THOMAS M. NORDLUND
Associate Professor of Physics
Campbell Hall 345
(205) 934-0340, firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to recent course information:
NOTE: much of the online material has been moved to the BlackBoard Learn UAB student website.
Link to Syllabus
(May not be current.)*
|Link to active course (Password may be
|Preparatory Physics (PH 100)
|College Physics I (PH 201)
WebAssign Homework site
|See class website or www.phy.uab.edu (select syllabi menu)
|College Physics II (PH 202)
WebAssign Homework site
|Modern Physics I (PH 351)
PH 351 syllabus
PH 351 lab
|Modern Physics II (PH 352)
||PH 352 syllabus
|Quantum Mechanics I (PH 450/550)
|Quantum Mechanics II (PH 451/551)
|Intro. to Biophysics I (PH 475/575)
||PH 475 syllabus
|Intro. to Biophysics II (PH
||PH 476 syllabus
|Physical Theology (HON 330, PH 397)
* An archive of Physics course syllabi can be found at
www.phy.uab.edu , select Syllabi.
Framing Teaching and Research in the Sciences and Mathematics by the "Big Questions" of Meaning and Value
Physics in the education of American ministers: Description of Subproject
Partial results of Survey:Survey/Results_PostMar11.pdf
Presentations of Results:
American Association of Physics Teachers , January, 2011, Jacksonville, FL, USA: pdf
I. Evaluating sunscreen photophysics.
Sunscreens are designed to reside in the upper layers
of the skin, absorb UV light, and dissipate the energy harmlessly as
heat, preventing skin damage and carcinogenesis. However, rates of skin
melanoma are still rising, despite the increased use of improved
sunscreens for over a decade. Major possible reasons for this apparent
sunscreen failure are
- Melanoma rates may not be increasing: the time lag
between sun exposure and cancer diagnosis may have delayed the rate
- Behavioral: people use sunscreens but stay in the sun longer
because sunburn is prevented.
- Flawed design of sunscreen UV absorption: the absorption of UVA
(320-400-nm light) is insufficient.
- Improper disposal of absorbed energy:
- Creation of radicals
- Transfer of energy to nearby molecules
The primary aim of this project is to develop in vitro protocols
for measuring the possible occurrence of transfer of UV energy,
absorbed by a sunscreen, to DNA. Sunscreen agents like octyl
salicylate, octyl methoxycinnamate, and Padimate O are oily substances
which normally separate from aqueous environments where DNA might
reside. However, cells abound in heterogeneous, boundary environments
where hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules coexist. We model this
heterogeneous environment by adsorbing hydrophobic molecules to the
surface of micro/nano spheres and observing spectroscopic effects when
DNA is brought near. We also are attempting microscope imaging studies
of this molecular adsorption process, as well as imaging of DNA with
inserted fluorescent bases.
II. Monitoring DNA structural changes and interactions
using fluorescent bases.
The two primary molecules of life are proteins and DNA.
DNA stores information and proteins translate the information into the
structures and processes of life. The importance of the dynamics of
biomolecular structures to life is clear: DNA can be replicated or
repaired only when it interacts with proteins and flexes in structure.
To measure biomolecular structure and dynamics we presently emphasize
experimental fluorescence methods. We describe how, how much, and how
fast DNA structures change, aiming to explain the molecular mechanical
mechanisms of DNA/protein activity. We presently focus on the spectral
and time-resolved fluorescence properties, including energy-transfer
properties, of fluorescent bases (e.g., 2-aminopurine) inserted into
oligonucleotides with a variety of neighboring bases, including the DNA
recognition site of the endonuclease Eco RI. We are also
interested in the incorporation of fluorescent bases into cellular DNA
using natural, metabolic processes and new DNA fluorescence bases,
e.g., pteridine derivatives (M. Hawkins, NIH Pediatrics Branch) .
III. Aggregation of DNA with Nanoparticles: a Model for
Undergraduate/High School Laboratory Training
- Laser tweezers methods for manipulation of microspheres with
attached molecules, for motility assays, for simultaneous optical
trapping and multiphoton excitation.
- Microscope imaging, using standard and laser excitation
- Optical spectroscopy
- Summer Career and Research Workshop for High School Students (formerly
Research Experiences for High School Students). See www.phy.uab.edu,
select Outreach, High School Programs.
- Ultrafast laser fluorescence system:
- Ti:sapphire laser system, Coherent MIRA 900, pumped by 10W
Nd:vanadate; femto- and picosecond operation
- Time-resolved photon counting system (two-PMT, UV-VIS &
near-IR, MCP detection, TimeHarp TRSPC board)
- Fluoromax2 fluorescence spectrometer, Quantum Northwest Flash 200
cuvette holder, TIRF accessory
- JASCO V-530 optical absorption spectrometer
- Olympus IX70 inverted microscope, Prior motorized stage, TIRF
objective, F-View CCD, laser port.
- Zeiss inverted microscope with CDS computer-controlled stage
(0.1-micron resolution), intensified camera system (MTI)
- More under construction.
- Krishnan, R., C. A. Elmets, and T. M. Nordlund. 2008. UV-A fluorescence of sunscreens and possible energy transfer to skin components. In Proc. S.P.I.E. (Proceedings Vol. 6842 Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics IV). N. Kollias, B. Choi, H. Zeng, R. S. M. M.D., B. J. W. M.D., J. F. R. I. M.D., K. W. G. M.D., G. J. T. M.D., H. H. M.D., and E. Steen J. Madsen, 684208, editors. S.P.I.E.
- Krishnan, R., and T. M. Nordlund. 2008. Fluorescence Dynamics of Three UV-B Sunscreens, J Fluoresc 18:203-217.
- Nordlund, T. M. 2007. Sequence, structure and energy transfer in DNA. Photochem. Photobiol. 83:625-636.
- Krishnan, R., Elmets, C.A. and Nordlund, T.M., A new method to test the
effectiveness of sunscreen ingrediants in a novel nano-surface skin cell
mimic, Photochem. Photobiol. 82:1549-1556 (2006). Online DOI:
- Krishnan, R., Pradhan, S., Timares, L., Katiyar, S., Elmets, C.A., and
Nordlund, T.M., Fluorescence of sunscreens adsorbed to dielectric
nanospheres: Parallels to optical behavior on HaCat cells and skin, Photochem. Photobiol.
82: 1557-1565 (2006). Online DOI:
- Krishnan, R., Carr, A., Blair, E. and Nordlund, T. M.,
Optical Spectroscopy of Hydrophobic
Sunscreen Molecules Adsorbed to Dielectric Nanospheres, Photochem. Photobiol. 79 (6),
- Byeon, C. C., Sun, W., McKerns, M. M., Nordlund, T. M., Lawson,
C. M. and Gray, G. M., Excited state
lifetime and intersystem crossing rate of asymmetric pentaazadentate
porphyrin-like metal complexes, Appl. Phys. Lett. 84 (25) 5174-5176
- S. P. Davis, M. Matsumura, A. Williams,
and T. M. Nordlund. Position dependence of 2-aminopurine spectra in
adenosine pentadeoxynucleotides J. Fluorescence 13(3), 249-259 (2003).
and base sequence dependence of 2-aminopurine fluorescence bands in
single- and double-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides, Mikako Kawai,
Michael J. Lee, Kervin O. Evans, Thomas M. Nordlund, preprint of J.
Fluorescence 11(1): 23-32 (2001).
Dependence of Energy Transfer in DNA Oligonucleoties, Da-Guang Xu,
Thomas M. Nordlund. Biophysical Journal 78: 1042-1058 (2000).