Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Edith Glazer


Application of chemotherapeutic agents in current cancer treatment has been limited by adverse effects as poor selectivity results in systemic toxicity; most chemotherapy approaches also experience inherited or acquired drug resistance which lead to reduced treatment outcome. Research efforts have focused on the discovery of novel chemotherapies that overcome the limitations mentioned above. Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes with anti-cancer properties have been extensively studied as traditional cytotoxic agents and photodynamic therapy agents due to their photophysical and photochemical characteristics.

Most research has focused on the design of Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes that have affinities to nucleic acids as inspired by the classic small molecule metal complex cisplatin. Though modifying the structures of ligands on the ruthenium metal center, the hydrophilicity, charge state and photochemical properties can be tuned, resulting to Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes that act through cellular targets other than DNA.

Understanding the mechanism of action and identifying functional targets remain the challenging and complex research topic in the design and study of novel medication or candidates. With the development of semi-high throughput cytological profiling in a bacterial system, rapid investigation of the mechanism of action can be achieved to distinguish anti-cancer agents which possess different mechanisms of actions. Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes with different scaffolds have been studied and suggested to have anti-cancer properties through DNA damage response, and/or translational inhibition.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)