Abstract

This dissertation is an integration of fundamental research and chemical education. It begins with two nonlinear spectroscopic studies of compounds important to the study of brain chemistry. In Chapter 2, we present a novel method using quantum mechanics for modelling ligand docking and the potential of nonlinear circular dichroism for elucidating the mechanism of cannabinoids docking to their receptor, a contribution to studies of varying psychological effects of cannabinoids. Considering existent challenges with measuring this phenomenon, in Chapter 3, we evaluate two-photon absorption properties of Thioflavin T (ThT) in varying glycerol/water content solutions and discuss the enhancement of nonlinear absorption due to small micelle formation. Our results represent the potential to enhance the applications of ThT for imaging Amyloid beta plaques in vitro and ex vivo and its potential application in vivo. Next, we consider the benefits of incorporating modern research into the undergraduate curriculum. In Chapter 4, we describe the integration of nonlinear optics into the physical chemistry laboratory in a course-based undergraduate research experience and the effects on student learning and perceptions. In Chapter 5, we expand our impact to secondary students by describing the development and assessment of the Orlando Chemistry Training, Enrichment, and Tutoring (OCTET) camp and its success in conveying chemistry concepts and inspiring students to pursue chemistry. In Chapter 6, we combine the successes of the previous two studies and incorporate a research component into OCTET. We study the effect on participants' views about science and show the impact on their practical knowledge about doing science. Finally, in Chapter 6, we extend the implementation of authentic learning to the classroom, present the implementation of active learning in physical chemistry, and describe students' perceptions. The results presented in this dissertation demonstrate successful integration of fundamental research into education and the powerful impact on all parties.

Graduation Date

2018

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Hernandez, Florencio

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Chemistry

Degree Program

Chemistry

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0006997

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0006997

Language

English

Release Date

May 2018

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Chemistry Commons

Share

COinS