Wilson Group

James N. Wilsonwilson


344 Cox Science Center
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146

E-mail: jnwilson@miami.edu

Office: (305) 284-2619

Lab: (305) 284-8557



Bioorganic and Materials Chemistry


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


2008-present, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry University of Miami
2007-2008, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of San Francisco
2005-2007, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
2004, Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology
2000, B.S. in Chemistry, University of South Carolina


2010-11, American Cancer Society, IRG Awardee

2005-07, Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship


2013 National Cancer Institute, IMAT Program
2012 Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program
2011 James & Esther King Research Program
2010 American Cancer Society, Junior Faculty Development Grant
2010 University of Miami Interdisciplinary Research Development Initiative
2010 University of Miami Provost Award
2009 University of Miami Provost Award
2007 NIH/NIGMS F32 GM075697 


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, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2013, 117, 12000-12006.
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, Org. Lett., 2013, 15, 1330-1333.
(Highlighted in C&E News, "A Bright Idea for a Nucleus Stain" March, 2013)       (Included in the ACS virtual issue: Nucleic Acids - Chemistry and Applications)
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, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2012, 116, 12470.
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, Org. Biomol. Chem. 2012, 10, 8710.
Sicard, R.; Dhuguru, J.; Liu, W.; Patel, N.; Landgraf, R.; Wilson, J. N. A fluorescent reporter of ATP binding-competent receptor kinases, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2012, 22, 5532.
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.” Org. Biomol. Chem., 2012, 10, 1493.
Dhuguru, J.; Gheewala, C.; Kumar, N. S. S.; Wilson, J. N. “Highly Chromic, Proton Responsive Phenyl Pyrimidones.” Org. Lett., 2011, 13, 4188-4191.
Bagale, M. D.; Brown, A. S.; Carballosa Gonzalez, M. M.; Vitores, A.; Micotto, T. L.; Kumar, N. S. S.; Hentall, I. D.; Wilson, J. N. “Fluorescent reporters of monoamine transporter distribution and function.” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.,2011, 21, 7387-7391.
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.”, Langmuir, 2011, 27, 6554-6558.
Brown, A. S.; Bernal, L. -M.; Micotto, T. L.; Smith, E. L.; Wilson, J. N.  “Fluorescent Neuroactive Probes Based on Stilbazolium Dyes.” Org. Biomol. Chem., 2011, 9, 2142-2148.
Kumar, S. N. S.; Gujrati, M. D.; Wilson, J. N. “Evidence of preferential ?-stacking: a study of intermolecular and intramolecular charge transfer complexes.” Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 5464-5466.
Micotto, T. L.; Brown, A. S.; Wilson, J. N. “Fluorescent mimics of 5-hydroxytryptamine based on N-alkylated derivatives of 6-hydroxycarbostyril.” Chem. Commun. 2009, 7548-7550.