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Faculty and Staff

Haishi Cao, Ph.D.

Haishi Cao, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Don Fox Chair
Bruner Hall, 411D
(308) 865-8105

Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, 2004
M.Sc., Biochemistry, Jilin University (China), 1999
B.Sc., Biochemistry, Jilin University (China), 1995

Research Interest
Fluorescence sensing, Chemosensor, Molecular recognition and Detection of toxic ions and biological molecules.

Faculty Appointments
2012-Present, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, UNK
2007-2012, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, UNK

Curriculum Vitae

ǂ denotes undergraduate author in UNK, * denotes corresponding author

27. Bamesberger, A.ǂ; Kim, G.ǂ; Woo, Jǂ.; Cao, H.*, Reduction of nitro group on derivative of 1,8-naphthalimide for quantitative detection of hydrogen sulfide, J. Fluoresc., 2015, 25, 25-29.
TOC 27
26. Woo, J.ǂ; Kim, G.ǂ; Qintero, K.ǂ;Hanrahan, M.P.ǂ; Palencia. H.; Cao, H.*, Investigation of desilylation in the recognition mechanism to fluoride by a 1,8-naphthalimide derivative, Org. Biomol. Chem., 2014, 12, 8275-8279.
TOC 2625. Song, Q. ǂ; Bamesberger, A. ǂ; Yang, L. ǂ; Houtwed, H. ǂ; Cao, H.*, Excimer-monomer switch: a reaction-based approach for selective detection of fluoride, Analyst, 2014, 139, 3588-3592.  25 paper24. Bamesbergera, A.ǂ; Schwartza, C.; Song, Q. ǂ; Han, W.; Wang, Z.; Cao, H.*, Rational design of a rapid fluorescent approach for detection of inorganic fluoride in MeCN/H2O: a new fluorescence switch based aryl-1,8-naphthalimide, New. J. Chem., 2014, 38, 884-888.  
TOC 2423.Yang, L. ǂ; Song, Q. ǂ; Damit-Og, K. ǂ; Cao, H.*, Synthesis and spectral investigation of a turn-on fluorescence sensor with high affinity to Cu2+Sensor Actuat B-Chem., 2013, 176, 181-185.
2322. Wang, J. ǂ; Yang, L. ǂ; Hou, C. ǂ; Cao, H.*, A new N-imidazol-1,8-naphthalimide based fluorescence sensor for fluoride detection,  Org. Biomol. Chem., 2012, 10, 6271-6274.
21. Hou, C. ǂ; Urbanec, A.M. ǂ; and Cao, H.*, A rapid Hg2+ sensor based on aza-15-crown-5 ether functionalized 1,8-naphthalimide Tetrahedron Lett., 2011, 4903-4905.      
2120. Hou, C. ǂ; Xiong, Y.; Fu, N.; Jacquot, C.C. ǂ; Squier, T.C.; and Cao, H.*, Turn-On ratiometric fluorescent sensor toward Pb(II) detection  Tetrahedron Lett.2011, 2692-2696.
2019. Yang, Y. ǂ; Gou, X.; Blecha, J. ǂ; Cao, H.*, A highly selective pyrene based fluorescent sensor toward Hg2+ detection  Tetrahedron Lett., 2010, 3422-3425.
1918. Gou, X.; Cao, H.*, Undergraduate chemistry education in Chinese universities J. Chem. Educ.2010, 87 (6) 575-577.

Publication Prior to UNK
17. Cao, H.; Xiong, Y.; Wang, T.; Squier, T.C.; Mayer, M. U., A red cy3-based biarsenical fluorescent probe targeted to a complementary binding peptide J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 8672-8673, Highlighted in Nature, 2007, 448, July 5th, 4
16. Chen, B.; Cao, H.; Yan, P; Mayer, M.U.; Squier, T.C., Identification of an orthogonal peptide binding motif for biarsenical multiuse affinity probes Bioconjugate Chem., 2007, 1269-1265.
15. Cao, H.; Chen, B.; Squier, T.C.; Mayer, M.U., CrAsH: A biarsenical multi-use affinity probe with low non-specific fluorescence Chem. Commun. 2006, 2601-2603.
14. Cao, H.; Chang, V.; Hernandez, R.; Heagy, M.D., Matrix library screening of substituted N-Aryl-1,8-naphthalimides reveals new dual fluorescent dyes and unusually bright pyridine derivatives J. Org .Chem., 2005, 70, 4929-4934.
13. Cao, H.; McGill, T.; Heagy, M.D., Sustituent effects on monoboronic acid sensors for saccharides based on N-phenyl-1,8-naphthalenedicarboximides J. Org. Chem., 2004, 2959-2966.
12. Cao, H.; Heagy, M.D., Fluorescent chemosensors for carbohydrates: A decade’s worth of bright spies for saccharides in review J. Fluorescence, 2004, 569-584.
11. Geddes, CD.; Cao, H.; Gryczynski, I.; Gryczynski, Z.; Fang, J.; Lakowicz, J.R., Metalenhanced fluorescence (MEF) due to silver solloids on a planar surface: potential applications of indocyanine green to in vivo imaging J. Phys. Chem. A , 2003, 3443-3449.
10. Geddes, C.D.; Cao, H.; Lakowicz, J.R., Enhanced photostability of ICG in close proximity  to gold colloids Spectrochimica Acta A, 2003, 2611-2617.
9. Sun, H.; Cao, H.; Luo, G., Preparation and property of palmitoyl modified SOD Chinese J. Bioprocess. Eng., 2003, 47-51.
8. Cao, H.; Diaz, D.I.; DiCesare, N.; Lakowicz, J.R., Heagy, M.D., Monoboronic acid sensor that displays anomalous fluorescence sensitivity to glucose Org. Lett., 2002, 1503-1505.
7. Liang, F.; Wu, Y.; Cao, H.; Guo, H.; Liu, L.; Sun, H.; Chen, W.; Liu, S., Chemical modification of human plasminogen Chem. J. Chinese Univ. 2001, 22(4) 577-580.
6. Xu, J.; Ma, J.; Xu, H.; Ma, Z.; Kong, X.; Cao, H.; Guo, H.; Liu, L., Separation and  purification of pullulan  and its function to protect polyphenol tea in green tea Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Jilinensis, 2001, 88-90.
5. Cao, H.; Sun, H.; Liang, F.; Guo, H.; Liu, L., Purification and identification of pulullan Chem. J. Chinese Univ. 1999, 20(12) 78-84.
4. Yang, F.; Guo, H.; Xu, H.; Cao, H.; Liu, L., Biochemical analyses of the thrombin-like enzyme product from the venom of agkistrodon halys ussuriensis emilianov Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Jilinensis, 1999, (2) 79-82.
3. Yang, F.; Xu, H.; Guo, H;, Cao, H.; Liu, L., Purification and quality control of thrombin-Like enzyme from venom of agkistrodon halys ussuriensis emilianov Chin. J. Biologicals, 1999, (12) 100-102.
2. Qiu, A.; Sun, H.; Zhong, H.; Liu, S.; Zhao, C.; Wu, Y.; Cao, H.; Liu, L., Purification and properties of human plasminogen Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Jilinensis, 1998, (3) 79-81.
1. Zhao, H.; Li, C.; Xue, Y.; Zhang, L.; Cao, H.; Guo, H.; Liu, L., Mutation and screening of  high production strain of pullulan Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Jilinensis, 1998, (3) 75-78.

CHEM 160 General Chemistry
CHEM 150 Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
CHEM 360 Organic Chemistry
CHEM 461 Qualitative Organic Analysis
CHEM 499 Problems in Chemistry


Group News

04/17/2015    Haley Houtwed gave a poster presentation in NCUR conference in Spokane WA.
03/24/2015    Gunwoo Kim presented her research work in 249th ACS National Conference in Denver CO.
12/01/2014    Agela Bamesberger's paper has been accepted in Journal of Fluoresence.
11/13/2014    Haley Houtwed gave a poster presentation in ACS MWRM.
09/24/2014    Welcome Eunju Jang joining my research group.

Research Area

My research program focuses on using synthetic methods to prepare organic molecules functionalized as analytical approaches to quantitatively measure small molecules with extremely low concentration in the nature on the basis of spectroscopic information. My research interest includes: 1) design novel sensing switches with high affinity and sensitivity to target molecules based on molecular recognition; 2) develop novel fluorescent molecules and understand their fluorescence features; 3) use designed sensing approaches to investigate the roles of important molecules in the biological systems; 4) use nanoparticles to improve the stability and permeability of fluorescence sensors for their biological applications.

Current Group Members

web 2015

 Former Members

    John Blecha          2007-2008                     Lingyun Yang         2010-2014      
    Cory E Shield 2007-2008 Amanda Ohri               2011-2012
    Sebastian E Edwards        2007-2008 Shave Parkinson 2011-2012
    Yang Yang 2008-2009 Xiaojun Liu 2011-2012
    Courtney M Johnson 2008-2009 Tia Lynn Hadley 2011-2012
    Chen Hou 2008-2012 Francisco Padilla 2011-2012
    Caitlin C Jacquot 2009-2011 Wendi Mao 2011-2012
    Alysha M Urbanec 2009-2010 Mengnan Wang 2011-2014
    Christine Lipps 2010-2011 Angela Bamesberger       2011-2014
    David Marshall 2010-2011 Amanda Thurston 2012-2013
    Junqi Wang 2010-2013 Anthony Munch 2012-2013
    Qiao Song 2010-2014 Jeeun Woo 2013-2014
    Kevanie Quintero 2011-2014


Student Awards and Honors

    Yang Yang                     Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2008-2009
    Chen Hou Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2008-2012
    Caitlin C Jacquot Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2009-2011
    Alysha M Urbanec Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2009-2010
    Junqi Wang Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2011-2013
    Lingyun Yang Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2011-2013
    Angela Bamesberger Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2011-2014
    Kevanie Quintero Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2014-2015
    Haley Houtwed Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2013-2015
    Gunwoo Kim Undergraduate Research Fellowship                2014-2015
    Yang Yang Pepsi Experimential Fund                2008
    Chen Hou Pepsi Experimential Fund                2010
    Lingyun Yang Pepsi Experimential Fund                2013
    Lingyun Yang Undergraduate Travel Fund (ACS)                2012


Student Presentation

18. Houtwed, H.; Cao, H., Reaction based approach for detection of fluoride, 49th ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, November 12-15, 2014, Columbia, MO
17. Yang, L.; Cao, H., Detecting fructose-6-phosphate by using near-IR fluorescence sensor, Nebraska Research and Innovation Conference, October 3, 2013, Omaha, NE
16. Yang, L.; Cao, H., Development of fluoride senor based on desilylation reaction, 48th ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 16-18, 2013, Springfield, MO
15. Bamesberger, A.; Cao, H., A novel fluorescent approach for detection of fluoride in aqueous media with high affinity, 48th ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 16-18, 2013, Springfield, MO
14. Song, Q.; Cao, H., Excimer-monomer Switch: A new method for selective measurement of  fluoride, 48th ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 16-18, 2013, Springfield, MO
13. Wang, J.; Cao, H., Stabilization of internal charged transfer by intramolecular H-bond in N-Aryl-1,8-naphthalimides, 122nd The Nebraska Academy of Science Annual Meeting, April, 20, 2013, Lincoln, NE
12. Yang, L.; Cao, H., PET based chemosensor with fluorescence turn-on for detection of Cu2+, 47th ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 24-27, 2012, Omaha, NE
11. Bamesberge, A.; Song, Q.; Cao, H., Investigation of substituent effect on photophysical  properties of 4-amino-N-aryl-1,8-naphthalimides, 47th ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 24-27, 2012, Omaha, NE
10. Chen, H.; Cao, H., A fluorescent sensor based on 1,8-naphthalimide for F- sensing. The Nebraska Academy of Science Annual Meeting, April 20, 2012, Lincoln, NE
9. Wang, J.; Yang, L.; Cao, H., Detecting Hg2+ using fluorescent nano-materials. Nebraska Research and Innovation Conference, September 27,2011, Omaha, NE
8. Hou, C.; Wang, J.; Cao. H., Developing a Novel Fluorescent Sensor Based on 1,8- naphthalimide for Fluoride Detection, 242nd ACS National Meeting, August 28 – September 1, 2011, Denver, CO
7. Wang, J.; Yang, L.; Hou, C.; Cao, H., Rapid Hg2+ Sensor Based on Crown Ether Functionalized 1,8-naphthalimide. 242nd ACS National Meeting, August 28 – September 1, 2011, Denver, CO
6. Hou, C.; Cao, H., Fluorescent Sensing for Heavy Metal Ions, Nebraska Academia Science Annual Meeting, April 15, 2011, Lincoln, NE
5. Jacquot, C.C.; Xiong, Y.; Hou, C.; Squier, T.C.; and Cao, H., Turn-On Ratiometric Fluorescent Sensor toward Pb(II) Detection. ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 27-30, 2010, Wichita, KS
4. Hou, C.; Yang. Y; Cao, H., Synthesize New Fluorescent Probes for Cell Imaging. ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, 2010, October 27-30, Wichita, KS
3. Hou, C.; Yang, Y.; Urbanec, A.M.; and Cao, H., Development of Fluorescent Sensor based on 4-Aza-15-Crown-5 Naphthalimide for Detection of Hg(II) Cation in Aqueous Media. ACS Middle West Regional Meeting, October 27-30, 2010, Wichita, KS
2. Yang, Y.; Blecha, J.P.; and Cao, H., Development of Fluorescent Sensor Based on Cyanine Dye for Hg2+ Detection. 237th American Chemical Society National Meeting, March 22-26, 2009, Salt Lake City, UT
1. Blecha, J.P.; Cao, H, A Novel Fluoresence Sensor for Mercury Ion. 43rd Midwest Regional Meeting of the American  Chemical Society, October 8-11, 2008, Kearney, NE

Research Opportunities

Our group are offering research oppertunities to UNK students regardless majors. Currently, several programs are available to help students initiate research. Please feel free to contact Dr. Cao if you are interesting in research, particularly for organic/bioorganic chemistry.

Group Photos