On the cover of Science
A paper from Oxford Chemistry and IBM Zurich, on the imaging C18 rings, is featured on the cover of Science, 20 September 2019.
Alexei Likhtman Prize
James Hallett (PDRA in the Perkin group) was awarded the Alexei Likhtman Prize for best poster at the 4th Edwards Soft Matter Symposium, hosted annually at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge, UK.
Nature Communications Editors' Highlights
A recent chemical compass paper in Nature Communications by Christian Kerpal and Sabine Richert from the Timmel, Hore, Mackenzie collaboration has been picked up as an editor's highlight.
New work in Angewandte Chemie
A new paper by DFG Fellow Dr Bertold Rasche and researchers from the Compton and Clarke groups in cooperation with the DIAMOND synchrotron has been published as a VIP Communication in Angewandte Chemie. The paper reports the precise, post-synthetic electrochemical control of the composition of an iron-based superconductor, with simultaneous tracking of the crystal structure by means of in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction. While the superconductivity is shown to be independent of the compositional changes in contrast to earlier reports, further in-situ experiments reveal how minor traces of oxygen destroy the superconducting properties. The latter process can be reversed electrochemically. The work demonstrates the exquisite control afforded by electrochemistry in comparison to classical approaches to chemical synthesis.
On the Cover of RSC ChemComm
Research from Jürgen Brem, Chris Schofield and colleagues highlighted on the latest cover of Chemical Communications. The group's work, highly regarded by reviewers and editors, identified cysteine-targeting reagents as leads for L,D-transpeptidase inhibitors for the development of antibiotics against tuberculosis. Work done in collaboration with GSK Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation.
Hot Article In Angewandte Chemie
The work of Ruiyang Mao and Lifu Chen, in collaboration with Professor Lidong Shao (Shanghai), has been published as a hot article entitled "Electron Transfer to Decorated Graphene Oxide Particles" in the prestigious Angewandte Chemie journal. See https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201907393. The paper notes that Graphene oxides (GOs) are popular catalyst supports for precious metals in nanoparticle form and investigates the hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) and the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) on individual GO platelets decorated with Pd nanoparticles (Pd/GOs). The results reveal that the catalytic activity is confined to the zone physically close to the point of electrical contact between platelet and electrode with just a fraction of the platelet active. The work has been highlighted in Nature Reviews Materials.
Poster Prize for Rachel Sim
Rachel Sim, an Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)-funded DPhil student in the AJR group, was awarded the penultimate year poster prize at the chemical biology conference ChemBiOx 2019, in Oxford. Rachel presented her work on developing affinity and fluorescent probes to elucidate the mechanism of small molecule modulators of neurogenesis.
Jack Cox Plate Winners 2019
The chemistry department has been taking part in the University inter-departmental cricket tournament - the Jack Cox Plate. The team (consisting of DPhil students and Professors) won the competition, beating Materials in the final by 7 wickets.
Science paper on imaging C18
Cyclocarbon has been synthesised on bilayer NaCl on Cu(111) at 5 K, and characterised by atomic force microscopy, revealing its polyynic structure. This is the first time that a cyclocarbon has been studied in a condensed phase or structurally characterised. The work is part of a collaboration between Harry Anderson's group in Oxford and Leo Gross at IBM Zurich, Switzerland.
Engineering new signalling networks to produce crops that need less fertiliser
An interdisciplinary research collaboration between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge has engineered a novel synthetic plant-microbe signalling pathway that could provide the foundation for transferring nitrogen fixation to cereals.
Published in Nature Communications today, the team of plant scientists, microbiologists and chemists used synthetic biology techniques to design and then engineer a molecular dialogue between plants and the bacteria surrounding their roots in a zone called the rhizosphere. This synthetic signalling system could be a vital step towards successfully engineering nitrogen-fixing symbiosis in non-legume crops like wheat and maize.
Further work in the Poole, Oldroyd and Conway laboratories will focus on how plants can control key processes in root bacteria such as nitrogen fixation, phosphate solubilisation and plant growth promotion. This opens up the world of the bacterial microbiome and its diverse metabolism to control by plants and in particular the cereals. It is likely to be a key component in attempts to engineer nitrogen fixation into cereals.
Poster prizes for Michael Jirasek, Lorel Scriven and Henrik Gotfredsen.
Three members of Harry Anderson's group won poster prizes at the International Symposium on Novel Aromatic Compounds, 21-26 July 2019, Sapporo, Japan. Congratulations to Michael Jirasek, Lorel Scriven and Henrik Gotfredsen.
Sir Rex Richards Hon FBA FRS 1922-2019
We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Professor Sir Rex Richards, who died peacefully at his home on July 15th at the age of 96. Sir Rex was Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry from 1964 to 1969, when he became Warden of Merton College. He would go on to serve as Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1977 to 1981.
One of the most distinguished chemists of his generation, Sir Rex pioneered the early use of NMR and its application to the determination of unknown molecular structures. He became a leading figure in the design and development of NMR equipment and his contributions to the advancement of the technique stimulated other research across a wide range of scientific disciplines.
Sir Rex's outstanding work earned him numerous awards and distinctions, including a knighthood in 1977, honorary degrees from thirteen universities, the Davy Medal and Royal Medal of the Royal Society, the Corday-Morgan Medal of the Chemical Society, the President's Medal of the Society of Chemical Industry and the Medal of Honour of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms UniversitÃ¤t, Bonn. The Rex Richards building in the University Science Area is named in his honour.
Dr Francis Rossotti
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Dr Francis Rossotti, former University Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry, and Fellow and Tutor in Inorganic Chemistry at St Edmund Hall. Dr Rossotti died on July 15th, aged 92. He is survived by his wife Hazel (who was a tutor and Fellow in Chemistry at St. Anne's College) and their two children. Dr Rossotti's family will hold a memorial service after the summer which friends and colleagues are welcome to attend.
Photograph of Dr Rossotti courtesy of St Edmund Hall.
Using Virtual Reality to explain Chemistry
Rhoslyn Roebuck Williams and Izzy Creed from the Theory and Modelling in Chemical Systems (TMCS) Centre for Doctoral Training went to The Royal Society alongside students from Bristol and Southampton to use Virtual reality (VR) to explain anti-biotic resistance to members of the general public on Tuesday the 2nd July.
Other students from TMCS (Harry Stroud, Izzy Creed, Jillisa Thompson and Tristan Johnston-wood) have also used the new VR kit to explain the importance of Theoretical Chemistry to prospective undergraduates in this years open day.
Poster prize for Lisa Thompson
Dr Lisa Thompson, postdoctoral researcher in the Vincent group, has won a prize for her poster on H2-driven biocatalysis in flow at the 14th International Symposium on Biocatalysis and Biotransformations (BioTrans 2019), in Groningen, The Netherlands. The BioTrans symposium showcased recent advances in biocatalysis research, covering various cutting edge topics in the field, and Lisa's prize-winning poster was one of only four selected from over 500 entries.
Stuart Conway becomes President of the RSC Organic Division
Professor Stuart Conway began his presidency of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Organic Division on July 10th. The RSC's Organic Division, which has 8700 members across education and industry, aims to encourage and promote advances in organic chemistry and works with other RSC Divisions to encourage the development of new and emerging areas of science.
Stuart is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the EP Abraham Cephalosporin Fellow in Organic Chemistry at St Hugh's College. His research interests focus on the use of organic chemistry to solve biological problems. He has particular interests in developing molecular tools to study epigenetic phenomena, and in developing methods to target and image hypoxia. The Conway group's research has been recognised by the award of the 2012 EFMC Prize for a Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia, and the 2016 Lectureship from the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Stuart's election as President of the Organic Division makes it a hat-trick for Oxford Chemistry at the RSC, as Professor Dame Carol Robinson is its current President, and Professor Claire Vallance is President of the Faraday Division.
Flashman group work contributes to study published in Science revealing conserved oxygen-sensing mechanism in plants and humans
A collaborative project between the Ratcliffe group (NDM, Oxford), Licausi group (PlantLab, SSSUP, Pisa) and the Flashman group (Chemistry, Oxford) has revealed that an N-terminal cysteine dioxygenase in humans acts to control the stability of target proteins in an oxygen-sensitive manner. This mechanism is identical to oxygen-sensing cysteine dioxygenases in plants, which control plant responses to low oxygen (hypoxic) events such as flooding. The work broadens our understanding of cellular responses to hypoxia, a feature common to many disease states. Masson N et al (2019) Science 365:65-69. Picture by Mikel Lavilla and Beatrice Giuntoli.
Institute of Physics Isaac Newton Medal and Prize
Professor Sir Michael Pepper FRS, the physicist whose fundamental work has led to applied topics such as the development of a new way of detecting skin cancers, has been awarded the Institute of Physics Isaac Newton Medal and Prize - given for world-leading contributions to physics.
Sir Michael, Visiting Professor at Oxford, Emeritus Professor Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge and Pender Chair on Nanoelectronics at University College London, has been awarded the IOP's most prestigious medal for the creation of the field of semiconductor nanoelectronics and discovery of new quantum phenomena.
Prizes for poster and talk
At the recent RSC ESR group conference in Glasgow, CAESR students Ben Tucker and Gabriel Moise won the International EPR society poster prize and the prize for the best student flash talk, respectively.
Prof James McCullagh book Mass Spectrometry.
The most clear, concise, and accessible introduction to the basic principles of mass spectrometry.
Prof James McCullagh (Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Facility) has recently had a new book published on Mass Spectrometry in the Oxford Chemistry Primer series. This is an introductory text aimed at providing a clear and accessible account of the basic principles of mass spectrometry and its modern applications at a final year undergraduate and graduate level.
• Focused introductions designed to give students an in-depth understanding of a diverse range of important topics in modern chemistry
• Frequent diagrams, margin notes, and definitions support students in their learning
• Questions at the end of every chapter and interactive online questions encourage active learning and promote deep understanding
• Provides a clear and accessible first introduction to the basic principles of mass spectrometry
• Reflects the practical elements of mass spectrometry which are an increasingly important focus of undergraduate studies
• Includes mathematical content tailored to the specific needs and abilities of an undergraduate audience
• Supplemented by numerous real-life examples, interesting facts about the technique, and links to other textbooks which provide more detailed coverage
Podcasts of Hinshelwood Lectures 2019
The Hinshelwood Lectures 2019 - Shedding New Lights to Light-Matter Interactions, a series of 4 lectures delivered by Professor Jun Ye (JILA / NIST & University of Colorado) in the annual Hinshelwood lecture series have now been made available as video podcasts. The four lectures cover the themes: Control of Light: Frequency Comb Spectroscopy from IR to UXV; A Quantum Gas of Polar Molecules; Quantum Matter and Atomic Clocks; and Search for the Electron EDM Using Molecular Ions.
Oxford Drug Design receives funding to develop new antibiotics
Oxford Drug Design, a Department of Chemistry spinout company founded by Professor Graham Richards, has been awarded funding of up to $2.55 million to develop a new class of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant Gram-negative infections. The funding comes from CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership led by Boston University and dedicated to accelerating research and development to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria.
Poster prizes for Wenjun Xu
Congratulations to Wenjun Xu for winning the Prize for Best Science Poster at the Centre for Plastic Electronics Annual Symposium 2019 (London, 10-11 June) for his poster on the unusual length dependence of conductance in cumulene molecular wires.
Royal Society announces 2019 recipients of the Entrepreneurs in Residence award
Dr Alan Roth, Director, Fitzroy Partners Ltd, is to be one of the fifteen entrepreneurs, senior scientists and business leaders were appointed as Royal Society Entrepreneurs in Residence. The recipients will help commercialise world-leading research and address skills gaps in industries like energy, transportation and data science by using their real-world experience to help foster an entrepreneurial culture within universities and develop curricula that produce industry-ready graduates. The successful applicants are funded to spend 20% of their time over two years with their host university and collaborators, sharing their experiences to help mentor and support students and academics. The scheme has now funded placements in 24 universities across the UK and will be re-opening for a third round in June 2019.
Alan Roth aims to accelerate their impact and adoption by building entrepreneurial capabilities of the students and faculty who create them and promoting activities that strengthen the University's interactions with industry
Controlling molecular collisions through bond-axis orientation
Research from the Brouard group published online in Nature Chemistry this week demonstrates how the initial orientation of a molecular bond-axis can be used to control the collision outcome. The article, entitled 'Side-impact collisions of Ar with NO', highlights how such 'stereodynamical' measurements of molecular collisions provide new insight about the quantum mechanical scattering mechanism.
AstraZeneca-sponsored Graduate Symposium Prizes
Many congratulations to Max Haughey (TJD group), Elias Post (SPF group), Daniel Lucy (AJR group) and Peter Smith (DJD group) for winning prizes for their talks at the AstraZeneca-sponsored Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology Final Year Graduate Symposium. The winners are pictured here with judges, Dr Bill McCoull and Dr Dave Klauber, from AstraZeneca.
Copley Medal for Professor John Goodenough
Professor John Goodenough, former head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, has been awarded the Royal Society's Copley Medal, the world's oldest scientific prize. Previous awardees have included Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein and Dorothy Hodgkin.
Professor Goodenough been honoured for his exceptional contributions to materials science, including his work at Oxford that led to the invention of the rechargeable lithium battery, a breakthrough that ushered in a new age of portable electronic devices.
On hearing the news, Professor Goodenough said 'Words are not sufficient to express my appreciation for this award. My ten years at Oxford were transformative for me, and I thank especially those who had the imagination to invite a U.S. non-academic physicist to come to England to be a Professor and Head of the Oxford Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory.'
Now aged 96, Professor Goodenough continues to work on new battery technology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering.
Image: Professor John Goodenough (centre, front row) and colleagues outside the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory in 1982.
Professor Ben Davis elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
Professor Ben Davis is among 50 leading UK scientists to be elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The new Fellows have been selected for their outstanding contributions to advancing medical science, cutting edge research discoveries, and translating developments into benefits for patients and wider society. The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science and its elected Fellows are the UK's leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and the public service.
Research in the Davis group centres on the chemical understanding of biomolecular function, especially carbohydrates and proteins. Interests and methods encompass organic synthesis & methodology, target biomolecule synthesis, inhibitor/probe/substrate design, biocatalysis, enzyme & biomolecule mechanism, biosynthetic pathway determination, protein engineering, drug delivery, molecular biology, structural biology, cell biology, molecular imaging and in vivo biology. The application of an understanding of such systems on a fundamental level leads to the design, synthesis and modification of potential therapeutic and biotechnologically applicable systems
RSC Tilden Prize for Professor James Naismith
Professor James Naismith is the recipient of one of this year's Tilden Prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Tilden Prizes are awarded for advances in chemistry, and winners complete a UK lecture tour and receive Â£5000, a medal and a certificate. Professor Naismith's prize is in recognition of his career-long breakthroughs in structural and chemical dissection of natural product biosynthesis.
RSC Norman Heatley Award for Professor Justin Benesch
Professor Justin Benesch is the recipient of the 2019 Norman Heatley Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Norman Heatley Award is given to recognise and promote the importance of inter- and multi-disciplinary research between chemistry and the life sciences through independent work. The winner receives Â£2000, a medal and a certificate, and will complete a UK lecture tour. Professor Benesch receives his award for developing physicochemical approaches to deliver quantitative insight into molecular chaperones in health and disease.
Receiving the award, Professor Benesch said: "I am delighted to receive the Royal Society's Norman Heatley Award. The interface between chemistry and the life sciences is an incredibly vibrant area, with many UK-based researchers producing brilliant insights into the chemical foundations of biological function. In this context, I am extremely pleased for the recognition the award brings to my research group and our collaborators, highlighting their enthusiasm to harness the principles and tools of physical chemistry to deliver unprecedented insights into biological mechanism"
RSC Corday-Morgan Prize for Professor Roel Dullens
Professor Roel Dullens has been awarded a 2019 Corday-Morgan Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Corday-Morgan Prizes are awarded for the most meritorious contributions to chemistry, and the winners complete a UK lecture tour and receive Â£5000, a medal and a certificate. The prize was awarded to Professor Dullens for his
world-leading research to elucidate definitive experimental answers to fundamental problems in condensed matter science. Receiving the award, Professor Dullens said: "I am delighted and very honoured to receive this prestigious Prize. I particularly value the fact that this prize recognises the importance of fundamental research, which in my case is in the field of condensed matter science. I am looking forward to delivering the various lectures about my work."
RSC Organic Stereochemistry Award for Professor Veronique Gouverneur
Professor Veronique Gouverneur is the recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Organic Stereochemistry Award for 2019. This award is given for studies of stereochemistry related to structure, reactivity or synthesis. The winner, who will complete a UK lecture tour, receives Â£2000, a medal and a certificate. The prize was awarded to Professor Gouverneur for her creative work in stereoselective fluorine chemistry and asymmetric catalytic fluorination with metal alkali fluorides.
Oxford Chemistry top of the league
The Complete University Guide has ranked the Department first in its latest league table for Chemistry. The independent guide provides prospective students with information on entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. Oxford Chemistry scored highly on all measures to achieve top ranking with an overall score of 100.
Lilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry Research
The Lilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry Research are awarded by Eli Lilly and Company Ltd. They are awarded for excellence in the first year of postgraduate study and are assessed on the quality of experimental work, written submission and viva voce at the point of examination for PRS transfer of status to DPhil. Dr Jeffery Richardson from Lilly's came to award the prizes on Tuesday 30 April.
The winners of the Lilly prizes for the year 2017-2018 are:
Lucy van Dijk (Supervisor: Stephen Fletcher)
Antoine de Gombert (Supervisor: Mike Willis)
Charlotte Hoskin (Supervisor: Hagan Bayley)
Brian Josephson (Supervisor: Ben Davis)
Owen Smith (Supervisors: Jonathan Burton, Martin Smith, and Rob Paton)
Richard Surgenor (Supervisor: Martin Smith)
Ruirui Zhang (Supervisor: Mark Moloney)
Sydney Brenner (1927-2019)
Professor Sydney Brenner, Nobel Prize winning biologist and Oxford Chemistry alumnus, has died aged 92. Born in South Africa, Brenner read medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand before coming to Oxford to take a DPhil under the supervision of Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, who had interests in the application of physical chemistry to biology. After gaining his doctorate in 1954, Brenner moved to Cambridge where he worked with Francis Crick and James Watson who had recently established the structure of DNA. Brenner went on to make several seminal contributions to the emerging field of molecular biology, co-discovering the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrating that the nucleotide sequence of mRNA determines the order of amino acids in proteins. His pioneering work with the tiny roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans made it the first animal for which a complete cell lineage and neuronal wiring were known, and led to the joint award of a Nobel Prize. Brenner and his colleagues John Sulston and Robert Horwitz received The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 "for their discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death". Their research gave scientists a model to test the fundamental ways in which all living organisms work and led to new advances in the understanding of human disease.
John H.D. Eland honored by the University of Gothenburg
Professor John H.D. Eland has been appointed honorary doctor at the Faculty of Science, University of Gothenburg.
John H.D. Eland is well known for his pioneering efforts in the development of coincidence methods in atomic and molecular physics and he has for a long time worked closely with researchers at the University of Gothenburg. In connection with his retirement in 2006, two coincidence instruments were transferred to Sweden, which now constitutes an important part of the infrastructure for atomic and molecular physics at their Department of Physics.
John H.D. Eland was surprised, pleased and highly honored by the appointment. I had no idea this was coming until the phone rang and the Dean of the Faculty gave me the news.
John H.D. Eland has been a regular visitor to the University of Gothenburg's Department of Physics and between 2015 and 2018, he has been guest professor at the department. The collaboration has resulted in several doctoral theses, two new coincidence instruments used by several national and international universities."It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be able to interact and to collaborate with Swedish scientists over many years, in fact over almost half a century, and this is a most happy culmination", says John H.D. Eland.
John H.D. Eland explains that the physics of atoms and molecules is a rather mature field, not half as new and hot as, for instance, elementary particles, cosmology or exo-planetary science. "Nevertheless, there is still much to learn and to do, and our work impinges surprisingly closely on those forefront fields. I hope to continue to contribute to those endeavors with measurements and analysis, but most of all I hope to continue to innovate by developing new experimental techniques to answer questions on which up to now we have only theories."
Professor Raimund Feifel will be hosting John H.D. Eland during the conferment ceremony on 18 October. Professor Hans Linderholm from the University of Gothenburg's Department of Earth Sciences will be presenting the honorary doctor.
Henrik Mouritsen has been appointed as Visiting Professor in Chemistry for a period of 3 years from 1 April 2019. He is a distinguished biologist at the University of Oldenburg in Germany with a world-leading research programme on the mechanisms of animal navigation and magnetoreception. He has been awarded three large research grants jointly with members of the Department of Chemistry, the most recent being a 6-year European Research Council Synergy Grant, "QuantumBirds". The Oxford part of this project, which also started on 1 April, is a collaboration with Peter Hore, Christiane Timmel, Stuart Mackenzie, David Manolopoulos, and Justin Benesch.
Best Talk Prize for Joseph Wang
Joseph Wang, a 3rd year DPhil student in the Fletcher group, received the prize for Best Talk at the SCI 30th Regional Postgraduate Symposia on Novel Organic Chemistry at Imperial College London. The title of his talk was 'Synthesis of the Taxol core using asymmetric 1,4-additions'
On the Cover of RSC Dalton Transactions
Research from Zoë Turner, Philip Mountford and colleagues is featured on the latest cover of Dalton Transactions (artwork credit: Karl Harrison). The work, nominated as a HOT article by the editors and reviewers, describes the development of a new hybrid "scorpionate" ligand system, together some new Group 2 and 12 complexes and their performance in the topical area of ring-opening polymerisation catalysis.
Bronze award for Isabel Wilkinson at the STEM for Britain reception 2019
Isabel Wilkinson, a SABS-CDT DPhil student in the Russell group, was awarded the Bronze award (Chemistry section) for her poster at the STEM for Britain exhibition at the House of Commons on Wednesday 13th March. STEM for BRITAIN aims to raise the profile of Britain's early-stage researchers at Westminster by engaging Members of both Houses of Parliament with current science, engineering and mathematics research being undertaken in the UK. Isabel presented her research on identifying drug targets for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a project in collaboration with Prof Dame Kay Davies (DPAG) and Dr Kilian Huber (Nuffield Department of Medicine)
Dr Cynthia Amaning Danquah
Dr Cynthia Amaning Danquah is visiting the Department of Chemistry (10-30th March 2019) for collaborative research with the Schofield Group. Dr Danquah is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana and her research focuses on natural product drug discovery to tackle multidrug-resistant infections.
Cynthia received a travel grant from the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx) that enabled her to visit Oxford to work on a collaborative project with Professor Schofield. Her scientific collaboration with Professor Schofield will be in the area of combating multidrug resistant tuberculosis; specifically finding compounds that are possible inhibitors of L,D-Transpeptidases. She looks forward to working on a joint research funding application for the MRC/DFID African Research Leader scheme and building links with Oxford to generate new antibacterials.
2nd Prize at the 6th RSC/SCI Retrosynthesis Competition
Dana Aynetdinova (Part II), Tim Kwok (3rd year DPhil), Ciaran Lunt (SBM CDT) and Mihai Popescu (SBM CDT) won the 2nd prize at the final of the 6th National Retrosynthesis Competition, celebrated at the SCI Headquarters (Belgrave Square, London) on Friday 15th March. This annual event showcases the calibre of UK chemists from both industry and academia and provides a platform for them to demonstrate their retrosynthetic and forward synthetic skills. Following a preliminary selection round, eleven teams were selected to enter the final - including another team from Oxford Chemistry comprised of five students from the SBM CDT 2018 cohort.
The four students from the Donohoe and Smith groups presented an innovative and reliable route to Aconicarmisulfonine A that placed them on the second set of the podium this year. This places Oxford Chemistry on the top three positions of this competition in all six of its editions. Many congratulations!
Armstrong Group research highlighted in Nature
Work from the Armstrong group in collaboration with colleagues at Oxford Materials and Manchester Institute of Biotechnology has been highlighted in Nature. The Nature article 'Enzymes trapped and zapped for use outside cells' discusses the researchers' recent paper in Angewandte Chemie entitled 'Electrocatalytic Volleyball: Rapid Nanoconfined Nicotinamide Cycling for Organic Synthesis in Electrode Pores.'
Macro Group UK Medal for Professor Charlotte Williams
The Macro Group UK Medal is awarded annually to a UK based scientist who has made a significant and substantial contribution to the development of polymer science through his/her scientific achievements and/or services to the UK polymer science community.
The 2018 award has been made to Professor Charlotte Williams (Oxford University) and Professor Sebastien Perrier (University of Warwick/Monash University). The Pure and Applied Macromolecular Chemistry Group (Macro Group UK) is a joint interest group of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry. Charlotte will receive her medal at a one day symposium in November 2019.
Isabel Wilkinson to present her research to Parliament
Isabel Wilkinson, a DPhil Student in the Russell group, is attending Parliament to present her chemistry research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of STEM for BRITAIN on Wednesday 13 March.
Isabel's poster on research about drug targets for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy will be judged against dozens of other scientists' research in the only national competition of its kind.
Isabel was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament.
On presenting her research in Parliament, she said, 'I'm really excited to share my research on target discovery for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with MPs and to learn more about the research done by others around the country. Science communication to a non-scientific audience is hugely important and I'm delighted to take part.'
Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said:
'This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country's best young researchers.
These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians' best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.'
Isabel's research has been entered into the chemistry session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.
Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives 2,000 GBP while silver and bronze receive 1,250 and 750 respectively.
The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from the Clay Mathematics Institute, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Warwick Manufacturing Group, Society of Chemical Industry, the Nutrition Society, Institute of Biomedical Science, the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research, and the Comino Foundation.
Novozymes Prize for Professor Dame Carol Robinson
Professor Dame Carol Robinson has been awarded the 2019 Novozymes Prize for her scientific breakthroughs in the use of mass spectrometry for proteome analysis. This prize of 3 million Danish Krone from the Novo Nordisk Foundation aims to raise awareness of basic and applied biotechology research and is awarded to recognise outstanding contributions in research or technology that benefit the development of biotechnological science for innovative solutions.
Roel Dullens wins 2019 McBain award
Professor Roel Dullens has been selected for the 2019 McBain award. The McBain Medal, named after James William McBain (1882-1953), a Canadian colloid chemist, is an annual award to honour an early career researcher or technologist who has made a meritorious contribution to colloid and interface science.
Roel's research interests cover a wide range of topics in soft condensed matter, including two-dimensional systems, grain boundaries and other defects in colloidal crystals, interfaces in colloidal systems and driven colloidal systems in external fields such as optical or magnetic fields. A one-day symposium will run in December 2019 at which Professor Dullens will formally receive his award.
New Centre For Doctoral Training In Inorganic Synthesis
The Oxford Inorganic Chemistry for Future Manufacturing Centre for Doctoral Training (OxICFM CDT) is a new £10.4m EPSRC-funded centre which will train the next generation of synthesis scientists.
OxICFM is centred in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Oxford, and integrates faculty from the Departments of Materials, Physics and Engineering, both in our training programme and collaborative projects.
We offer a fully-funded four year course comprised of taught courses and a forty-two month substantive research project. Our CDT brings together over forty academics, ten industrial partners (spanning diverse size ranges), and seventeen international centres of excellence in synthetic inorganic chemistry.
Our focus is on inorganic synthesis - spanning length scales from molecular to nano-scale and extended materials - and our goal is to equip and enable a new generation of scientists capable of addressing critical societal challenges.
Meet our Researchers
Oxford Chemistry has a vibrant and diverse community of postdoctoral researchers and fellows, and we will be featuring some of their profiles on the Chemistry website over the coming weeks. We begin with Dr Lisa Thompson and Dr Hamish Hepburn, who share their stories about being inspired to study chemistry, and discuss their current research as well as their plans for the future.
Synthetic retina research highlighted in the FT
The Financial Times has highlighted the work of Vanessa Restrepo-Schild, researcher and doctoral student in the Bayley group who is developing a synthetic retina that could mimic natural human processes. In the article on biomimicry, Vanessa describes the exciting new possibilities that her work opens up.
Prize for best poster presentation
Daniel Lucy, a BHF CRE funded DPhil student in the Russell group, has won a prize for best poster presentation at Pharmacology 2018, in London. The conference is the flagship meeting of the British Pharmacological Society and attracts over 1100 researchers from around the world. Daniel's research titled "Biased GPR84 agonists cause distinct functional effects in macrophages" was performed in collaboration with Prof. David Greaves at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford.
On the Cover of RSC ChemComm
Aimee Taylor who created the cover illustration wrote the following: "Scientifically, the background represents several things as follows. The pencil marks on graph paper represent pharmacokinetic (PK) curves. Each row was drawn using a different hardness of pencil from 2H to 9B. The resulting shades of horizontal grey represent the nuanced control and stability that covalently bonding the inhibitor to a side chain affords relative to an inhibitor covalently bonded at the target oxygen sensing enzyme active site. When viewed from a distance the small PK curves give the illusion of wide bands. This micro-to-macro impression represents the dynamic equilibrium that results from the movement of the inhibitor in and out of the active site. Artistically, three artists inspired the rendering of the background: Josef Albers, Agnes Martin and Alighiero Boetti. The foreground consists of an abstract representation of the inhibitor and a computer graphic of the protein to which it is bound. The circle represents movement. Initially the spokes of a wheel or fan inspired it. I also considered optical illusions of moving spirals. However, in the end I settled on a more abstract representation, referencing Sonia Delaunay's Rhythm Colour no. 107, whose 'rhythm' seems apt to capture the dynamic nature of the covalently bound inhibitor".
2019 BMCS International Travel Prize for Jack Hardwick
Jack Hardwick, DPhil candidate in the Brown group, has been awarded a travel prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The prize, awarded by the RSC's Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector, will support Jack's attendance at the 6th Nucleic Acids Conference, Nassau, Bahamas in February, in which he will be giving an oral presentation on his research into the effects of epigenetic cytosine modifications on DNA structure.
Best Poster Prize
Sean Linsdall, a D.Phil. student in the Steve Davies group, has been awarded a Best Poster Prize at the 25th ISCB International Conference held in Lucknow, India on the 12-14 January 2019. Sean's poster, which was titled 'Concise Asymmetric Syntheses of (2R,3S)-3-Hydroxyproline and (2S,3S)-3-Hydroxyproline', describes several routes to access these hydroxylated amino acid targets using aziridinium ions as key intermediates.
Glasstone Research Fellowship for Dr Pu Zhao
Dr Pu Zhao of the Tsang Group has been awarded a Glasstone Research Fellowship in Science. Two awards are made each year to encourage early-career scientists to conduct original research at departments of chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials, mathematics, physics, plant sciences, and statistics. Dr Zhao's research interests lie in heterogeneous catalysis with zeolites and metal-organic frameworks. Synchrotron X-ray and neutron techniques are heavily employed.
Dr Zhao is currently a postdoctoral research associate of Prof. Edman Tsang and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Before coming to Oxford, she did her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge with Prof. Simon Redfern.
Poster prize for Lorenzo Petralia and Andriana Tsikritea
Heazlewood group researchers Lorenzo Petralia and Andriana Tsikritea won a Royal Society of Chemistry poster prize at the RSC Spectroscopy and Dynamics Group meeting held on 7-9 January in Nottingham. Andriana and Lorenzo co-presented their winning poster, entitled 'Charge exchange reaction between cold Xe+ ions and ammonia isotopologues.'
IYPT Element Selection for Dr Martine Abboud
2019 marks the UN International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements, celebrating the 100th anniversary of IUPAC and 150 years of the Periodic Table. Dr Martine Abboud, a postdoctoral scientist in the Schofield group and a Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College, has been selected by IUPAC to represent an element, Cerium, in the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists for her public outreach efforts and for her work at Oxford Chemistry (with Profs Schofield and Claridge).
On the Cover of JBC
The results of a collaboration between the Benesch group and the Vierling Lab (University of Massachusetts) were featured on the cover of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The work reveals how plant small heat-shock proteins act to capture denaturing substrates, and how tuning the strength of the dimer interface can be used to engineer chaperone efficiency
Professor Philipp Kukura named as the 2019 Blavatnik Chemistry Laureate.
bProfessor Philipp Kukura of Oxford's Department of Chemistry has been named as the 2019 Chemistry Laureate. Professor Kukura is revolutionising the way we visualise and study processes in nature. By detecting and measuring the scattering of visible light from single biomolecules, he can determine their mass and thereby analyse their structure and properties. He hopes that this approach will be used widely to discover how biomolecules assemble, interact and thus function, as well as understand what goes wrong in disease, and how it can be addressed at a molecular level.
Prof Kukura said: 'I am incredibly grateful and humbled by this award, not so much for myself, but because it recognises all the incredibly hard work, creativity and perseverance of my students and postdoc, which make our science possible in the first place.'
The 2019 Blavatnik Awards Laureates and Finalists in the UK will be honoured at a gala dinner and ceremony at the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 6th March, 2019. The following day the honourees will present their research in a public symposium entitled Cure, Create, Innovate: 9 Young Scientists Transforming Our World to be held at the Science Museum, London on 7th March, 2019.
SMTG Young Scientist Award for Dr Alice Thorneywork
Dr Alice Thorneywork, a former DPhil student in the Dullens group, won the RSC Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (SMTG) Young Scientist Award for her seminal experimental confirmation of the existence of a stable hexatic phase in suspensions of two-dimensional colloidal hard spheres (PRL 118, 158001 (2017)), thereby resolving a decades-old debate.
She will give her Award Lecture during the Annual Meeting of the SMTG group in Manchester, 9-11 January 2019.
Salters' Graduate Award for Cameron Royle
Cameron Royle, a DPhil Student in the Weller and O'Hare Groups, has won a Salters' Graduate Award in recognition of both his academic achievement and his ability to make a significant contribution to the development of the UK chemical industry.
The 2018 Salters' Awards were presented at the prestigious Salters' Institute Annual Awards Ceremony, which celebrates excellence in the science education sector and the chemical industry. This year's ceremony took place on Friday 7 December at Salters' Hall. Over 180 guests attended and the awards were presented by Dr Emma Sceats, CEO of Isogenica, who also won a Salters' Graduate Award in 2002.
Founded in 1918, The Salters' Institute is the flagship charity of the Salters' Company and plays a major role in the support of chemistry teaching, the encouragement of young people to pursue careers in the UK chemical industries, and the promotion of chemical education.
Novartis Chemistry Lectureship for Ed Anderson
Professor Ed Anderson has been awarded a Novartis Chemistry Lectureship for 2018-2019. This lectureship is awarded for outstanding contributions to organic and computational chemistry (as well as applications to biology), and allows the recipients to give lectures at Novartis sites in Basel and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ed's research is in organic chemistry, including natural product synthesis, transition-metal catalysis, and associated mechanistic studies.
Poster Prize for Lisa Thompson
Dr Lisa Thompson, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Vincent group, won the poster competition at the Scientific Update 5th Winter Process Conference held in Manchester, 11-13 December. The conference showcased presentations from international chemists and engineers covering all aspects of process development, and Lisa's winning poster was entitled 'H2-Driven Biocatalytic Cofactor Recycling in Batch and Flow'.
Overall Winner in the 2018 Graduate Student Prize
Reid Alderson has been judged the Overall Winner in the 2018 Graduate Student Prizes from the Nuffield Department of Medicine. Reid's DPhil has been co-supervised by Andy Baldwin and Justin Benesch in Chemistry, and Ad Bax at the National Institutes of Health, USA, on the NIH-OxCam programme. His work has concerned the development and application of novel NMR-based methodologies to the study of protein folding.
RSC Organic division poster symposium 2018
Nicholas Parker and Sam Chan have both been awarded prizes at the RSC organic division graduate poster symposium, which took place on the 3rd December 2018 at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, London. Nick (SBM CDT student, MDS group) took the First Prize for his poster entitled 'Visible light mediated cyclizations of cyclic enones', and Sam (JWB group) won the Runner up Prize with his poster titled 'Capturing complex trialkyoxonium ions in natural product via synthesis'. Congratulations to both!
Syngenta Scholarship Scheme
Four SBM CDT students - Lucy van Dijk (SPF group), Minh Tran (MDS group), Thomas Davies (MCW group) and Mustafa Moroglu (SJC group) - were amongst the 15 students selected to participate in this years 'Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme' organised by Syngenta. Furthermore, Thomas became this year's 'Syngenta Scholar', after being awarded the First Prize at the event. Lucy and Mus received the Runner-up prizes, meaning all three awards were won by Oxford Chemistry. This two-day experience offered students an opportunity to learn about working in agrochemistry, to discuss their own PhD research and to network with peers and Syngenta employees.
Klung Wilhelmy Science Award for Philipp Kukura
Professor Philipp Kukura has been awarded the 2018 Klung Wilhelmy Science Award for Chemistry. This prize is awarded under the patronage of the German Federal Minister of Education and Research and is one of the most prestigious scientific awards for young German chemists and physicists. Philipp grew up in Hamburg and studied at Oxford, UC Berkeley and ETH Zurich before returning to Oxford in 2016, and the prize honours his pioneering achievements in the development and application of optical methodologies in order to visualize and characterize individual biomolecules.
Photograph by Peter Himsel.
Most highly cited researchers
Professor Richard Compton is among seven chemists from the UK to be named as a most highly cited researcher by Clarivate Analytics, the company which analyses paper citations for Web of Science. The most highly cited researchers are an elite group recognised for exceptional research performance, as demonstrated by the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science. The number of resident highly cited researchers is a key component in computing some world rankings of universities, and this is the fifth year running that the work of Professor Compton and his group has been recognised in this way.
New Investment for OMass
OMass, the biotech spinout company founded by Professor Dame Carol Robinson, has secured 14M of new investment which will support the development of structural mass spectrometry technology to identify new medicines.
New way to look at cell membranes could change the way we study disease
Using a new technique to better understand cell membranes could revolutionise the way in which we study diseases such as cancer, metabolic and heart diseases.
The discovery was made as part of an international research collaboration, led by Oxford University, in collaboration with peers including Imperial College London. The technique could dramatically affect our understanding of both how cell membrane complexes work, and in the process, our approach to healthcare research.
Membranes protect all of our cells and the organelles inside them, including the mitochondria - the powerhouse of the cell. These membranes are studded with biological machinery made of proteins that enable molecular cargo to pass in and out.
This research, published in Science, will enable the development of mass spectrometry (a tool used to analyse the make-up of matter) in biology to be taken to a new level, enabling new discoveries that would not have been possible before.
Think differently - choose respect
As part of Chemistry's 2018 Anti-bullying week, 'Think Differently - Choose Respect', Prof. Lucy Bowes from Oxford's Department of Experimental Psychology led a thought-provoking discussion of cyberbullying in the Wolfson Room. Earlier in the day Anna Gomez from ACAS facilitated two sessions on respect, which were also thought provoking, providing an awareness of the variation of what is perceived 'ok' or 'not' ok regarding bullying and harassment.
IChemE Awards nomination for Nobina Mukherjee
Work by Nobina Mukherjee, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Bayley Group, was shortlisted in two categories, biotechnology and research project of the year, for the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards which celebrate excellence in achievement in chemical, biochemical and process engineering. The results were announced at a ceremony in Manchester on November 1st. The entry, 'Engineered 3D-Microtumours for Personalised Cancer Therapy' came second and was highly commended by the judges in the Research Project of the year category.
Honorary MA for Neville Baker
On Sat November 3rd, Neville Baker received his honorary degree in recognition of his 44 years of outstanding service in the chemistry electronics workshop. Nominated by several current and emeritus colleagues in the department, Neville's work has been key to some of the most innovative work in the department in recent decades.
The photo shows him flanked by the Proctors (foreground), the Pro-Vice Chancellor Dame Elish Angiolini (who presided at the ceremony), the Public Orator and the Bedel.
RSC Prize for Oxford Biotrans
Oxford Biotrans, a spinout company based on the research of Professor Luet Wong, has been named a winner in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Emerging Technology Competition. The company uses patented enzyme technology to develop high-value chemicals and has developed a product called nootkatone, which produces the taste and smell of grapefruit. Winners receive a cash prize of £10,000 and tailored support from RSC competition partners.
Poster prize for Jiri Kulhavy
Jiri Kulhavy, 3rd year DPhil Student in the Tsang group, received the Poster Prize at the 8th Tokyo Conference on Advanced Catalytic Science and Technology (TOCAT8) held in August 2018 in Yokohama, Japan. TOCAT is a one of the largest international conferences on catalysis in Asia with focus on bridging the gap between research and technology in catalysis held in Japan quadrennially, and is attended by academics and industrial representatives from all over the world.
Glycogenesis chemistry published in Nature
Research published in Nature by the Professor Ben Davis group highlights that glycogen is the key energy storage molecule in all higher organisms and many lower ones. It's where the glucose that fuels us is stored and release from. However, the precise mechanisms by which glycogen is formed at its very start have remained unclear until now. At the heart of the glycogen particle is a protein that starts the process off by, remarkably, decorating itself with glucose. This 'self-sweetening' protein - glycogenin - has been hard to understand since, by definition, as it is decorating itself it is also changing (and so it's mechanism is ever-changing too). This seeming conundrum in basic human Biology and health has now been unpicked by using Chemistry - mediated by the unnatural metal palladium - to 'jump start' or 'shunt' into these different decorated forms directly. It reveals a surprisingly tolerant process to glycogen's creation and growth, which then become very precise as it goes on. This new of way of 'jumping' into different states of Biology using Chemistry suggests a new way of understanding and even programming Biology directly.
ERC Synergy Grant
Peter Hore and Henrik Mouritsen (University of Oldenburg) have been awarded a 6-year Synergy Grant by the European Research Council for a project that aims to discover how migratory birds sense the direction of the Earth's magnetic field as a navigational aid. The Oxford part of the project will be a collaboration with Christiane Timmel, Stuart Mackenzie, David Manolopoulos, and Justin Benesch.
Wain Medal for Dr Emily Flashman
Dr Emily Flashman is the recipient of this yearâ€™s Wain Medal, awarded by the University of Kent in memory of the late Professor Louis Wain CBE FRS. The medal was presented on October 10th by Professor Karen Cox, VC of the University of Kent at Canterbury, where Emily gave her Wain Medal Lecture, entitled 'Coming up for air: how plants sense and respond to floods'.
Pfizer-sponsored Symposium Poster Prizes
Many congratulations to Sean Linsdall (SGD group), Mustafa Moroglu (SJC group), Isabel Wilkinson (AJR group) and Anna Chamberlain (TJD group) for winning prizes for their posters at the Pfizer-sponsored Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology Symposium. The winners are pictured here with judges, Dr Chris Bray (Queen Mary University of London), Ian Moses (Pfizer), Dr David Blakemore (Pfizer).
Nature Comms paper highlights a new strategy for PPIs
Nature Comms paper highlights a new strategy for targeting protein-protein interactions (PPIs) for the development of new small molecule therapeutics.
Results from a collaboration between the Rabbitts Group (MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, WIMM) and the Russell group (Depts Chemistry and Pharmacology) has recently been published in Nature Communications. The paper entitled â€˜Small molecule inhibitors of RAS-effector protein interactions derived using an intracellular antibody fragmentâ€™ describes a new approach using intracellular antibody fragments to block Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs), use the fragments for target validation in disease models, and develop new small molecules against the PPI epitope. The work by the Rabbitts and Russells Groups used the approach to identify RAS-binding compounds with the aim of developing potential treatments for RAS-dependent cancers.
AstraZeneca-sponsored Graduate Symposium Prizes
Many congratulations to Sarah Morrow (SPF group), Thomas Davies (MCW group), Heyao Shi (DJD group) and Jack Hardwick (TB group) for winning prizes for their talks at the AstraZeneca-sponsored Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology Final Year Graduate Symposium. The winners are pictured here with judges, Dr Bill McCoull and Dr Jeremy Parker, from AstraZeneca.
First prize at the UCB PhD Day
Thomas Davies, a final year SBM CDT DPhil student in the Willis group, won first prize for his talk at the UCB PhD Day held in London on 24th September. His talk was titled "Sulfinylamines - New Reagents for Sulfoximine and Sulfonimidamide Synthesis". Ben Bower (Ben Davis group) also gave a talk, while Mustafa Moroglu (Conway group, SBM CDT) and Felix Urbitsch (Ed Anderson group, SBM CDT) presented posters. UCBâ€™s PhD networking day enables students to interact with academics, leaders in industry and their peers from other institutions, strengthening relationships between universities and industry, exchanging ideas and spurring opportunities for collaboration.
Flash Communication prize for Joseph Wang
Jiao-You (Joseph) Wang, a 3rd year DPhil student in the Fletcher group, won the Flash Communication prize at the 22nd International Conference on Organic Synthesis in Florence, Italy, in September 2018. His talk/poster was titled: Synthesis of the Taxol core from trapping reactions of zirconium enolates.
Poster prize for Robert Scanes
Robert Scanes, a 3rd year SMB CDT DPhil student in the Fletcher group, won the Poster prize at the Systems Chemistry Gordon Research Conference at Sunday River, Maine, USA, in August 2018. His poster was entitled: 'Use of novel dissipative replicators to study chemical evolution and macroscopic motion'.
JSPS Fellowship for Dom Fijan
Dom Fijan, student in the Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences Centre for Doctoral Training, has been awarded a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship to study in Professor Hajime Tanaka's group at the University of Tokyo. The fellowship scheme, which is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, provides the opportunity for highly qualified young researchers to conduct cooperative research with leading research groups in Japan.
Hinshelwood Lectures 2018 - Soft Interfaces: A Journey Across Scales
The Hinshelwood Lectures 2018 - Soft Interfaces: A Journey Across Scales have been published as podcasts. This series of six lectures took place in the Department of Chemistry Trinity 2018 term and where given by Professor Lyderic Bocquet, Directeur de Recherche, CNRS, and Professor of Physics, Ecole Normale Superieure.
SBM CDT Science Day
The 2nd SBM CDT Science Day took place last Wednesday 12th September. The programme included research presentations from students, a networking lunch and a poster session. With over 100 attendees - including students, academics and industrial partners - the day was a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about the breadth of science being conducted within the programme.
Poster prizes for Alistair Sterling, Lorel Scriven and Renee Haver
Congratulations to Lorel Scriven, Renee Haver and Alistair Sterling, who were awarded prizes for their posters at CURO-pi-3, the "Third International Symposium on the Synthesis and Application of Curved Organic Pi-Molecules and Materials" in Oxford during 5-7 September.
Poster Prize for Thomas Davies
Thomas Davies, a final year SBM CDT DPhil student in the Willis group, won a poster prize at the 28th International Symposium on the Organic Chemistry of Sulfur (ISOCS) in Tokyo, Japan. His poster was titled "One-pot Sulfonimidamide Synthesis from the Sulfinylamine Reagent TrNSO". Thomas's travel to Tokyo was supported by an RSC Intercontinental Travel Grant.
Poster prize for Cameron Thorpe
Cameron Thorpe, DPhil student in the Brown group, was a poster prizewinner and Shotgun Presentation category winner at the International Round Table for Nucleoside, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids. The meeting, held at the University of California, San Diego, brought together over 300 scientists and investigators to discuss recent developments in diverse areas related to the chemistry, biology and medicine of nucleosides, nucleotides and nucleic acids.
Poster prize for Piotr Klimowski
Piotr Klimowski, DPhil student in the Brown group, won a poster prize in the Graduate Student category at the International Round Table for Nucleoside, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids. The meeting, held at the University of California, San Diego, brought together over 300 scientists and investigators to discuss recent developments in diverse areas related to the chemistry, biology and medicine of nucleosides, nucleotides and nucleic acids.
Molecular Hopper published in Science
Yujia Qing in the Bayley lab has made a molecular hopper, a controllable mobile molecule based on simple chemical bond making and breaking. The work is important fundamental science, and also has potentially valuable applications in nanotechnology, including single-molecule DNA sequencing. The full paper, Directional control of a processive molecular hopper, can be read in the Journal Science.
Sir John Rowlinson, FRS, FREng (1926-2018)
It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death last week of Sir John Rowlinson. Sir John was one of the true giants of Oxford Physical Chemistry where he served as Dr Lee's Professor from 1974-1993 following a lectureship at Manchester University and 10 years as Professor of Chemical Technology at Imperial College, London. An alumnus of Trinity College, Oxford, John was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1970 and knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours, 2000.
As well as over 200 research papers, John wrote extensively on a wide range of topics including several books on the history of science.
Quite apart from being one of the most distinguished scientists of his generation, Sir John Rowlinson was also a true gentleman and is remembered extremely fondly by all that knew him.
A memorial service for Sir John will be held later this year in Exeter College.
Poster prize for Arron Deacy
Arron Deacy, 3rd year DPhil Student in the Williams group, won the Poster Prize at the International Coordination Chemistry Conference (ICCC) 2018 in Sendai, Japan. Coordination chemistry is a huge multidisciplinary research area involving large numbers of chemists, physicists, biologists and medicinal scientist. Researchers from all over the world attended the ICCC to discuss current topics and exchange knowledge through discussions, lectures and poster presentations.
Best emerging synthetic biology company award for OxSyBio
OxSyBio, a spinout company based on the research of Prof. Hagan Bayley, has been named as a finalist in OBN's annual awards for best emerging synthetic biology company. OBN is the not-for-profit membership organisation supporting and bringing together the UK's life sciences companies, corporate partners and investors. The award nomination for the category of emerging synthetic biology company identifies those that have has the most promise, based on capital raised, level of innovation and their likely disruptive impact. OxSyBio is developing 3D printing techniques to produce a range of tissue-like and functional tissues for medical research and clinical applications, with the ultimate aim of producing tissues that can be used for precision medicine and organ repair or replacement.
Hot Article in Angew. Chemie Int. Ed.
Work of Dr Simantini Nayak in the Vincent group has been published as a 'Hot Article' in Angew. Chemie Int. Ed.. The paper, 'Adsorbed Intermediates in Oxygen Reduction on Platinum Nanoparticles Observed by In situ IR Spectroscopy', reports work from Simantini's Marie Curie Fellowship.
Atomic manipulation highlighted in Chemistry World
Results from a collaboration between Harry Anderson's group in Oxford and Leo Gross' group at IBM Zurich have shown that skeletal rearrangements can be controlled and visualised by scanning probe microscopy. The work was published in Nature Chemistry 2018, 10, 853 and highlighted in Chemistry World, 2018, 15, 8, 32.
Pioneer Award for Dr Nobina Mukherjee
Dr Nobina Mukherjee in the Bayley group has been granted a Pioneer Award from Cancer Research UK. Pioneer Awards fund "innovative, higher risk ideas, from any discipline, that could revolutionise our understanding of cancer"
Poster prize for Arun Shivalingam
Arun Shivalingam has won the ChemGenes-sponsored Poster Prize at the 14th RSC Nucleic Acids Forum held in London on the 6th of July. The forum aims to bring together researchers at interface of chemistry and biology with a particular focus on nucleic acids. Arun's work describes the design and refinement of artificial nucleic acid backbones that can be formed by chemical ligation and allow faithful replication of the information encoded.
Mass spectrometry uncovers a novel lipid that mediates signalling between GPCRs and G-proteins
This week in Nature researchers from the Robinson group report the first transmission into the gas phase of intact complexes formed between GPCRs and G-proteins. Yen et al used mass spectrometry to reveal the presence of a novel lipid (PIP2) that stabilises interactions within these complexes. Supported by site directed mutagenesis and computation from Mark Sansom's group they located the lipid binding site on the intracellular leaflet and showed how it stabilised the interaction by bridging between the receptor and a particular G-α subunit. Overall therefore they have uncovered a new mechanism that enhances selective coupling of receptors, significant for understanding many aspects of diseases and important for drug discovery.
The illustration shows a G-protein coupled receptor (blue) in a membrane (grey) is 'stapled' to its cognate G protein (orange) via PIP2 lipids (green). This enhanced coupling in the presence of PIP2 was discovered by preserving these interactions by means of electrospray mass spectrometry.