Karl Wallace

Associate Professor

Inorganic and Supramolecular Chemistry

Website: http://ocean.otr.usm.edu/~w690977/


B.S.C.; University of West England, UK, (1999)
Ph.D.; King’s College London, (2003)
Post-Doc.; University of Texas at Austin, (2003-2006)

Research Interests:

  • Anion Recognition and Self-Assembly
  • Molecular Sensors
  • Bio-inorganic
  • Coordination Polymers
  • Nanochemistry
  • Inorganic Synthesis
  • Organic Synthesis

Current Research:

Trace element detection of metals, for example, iron and zinc, are important in biological systems and in the environment. Many of us are aware that our cells contain metal ions that are “tied” up in proteins. However, chelatable or “free” trace elements can also be found in small quantities, and they can have a negative impact on our bodies. These can be the source for metabolic reactions that occur within the cell and are often a site for the generation of radicals.

My research interest involves the synthesis of molecular scaffolds to be used as sensors that are able to detect trace elements either by colorimetric means (i.e., can we see a visual color change? - “naked eye” detection) or using fluorescence spectroscopy, which enables us to detect trace elements at lower concentrations. A particular scaffold that is of interest, are derivatives of squaraine dyes (see figure), which incorporates a binding site for metal coordination. The optical response (i.e., color change) is due to a subtle geometry change between the squaraine dye on chelation (binding) to Fe(III).

One of my goals is to synthesize water-soluble dyes that will enable us to detect trace elements in vivo.

Selected Publications:


Jonathan W. Steed, David R. Turner and Karl J. Wallace “Core Concepts in Supramolecular Chemistry and Nanochemistry” Submitted to J. Wiley and Sons. To be published 2007

Book Chapter:

Karl J Wallace and Jonathan W Steed.“Podand Hosts For Anion Binding and Signalling” Invited contribution for Advances in Supramolecular Chemistry, (G. Gokel. Ed) Volume 9, Cerberus:New York, 2003, pp221-262.


  1. Karl J. Wallace, Ruth I. Fagbemi, Frantz J. Folmer-Andersen, Jeroni Morey, Vincent Lynch and Eric V. Anslyn “Phosphorylation of a Chemical Warfare Simulant by a Fluorophore Oximate” Chem. Commun., 2006, 3886-3888
  2. Karl J. Wallace, Steven R. Cordero, Christina P. Tan, Vincent M. Lynch and Eric V. Anslyna “A Colorimetric Response to Hydrogen Sulfide” Submitted to Sensors and Actuators B, in press, 2006
  3. Karl J. Wallace, Mark Gray, Zhenlin Zhong, Vincent M. Lynch and Eric V. Anslyn. “An Artificial Siderophore for the Detection of Iron III” Dalton Trans., 2005, 2436-2441
  4. Karl J. Wallace, Jeroni Morey, Vincent M. Lynch and Eric V. Anslyn. “A Colorimetric Detection of Chemical Warfare Simulants” New, J Chem., 29, 2005, 1469-1474
  5. Karl J. Wallace, Robert Hanes and Eric Anslyn,Jeroni Morey, Kathleen V. Kilway, Jay Siegel ”Preparation of 1,3,5-tris(aminomethyl)-2,4,6-triethylbenzene from two versatile 1,3,5 tri(halosubstituted)-2,4,6-triethylbenzene derivatives” Synthesis., 2005, 12, 2080-2083