Sletten, Ellen M.

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Associate Professor
Chemical Biology
Materials and Nanoscience

Contact Information

4505A Molecular Sciences
310 825-4452
4210, 4224 Molecular Sciences

Short Biography

The Prof. Ellen Sletten received her BS in Chemistry from Stonehill College in 2006.  She pursued her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley with Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi.  Her thesis work involved the optimization and development of bioorthogonal chemistries and their subsequent applications in labeling living systems.  Upon graduation in 2011, Prof. Sletten performed her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Tim Swager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow.  She joined the faculty at UCLA as an Assistant Professor and the John T. McTague Career Development Chair in 2015.

Research Interests

The Sletten Group exploits the unique properties of fluorinated materials to develop diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. Research within the group encompasses an interdisciplinary mix of organic synthesis, fluorous chemistry, chemical biology, nanoscience, supramolecular chemistry, polymer synthesis, photophysics and pharmacology.

Honors & Awards

Alfred P. Sloan Fellow in Chemistry, 2018

Glenn T. Seaborg Award (Student selected early career award), 2018

Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2018

ACS-PRF New Doctoral Investigator, 2016

John McTague Career Development Chair, 2015–present

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2012–2014

ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate Fellowship, 2009–2010

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention, 2006, 2007

Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 2004–2006

NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates in Chemistry Fellow, 2005

Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Recipient, 2004



30. Pengshung, M.; Kwon, J.; Sletten, E.M.* "Bathochromically shifted polymethine dyes through silicon incorporation." ChemRxiv2019, DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv.11320064.v1

29. Miller, M.A.;# Day, R.D.;# Estabrook, D.A.;# Sletten, E.M.* "A reduction-sensitive fluorous fluorogenic coumarin." Synlett201930, DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1690770.

28. Jaye, J.A.; Sletten, E.M.* "Modular and processable fluoropolymers prepared via a safe, mild, iodo-ene polymerization." ACS Cent. Sci. 20195, 982–991.

27. Estabrook, D.A.; Ennis, A.F.; Day, R.A.; Sletten, E.M.* "Controlling nanoemulsion surface chemistry with poly(2-oxazoline) amphiphiles." Chem. Sci.201910, 3994–4003.

26. Rodrigues, R.M.; Guan, X.; Iniguez, J.A.; Estabrook, D.A.; Chapman, J.O.; Huang, S.; Sletten, E.M.; Liu, C.* "Perfluorocarbon nanoemulsion promotes the delivery of reducing equivalents for electricitry-driven microbial CO2  reduction." Nature Catalysis, 2019, 2, 4017–4014.

25. Chen, W.#; Cheng, C.-A.#; Cosco, E.D.#; Ramakrishnan, S.; Lingg, J.G.P.; Bruns, O.T.*; Zink, J.I.*; Sletten, E.M.* "Shortwave infrared imaging with J-aggregates stabilized in hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles." J. Am. Chem. Soc.2019141, 12475–12480.

24. Miller, M.A.; Sletten, E.M.* "A general approach to biocompatible branched fluorous tags for increased solubility in perfluorocarbon solvents." Org. Lett. 201820, 6850–6854.

23. Cao, W.; Sletten, E.M.* "Fluorescent cyanine dye J-aggregates in the fluorous phase." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018140, 2727–2730.

22. Day, R.A.; Estabrook, D.A.; Logan, J.K.; Sletten, E.M.* "Fluorous photosensitizers enhance photodynamic therapy with perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions." Chem. Commun. 201753, 13043–13046.

21. Cosco, E.D.; Caram, J.R.; Bruns, O.T.; Franke, D.; Day, R.A.; Farr, E.P.; Bawendi, M.G.; Sletten, E.M.* "Flavylium polymethine fluorophores for near- and shortwave infrared imaging." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 13126–13129.

20. Sletten, E.M.; Swager, T.M. "Readily accessible multifunctional fluorous emulsions." Chem. Sci. 20167, 5091-5097.

19.  Niroui, F.; Wang, A.I.; Sletten, E.M.; Song, Y.; Kong, J.; Yablonovitch, E.; Swager, T.M.; Lang, J.H.; Bulovic, V. “Tunneling nanoelectromechanical switches based on compressible molecular thin films.” ACS Nano 20159, 7886-7894.

18.  Zarzar, L.D.; Sresht, V.; Sletten, E.M.; Kalow, J.A.; Blankschtein, D.; Swager, T.M. “Dynamically reconfigurable complex emulsions via tunable interfacial tensions.” Nature 2015518, 520-524.

17.  Koo, B.; Sletten, E.M.; Swager, T.M. “Efficient synthesis of functionalized poly(3-hexylthiophenes)s via lithium-bromine exchange.” Macromolecules 201548, 229-235. 

16. Sletten, E.M.; Swager, T.M. “Fluorofluorophores: fluorescent fluorous chemical tools spanning the visible spectrum.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13574-13577.

15. Sletten, E.M.; de Almeida, G.; Bertozzi, C.R. “A homologation approach to the synthesis of difluorinated cycloalkynes.” Org. Lett. 2014, 16, 1634-1637.

14.  Agarwal, P.; van der Weijden, J.; Sletten, E.M.; Rabuka, D.; Bertozzi, C.R. “A Pictet-Spengler ligation for protein chemical modification.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2013110, 46-51.

13.  Gordon, C.G.; Mackey, J.; Jewett, J.C.; Sletten, E.M.; Houk, K.N.; Bertozzi, C.R. “Reactivity of biarylazacyclooctynones in copper-free click chemistry.”  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012134, 9199-9208. 

12.  Yao, J.Z.; Uttamapinant, C.; Poloukhtine, A.; Baskin, J.M.; Codelli, J.A.; Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R.; Popik, V.V.; Ting, A,Y. “Fluorophore targeting to cellular proteins via enzyme-mediated azide ligation and strain-promoted cycloaddition.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012134, 3720-3728. 

11.   de Almeida, G.; Sletten, E.M.; Nakamura, H.; Palaniappan, K.K.; Bertozzi, C.R. “Thiacycloalkynes for Cu-free click chemistry.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201251, 2443-2447. 

10. Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R. “A bioorthogonal quadricyclane ligation.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011133, 17570-17573.

9.   Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R. “From mechanism to mouse: a tale of two bioorthogonal reactions.” Acc. Chem. Res. 201144, 666-676. 

8.     Kelly, C.B.; Colthart, A.M.; Constant, B.D.; Corning, S.R.; Dubois, L.N.; Genovese, J.T.; Radziewicz, J.L.; Sletten, E.M.; Whitaker, K.R.; Tilley, L.J. “Enabling the synthesis of perfluoroalkyl bicyclobutanes via 1,3 g-silyl elimination.” Org. Lett. 201113, 1646-1649.

7.   Sletten, E.M.; Nakamura, H.; Jewett, J.C.; Bertozzi, C.R. “Difluorobenzocyclooctyne: synthesis, characterization, and stabilization by b-cyclodextrin.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 11799-11805.

6.     Chang, P.V.; Dube, D.H.; Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R. “A strategy for the selective imaging of glycans using caged metabolic precursors.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010132, 9516-9518.

5.     Jewett, J.C.; Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R. “Rapid Cu-free click chemistry with readily synthesized biarylazacyclooctynones.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010132, 3688-3690.

4.     Chang, P.V.*; Prescher, J.A.*; Sletten, E.M.; Baskin, J.M.; Miller, I.A.; Agard, N.J.; Lo, A.; Bertozzi, C.R. “Copper-free click chemistry in living animals.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2010107, 1821-1826.

3.   Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R. “Bioorthogonal chemistry: fishing for selectivity in a sea of functionality.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 200948, 6974-6998.

2.   Sletten, E.M.; Bertozzi, C.R. “A hydrophilic azacyclooctyne for Cu-free click chemistry.” Org. Lett. 200810, 3097-3099.

1.   Sletten, E.M.; Liotta, L.J. “A flexible stereospecific synthesis of polyhydroxyated pyrrolizidines from commercially available pyranosides.” J. Org. Chem. 200671, 1335-1343.