Kalen Sullivan is originally from the Buffalo, New York metro-area but comes to the NSF-REU program from Iona College where he is a rising senior pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry. While at Iona College he has been a part of Dr. Sunghee Lee’s microdroplet interface laboratory ProjectSymphony since his freshman year. His research currently explores monitoring water permeability across microdroplet interfaces while quantifying solute mobility via inverted micro-Raman spectroscopy. The group’s research has far reaching implications in synthetic cell studies, membrane function, and drug delivery.This summer, Kalen is working in Prof. Ptaszek’s laboratory on the development and study of novel hydroporphyrin photonics materials with potential biomedical applications.The goal of the project is to develop new organoplatinum chlorin materials and study the structure-photophysical relationship in these materials. This research will provide the basis for the development of materials with improved singlet oxygen generation and phosphorescence which will be very beneficial for photodynamic therapy in targeted tumor cells. This research is designed to create molecules with exceptional optical and photochemical properties, allowing for increasingly diverse areas of application.
In his free time Kalen enjoys watching and playing soccer, swimming, distance running, cycling,and learning new recipes in the kitchen. He actively tutors high school students who require assistance in math and chemistry to spur their interest in those subjects. In the near future ,Kalen intends to pursue a career in medicine to become a Medical Doctor. He is currently looking at and applying to medical colleges that offer research opportunities in conjunction with the medical curriculum.