Chemistry / Biochemistry
Contact
Department Chair:
Rebecca Whelan

Administrative Assistant:
Patricia West, A263

Department Email:


Phone: (440) 775-8300
Fax: (440) 775-6682

Location:
Science Center A263
119 Woodland St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: 8:30-noon 1:00-5:00pm

Jason Belitsky

Jason Belitsky

Associate Professor

Contact Information

E-mail:


Office:
Science Center N371
(440) 775-8303

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Amherst College, 1997
  • Doctor of Philosophy, California Institute of Technology, 2002


Research Interests:  Melanins, bioorganic chemistry, chemical biology, supramolecular chemistry.

Melanins, the pigments in human hair, skin, eyes––and even the brain!––are not very well understood on a chemical level, but they have many fascinating chemical properties that contribute to their biological roles, diseases such as skin cancer, and can be developed for non-biological applications.

We are particularly interested in the molecular recognition properties of melanins.  Our lab uses a combination of organic synthesis, biochemical, environmental and materials chemistry approaches to study melanin self-assembly and interactions with other molecules.  This work is supported by a recent grant from the National Science Foundation, entitled “Bioorganic Chemistry of Eumelanin.”

One application that we are pursuing is water purification, which takes advantage of the ability of melanin from natural sources and synthetic analogs to bind to heavy metals and organic pollutants.  In a related project, we are investigating melanin-inspired coatings as colorimetric sensors for metal ions.  

Dr. Belitsky is the Program Director of Oberlin’s new quantitative skills center, the Center for Learning, Education, and Research in the Sciences (CLEAR).

Recent Sabbaticals: University of Michigan (2011-2012)


Teaches: Bioorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, General Chemistry, Chemical Biology seminar
 

Representative Publications:

  • Belitsky, J.M. "Aryl boronic acid inhibition of synthetic melanin polymerization" Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2010, 20, 4475-4478.
  • Sono, K.*; Lye, D.*; Moore, C.A.*; Boyd, W.C.*; Gorlin, T.A.*; Belitsky, J.M. “Melanin-based coatings as lead-binding agents” Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications 2012, Article ID 361803.
  • Belitsky, J.M.; Ellowitz, M.Z.*; Lye, D.*; Kilbo, A.L.* “Small molecule modulators of aggregation in synthetic melanin polymerizations” Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2012, 22, 5503-5507