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Best Short TalkBest Short Talk

Congratulations to Shuyu Chu, a 3rd year DPhil student in Martin Smith’s group, who won the best short talk prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group 31st Postgraduate Symposium in Nottingham. Shuyu’s talk described the synthesis of two complex alkaloids, Gephyrotoxin and Morphine.


New elements in graduate trainingNew elements in graduate training

A new article about the SBM CDT published on the MPLS website, entitled "New elements in graduate training”, describes how SBM CDT's innovative approach to graduate training is enabling the Department of Chemistry to build strong links with industry and train up a new generation of chemists with commercially-relevant expertise.


A Century of Organic ChemistryA Century of Organic Chemistry

A day of celebrations was held on Saturday September 17th to mark the centenary of the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, named after C W Dyson Perrins, the philanthropist (and heir to the Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce empire) whose generous benefaction enabled its construction. The DP was home to some of the most important research and eminent organic chemists of the 20th Century. Attended by alumni, students and staff, a series of talks was hosted by Head of Organic Chemistry Professor Chris Schofield FRS. The speakers were science historian Allan Chapman, Emeritus Professor John Brown FRS, Professor Tim Donohoe, and (pictured) Mr Andrew Perrins, great grandson of C W Dyson Perrins.


Cover art for ChemCommCover art for ChemComm

A research paper from Professor Dermot O'Hare has been feature on the cover of RSC's ChemComm. The work reports the first direct synthesis and spectroscopic characterisation of a solid-phase frustrated Lewis pair (s-FLP) that is able to cleave hydrogen under mild conditions. This now opens the possibility of making heterogeneous catalytic systems using the FLP approach. The cover was designed by Karl Harrison


Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic ChemistryRonald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry

Professor Ben Davis has been awarded the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, sponsored by the Ronald Breslow Award Endowment as part of the American Chemical Society 2017 National Awards. The award was established on March 24, 2001 at a symposium held at Columbia University in honor of Ronald Breslow's 70th birthday by his friends, former students, and associates. The award consists of $5,000 and a certificate.


BBC highlights Intensive care machine from Oxford ChemistryBBC highlights Intensive care machine from Oxford Chemistry

Care for critically-ill patients with shock could be improved, it is hoped, after the first successful testing by University of Oxford scientists of a new machine to record oxygen consumption in real time. The new technology has arisen through a collaboration between Professor Peter Robbins in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Professors Grant Ritchie and Gus Hancock in the Department of Chemistry. It combines laser spectroscopy and precise flow measurement of breath in a single medical device which fits into a standard ventilation tube. The work has received public funding from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the Medical Research Council. Listen to a four-minute interview with the University's Professor Grant Ritchie by clicking the link below, from 1h42m12s.


ISMSC 2016 Poster Prize for Dan KohnISMSC 2016 Poster Prize for Dan Kohn

Congratulations to Dan Kohn for winning a prize for his poster titled "Porphyrin-Polyyne Polyrotaxanes” at the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (ISMSC) in Seoul, South Korea. Dan is a D.Phil. student in Harry Anderson’s group.


Poster PrizePoster Prize

Congratulations to year-2 student Domagoj Fijan, who received 2nd prize for his poster at the RSC Theoretical Chemistry Group Conference in Nottingham. The meeting will covered a broad spectrum of theoretical and computational chemistry, including talks by leading international and UK scientists. It will also incorporated the TCG Graduate Student Meeting, where final-year graduate students compete for the Coulson prize for the best graduate student talk.


Oxford Nanopore blasts off into spaceOxford Nanopore blasts off into space

Oxford Nanopore MinION DNA sequencer blasts off to the International Space Station. Astronaut Kate Rubins will be performing proof of concept experiments on the space station, to see if the technology can be taken forward to be used in projects to analyse the environment aboard the ISS, astronaut health or even one day to be used to surveil for signs of life further afield.


ISMSC 2016 Poster Prize for Jason LimISMSC 2016 Poster Prize for Jason Lim

Jason Lim, a DPhil student from the Beer group, has received a poster prize in the recent 11th International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (ISMSC), held in Seoul, South Korea. Jason presented a poster featuring his recent work on the use of halogen bonding interactions to enhance the enantio-selective binding and sensing of chiral anions in solution.


Angewandte Chemie FrontispieceAngewandte Chemie Frontispiece

Research by Dr. Alexander Hinz and ProfessorJose Goicoechea has been highlighted in Angewandte Chemie International Edition as a frontispiece design. The works shows the synthesis of the 2-arsaethynolate anion AsCO− through carbonylation of NaAsH2. The AsCO− can undergo cyclization with unsaturated substrates to yield novel heterocyclic species. The illustration was designed by Karl Harrison


17th Tetrahedron Symposium and L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science17th Tetrahedron Symposium and L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science

Congratulations to Tharindi Panduwawala from the Moloney group for winning the Best Poster Award at the 17th Tetrahedron Symposium held in Sitges, Spain from 28th June to 1st July for the poster titled 'Natural product guided antibacterial drug discovery: tetramates as core scaffolds'. She was also among the 10 finalists invited to the Royal Society, London to present her research work at the L'Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science PhD poster competition, UK and Ireland.


CPLT 2016 Poster PrizeCPLT 2016 Poster Prize

Jutta Toscano, a PhD student in the Softley group, won the poster prize at the Chemistry and Physics at Low Temperature conference in Biarritz, July 2016. Jutta's presented her work on the use of genetic algorithms, explaining how these can increase the deceleration and molecular density achievable with a short Zeeman decelerator.


Menelaus Medal awarded to Professor Hagan BayleyMenelaus Medal awarded to Professor Hagan Bayley

Hagan Bayley was honoured to be awarded the Menelaus Medal for 2016 by the Learned Society of Wales, of which he is a Fellow. William Menelaus was an engineer who made his fortune running a 19th-century ironworks in South Wales. The medal is awarded in any field of engineering and technology to a person connected with Wales; Hagan was bought up in Prestatyn, on the North Wales coast. The award came at a busy time. On Wednesday 18th May, after his morning Chemistry lecture, he rushed to Cardiff by train in time for the presentation and a delightful dinner at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Then, there was just time for a couple of pints of Brains in celebration, before getting up at 5 am to be back in time for his Thursday morning lecture in Oxford. Later this year, Hagan will give the Medal lecture in Bangor.


'Hot article' in Chemistry-A European Journal'Hot article' in Chemistry-A European Journal

Recent work from Andrey Protchenko and Part 2 student Matt Usher in the Aldridge group has been selected as a 'hot article' by the editors of Chemistry-A European Journal. The paper reports on the activation of hydrogen, ammonia and other E-H bonds by germanium analogues of carbenes.


Audience with HRH Princess Sirindhorn of ThailandAudience with HRH Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand

Professor Dermot O’Hare, Director of the SCG-Oxford Centre of Excellence for Chemistry (CoE) and the management of SCG recently had an audience with HRH Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand on the occasion of a celebration of Thailand-UK Science and Innovation Partnership.

The CoE is a unique collaboration between SCG and the University of Oxford. The centre focuses on the research and development in the area of Nano Materials and Catalysis, with its own dedicated laboratories in the Department of Chemistry. Professor Dermot O’Hare, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, serves as the Director. He recently received an MPLS Impact Award from the University in recognition of the creation of the CoE.

Since its establishment in 2012, the centre has published 40 publications in leading international journals and filed 30 patents. In 2014/15, 12% of all the new Intellectual Property from the University of Oxford originated from the centre.

Such mutual collaboration has led to the commercialization of breakthrough technologies, bringing benefits directly to the economy and society. Newly developed Nano materials have advanced properties ranging from biocompatibility, ultra high surface area and transparent hydrocarbon dispersion. These materials have tremendous potential across a range of industries e.g. chemicals, cement-building material and packaging.

The establishment of the centre itself has strengthened scientific and commercial ties between the UK and Thailand leading to Professor Dermot O’Hare and SCG's presentation to HRH Princess Sirindhorn, which was a tremendous honour.


On the Cover of RSC ChemCommOn the Cover of RSC ChemComm

Research carried out in the Gouverneur group has been highlighted on the front cover of Chemical Communications. The work carried out in collaboration with IMANOVA and ABX GmbH demonstrates that eight clinically important radiotracers are now directly accessible from arylboronic esters and [18F]KF/K222 in the presence of Cu(OTf)2py4. The method was successfully applied using three radiosynthetic platforms, and up to 26 GBq of non-carrier added starting activity of 18F-fluoride. The cover illustration was produced by Karl Harrison.


2016 Reaxys PhD Prize Finalist2016 Reaxys PhD Prize Finalist

Robert Straker, who undertook his DPhil with Ed Anderson, has been selected as a finalist for the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize. As a finalist he will present his work at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, held in London in September, where the three winners will be announced


Future Leaders in ChemistryFuture Leaders in Chemistry

Wilian Cortopassi, a PhD student in the Paton group, has been chosen as a Future Leader in Chemistry by SciFinder (ACS). In August 2016, he will join a select group of international Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers in Columbus (USA) to help shape the future of research information


On the Cover of Organic & Biomolecular ChemistryOn the Cover of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry

A review on ring-closing alkene metathesis in natural product synthesis by David Hodgson, cowritten with 5 of the current first year SBM CDT cohort and OxIOSCR IDP student and Hodgson group member Aubert Ribaucourt, has been highlighted on the front cover of Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry and as a ‘Hot Article'. The cover illustration was produced by Karl Harrison.


On the Cover of Chemical CommunicationsOn the Cover of Chemical Communications

A research collaboration between the groups of Professor Andrew Baldwin and Professor Harry Anderson has been highlighted on the inside front cover of Chemical Communications. The work demonstrates that unusual peak shapes observed in the NMR spectra of large porphyrin assemblies arises from interference between correlated relaxation mechanisms. The methodology used also provides an additional means of characterising the solution-state behaviour of such assemblies. The cover illustration was produced by Karl Harrison.


Editor's Pick in Journal of Chemical PhysicsEditor's Pick in Journal of Chemical Physics

Researchers in the group of Mark Brouard, together with collaborators Steven Stolte (Jilin University) and Javier Aoiz (Complutense University), have performed new experiments to unravel the stereodynamics of rotationally inelastic collisions of argon with nitric oxide (NO) which have been highlighted as the editor's pick of articles in The Journal of Chemical Physics. A quantum state selected molecular beam of NO is intersected by a beam of argon atoms, causing the NO to undergo rotational excitation. By using strong static electric fields, the NO can be directed towards the Ar either in an NO--Ar orientation or an ON--Ar orientation. The rotational energy transfer is shown to be highly sensitive to which end of the NO molecule the argon is pointing towards. The data can be explained in terms of quantum interference arising from scattering from the two ends of the NO molecule. You can view the article online here.


On the Cover of JOC: Asymmetric Synthesis of the Pyrrolidine Alkaloid (+)-Preussin B and its StereoisomersOn the Cover of JOC: Asymmetric Synthesis of the Pyrrolidine Alkaloid (+)-Preussin B and its Stereoisomers

Work by Steve Davies and co-workers has today been highlighted on the front cover of the Journal of Organic Chemistry. The manuscript describes the development of an asymmetric synthesis of the pyrrolidine alkaloid (+)-preussin B and two of its diastereoisomers. The key stereodefining steps in the synthesis are a highly enantio- and diastereoselective aminohydroxylation of an ,-unsaturated ester using the conjugate addition of a chiral lithium amide reagent coupled with in situ enolate oxidation to generate an -hydroxy--amino ester (and two of the stereogenic centres required in the target), and the diastereoselective reductive cyclisation of a -amino ketone to simultaneously close the ring and form the final stereogenic centre of the target. The cover illustration was produced by Karl Harrison.


New Oxford spinout OMass Technologies provides native mass spectrometry to pharma and biotechNew Oxford spinout OMass Technologies provides native mass spectrometry to pharma and biotech

OMass Technologies, a spin out from the University of Oxford’s Department of Chemistry, is the first company to conquer the challenge of deciphering the interactions of membrane proteins by using native mass spectrometry. It offers a new way to understand exactly how these important molecules respond to therapeutics, and in the process speeds up the development of new drugs. The company has raised £1m from Oxford Sciences Innovation to launch the enabling technology platform and has established partnerships with international pharmaceutical and biotech companies to guide their drug discovery programs.

OMass Technologies allows scientists to understand binding mechanisms of ‘classic’ small molecule therapeutic drugs, still the major focus for most pharmaceutical projects. At the same time it will provide insights into how to design better biologics. It will also offer scientists the ability to interrogate more complex drug targets, including membrane proteins, without the need to “denature” or destroy their 3D structure. Professor Dame Carol Robinson, one of the pioneers of structural mass spectrometry and a founder of OMass, said: “Over 50 per cent of approved drug targets are membrane proteins. These proteins are notoriously challenging for structural studies. But the new mass spectrometry methods we are developing here at Oxford allow us to understand the structure of membrane proteins and how they are affected by small molecule binding in much more detail”.

“This means we will be able to offer a new view for drug candidates. We’ll also be able to offer incredibly useful insights into how drugs interact within cells, for instance how they interact with the lipid membrane and how individual lipids influence drug binding, all prior to any pre-clinical or clinical trials”. OMass CEO Dr Jonathan Hopper said: “OMass will offer pharmaceutical and biotech companies the opportunity to access world-leading structural mass spectrometry technology, without having to set up sophisticated instrumentation and acquire expertise in-house. This provides new ways to study complex protein assemblies and their interactions with other biological molecules.”

The team has developed mass spectrometry methodologies based on 25 years of research and intellectual property from Oxford, and already has partnerships with many life science companies. Oxford’s Isis Innovation supported them by filing patent applications covering the methodology which describes applications of mass spectrometry to drug screening of membrane proteins.

OMass will establish an independent state-of-the-art laboratory in Oxford, which will operate in synergy with the research groups at the University of Oxford.

Dr Adam Stoten, Head of Technology Transfer, Life Sciences at Isis Innovation said: “For scientists, pharmaceutical companies and their investors, OMass offers the chance to understand how new therapeutic drugs act “in the wild” by characterising intact membrane protein assemblies.”


Surprising biochemical properties of membraneless organelles published in Nature ChemistrySurprising biochemical properties of membraneless organelles published in Nature Chemistry

In work highlighted in the Oxford Science blog and Science magazine, researchers from the group of Professor Baldwin report on the unique biochemical properties of membraneless organelles; viscous liquid droplets assembled via the phase separation of disordered proteins. The article describes how membraneless organelles can selectively partition biomolecules and melt one of the most stable biological structures known, the DNA double helix, without using ATP. This work reveals that by exploiting the solvent interiors of membraneless organelles, cells have evolved a similar capability to organic chemists, and are able to utilise different solvents to influence the behaviour of molecules and reactions.


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