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Sandra J. Rosenthal

Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Chemistry
Department Chair, Chemistry
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Professor of Physics
Professor of Pharmacology


In the Rosenthal group we study semiconductor nanocrystals, a novel material whose optical properties and electronic structure can be precisely tuned by controlling the size or composition of the nanocrystal. We perform fundamental optical studies for example: femtosecond florescence upconversion spectroscopy and single nanocrystal spectroscopy. We have developed a method to correlate the photophysics of a nanocrystal with the atomic structure of the exact same nanocrystal.  We are exploiting the properties of nanocrystals for implementation as biological probes for membrane proteins involved in neuronal signaling with the goal of developing quantitate diagnostics and precision therapeutics for mental illness.


• Herty Medal of the American Chemical Society, Georgia Section, 2018
• VINSE Distinguished Service Award, 2016
• Distinguished Alumni Award, Valparaiso University Alumni Association, 2015
• SEC Faculty Achievement Award, 2014
• Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011
• Inaugural Jack & Pamela Egan Chair of Chemistry, 2011
• VINSE High Impact Paper Award, 2010, 2012, 2014
• Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2009
• Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, 2006
• Distinguished Faculty Award, 2004
• Madison-Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2004
• NSF CAREER Award, 1999
• NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1993

Selected Publications:

Nanotechnology in Neuroscience Reveals Membrane Mobility Matters. Rosenthal, SJ, ACS CHEMICAL NEUROSCIENCE, 10, 30-32 , (2019) View Abstract

Chemical Structure, Ensemble and Single-Particle Spectroscopy of Thick-Shell InP-ZnSe Quantum Dots. Reid, KR; McBride, JR; Freymeyer, NJ; Thal, LB; Rosenthal, SJ, NANO LETTERS, 18, 709-716 , (2018) View Abstract

Role of Surface Morphology on Exciton Recombination in Single Quantum Dot-in-Rods Revealed by Optical and Atomic Structure Correlation. Reid, KR; McBride, JR; La Croix, AD; Freymeyer, NJ; Click, SM; Macdonald, JE; Rosenthal, SJ, ACS NANO, 12, 11434-11445 , (2018) View Abstract

Single Quantum Dot Tracking Reveals Serotonin Transporter Diffusion Dynamics are Correlated with Cholesterol-Sensitive Threonine 276 Phosphorylation Status in Primary Midbrain Neurons. Bailey, DM; Catron, MA; Kovtun, O; Macdonald, RL; Zhang, Q; Rosenthal, SJ, ACS CHEMICAL NEUROSCIENCE, 9, 2534-2541 , (2018) View Abstract

Biocompatible Quantum Dots for Biological Applications. Rosenthal, SJ; Chang, JC; Kovtun, O; McBride, JR; Tomlinson, ID, CHEMISTRY & BIOLOGY, 18, 10-24 , (2011) View Abstract