James N Wilson

Assoc. Professor
Director of PRISM

(305) 284-2619
Locator Code:



2005-2007Post Doctoral Fellow, Stanford University
2004Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology
2000B.S. Chemistry, University of South Carolina

Professional Experience

2007 - 2008Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of San Francisco

Honors & Acknowledgements

2010-11, American Cancer Society, IRG Awardee
2005-07, Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship


Research in my group is in the general areas of bioorganic and materials chemistry with a specific focus on the development of fluorescent analogs of biomolecules. We design, synthesize and characterize probes targeting specific biomacromolecular structures including DNA, transmembrane proteins, enzymes and receptors. This effort incorporates several research activities including quantum chemical calculations, organic synthesis, optical spectroscopy, in vitro cellular studies, and fluorescence microscopy.

Fluorescent analogs of tyrosine kinase inhibitors allow tracking of drug distribution, aggregation and binding in cancer cells.  These dynamics can be linked to cellular outcomes (survival, reduced proliferation, or death) improving our understanding of drug resistance mechanisms

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Bioorganic and Materials Chemistry


Wilson, J. N.; Wigenius, J.; Pitter, D. R. G.; Qiu, Y.; Abrahamsson, M.; Westerlund, F. "Base Pair Sensitivity and Enhanced ON/OFF Ratios of DNA-Binding: Donor−Acceptor−Donor Fluorophores" 117 12000-12006 (J. Phys. Chem. B. 2013).

Pitter, D. R. G.; Wigenius, J.; Brown, A. S.; Baker, J. D.; Westerlund, F.; Wilson, J. N. "Turn-On, Fluorescent Nuclear Stains with Live Cell Compatibility" 1330-133315 (Org. Lett.. 2013).

Adjaye-Mensah, E.; Gonzalez, W. G.; Miksovska, J.; Wilson, J. N. "Photophysical Characterization of a Benzo-Fused Analogue of Brooker’s Merocyanine: Solvent Polarity and pH Effects" 12470116 (J. Phys. Chem. A. 2012).

Wilson, J. N.; Brown, A. S.; Babinchak, W. M.; Ridge, C. D.; Walls, J. D. "Fluorescent Stilbazolium dyes as probes of the norepinephrine transporter: structural insights into substrate binding" 871010 (Org. Biomol.. 2012).

Sicard, R.; Dhuguru, J.; Liu, W.; Patel, N.; Landgraf, R.; Wilson, J. N. "A fluorescent reporter of ATP binding-competent receptor kinases" 553222 (Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.. 2012).

Smith, E. L.; Brown, A. S.; Adjaye-Mensah, E.; Wilson, J. N. "Probing the functional limits of the norepinephrine transporter with self-reporting, fluorescent stilbazolium dimers." 149310 (Org. Biomol. Chem.. 2012).

Dhuguru, J.; Gheewala, C.; Kumar, N. S. S.; Wilson, J. N. "Highly Chromic, Proton Responsive Phenyl Pyrimidones." 7387-739113 (Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.. 2011).

Gujrati, M. D.; Kumar, N. S. S.; Brown, A. S.; Captain, B.; Wilson, J. N. "Luminescent Charge-Transfer Complexes: Tuning Emission in Binary Fluorophore Mixtures." 6554-655827 (Langmuir. 2011).

Brown, A. S.; Bernal, L. -M.; Micotto, T. L.; Smith, E. L.; Wilson, J. N. "Fluorescent Neuroactive Probes Based on Stilbazolium Dyes" 2142-21489 (Org. Biomol. Chem.. 2011).

Kumar, S. N. S.; Gujrati, M. D.; Wilson, J. N. "Evidence of preferential ?-stacking: a study of intermolecular and intramolecular charge transfer complexes." 5464-546646 (Chem. Commun.. 2010).

Micotto, T. L.; Brown, A. S.; Wilson, J. N. "Fluorescent mimics of 5-hydroxytryptamine based on N-alkylated derivatives of 6-hydroxycarbostyril." 7548-7550 (Chem. Commun.. 2009).