Office Hours

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  • Wednesday:

  • Thurs:

  • or by appointment if available




Ruel E. McKnight

Professor of

Chemistry & Biochemistry

ISC 327C
1 College Circle
Geneseo, NY 14454

Dr. Ruel McKnight has been a member of the Geneseo faculty since 2004.

Faculty Information

Research Interests

It is now well established that a wide range of important therapeutic drugs exert their effects by binding to DNA. These compounds generally interfere with the actions of many vital enzymes and protein factors involved in DNA metabolism. However, a major limiting factor with the use of these drugs is the occurrence of deleterious side effects. The McKnight research group is currently involved in the study of drug-DNA interactions using calorimetric (ITC), spectroscopic (CD, fluorescence) and gel electrophoretic techniques. The long term goal is to develop a fundamental understanding of drug-DNA interactions and to use this knowledge as a guide to rationally design less toxic therapeutics.

Publications and Professional Activities

  • Velappan, A.B., Maity, B., Kasper, B.S., McKnight, R.E., Seth, D., and Debnath, J., Alteration in DNA Binding Pattern of Conformationally Locked NC(O)N systems: A Spectroscopic Investigation, Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 2016, 85, 497-504.
  • McKnight, R.E., Jackson, D.R. and Yokoyama, K., Temperature Dependence of Congo Red Binding to Amyloid Beta 12-28 , Eur. Biophys. J. 2013, 42 (6), 495-501.
  • McKnight, R.E., Insights into the Relative DNA Binding Affinity and Preferred Binding Mode of Homologous Compounds Using Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC). (Book Chapter) In: Applications of Calorimetry in a Wide Context - Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry and Microcalorimetry, Elkordy, A.A., Ed, InTech, 2013, ISBN 978-953-51-0947-1.
  • McKnight, R.E., Reisenauer, E., Pintado, M.V., Polasani, S.R. and Dixon, D.W., Substituent effect on the preferred DNA binding mode and affinity of a homologous series of naphthalene diimides, Bioorg. Med. Chem., Lett., 2011, 21 (14), 4288-4291.
  • Yokoyama, K., Fisher, A.D., Amori, A. R., Welchons, D., and McKnight, R.E., Spectroscopic and Calorimetric Studies of Congo Red Dye-Amyloid Beta Peptide Complexes, J. Biophys. Chem., 2010, 1 (3), 153-163.
  • McKnight, R.E., Onogul, B., Polasani, S.R., Gannon, M.K. II, and Detty, M.R., Substituent Control of DNA Binding Modes in a Series of Chalcogenoxanthylium Photosensitizers as Determined by Isothermal Titration Calorimetry and Topoisomerase I DNA Unwinding Assay, Bioorg. Med. Chem., 2008, 16 (24), 10221-10227.
  • McKnight, R.E., Ye, M., Ohulchanskyy, T., Sahabi, S., Wetzel, B.R., Wagner, S.J., Skripchenko, A. and Detty, M.R., Synthesis of Analogues of a Flexible Thiopyrylium Photosensitizer for Purging the Blood-Borne Pathogens and Binding Mode and Affinity Studies of their Complexes with DNA, Bioorg. Med. Chem., 2007, 15 (13), 4406-4418.
Fall 2016 Classes

CHEM 301:
Biochemistry Laboratory

    Students will be introduced to a selection of standard biochemical procedures such as DNA and protein purification, chromatographic separation, gel electrophoresis, dialysis, enzyme assay, and DNA ana
    lysis techniques. Prerequisites: CHEM 216 and CHEM 213 or CHEM 224. Co-requisites: CHEM 300 or CHEM 302.
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CHEM 302:
Biochemistry I

    Introduction to the chemistry of living organisms. Structure-to-function relationships of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids are explored, with an emphasis on molecular interactions.
    Other topics include enzyme kinetics, catalytic mechanism, and modes of regulation, as well as, application of protein function such as oxygen transport, muscle contraction, the immune response, membrane transport, and biological signaling. Credit cannot be received for both this course and CHEM 300. Preference for enrollment given to Biochemistry and Chemistry majors. Prerequisites: CHEM 213 or CHEM 224. Offered every fall
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