. Amsterdam: Elsevier

Mortezaei, S.; Catarineu, N. R.; and Canary, J. W.  “A Redox-Reconfigurable, Ambidextrous Asymmetric Catalyst”, J. Am Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 8054-8057.

Joyce, L.; Maynor, M.; Dragna, J.; da Cruz, G.; Lynch, V.; Canary, J.W.; Anslyn, E.V.  “A Simple Method for the Determination of Enantiomeric Excess and Identity of Chiral Carboxylic Acids,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133 13746–13752.

Dai, Z.; Canary, J.W.  “Dynamic Stereochemistry and Chiroptical Spectroscopy of Metallo-organic Compounds,” in Advances in Chiroptical Methods, vol. 2.  Berova, N.D.; Polavarapu, P; Nakanishi, K.; Woody, R., eds.  John Wiley & Sons, 2011

Ornelas, C.; Lodescar, R.; Durandin, A.; Canary, J.W.; Pennell, R.; Liebes, L.F.; Geacintov, N.; Weck, M.  “Combining Amino-Cyanine Dyes with Polyamide Dendrons:  A Promising Strategy for Imaging in the Near-Infrared Region,” Eur. J. Chem., 2011, 17, 3619 – 3629.

Tang, J.A.; Gruppi, F.; Fleysher, R.; Sodickson, D.K.; Canary, J.W.; Jerschow, A.  “Extended Para-Hydrogenation Monitored by NMR Spectroscopy,” ChemComm 2011, 47, 958-60.

Liang, J.; Canary, J.W.  “A Stereodynamic Tripodal Ligand with Three Different Coordinating Arms: Synthesis and Zinc(II), Copper(I) Complexation Study,” Chirality 2011, 23, 24-33.

Liang, J.; Canary, J.W.  “Discrimination between Hard Metals with Soft Ligand Donor Atoms: An On-Fluorescence Probe for Manganese(II),” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl.  2010, 49, 7710-3.

Canary, J.W.; Mortezaei, S.; Liang, J.  “Redox-Reconfigurable Tripodal Coordination Complexes: Stereodynamic Molecular Switches",” ChemComm  2010, 46, 5850-60.

Canary, J.W.; Mortezaei, S.; Liang, J.  “Transition-Metal Based Chiroptical Switches for Molecular Electronics and Sensors,” Coord. Chem. Rev. 2010, 254, 2249-66.

Liang, J.; Zhang, J.; Zhu, L.; Duarandin, A.; Young, V. G.; Geacintov, N.; Canary, J. W. "Structures, Metal Ion Affinities, and Fluorescence Properties of Soluble Derivatives of Tris((6-Phenyl-2-Pyridyl)Methyl)Amine," Inorg. Chem. 2009, 48, 11196-11208.

Dai, Z.; Khosla, N.; Canary, J.W.  “Visible Color Displacement Sensing System for Manganese(II),” Supramol. Chem., 2009, 21, 296-300.

Canary, J.W.  “Redox-Triggered Chiroptical  Molecular Switches,” Chem. Soc. Rev., 2009, 38, 747-56.

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