Professor, Organic and Supramolecular Chemistry
Year Started at JMU: 2003
Contact Info

Research Description

In the Caran lab, we use the tools of organic synthesis to make novel compounds in an effort to develop self-assembled soft materials (colloids) with well-defined properties. We subsequently use a wide variety of tools and analytical methods to measure the properties and to understand the modes of self-assembly of the colloidal aggregates formed by these novel compounds. Students in the Caran lab synthesize, purify and analyze the structure of these novel molecules, and subsequently study the self-assembled materials using an arsenal of analytical techniques including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), surface tensiometry, conductivity and attenuated total reflectance infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy

Related Scholarship
  • Colloidal and supramolecular organic systems. Synthesis of rationally designed compounds and study of their self-assembly and aggregation using a wide variety of physical and spectroscopic methods.
  • Molecular Recognition. Engineering of molecules to recognize molecules with complementary functionalities.
  • Nanoscience Education. Development of laboratory and lecture modules to introduce undergraduate students to nanoscience.
  • Chemistry Demonstrations. Working with K-12 and college educators within and beyond Virginia on the development and implementation of science demonstrations for both classroom and outreach activities. 
  • PhD in Chemistry, 2001, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  • BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry, 1996, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
Select Publications
  • MacDonald, G.; Caran, K. L.; Hughey, C. A.; Bradley, J. J. "Summer REU Program Integrating Deaf and Hearing Participants in Chemistry Research." Best Practices for Chemistry REU Programs (ACS Symposium Series, Vol. 1295) Griep, M. A., Ed.; Watkins, L., Ed.,  American Chemical Society, 2018, 1295, 45-57.
  • Gallagher, T. M.; Marafino, J. N.; Wimbish, B. K.; Volkers, B.; Fitzgerald, G.; McKenna, K.; Floyd, J.; Minahan, J. T.; Walsh, B.; Thompson, K. Bruno, D.; Paneru, M.; Djikeng, S.; Masters, S.; Haji, S.; Seifert, K.; Caran. K. L. “Hydra Amphiphiles: Using Three Heads and One Tail to Influence Aggregate Formation and to Kill Pathogenic Bacteria.” Colloids Surf. B. 2017, 157, 440-448. 
  • Minbiole, K. P. C.; Jennings, M. C.; Ator, L. E.; Black, J. W.; Grenier, M. C.; LaDow, J. E.; Caran, K. L.; Seifert, K.; Wuest, W. M. "From antimicrobial activity to mechanism of resistance: the multifaceted role of simple quaternary ammonium compounds in bacterial eradication" Tetrahedron, 2016, 72(25), 3559-3566. 

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