Filbert Totsingan

Lecturer, Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Dr. Totsingan received his M.S. in Industrial Chemistry and his Ph.D. in Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry with honors from the University of Parma (Italy) working with Prof. Rosangela Marchelli and Prof. Roberto Corradini in designing new biosensors (fluorescent peptide nucleic acids, PNAs) for nucleic acids detection. After a year postdoctoral research working on the amplification of chirality in peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) with Prof. Mark Green (Professor Emeritus, NYU School of Engineering), he then moved to NYU Chemistry Department where he spent five years with Prof. Neville Kallenbach (Professor Emeritus) on the design, synthesis and antimicrobial activity testing of short linear and dendrimeric antimicrobial peptides, as well as amphiphilic unimolecular peptide nanoparticles that mimic the structure of host defense peptides (HDPs), but have higher/similar antimicrobial activity and lower cytotoxicity. Dr. Totsingan joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2014 working with Prof. Richard Gross on the use of enzymes such as proteases, lipases and cutinases as catalysts for the preparation/selective modification of biologically active polymers (e.g. peptides) and small molecules (e.g. glycolipids) and their use as potential candidates for materials, biomedical and health-related applications. His research interest also involves the preparation of new generation of unimolecular polymer nanoparticles for medical imaging, drug/gene delivery, tissue engineering, antimicrobials and adhesives.


Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (2008), University of Parma (Italy) M.S. in Industrial Chemistry with honors (2004), University of Parma (Italy)

Research Focus
  • Organic and Materials Chemistry
  • Biopolymers with focus on nucleic acids and peptides
  • Unimolecular polymer nanoparticles
  • Biocatalysis
Contact Information
Select Works
  • 1. Arabiyat, A. S.; Diaz-Rodriguez, P.; Erndt-Marino, J.D.; Totsingan, F.; Mekala, S.; Gross, R. A.; Hahn, M. S. “Effect of Poly(sophorolipid) Functionalization on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Osteogenesis and Immunomodulation”, ACS Applied Bio-Materials 2019, 2, 118-126.
  • 2. Totsingan, F.; Centore, R.; Gross, R. A. “CAL-B catalyzed regioselective bulk polymerization of L-aspartic acid diethyl ester to -linked polypeptides”, ChemComm 2017, 53, 4030-4033.
  • 3. Fiorani, A.; Totsingan, F.; Pollicino, A.; Peng, Y.; Focarete, M. L.; Gross, R. A.; Scandola, M. “Peptide Modified Electrospun Glycopolymer Fibers”, Macromol. Bioscience 2017, 17, 1-12.
  • 4. Ziemba, A. M.; Gottipati, M. K.; Totsingan, F.; Hanes, C. M.; Gross, R. A.; Lennartz, M.R.; Gilbert, R. J. “Sophorolipid Butyl Ester Diacetate does not affect Microphage Polarization but Enhances Astrocytic Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Expression at Micromolar Concentrations in Vitro”, ACS Chemical Neuroscience 2017, 8(4), 752-758.
  • 5. Bahar, A. A.; Liu, Z.; Totsingan, F.; Buitrago, C. A.; Kallenbach, N. R.; Ren, D. “Synthetic Dendrimeric Peptide Active against Biofilm and Persister Cells of Pseudomonas aeruginosa”, Appl. Microbiol. Biotech. 2015, 99(19), 8125-8135.
  • 6. Totsingan, F. and Bell Jr, A. J. “Interaction of HMG proteins and H1 with hybrid PNA–DNA junctions”, Protein Science 2013, 22, 1552-1562.
  • 7. Totsingan, F.; Jain, V.; Bracken, C. W.; Faccini, A.; Tedeschi, T.; Marchelli, R.; Corradini, R.; Kallenbach, N. R.; Green, M. M. “Conformation Heterogeneity in PNA:PNA Duplexes”, Macromolecules 2010, 43, 2692-2703.
  • 8. Totsingan, F.; Rossi, S.; Corradini, R.; Tedeschi, T.; Juris, A.; Sforza, S.; Scaravelli, E.; Marchelli, R. “Label-free selective DNA detection with high mismatch recognition by PNA beacons and Ion exchange HPLC”, Org. Biomol. Chem. 2008, 6(7), 1232-1237.