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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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Fighting antibiotic resistanceFighting antibiotic resistance

Oxford has a long lasting history in the antibiotics field, especially in β-lactam antibiotics. Chris Schofield and his team are continuing this history by developing molecules that protect β-lactam antibiotics against antibiotic resistance. Their efforts have been highlighted in a NATURE REVIEWS DRUG DISCOVERY article that describes the progress of the European Lead Factory an Innovative Medicines Initiative funded project that aims to create new ways to develop innovative drug discovery starting points. The team's work was described as "one of the ELF’s most positive outcomes".

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Professor Tom Brown wins  BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2016Professor Tom Brown wins BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2016

Professor Tom Brown has won the BBSRC’s Innovator of the Year competition for his high impact serial entrepreneurship in DNA chemistry and outstanding commitment to innovation. The award was announced on May 18th at the BBSRC Fostering Innovation event in London. Professor Brown also won the Commercial Innovator category. The Innovator of the Year Award celebrates individuals and small teams who have harnessed the potential of their excellent research to help address real world challenges. Research in the Brown Group is interdisciplinary, focusing on nucleic acid chemistry and its applications in other fields including DNA diagnostics, forensic science and nanotechnology.

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Record £16.9M Oxford spin-out designing stem cell drugs to treat age-related diseaseRecord £16.9M Oxford spin-out designing stem cell drugs to treat age-related disease

OxStem, an Oxford spin-out founded by Prof. Steve Davies, Prof. Angela Russell and Prof. Dame Kay Davies (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics), has raised a record £16.9M to develop small molecule drug candidates to treat age-related conditions including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and heart failure. The company has formed strategic partnerships with Human Longevity Inc. and CEO Dr J Craig Venter together with Mr Bob Duggan and Dr. Mahkam Zanganeh (former CEO & Chairman and Chief Operating Officer respectively) of Pharmacyclics that was sold last year to Abbvie for US$21 billion. Other individual investors, together with Oxford Science Innovation, will enable OxStem to fund the development of a series of daughter companies - each with a focus on a different large unmet therapeutic need. The majority of the £16.9M is expected to be used to fund joint projects between the Department of Chemistry and other Departments across Oxford over the next three years.

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2016 Awards and Prizes from the  Royal Society of Chemistry2016 Awards and Prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Department is delighted to annouce that six of our academic staff have been recogized by the Royal Society of Chemistry for 2016 Prizes and Awards. They are Professor Peter Bruce (Liversidge Award), Professor Véronique Gouverneur (Tilden Prize), Professor Peter Hore (Interdisciplinary Prize), Professor Dermot O’Hare (Tilden Prize), Professor Susan Perkin (Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize) and Professor Andrew Weller (Frankland Award).

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Elected as Fellow of the Royal SocietyElected as Fellow of the Royal Society

Professor Bill David is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Bill David is distinguished as a leader in the experimental, computational and theoretical development of neutron and X-ray powder diffraction techniques, and has made substantial contributions across a broad range of materials research from lithium batteries and high-temperature superconductors to fullerenes and pharmaceutical compounds. He has pioneered the field of time-of-flight neutron powder diffraction and is a key figure in establishing powder diffraction as a routine technique for the structure determination of molecular compounds. His materials research focuses on low-carbon chemical energy storage with the discovery of new hydrogen storage systems and the development of ammonia as an energy vector.

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Featured on BBC NewsFeatured on BBC News

Oxford Advanced Surfaces, a Chemistry spin-out commercialising research developed by Professor Mark Moloney, has featured on BBC News, describing how it is applying its technology to treat recycled carbon fibre to create new lightweight composites for the automotive industry.

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Inaugural Student Ambassador CelebrationInaugural Student Ambassador Celebration

On Wednesday 25th May 2016 Oxford Chemistry Outreach were delighted to hold their Inaugural Student Ambassador Celebration to recognise the contribution our excellent ambassadors make towards our efforts to raise the aspirations of school students and inspire the next generation of young scientists. Congratulations to Robert Rossiter, our Undergraduate Student Ambassador of the Year. Thank you very much to Shimadzu for supporting this Celebration. Mark Bouard with Tsutomu Nakai (Managing Director of Shimadzu) presented a prize to Robert Rossiter (Undergraduate Student Ambassador of the Year)

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Just published: High-Resolution NMR Techniques in Organic Chemistry, 3rd Edition, by Tim ClaridgeJust published: High-Resolution NMR Techniques in Organic Chemistry, 3rd Edition, by Tim Claridge

This internationally renowned text describes the most important NMR spectroscopic techniques for the structure elucidation of small molecules and the investigation of their behavior in solution. Appropriate for advanced-undergraduate and graduate students, research chemists and NMR facility managers, this thorough revision now also includes dynamic exchange processes and their analysis, modern developments including residual dipolar couplings, pure-shift NMR, multiple receivers, fast methods, and hyperpolarization, the use of NMR methods to study protein-ligand binding interactions and a new chapter on the application of common 1D and 2D methods via a worked example.

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Blue Plaque for Dorothy HodgkinBlue Plaque for Dorothy Hodgkin

A blue plaque has been unveiled in honour of Oxford Chemistry alumna and Nobel Laureate Dorothy Hodgkin. The ceremony, organised by the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board and supported by Somerville College and the Department of Chemistry, took place at Dorothy Hodgkin’s former home, 94 Woodstock Road, Oxford. The plaque at 94 Woodstock Road and Professor Richard Cooper, Vice-President of the British Crystallographic Association

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On the Cover of JACS: Symmetry Switching of Negative Thermal Expansion by Chemical ControlOn the Cover of JACS: Symmetry Switching of Negative Thermal Expansion by Chemical Control

Work by a team of researchers lead by Mark Senn has today been highlighted on the front cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The communication describes how uniaxial negative thermal expansion (NTE) can be switched on or off in the layered Ruddlesden-Popper perovskite Ca3–xSrxMn2O7 by precisely tuning its lattice dynamics through chemical control of the composition x. This switching results from two competing crystallographic phases with different symmetries that may be "dialled in" by changing the chemical composition. This underlying mechanism may be exploited to tailor other lattice dynamical properties of this and similar materials.

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Research Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering NewsResearch Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News

A recent communication by Alexander Hinz and Jose Goicoechea has been highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News. The synthesis of AsCO–, a heavy congener of cyanate, is described in the paper, which was published in Angewandte Chemie. The group is conducting further studies on the use of this unusual anion in synthesis.

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The 2016 Inorganic Graduate Research Conference and Malcolm Green LectureThe 2016 Inorganic Graduate Research Conference and Malcolm Green Lecture

This year’s Inorganic Chemistry Graduate Research Conference took place on 19 and 20 April. This featured excellent research presentations by 22 final year graduate students across the full range of inorganic chemistry. The Research Conference culminated in the 2016 Malcolm Green Lecture, presented by Professor Daniel Nocera from Harvard University (pictured centre with Malcolm Green (right), Professor and Head of Inorganic Chemistry until 2003, and Philip Mountford). His lecture was entitled “Solar-to-Fuels Conversion by the Artificial Leaf”.

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Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award 2015 WinnerApplied Inorganic Chemistry Award 2015 Winner

Recently the Department hosted the RSC Awards symposium and Professor Yi Lu (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) received the Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award 2015. Awarded for his original research on the catalytic activity of DNA in the presence of metal ions, and the development of a new class of sensors for on-site and real-time detection of metal ions in environmental monitoring, food safety, and medical diagnostics. Dr. Yi Lu received his B.S. degree from Peking University in 1986, and Ph.D. degree from University of California at Los Angeles in 1992 under Professor Joan S. Valentine. After two years of postdoctoral research in Professor Harry B. Gray group at the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Lu started his independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 1994. He is now Jay and Ann Schenck Professor of Chemistry in the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Bioengineering and Materials Science and Engineering. He is also a member of the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and Institute of Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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Centenary Prize 2015 WinnerCentenary Prize 2015 Winner

Recently the Department hosted the RSC Awards symposium and Professor Chad Mirkin (Northwestern University) received the Centenary Prize 2015. Awarded for his development of spherical nucleic acids and new nanotechnology-based tools in biomedicine and materials science. Chad Mirkin is the Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Medicine at Northwestern University. He is a chemist and a world-renowned nanoscience expert, who is known for his discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and SNA-based biodetection and therapeutic schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography and related cantilever-free nanopatterning techniques, On-Wire and Co-Axial Lithography, and contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis. He has authored over 600 manuscripts and over 900 patent applications worldwide (252 issued), and he is the founder of multiple companies, including Nanosphere, AuraSense, and AuraSense Therapeutics.

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Bruker Thesis PrizeBruker Thesis Prize

Dr Claudia Tait has been awarded the prestigious Bruker Thesis Prize by the ESR Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry “recognizing outstanding work by PhD students in the field of ESR Spectroscopy”. Claudia undertook her DPhil work in CAESR under the supervision of Christiane Timmel and in collaboration with Harry Anderson before recently joining the research group of Stefan Stoll at the University of Washington.

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Nature Chemistry Science Papers highlightedNature Chemistry Science Papers highlighted

Dr Lingbing Kong’s work conducted in the groups of Professor Ben Davis and Professor Hagan Bayley has been published in Nature Chemistry. Single-molecule recapitulation of bacterial sugar export has been achieved by combining chemical polyglycosylation and nanolitre detection. As a result, how bacteria knit their “sugar armour” could be observed one molecule at a time. This work has been highlighted on the Oxford Science Blog. This paper together with another Nature Chemistry paper published earlier this year by Dr Kong, Dr Vijayakrishnan and coworkers in the Davis group, in collaboration with GlycoVaxyn (now LimmaTech and GSK), has shown some significant progress in the further development of novel antibacterials that might provide a new way to fight against antibiotic resistance.

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