Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.


Access Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Over the past decades, numerous studies shown curcumin, a dietary compound derived from turmeric, has a variety of health-promoting actions, such as anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects, making curcumin the most promising dietary compound for disease prevention. However, the underlying mechanisms by which curcumin has these health-promoting effects are not well understood. A better understanding of the molecular mechanism of curcumin could help to develop novel strategies to reduce the risks of some human diseases.

Protein thiols play important roles in cell signaling, and recent studies showed that curcumin could covalently react with protein thiols, supporting that curcumin-protein interactions could contribute to the health-promoting effects of curcumin. However, the curcumin-protein interactions are under-studied. Notably, it remains unknown whether oral intake of curcumin could covalently interact with protein in vivo. In this project, we synthesized a click chemistry probe of curcumin (Di-Cur), and used this probe to characterize curcumin-protein interactions both in vitro and in vivo using a click chemistry-based imaging approach. Our results demonstrate that orally administrated curcumin could form curcumin-protein adducts in specific tissues of the mice, which may contribute to the potent biological effects and poor pharmacokinetics of curcumin.


First Advisor

Guodong Zhang