Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Chemistry (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Francisco M. Raymo

Second Committee Member

Roger M. Leblanc

Third Committee Member

James N. Wilson

Fourth Committee Member

James D. Baker


The last two decades have seen how the development of photoactivatable fluorophores significantly implemented imaging and spectroscopic techniques applied to the “biological world”. In fact, molecules that switch from a nonemissive to an emissive state upon illumination at an activating wavelength (λac) and then emit after irradiation at an exciting wavelength (λexc) opened a new field of research and, beside the generation of super resolved subdiffracted images, they permit the monitoring of dynamic processes in real time. In the context of our work, an oxazine-based molecular switch has been designed to generate photoactivatable fluorophores suitable for bioimaging. The second and third chapters of this thesis focus on the development of a new class of NIR photoactivatable fluorophores based on a 2-Nitrobenzyl photoswitch. The best representative of the series has been tested to monitor dynamic cellular processes in Drosophila melanogaster embryos. In the last chapter, the very same phototrigger has been used to generate a light activatable version of Diazepam (Prodrug of Diazepam) that was tested on the locomotor behavior of Zebrafish larvae.


NIR Fluorophores; NIR Photoactivatable Fluorophores; Bioimaging; Far-red emission; Near-Infrared emission; Drosophila melanogaster dynamics