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 Â£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.
TMCS annual symposium
The TMCS annual symposium took place this year on 4th and 5th July in Bristol. The 2 day programme was well attended by students, academics and Industrial partners and included student talks, guest speakers, poster sessions and an Industry led session on careers.
Transforming an idea into a viable technology
Hagan Bayley, Yi Cui and Jong-Hyun Han, authors of the Nature Nanotechnology papers most cited in the patent literature, are interviewed in the latest edition of the journal. The full article can be read online here:
Student talk prize for Hansjochen KÖckert
Hansjochen KÖckert, DPhil student in the Vallance group, was awarded a prize at the recent Institute of Physics Atomic and Molecular Interactions Group summer meeting held at UCL. Hansjochen gave a talk about his research, entitled "One molecule, two pathways: Imaging of impulsive and statistical fragmentation after electron impact of CF3I".
Poster Prize for Jacqueline Tan
Jacqueline Tan has won a Wiley "Computers in Chemistry" Poster Award sponsored by Wiley, at the 16th International Congress of Quantum Chemistry ICQC 2018 conference in Menton, France. The International Congress of Quantum Chemistry (ICQC) has been held every three years under the auspices of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (IAQMS) since 1973.
Poster prize for Sabine Weidlich
Sabine Weidlich, a DPhil student in Harry Anderson's research group has been awarded a poster prize at the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) 2018 Spring Meeting in Strasbourg, France. Her poster was titled "Encapsulated Ï€-Systems with Luminescent Properties at Visible Wavelengths".
Susannah Worster awarded 1851 Fellowship
Susannah Worster has been awarded a 3-year Research Fellowship by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. The Fellowships are intended to give early career scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation. Around eight awards are made each year. Susannah will work on new design principles for efficient energy transfer in biomimetic light-harvesting devices, in association with Professor Fred Manby in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, starting in October 2018.
Roshan Singh wins 2018 Chemical Structural Association Trust Grant
Roshan Singh, an MSc student in John McGrady's Group, has won the 2018 Chemical Structure Association (CSA) Trust Grant for young researchers. The grant program provides funding for the career development of young researchers who have demonstrated excellence in their education, research or development activities related to systems and methods used to store, process and retrieve information about chemical structures, reactions and compounds. The grant will be used to conduct research within Dr Lundberg's Group at Uppsala University to investigate the chemical structure of heme Fe(IV)=O complexes in collaboration with Professor Solomon's Group at Stanford University. The CSA Trust is an internationally recognized organisation established to promote the critical importance of chemical information to advances in chemical research.
Xue Jiao Wins Prize For Best Poster At ESEAC 2018
Xue Jiao ('Crystal') has won the Best Poster Prize at the European Society for Electro-analytical Chemistry (ESEAC) 2018 meeting held in Rodos, Greece between June 3rd and 7th. The prize is sponsored by the international journal Electroanalysis published by Wiley. Crystal's poster showed how nanoparticle porosity can influence their electro-catalytic properties using Platinum particles as an illustration. her work demonstrates unambiguously that the internal surfaces are electrochemically active.
Poster Prize for Chris Lindsay
Chris Lindsay, a BHF CRE funded DPhil student in Angela Russell's research group and Rebecca Sitsapesan's group (Pharmacology), has been awarded the poster prize at the British Pharmacological Society meeting in Edinburgh - Pharmacology Futures. The conference focused on exploring the technologies that will drive drug development over the next 10 to 15 years, with speakers sharing their visions of the future. Chris presented his work on using electrophysiology to elucidate the mechanism of statin side effects, towards the development of next generation HMG-CoA inhibitors.
Professor Edman Tsang's research featured on the cover of JACS
A paper by Edman Tsang and colleagues at Harwell and Oxford is featured on the cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The full paper, entitled 'Entrapped Single Tungstate Site in Zeolite for Cooperative Catalysis of Olefin Metathesis with BrÃ¸nsted Acid Site'
Graphene nanoribbons with a trim of spin
Multi-frequency measurements of graphene nanoribbons in the Centre for Advanced ESR by Will Myers of the Department of Chemistry and Michael Slota of the Lapo Bogani group in the Department of Materials, in collaboration with Arzhang Ardavan of the Department of Physics and the Klaus Müllen group of MPI for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany are reported in Nature. A signal identified as the graphene edge state is unique to fully conjugated samples, and modulation depth exhibited in pump-probe ESR with spin injector groups indicates a potential for applications in spintronic devices.
Soft Matter Lectureship Award for Susan Perkin
Professor Susan Perkin has been selected by the Editorial Board of RSC Journal Soft Matter to receive the 2018 Lectureship award. This award honours a younger scientist who has made a significant contribution to soft matter research. As the recipient of the Lectureship, Susan will present a lecture of her choice and contribute a leading article to Soft Matter which will be featured on the journal's front cover.
Jack Hardwick wins RSC poster prize
Jack Hardwick, DPhil student in the Brown group, has won the poster competition at the RSC Chemical Biology Symposium in London. This annual symposium showcases state-of-the-art chemical biology and brings together experts in the field to stimulate research collaboration, networking and engagement.
Jack's poster, entitled 'Structural studies of DNA containing 5-formylcytosine', highlights some of his research into how epigenetic cytosine modifications affect the structure of DNA.
Martine Abboud named 2018 CAS SciFinder® Future Leader
Dr. Martine Abboud has been named a Future Leader by the American Chemical Society's CAS SciFinder® programme. Martine, a Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College and a postdoctoral scientist in the Schofield group, is one of only 2 UK-based scientists to be selected for the programme. The CAS SciFinder® Future Leaders programme aims to expand professional networks among emerging researchers, increase knowledge and exchange ideas about the role of information within the research process, and learn from industry and academic leaders about the role of science in the global economy, academia, and the media. Abboud and the other Future Leaders will also visit centres of innovation and technology in Columbus to broaden their understanding of the scientific enterprise, and also contribute to shaping the future of scientific research by sharing their experiences. "CAS is privileged to connect the next generation of scientists with other leading researchers from across the globe and expand their professional research skills," said Chris McCue, vice president of marketing at CAS. "Program participants were chosen based on their impressive academic accomplishments and the scientific merit of their research. We are honoured to host the 2018 class and learn from their experience." The program has seen rapid growth and is now recognised as the premier programme of its kind. Celebrating its ninth year, CAS received the highest number of applications across the widest geographical range since its inception in 2010. Alumni from this program have been a part of noteworthy scientific innovations and research, and are influencing future scientists through their demonstrated leadership
British Science Association Media Fellowship for Holly Reeve
Dr Holly Reeve, Project Manager and Co-Investigator of the Department of Chemistry's HydRegen project, has been awarded the MPLS British Science Association Media Fellowship.
This summer Holly will be working in a media outlet for a month, seeing how the media works from the inside and contributing her ideas before heading back to Oxford to share her experiences.
Holly said of the opportunity, "I applied to the BSA Media Fellowship scheme because it offers a unique and immersive experience to work in a top media team. I love a challenge, and this opportunity will definitely challenge me to develop a new communication style at a time when communication is becoming an increasingly important skill both in and outside of academia. In the future I hope to use what I learn on my placement to help Early Career Researchers tell their stories."
The Media Fellowships aim to give scientists, engineers and their colleagues the confidence and willingness to engage with the media and tackle issues of mistrust and misrepresentation and to give journalists access to new scientific expertise.
Every year up to ten Media Fellows are chosen through a competitive process. They are then mentored by professional journalists and learn how the media operates and reports on science, how to communicate with the media and how to engage the wider public with science through the media.
This year, MPLS funded one fellowship, offered to researchers working in EPSRC-related areas, aiming or provide a development opportunity for a researcher, as well as help improve awareness of and access to media.
This is the only programme of its type in the UK and the impacts arising for the fellows, their institution and the media are far ranging.
After the placement, Holly will attend the British Science Festival in September in the British Science Association's dedicated Press Centre, providing a further opportunity to meet and learn from a variety of media and engagement professionals.
Funding success for very-high field solution-state NMR facility
Group leaders in the Departments of Biochemistry (Profs Christina Redfield, Jason Schnell and John Vakonakis) and Chemistry (Profs. Andy Baldwin and Tim Claridge) have secured support towards upgrading the flagship 950 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, housed in Biochemistry. Funding of close to £500K has been obtained from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the "Very- and Ultra-High field NMR for the physical and life sciences" initiative. The 950 MHz NMR upgrade will include a high-sensitivity 5mm TCI "CryoProbe" and an automated sample changer. This new probe will increase 1H signal-to-noise by a factor of up to 3, allowing more challenging macromolecular systems to be studied. The sample changer will improve throughput by enabling fully automated, round-the-clock data collection. Once upgraded, time on the 950 MHz NMR spectrometer will also be made available to external users from other UK academic institutions and from industry.
The 22.3T Oxford Instruments magnet, which, alongside a custom-built electronics control console and probe, formed the basis for the first 950 MHz spectrometer in the world, was installed in the Rex Richards Building, Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in October 2005. This was funded from the Wellcome Trust's contribution to the Joint Infrastructure Fund. The spectrometer console was upgraded in 2015/16 with internal funding of £340K secured from the Institutional Strategic Support Fund, the John Fell Fund and Edward Penley Abraham Cephalosporin Fund. The new funding from EPSRC ensures that Oxford will continue to have a state-of-the-art ultra-high field NMR spectrometer, with only two comparable instruments currently available in the UK.
Gouverneur group research published in Science
A research team led by Professor Veronique Gouverneur has developed a new bio-inspired catalytic manifold for enantioselective carbon-fluorine bond formation from alkali-metal fluoride. This is achieved by merging hydrogen bonding and phase transfer catalysis to make fluoride soluble, and therefore reactive, in organic solvents. The concept of "Hydrogen Bonding Phase Transfer Catalysis" (HB PTC) is of broad scientific interest as it could have application beyond delivery of fluoride. The design and synthetic work was carried out in the Gouverneur lab in collaboration with computational chemist Robert Paton.
Hot Paper and frontispiece - Chem. Eur. J.
The work of Leo Marx from the Burton group has been published as a "Hot Paper" in Chemistry A European Journal along with a frontispiece designed by Karl Harrison.
Leo's work concerns the development of a short, scalable synthesis of the potent proteasome inhibitor and marine natural product salinosporamide A.
Frontiers of Chemical Dynamics: A Royal Society meeting in honour of Sir David Clary's 65th birthday
April 19 / 20 saw a Royal Society Theo Murphy Meeting held at Chicheley Hall in honour of Sir David Clary's 65th birthday in January 2018. Organised by David Manolopoulos, Stuart Mackenzie and Claire Vallance, a stellar list of international speakers was assembled. It is a testament to Sir David's standing in the field that every speaker invited agreed to attend.
On the Cover of RSC ChemComm
Collaborative research within the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence carried out by the O'Hare group, Prof. Greenwell and Dr Erastova (Durham University), SCG Chemicals and SCG Packaging has featured on the Inside front cover of ChemComm. The paper describes the synthesis, characterisation and molecular dynamics simulation of new nanomaterials
Part II Lewis Morgan wins prize for BCA conference talk
Lewis Morgan's presentation "Improving Our Understanding of Modulation in Molecular Materials" won the prize for the best oral contribution at the Young Crystallographers Satellite to the British Crystallographic Association Spring Meeting. The award, supplied by the Industrial Group and administered by the Young Crystallographers Group, included the opportunity to give the talk again, this time as a plenary in the main meeting.
Turning aluminium chemistry on its head
Collaborative research between the Aldridge and Goicoechea groups carried out by Jamie Hicks and Petra Vasko, and published recently in Nature, has led to the development of nucleophilic aluminium compounds that can be employed in reverse polarity Al-E bond forming chemistry
Rising Star of the Year Award
Jacob Bush of GSK has been named Rising Star of the Year at this yearâ€™s TARGETjobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards. The rising star award recognises the contribution made by a recent graduate. After his undergraduate degree at Oxford, Jacob stayed on to do a doctorate with Prof. Chris Schofield before joining GSK, where he helped to launch a new doctoral programme for chemical biology students between GSK, Oxford and the Francis Crick Institute.
Poster Prize at the Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Dalton Poster Competition.
Anastasia Spearing-Ewyn and Thomas Williams, DPhil students in the Weller and O'Hare group respectively, have each been awarded a runner-up Poster Prize at the Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Dalton Poster Competition. This took place during the Dalton 2018 Joint Interest Groups Meeting at Warwick
Michael Booth to receive 2019 Biochemical Society Award
Dr Michael Booth, researcher in the Bayley Group, is to receive an Early Career Research Award from the Biochemical Society. These awards recognise the impact of research carried out by early career scientists who have produced international quality research and demonstrated their potential to achieve world-leading status. Michaelâ€™s award is in recognition of his outstanding work in the area of Biotechnology. This includes developing novel DNA sequencing techniques for the detection of two newly discovered modified DNA bases. These newly discovered modified bases had been implicated in human development and disease progression; however, there were no sequencing techniques to precisely map them in the genome to uncover their functional relevance. The award also recognised his synthesis of light-activated DNA and its use to stringently control protein expression in synthetic tissues. These synthetic tissues act as functional mimics of neuronal transmission that can be controlled in a precise way.
Michael will receive a prize of Â£1000 and will give an Award Lecture at a Biochemical Society meeting during 2019.
‘The Burton Boys’ win 1st Prize at the 5th RSC/SCI Retrosynthesis Competition
Sam Chan (Croucher Scholar), Kilian Garrec (SBM CDT) and Joe Mason (SBM CDT) won the 1st prize at the final of the 5th National Retrosynthesis Competition, celebrated at the Burlington House (London) on Friday 16th March. Following an initial round planning a retrosynthesis of Annotinolide C, ten teams were selected to enter the final – including another team from Oxford Chemistry. These three final year students from the Burton group delivered a very polished presentation on their proposed route to Pestaloficin A, winning both the 1st prize from the judges and the audience prize. Many congratulations Burton Boys!
On the cover of J Chem Phys
A collaboration between the Brouard and Vallance groups and the University of Aarhus has been featured on the cover of the Journal of Chemical Physics. The paper describes how gas-phase structural isomers can be identified and distinguished by the process of Coulomb explosion imaging, and indicates that this method could be applied to a much broader class of molecules than has previously been studied. This research was made possible by the use of a fast ion imaging sensor, the Pixel Imaging Mass Spectrometry camera, that was developed by Oxford Chemistry, Oxford Physics, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Syngenta Postdoc Symposium
Six postdocs from Oxford Chemistry, with interests across organic chemistry and chemical biology, took part in the 4th Syngenta Postdoc Symposium. After an afternoon of exciting science, Dr James Morris from Syngenta presented prizes to Dr Charlie Fehl (Davis group), for his talk on In situ boronate activation for metallaphotoredox-initiated protein functionalization, and Dr Lan-Gui Xie (Dixon group), for his talk on Iridium-catalysed reductive functionalisation of tertiary amides. The other participants were Drs Michel Rickhaus (HLA group), Venkaiah Chintalapudi (EAA group), Tom McAllister (AK group), and Manjeet Kumar (JWB group)
Editorial Appointments in Oxford
Prof Angela Russell has recently been appointed as an editor for the journal Tetrahedron and Prof Tim Donohoe has just been
appointed as Chairman of the Executive Board of Editors for Tetrahedron Publications. Tetrahedron is the
international journal for the rapid publication of full original research papers and critical reviews in organic chemistry.
Charlotte Williams awarded 2018 Otto Roelen Medal
Charlotte Williams is the recipient of the Otto Roelen Medal for 2018. It is awarded by DECHEMA and the German Catalysis society every two years for outstanding scientific work in the field of catalysis, the award is sponsored by OXEA GmbH. She was awarded the Medal at the 51st German Catalysis Meeting, held in Weimar from 14-16 March.
Oxford Nanopore value reaches 1.5 Billion
Oxford Nanopore, the spin-out company founded by Professor Hagan Bayley and supported by IP Group PLC has raised £100M in new investment. The funds will support a new manufacturing facility, commercial expansion, and development of new innovative products. Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO, Oxford Nanopore, said: ‘Our business is moving quickly, from personal sequencers into high-end sequencing and distributed analyses. In recent weeks, both Oxford Nanopore and our customers have shown very high yields of data from PromethION Flow Cells, demonstrating low-cost long-read nanopore sequencing at large scale. Meanwhile, we are driving a change in how scientists and industries access DNA information, by introducing smaller, accessible, low-cost formats, including our forthcoming smartphone sequencer SmidgION. Our investors are ambitious and support our long-term vision: to enable the analysis of any living thing, by anyone, anywhere. ‘We would also like to thank the innovative community of nanopore users, who have been instrumental in driving new uses for our products.’Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘I’m pleased that such a pioneering British business has obtained the investment they need to grow, creating thousands more jobs and continuing ground-breaking research in this field here in the UK. ‘Through our modern Industrial Strategy we are making sure that Britain remains the natural choice for innovative firms to prosper – investing in the future of our country.’
Bolte Award for Professor Graham Richards
Professor Graham Richards is to receive the 2018 Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award. The award, sponsored by the Science History Institute in the US, was created in 2006 to recognise the outstanding contributions of leaders who provide products or services vital to the continuing growth and development of the chemical and molecular sciences community. It will be presented on 9th May, the Institute's annual Heritage Day that celebrates the achievements and promise of the sciences and technologies that shape material culture.
Graham is Chairman of Oxford Drug Design and served as Oxford's first Chairman of Chemistry from 1996 to 2006. He pioneered the use of computer-aided molecular design and organised the Screensaver Lifesaver Project â€”the largest ever computational chemistry project that made use of idle time on over 3.5 million personal computers to screen billions of compounds in the search for drugs to treat cancer and protect against anthrax and smallpox. He cofounded Oxford University Innovation, which has generated over Â£2 billion for the University and helped to create many successful technology companies.
Science Policy Discussions in Parliament
Dr Michael Booth, researcher in the Bayley Group, represented the Royal Society of Chemistry at the Voice of the Future event in Parliament on 13th March. Organised by the Royal Society of Biology on behalf of the science and engineering community, this â€˜question timeâ€™ style annual event reverses the format of a normal select committee â€“ so that MPs answer questions rather than ask them. Michael recorded the highlights from all four sessions. The main emphasis of the questions revolved around the impact of Brexit on the sciences, increasing diversity in STEM subjects, and the impact of â€˜fake newsâ€™. A recording of the event can be watched on Parliament TV.
OxSyBio raises £10m
As reported in The Times, Chemistry spinout OxSyBio has raised Â£10m in investments. The research behind OxSyBio comes from the group of Oxford Nanopore founder Professor Hagen Bayley whose work explores chemical and synthetic biology. OxSyBio is developing 3D printing techniques with the aim of producing tissues that can be used for precision medicine and organ repair or replacement.
RSC's Chemical Science Cover Artwork
An Edge Article by Robert Paton research group has been highlighted on the cover of the this month's Chemical Science RSC Journal. The paper describes the theory and data mining of cation-pi interactions in protein-ligand binging and reveal different roles for lysine and arginine. The artwork was designed by Karl Harrison.
Levi Dash Retires
A reception in honour of Levi Dash was held on Monday 26th February. Levi retired this week after 39 years in the Department, having worked in Stores in the DP, ICL and PTCL. In the course of his long career Levi helped countless staff and students, always with great kindness and good humour. Prof. Chris Schofield, Head of Organic Chemistry, gave thanks. Levi will be much missed, and we wish him well!
Martine Abboud selected for Lindau-Nobel meeting
Congratulations to Dr Martine Abboud for being selected to represent the University at the 68th Lindau-Nobel meeting this June in Germany. Martine is a Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College and a postdoctoral researcher in the Schofield group. Once every year, Nobel Laureates convene at Lindau to meet the next generation of leading scientists. This yearâ€™s meeting is dedicated to physiology and medicine and will set two records with 43 Nobel Laureates attending and a diversity of participants from 84 countries of origin. Attendance is by nomination only and candidates go through competitive selection rounds. Since their founding in 1951, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have served to promote exchange, networking, and inspiration.
Jacqueline Tan wins OXFEST Poster Prize
Jacqueline Tan - Paton research group - has won a poster prize at the OxFEST Annual Conference - STEMpower Her: Together We Rise! The conference aimed to give ways to harness and share individual strengths and experiences in order to collectively lift women in STEM. The movement to improve diversity in STEM thrives when we all work together.
Physical chemistry of protein evolution
Research from the Benesch group is published in Science today, determining mechanisms by which proteins evolve selectivity in assembly. In collaboration with the University of Massachusetts, the group has revealed that evolution achieves selectivity with remarkable economy, and how entropic considerations have left their imprint on the protein assemblies observed in nature.
Lilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry Research 2017
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 Magnus Walter from Lillyâ€™s came to award the prizes on Thursday 8 February.
A new spinout company to transform plastic waste into sustainable fuels
Oxford University Innovation has launched Oxford Sustainable Fuels, a new company that aims to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste. The technology, based on research by Oxford chemists Professor Peter Edwards, Dr Tiancun Xiao and Dr Zhaoxi Zhang, enables the transformation of plastic into transportation fuels.
Developing Safer Cancer Treatments
Professor Chris Schofield, Head of Organic Chemistry, together with Profs. Peter McHugh (Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine) and Opher Gileadi (Nuffield Department of Medicine) have been awarded a Â£1.6m grant from Cancer Research UK, as reported in the Oxford Mail. The five-year study will investigate metallo B-lactamases, a family of DNA repair proteins. Understanding how cancer cells repair damage to their DNA could help develop â€˜kinderâ€™ drugs that target cancer more effectively.
Oxford Nanopore device used to sequence the human genome
A handheld device developed by Oxford Nanopore, the spin-out company founded by Professor Hagan Bayley, has been used to sequence the human genome. The breakthrough, detailed in Nature Nanotechnology and reported by the BBC, used the MinION nanopore sequencer. Strands of DNA are passed through a biological pore and the bases that make up DNA can be identified by measuring changes in electrical conductivity. Rapid and portable DNA sequencing opens up exciting new possibilities in genetic medicine.
Finding ways to make clean, sustainable batteries
Dr Hamish Yeung (Glasstone Research Fellow, Inorganic Chemistry) and his collaborator Prof. John Griffin of Lancaster University have made a short film about their ongoing research into the structure determination of new materials for cleaner, more sustainable battery technology.
Molecular dynamics on the femtosecond timescale: a closer look at photochemical reactions
The first steps in photochemical processes, such as photosynthesis or animal vision, involve changes in electronic and geometric structure over extremely short time scales. The very fast dynamics of a prototypical system, acetylacetone, have been revealed in unprecedented detail by a team of researchers including Professor John Eland and colleagues in Sweden, Croatia, France and Italy. Their approach, based on high-resolution valence photoelectron spectra supported by high-level calculations, paves the way for in-depth investigations of a range of photochemical processes.
Turning Carbon Dioxide into Fuel â€“ A New UK-China-Saudi Arabia Initiative
A major new initiative brings together top scientists in the UK, China and Saudi Arabia to transform CO2 into super-clean fuel and other commodities. Professor Jinghai Li, recently appointed Director of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, is working with Professor Peter Edwards, Dr Tiancun Xiao and colleagues at Oxford and Cambridge and Prof Hamid Almegren of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia on an international and interdisciplinary project that opens up new and exciting possibilities for direct utilisation of CO2 at large-scale sources of fossil fuel combustion.
China is the worldâ€™s largest CO2 emitter, and Saudi Arabia the worldâ€™s largest oil producer. Despite major improvements in renewable energy technologies, the world still relies on hydrocarbon fossil fuels. Fossil fuel combustion in power plants and petrochemical industries is responsible for the greatest amount of anthropogenic emissions of CO2, one of the most potent greenhouse gases and a major cause of climate change. Mitigating the impact of CO2 with carbon capture and storage (CCS) brings its own challenges and is highly energy-intensive. The unique technology developed in the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-Oxford Centre of Excellence in Petrochemicals uses a process called Flue Gas Reforming. Flue gases are converted to synthesis gas (syngas) that is perfectly suited for the production of a wide range of fuels and industrially important chemicals. This is achieved with new-generation, step-change catalysts that are designed to have minimal effect on a power plantâ€™s generation capacity but are sufficiently robust to convert syngas into super-clean fuel or chemicals without the need for CCS. The next challenge is to ensure that the resulting energy/CO2 balance of the entire process is carbon-neutral or ideally, carbon-negative. This international, multidisciplinary approach represents a timely response to the historic achievements of the 2015 Paris Agreement.