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About John C. DiCesare

Dr. DiCesare received his B. S. degree from the University of Central Florida in December 1987 and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 1992. Dr. DiCesare completed a one-year postdoctoral research fellowship in Medicinal Chemistry at Research Triangle Institute in 1993. He then worked as a process development chemist at Advanced ChemTech in Louisville, KY until 1994 when he returned to Research Triangle Institute as a research associate to help establish a program in Combinatorial Chemistry. While in the Research Triangle area, he also was an adjunct assistant professor at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. Dr. DiCesare joined the Department of Chemistry at The University of Tulsa in August, 1995 and in July of 2009 he joined the Department of Chemistry at Georgia Southern University as Department Chair.

Research Interests: Dr. DiCesare’s research interests are in the area of Organic, Medicinal and Materials Chemistry. Current projects are described below:

Synthesis of Anti-Cancer Compounds

This project involves the synthesis of compounds consisting of four fused rings in a 6-7-6-6 ring configuration via the [3+2] cycloaddition of various 4-hydroxyisoquinolines and naphthoquinones. With in this project are synthetic methodology projects involving new ways to efficiently synthesize 4-hydroxyisoquinolines from benzaldehydes / benzo-ketones and amino acids. Additionally, we are investigating the thermal rearrangement of the 6-7-6-6 ring compounds to 6-6-6-6 ring systems.

Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes for Incorporation into Polymer Composites

This project involves functionalzation of single-walled (SWNT) and multi-walled (MWNT) nanotubes with pendant norbornene rings. The norbornene rings will act as handles for the covalent incorporation of the nanotubes into a polymer composite using ROMP catalysts. The resulting polymers will be evaluated for enhanced physical and electronic properties through a collaboration with Dr. Mike Kessler at Iowa State University.

Development of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (Artificial Enzymes)

This project was initiated as a project funded by the Army for the development of surfaces that are able to selectively bind and concentrate a specific chemical warfare agent through the formation of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) to be used as a sensor. In this approach, a polymeric network is assembled around a template (nerve agent simulant). Upon removal of the template, a cavity with specific size, shape and chemical functionality for the chemical warfare agent remains. Sol-gel MIPs have been used to prepare templated materials that show affinity for organic dyes, phosphonates, inorganic ions and neurotransmitters. The sol-gel approach has a number of advantages in MIPs development such as; mild reaction conditions, flexible material processing, ease of incorporating organic functional groups into the inorganic matrix and they are generally optically transparent and photochemically and electrochemically stable. Additionally, sol-gel MIPs development is adaptable to combinatorial chemistry techniques.

In addition to using nerve agent simulants as the template, transition state (TS) analogs of the hydrolysis of nerve agents like VX can be used. Using a TS analog as a template would lead to a material that would act as an artificial enzyme for the destruction of nerve agents.

Development of TiO2/SiO2 Catalysts for Environmental Applications

This project was initiated as a project funded by NASA and involves developing a packed-bed catalytic system to be used in the final water polishing step to be used by NASA on proposed long-haul manned missions to Mars. The same technology has environmental terrestrial uses as well. Current research efforts are underway to develop the packed-bed technology for use to purify water using visible light and also to remove mercury for coal fired power plants.

Investigation of the Titanium (IV) Isopropoxide Reductive Amination Reaction

This project involves investigating the mechanism of the reductive amination reaction to determine the lifetime of the aminal tetrahedral intermediate. Conditions leading to a long lifetime could allow for an asymmetric version of the reductive amination reaction to be developed using chiral ligands bound to the titanium. Conditions leading to short lifetimes of the intermediate would benefit reactions with weakly nucleophilic amines or sterically hindered ketones.


2009 - Present Department Chair, Georgia Southern University Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of
2009 - Present Professor, Georgia Southern University Science and Mathematics, College of
Present Professor Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Southern University

Curriculum Vitae


2013 - Present Internal proposal to support a new graduate student
Georgia Southern University
Colleague(s): Dr. Xu
2008 - 2011 Chemical Analysis of Biological Metabolites
Merck Institute for Science Education
Colleague(s): Robert Sheaff
2006 - 2009 Molecular Libraries from Imidazole-4,5-dicarboxylic Acid
Colleague(s): Paul Baures
2006 - 2009 Molecular Libraries from Imidazole-4,5-dicarboxylic Acid (Supplement)
Colleague(s): Paul Baures
2007 - 2008 Advanced Signaling through Photophysical Quenching
2006 Molecular libraries from imidazole-4,5-dicarboxylic acid
Teledyne Isco
Organic Purification Grant
Colleague(s): Paul Baures
2005 - 2006 Polymer Nanocomposites: Property Enhancement with ROMP Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
2004 - 2006 Second Generation Photocatalytic Oxidation Processes for the NASA Advanced Water Recovery System
Colleague(s): James Harmon, Mark Nanny, and Elizabeth Butler
2005 Development of Visible light packed bed photocatalyst
TU Faculty Research Grant
2003 - 2004 Lysine Decarboxylase Activity in Periodontitis Patients
Colleague(s): Martin Levine
2002 - 2004 Processes for In-Situ Incapacitation of Explosives
Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
Colleague(s): Allen Apblett
2001 - 2004 Development of Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Sensors for Chemical Warfare Agents Utilizing Combinatorial Chemistry Techniques
2001 - 2004 Second Generation Photocatalytic Oxidation Processes for the NASA Advanced Water Recovery System
Colleague(s): James Harmon, Mark Nanny, and Elizabeth Butler
2000 Software Grant for reviewing ChemOffice Ultra 2000 Enhanced
CambridgeSoft Corporation
2000 Synthesis of Rigid Histamine H3 Compounds
TU Faculty Development Summer Fellowship Summer Fellowship
1999 Investigation of the Reaction Mechanism of the Titanium Isopropoxide Reductive Amination Reaction
TU Faculty Development Summer Fellowship
1998 - 1999 Used Energy Related Equipment Grant
U.S. Department of Energy
1998 Investigation of Carbohydrates as Chiral Auxiliaries in Asymmetric Synthesis
TU Faculty Development Summer Fellowship
1998 Software Grant for reviewing ChemOffice Ultra 98
CambridgeSoft Corporation
1997 - 1998 Phase II: Preparation of High Purity Compounds for Thermodynamic Evaluation
BDMPetroleum Technologies
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2005 - Present Member, Outstanding Researcher Award Selection Committee
2002 - Present Mentor, TU Orientation Camp
2000 - Present Member, E&NS College Committee on Rights and Responsibilities
1999 - Present Advisor, Pre-Pharmacy
1998 - Present Member, Pre-Med Advisory Board
1998 - Present Member, Pre-Med Advisory Board
1997 - Present Participant, TU Pre-Med Day
1996 - Present Participant, TU Orientation Move in Day
1998 - 2007 Member, E&NS College Assessment Committee
2004 - 2005 Reviewer, Faculty and Student Research Grant Program
2001 - 2004 Member, University Student Affairs Committee
2000 - 2004 Member, University Faculty Senate
1998 - 2004 Chair, Organic Faculty Search Committee
1996 - 2003 Faculty Advisor, Student Affiliate Chapter, American Chemical Society
1998 - 2002 Participant, OU Annual Pre-Professional Counselor's Workshop
1995 - 2002 Member of the Policy Board, Oklahoma Statewide Shared NMR Facility
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Honors and Awards

  • Zelimir Schmidt Award for Research Excellence (2004)
  • Residential School on Medicinal Chemistry Fellowship (1997)
  • Monsanto / UCF Summer Research Fellowship (1987)
  • Abstractor, Molecular Design Limited REACCS Database (1988-91)
  • 3 Undergraduate students have received Goldwater Scholarships
  • 2 Undergraduate students have received Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowships
  • 2 Undergraduate students have received NSF Graduate Fellowships


  • Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 1003)
  • Chemistry in Medicine (CHEM 1004)
  • General Chemistry I (CHEM 1013)
  • Organic Chemistry Lab I (CHEM 3011)
  • Organic Chemistry Lab (CHEM 3021)
  • Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 3013)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 3023)
  • Qualitative Analysis Lab (CHEM 4012L)
  • Qualitative Analysis (CHEM 4012)
  • Medicinal Chemistry (CHEM 6213/4213)
  • Organic Synthesis (CHEM 4873/6873)
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHEM 7113/5113)

Contact Information

P.O.Box 8064
Statesboro, GA 30460
Phone: (912) 478-0715
Office: 2003B, Chemistry & Nursing Bldg.

Publications in Refereed Journals (16)

Proceedings in Refereed Publications (4)

Professional Presentations, Shows, Performances (27)