Moira Flanagan

(814) 332-5356
Office Location: Doane Hall of Chemistry C106
Box Number: 15


B.S., The Cooper Union; Ph.D., The University of Chicago


Research Interests: Any beach-goer can attest to the correlation between lighter skinned or red-haired individuals and increased risk of UV-induced skin cancer. However, the molecular origin of this variation in a body’s ability to protect itself from the sun is still unknown. The two major forms of melanin pigments that we employ for photoprotection are eumelanin, a brownish black pigment, and pheomelanin, which has a more yellow-red color. Eumelanin is a superior photoprotectant to pheomelanin, but the molecular differences between that result in the phenotypical differences are still unidentified. Eumelanin and pheomelanin are both very heterogeneous in both chemical and aggregate structure, and therefore, it is not obvious what is primarily responsible for the enhanced photoprotection in eumelanin. My lab uses a combination of spectroscopic, synthetic, and biochemical techniques to pinpoint relationships between spectroscopic properties and molecular structure and composition in order to ultimately uncover the differences in molecular mechanisms behind the photoprotective properties.

Office Hours

Monday: 1-2 pm, 4-5 pm
Tuesday: 11 am-12 pm
Wednesday: 4-5 pm
Friday: 2-4 pm