Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández


Millis Science Building 219

Faculty Office: Millis Science Building, Room 219A

​Associate Dean Office: Crawford Building, Room 715

Associate Editor for P&P:



Analytical, Biophysical, Organic, Physical, and Quantum Chemistry, Photochemistry, Ultrafast Spectroscopy, Time-Resolved Electronic Spectroscopy, Chemical Dynamics and Kinetics, Photodynamic Therapy, Photochemotherapy, Photomedicines, Computational Chemistry, Energy



Publons Profile

Google Scholars: ​Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández

ORCID: Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández



  • BS, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus, 1995
  • PhD, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan Campus, 2002
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, The Ohio State University (2002-2005)
  • Research Associate of Chemistry, The Ohio State University (2005-2006)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus, (2006-2007)
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University (2007-2014)
  • Co-director of the Center for Chemical Dynamics, Case Western Reserve University (2008-2018)
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University (2014-2019)
  • Professor of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University (2019-present)


Selected Honors and Awards

  • Member of the American Chemical Society Selection Committee for the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology (2020 – present)
  • 2021 Mentor Fellows, Case Western Reserve University
  • 2020 STAIR Mentor Fellows Program, Case Western Reserve University
  • 2018 Morton L. Mandel Award for Outstanding Chemistry Faculty, Case Western Reserve University (2018)
  • NSF Faculty CAREER Award (2013-2018).
  • Nominated for the 2018 John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching, Case Western Reserve University
  • Elected Member of Council of the American Society for Photobiology (2016-2020).
  • 2016 John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching, Case Western Reserve University.
  • Guest Editor for a Special Issue on “Experimental and Computational Photochemistry of Bioorganic Molecules” published in the journal Moleculesas part of its 20th Anniversary (2016-2017).
  • Chair of the American Chemical Society Canvassing Committee for the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology(2016-2018).
  • Member of the American Chemical Society Canvassing Committee for the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology(2014-2015).
  • Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship for oral presentation. 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Photochemistry.
  • Frank Hovorka Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University (2012 – 2015).
  • Selected in the 40-40 Club (2010). Recognizes young Hispanic leaders in the Cleveland community.


Crespo Research Group Site »


Research Statement

The Crespo research group focuses on probing and understanding light-induced phenomena in molecules and polymers in solution with primary applications in photodynamic therapy, photochemotherapy, and photomedicines. There are three major areas of ongoing research: (1) excited-state dynamics and photochemistry of DNA/RNA nucleobases and nucleobase derivatives and their implications in the chemical origins of life; (2) design, synthesis, and investigation of modified sensitizers for photodynamic and photochemotherapeutic applications; and (3) excited-state dynamics and photophysics of environmental pollutants, heteroatomic polycyclic aromatic compounds, and bioorganic molecules. Our group use analytical instrumentation and time-resolved spectroscopic techniques to produce specific knowledge of the factors controlling these photo-processes. Students involved in these scientific activities acquire expertise in a wide variety of analytical techniques such as high-performance liquid chromatography, circular dichroism, infrared and ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometric techniques, and time-resolved instrumentation on time scales ranging from femtoseconds to microseconds. The experimental work is complemented with ground- and excited-state computational methods.

Selected Publications

  • Hoehn, S. J.; Caldero-Rodríguez, N. E.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E., “Photochemistry of RNA, RNA Monomers and their Plausible Prebiotic Precursors” (Invited Review Chapter), In DNA Photodamage: From Light Absorption to Cellular Responses and Skin Cancer; Douki, T.; Improta, R., eds., RSC publishing in Comprehensive Series in Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 2022, Chapter 9, pp. 197-226. Access article
  • Sharma, D.; Zagore, L. L.; Brister, M. M.; Ye, X.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E.; Licatalosi, D. D.; Jankowsky, E., “The Kinetic Landscape of an RNA Binding Protein in Cells”, Nature2021, 591, 152–156. Access article
  • Ortiz-Rodríguez, L. A.; Hoehn, S. J.; Loredo, A.; Wang, L.; Xiao, H.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E., “Electronic Relaxation Pathways in Heavy-Atom-Free Photosensitizers Absorbing Near-Infrared Radiation and Exhibiting High Yields of Singlet Oxygen Generation”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 7, 2676–2681. Access article
  • Ortiz-Rodríguez, L. A.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E., “Thionated Organic Compounds as Emerging Heavy-Atom-Free Photodynamic Therapy Agents”, Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 11113-11123. Invited Minireview. Access article
  • Ortiz-Rodríguez, L. A.; Reichardt, C.; Hoehn, S. J.; Jockusch, S.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E., “Detection of the thietane precursor in the UVA formation of the DNA 6-4 photoadduct”, Nature Commun. 2020, 11, 3599. Access article
  • Farrell, K. M.; Brister, M. M.; Pittelkow, M.; Sølling, T. I.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E., “Heavy-Atom Substituted Nucleobases in Photodynamic Applications: Substitution of Sulfur with Selenium in 6-Thioguanine Induces a Remarkable Increase in the Rate of Triplet Decay in 6-Selenoguanine”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 11214-11218. Access article
  • Pollum, M.; Minh, L.; Jockusch, S.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E., “Dithionated Nucleobases as Effective Photodynamic Agent Against Human Epidermoid Carcinoma Cells”, ChemMedChem 2018, 13, 1044-1050. Access article
  • Mai, S.; Pollum, M.; Martínez-Fernández, L.; Dunn, N.; Marquetand, P.; Corral, I.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E.; González, L. “The Origin of Efficient Triplet State Population in Sulfur-Substituted Nucleobases”, Nature Commun.2016, 7, 13077 (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13077). Access article
  • Pollum, M.; Ashwood, B.; Jockusch, S.; Lam, M; Crespo-Hernández, C. E. “Unintended Consequences of Expanding the Genetic Alphabet”, J. Am. Chem. Soc.2016, 138, 11457-11460. Access article
  • Crespo-Hernández, C. E.; Martínez-Fernández, L.; Rauer, C.; Reichardt, C.; Mai, S.; Pollum, M.; Marquetand, P.; González, L.; Corral, I. “Electronic and Structural Elements that Regulate the Excited-State Dynamics in Purine Nucleobase Derivatives”, J. Am. Chem. Soc.2015, 137, 4368-4381. Access article
  • Pollum, M.; Jockusch, S.; Crespo-Hernández, C. E.; “2,4-Dithiothymine as a Potent UVA Chemotherapeutic Agent”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 17930-17933. Access article

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