Colin David Heyes

Colin David Heyes

Associate Professor, Physical Chemistry

(ARSC)-Arts & Sciences

(CHBC)-Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phone: 479-575-5607

Download vcard


Visit Website

Heyes Group Webpage

We are a spectroscopy group studying biomolecules and nanomaterials at the single molecule level. Single Molecule Spectroscopy is a very powerful way to analyze heterogeneity and intrinsic complexity since it allows us to build up a picture of what is happening in an ensemble (sample), one molecule at a time. 
As an analogy, think about how one goes about selecting the best players for a sports team. First, you need to find out what skills a player has individually (a single molecule) and then find out how those skills are used in the team (ensemble).

We are interested in understanding the physical principles that underlie interactions between biomolecules and how they relate to function (an area called biophysics). We are particularly investigating biomolecules that are involved in diseases such as cancer, in protein targeting and in solar energy conversion (photosynthesis). These are all complex problems since many “players” are involved, all possessing a range of “skills”.

We are also synthesizing and studying new nanomaterials. These nanomaterials are mainly used to help us with our biophysical studies, but they also have wide-ranging applications in energy conversion, miniaturized optoelectronics, sensors, and many other potential devices. For these materials to be useful in such applications, we need to understand their complex spectroscopic properties at the single particle level.

The following techniques are used for our single molecule experiments:

  • Scanning Confocal Fluorescence Microscopy (SCFM)
  • Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM)
  • Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM)
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
  • Single molecule Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SM SERS)

Data are analyzed using the following techniques:

  • Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Efficiency
  • Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS)
  • Image Correlation Spectroscopy (ICS)
  • Statistical analysis of time durations (Histogram binning)
  • Colocalization and Cross-Correlation analysis
  • Single Particle Tracking (SPT)


McGill University, Montreal, Canada 2007-2008

Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) Fellowship, University of Ulm, Germany, 2003-2006

Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, University of Ulm, Germany, 2002-2003

Ph.D., (Bio) Physical Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2002

B.S., Chemistry, Loughborough University, United Kingdom, 1997

  1. Ramesh Vasan, Feng Gao, M. Omar Mansareh and Colin D. Heyes. Investigation of charge transport between nickel oxide nanoparticles and CdSe/ZnS alloyed nanocrystals. (2017) MRS Advances, 2, 2935-2941.
  2. Feng Gao, Pooja Bajwa, Anh Nguyen, and Colin D. Heyes. Shell-Dependent Photoluminescence Studies Provide Mechanistic Insights into the Off-Grey-On Transitions of Blinking Quantum Dots. (2017) ACS Nano. 11, 2905-2916.
  3. Rory C. Henderson, Feng Gao, Srinivas Jayanthi, Alicia Kight, Priyanka Sharma, Robyn L. Goforth, Colin D. Heyes, Ralph L. Henry, T.K.S. Kumar. Domain Organization in the 54-kDa Subunit of the Chloroplast Signal Recognition Particle. (2016) Biophys. J. (cover article). 111, 1151-1162
  4. Benard Omogo, Feng Gao, Pooja Bajwa, Mizuho Kaneko and Colin D. Heyes. Reducing Blinking in Small Core-Multishell Quantum Dots by Carefully Balancing Confinement Potential and Induced Lattice Strain: The "Goldilocks" Effect. (2016) ACS Nano10, 4072-4082
  5. Pooja Bajwa, Feng Gao, Anh Nguyen, Benard Omogo and Colin D. Heyes. Influence of the Inner Shell Architecture on Quantum Yield and Blinking Dynamics in Core/Multi-Shell Quantum Dots. (2016) ChemPhysChem17, 731-740
  6. Kyla M. Morris, Rory Henderson, Thallapuranam Krishnaswamy Suresh Kumar, Colin D. Heyes, and Paul D. Adams. Intrinsic GTP Hydrolysis is Observed For a Switch 1 Variant of Cdc42 in the Presence of a Specific GTPase Inhibitor. (2016) Small GTPases7, 1-11
  7. Samir V Jenkins, Avinash Srivatsan, Kimberly Y Reynolds, Feng Gao, Yongbin Zhang, Colin D Heyes, Ravindra K Pandey, Jingyi Chen. Understanding the interactions between porphyrin-containing photosensitizers and polymer-coated nanoparticles in model biological environments. (2015) J. Coll. Int. Sci. 461, 225-231
  8. Feng Gao, Alicia D. Kight, Rory Henderson, Srinivas Jayanthi, Parth Patel, Marissa Murchison, Priyanka Sharma, Robyn L. Goforth, T.K.S. Kumar, Ralph L. Henry, and Colin D. Heyes. Regulation of Structural Dynamics within a Signal Recognition Particle Promotes Binding of Protein Targeting Substrates (2015) J. Biol. Chem. 290, 15462-15474
  9. Marion G. G?tz, Hiroko Takeuchi, Matthew J. Goldfogel, Julia M. Warren, Brandon D. Fennell, and Colin D. Heyes. Visible-Light Photocatalyzed Cross-Linking of Diacetylene Ligands by Quantum Dots to Improve Their Aqueous Colloidal Stability. (2014) J. Phys Chem B. 118, 14103-14109
  10. Hiroko Takeuchi, Benard Omogo, and Colin D Heyes. Are Bidentate Ligands Really Better than Monodentate Ligands For Nanoparticles? (2013) Nano Lett. 13, 4746-4752.
  11. Feng Gao , Adam Kreidermacher , Ingrid Fritsch , and Colin D Heyes. 3D Imaging of Flow Patterns in an Internally-Pumped Microfluidic Device: Redox Magnetohydrodynamics and Electrochemically-Generated Density Gradients. (2013) Anal. Chem. 85, 4414-4422.
  12. Benard Omogo, Jose F. Aldana and Colin D. Heyes, Radiative and Non-Radiative Lifetime Engineering of Quantum Dots in Multiple Solvents by Surface Atom Stoichiometry and Ligands. (2013) J. Phys. Chem. C. 117, 2317-2327.
  13. Gopa Mandal, Molly Darragh, Y. Andrew Wang, and Colin D. Heyes. Cadmium-Free Quantum Dots as Time-Gated Bioimaging Probes in Highly-Autofluorescent Human Breast Cancer Cells. (2013) Chem. Commun. 49, 624-626.
  14. Nela Durisic, Antoine G. Godin, Claudia M. Wever, Colin D. Heyes, Melike Lakadamyali, and Joseph A. Dent. Stoichiometry of the Human Glycine Receptor Revealed by Direct Subunit Counting. (2012) J. Neurosci32, 12915-12920
  15. Nela Durisic, Antoine G. Godin, Derrel Walters, Peter Grutter, Paul W. Wiseman and Colin D. Heyes. Probing the "Dark" Fraction of Core-Shell Quantum Dots by Ensemble and Single Particle pH-Dependent Spectroscopy. (2011) ACS Nano5, 9062-9073
  16. Nela Durisic, Paul W. Wiseman, Peter Grutter and Colin D. Heyes. A Common Mechanism Underlies the Dark Fraction Formation and Fluorescence Blinking of Quantum Dots. (2009) ACS Nano3, 1167-1175