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Former Chemistry Student wins Nobel PrizeFormer Chemistry Student wins Nobel Prize

Oliver Smithies, an Honorary Fellow and former student of Balliol College, shares the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine with Briton Martin J Evans and American scientist Mario R Capecchi for developing a technology for manipulating genes in mice. Oliver Smithies gained a First in his BA Chemistry degree in 1946 before completing his master's degree and doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford in 1951. Professor Smithies is now Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in the United States.

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PRS to DPhil Transfer AwardsPRS to DPhil Transfer Awards

The following students were awarded a commendation for their work on transfer from PRS to DPhil status: Sophie Boldon (Supervisor: Dr Veronique Gouverneur) Jess Kershaw (Supervisor: Professor Tim Donohoe) Peter Lindsay-Scott (Supervisor: Professor Tim Donohoe) Thomas Parsons (Supervisor: Dr Antony Fairbanks) Simon Sprague (Supervisor: Dr Jonathan Burton) Karl Thorley (Supervisor: Professor Harry Anderson) David Williamson (Supervisor: Professor Steve Davies)

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Lilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry ResearchLilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry Research

The three 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 status. The winners of Lilly prizes for the year 2006-2007 are: Justin Chalker (Supervisor: Professor Ben Davis) Brian Mnangat Ptoton (Supervisor: Professor Tim Donohoe) William Unsworth. (Supervisor: Dr Jeremy Robertson)

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Oxford's Knack For Spinning GoldOxford's Knack For Spinning Gold

An article in the recent C&EN (September 2007) highlights how Oxford offshoots from University's Chemistry Department make their mark in the world of commerce. Blame it all on a chemistry research laboratory. The decision in the 1990s by the University of Oxford's chemistry department to build a $130 million laboratory concentrated minds on the need to raise money. Part of the department's solution involved a pioneering agreement with the intellectual property commercialization company IP2IPO, now known as IP Group.

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RSC 2006 Industrially Sponsored Award WinnersRSC 2006 Industrially Sponsored Award Winners

Harry Anderson has received the Supramolecular Chemistry award. Harry won 'for his study of synthetic routes to new supramolecular structures and the design of new structural classes with specific properties'.

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RSC 2006 Industrially Sponsored Award WinnersRSC 2006 Industrially Sponsored Award Winners

Peter Battle has received the Solid State Chemistry award. This is sponsored by Johnson Matthey plc, for the Materials Chemistry Division. Peter won 'for his wide-ranging contributions to the synthesis and characterisation of complex functional oxides'.

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RSC Longstaff Medal and PrizeRSC Longstaff Medal and Prize

The Royal Society of Chemistry has agreed that Professor Sir Jack Baldwin, FRS be awarded the Longstaff Medal and Prize for 2008. The Longstaff Medal, first awarded in 1881, was instituted to commemorate the name of Dr George Dixon Longstaff, an original Fellow and benefactor of the then Chemical Society. In accordance with the terms of the bequest, the Medal is awarded every three years to the member of the Society who, in the opinion of the Council, has done the most to promote the science of chemistry by research. The award has been made to Jack Baldwin for his distinguished contributions to natural product chemistry and synthetic methodology.

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Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry Cover for Prof D M HodgsonOrganic & Biomolecular Chemistry Cover for Prof D M Hodgson

The cover highlights work from Prof Hodgson's laboratory on the synthesis of azabicyclic systems using nitrogen-directed radical rearrangements, set against a background of the river Cherwell in recent flood. The stabilisation of alpha-nitrogen radicals is shown to be a useful effect for the control of radical rearrangements and is applied to the synthesis of a variety of azabicyclic frameworks, including the synthesis of bioactive targets. The cover was designed by Karl Harrison

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Royal Society University Research FellowshipRoyal Society University Research Fellowship

Dr Kylie Vincent has been awarded one of the 2007 Royal Society University Research Fellowships which will enable her to pursue independent research for up to 10 years. Since 2002, Kylie has worked with Fraser Armstrong on H2 catalysis by microbial metalloenzymes known as hydrogenases, and since 2004 she has held a ‘RJP Williams’ Junior Research Fellowship at Wadham College. She will take up her new post on October 1 when she will also become a Senior Research Fellow at Wadham College.

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Academics can claim many significant commerical successesAcademics can claim many significant commerical successes

An article in the FT highlights a survey of chemistry spin-outs from UK universities, by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chemistry Leadership Council. In the article it mentions Oxford University has been most active in commercialising its research, with 16 spin-out companies formed so far (12 since 2000). Graham Richards, head of Oxford chemistry until last year, says the department 'has contributed over £80m to the central university as a result of its spin-out activities'

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Dalton Cover for Dr S PascuDalton Cover for Dr S Pascu

Work by Sofia Pascu and co-workers at Cambridge, published in Dalton Transactions, has been selected as a frontispiece. Lithium and sodium-linked donor-acceptor pseudorotaxanes have been prepared to show formation of interesting supramolecular architectures. Small structural modifications in the host or guest geometries affect the relative kinetic stabilities in the series. Significant differences in behaviour in solution between the two donor molecules, coupled with output in visible renders this system renders this system suitable to forming molecular switches. The cover illustration was designed by Karl Harrison.

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Insertion reactions of dicyclohexylcarbodiimide with amino boranes, boryls and  borylenesInsertion reactions of dicyclohexylcarbodiimide with amino boranes, boryls and borylenes

Recent work by Glesni Pierce, Simon Aldridge and co-workers in the CRL and at Cardiff University on the fundamentals of small molecule insertion into metal-ligand bonds has been highlighted as a ‘hot paper’ in Dalton Transactions. The paper is entitled ‘Insertion reactions of dicyclohexylcarbodiimide with amino boranes, boryls and –borylenes

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Mechanism of Unusual Antibiotic highlightedMechanism of Unusual Antibiotic highlighted

Work from Tom Brown and Delphine Fischer from Chris Schofield's group, published in Nature Chemical Biology, and highlighted in Nature and Chemical and Engineering news, has revealed the mechanism by which the antibiotic lactivicin inhibits penicillin binding proteins (PBPs). Lactivicin is unique because it is the only known naturally occurring PBP inhibitor that doesn't contain a beta-lactam ring. In collaboration with European partners, including Andrea Dessen from IBS (CEA/CNRS) Grenoble, they obtained crystal structures of lactivicin and an analogue, complexed with the PBP from Streptococcus pneumoniae. In both complexes, both the lactam and lactone lactivicin rings are open, and the antibiotics are covalently bound to a nucleophilic serine. The lactivicin-PBP complexes were surprisingly analogous to the complex formed by reaction of the PBP with a cephalosporin.

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Structure of histone demethylase in NatureStructure of histone demethylase in Nature

A collaboration between Chris Schofield's group in Chemistry and the group of Udo Oppermann at the Structural Genomics Consortium has resulted in the first structure for a histone demethylase complexed with its substrates, recently published in Nature. Post-translational histone modification has a fundamental role in chromatin biology and is proposed to constitute a histone code in epigenetic regulation. The work provides a structural rationalisation of how one histone demethylase is able to select for different methylation states at histone lysyl residues; it also provides a starting point from which to develop chemical tools to dissect the roles of specific histone modifications.

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RSC Postgraduate PrizeRSC Postgraduate Prize

Natalie Coombs, a final year doctoral student working in the Chemistry Research Laboratory has won the prize for best post-graduate student talk at the 2007 RSC Main Group Chemistry national meeting. Her talk ‘Transition Metal – Group 13 Element Multiple Bonds,’ given at the meeting in Bristol, featured results from her recent work in the Aldridge group.

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The Royal Society Davy MedalThe Royal Society Davy Medal

The 2007 Davy medal was awarded to Professor John Simons FRS for his many innovative experimental contributions to a broad area of chemical physics, including molecular reaction dynamics, molecular spectroscopy and most recently, biophysical chemistry. This medal is awarded annually for an outstandingly important recent discovery in any branch of chemistry. When first awarded in 1877, the medal was jointly awarded to Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff, for their researches and discoveries in spectrum analysis.

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Angewandte Chemie International Edition FrontispieceAngewandte Chemie International Edition Frontispiece

Work of Colin Lam from Veronique Gouverneur's laboratory published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition has been selected as a frontispiece. Enantioenriched, densely functionalized fluorinated carbocycles have been made accessible using a short synthesis featuring an operationally simple reverse cycloaddition-fluorination sequence. The late introduction of fluorine is advantageous as this avoids the complications associated with the synthesis and reactivity of fluorinated reactants. This study offers a unique platform to delineate the effects responsible for the level and sense of stereocontrol of the fluorination as the substitution pattern of the adducts varies.

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Cover Picture for ChemPhysChemCover Picture for ChemPhysChem

The cover picture of ChemPhysChem this month show-cases the work of DPhil student Meng Chen, working with Jacob Klein in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory of Oxford University. Chen and Klein and co-workers have succeeded in growing robust polyzwitterionic brushes directly from an atomically-smooth planar mica substrate using ATRP. Synthesis of this type allows the generation of atomically-smooth biomimetic substrates for nanometre-resolution studies of their surface and lubrication properties.

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Encaenia Honorary Degree Ceremony 2007Encaenia Honorary Degree Ceremony 2007

Professor Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra, Rao, Ms, DSc, PhD, FRS, is a research chemist, Commonwealth Visiting Professor to our Chemistry Department, Member of University Chemistry Review Panel, National Research Professor and Honorary President and Linus Pauling Research Professor of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India. He is best known for his work on transition metal oxides that has led to an understanding of the relationship between the structures of these materials and their properties.

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Sensing light with ‘liquid Lego’Sensing light with ‘liquid Lego’

Scientists at Oxford University and Duke University in the United States have used tiny water droplets to build a unique microscopic light sensor. Their approach turns water droplets into protocells: empty artificial cells that can be filled with different cellular components. In theory, networks of protocells could be used to simulate biological systems – such as heart muscle or brain tissue. 'Each millimetre-sized water droplet in our network acts as a protocell. Chains of droplets are put together like liquid Lego, and are just as easily taken apart or reorganised,' said Dr Matthew Holden of Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry who conducted the research with Oxford’s Professor Hagan Bayley and Professor David Needham at Duke University. A report of the research is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Resarch Article Highlighted Resarch Article Highlighted

Work from Hagan Bayley's laboratory published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society is featured in a news article in the current issue of Analytical Chemistry. The group has been developing engineered protein nanopores for applications in single-molecule sensing and ultrarapid DNA sequencing. The paper shows how the fragile lipid bilayer containing the nanopore can be stabilised so that the technology can be taken outside the laboratory. Kang, X.-f., Cheley, S., Rice-Ficht, A.C. and Bayley, H. A storable encapsulated bilayer chip containing a single protein nanopore. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 4701-4705 (2007). DOI: 10.1021/ja068654g

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Top Cited Paper in OrganometallicsTop Cited Paper in Organometallics

A research paper titled 'A Stable Crystalline Imino-N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligand and Its Corresponding Palladium(II) and Rhodium(I) Complexse' published by Organometallics and written by Sarim Dastgir, Karl S. Coleman, Andrew R. Cowley, and Malcolm L. H. Green in 2006, has become one of the ten most cited papers for that yearl.

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ChemComm cover picture for research paperChemComm cover picture for research paper

Recent work by Harriet Teare in Véronique Gouverneur's group is featured on the front cover of Chemical Communication. A novel [18F]NF reagent and two novel radiochemical transformations have been developed for applications in Positron Emission Tomography.

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Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Dr Andrew WellerRoyal Society of Chemistry Award for Dr Andrew Weller

Dr Andrew Weller, who is joining Oxford Chemistry from Bath in September, has been awarded the inaugural Royal Society of Chemistry's Dalton Transactions European lectureship for his work in Organometallic chemistry. This award recognises the achievements of an emerging European inorganic chemist.

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FT highlights Professor Richards' researchFT highlights Professor Richards' research

A super-fast method of matching molecular shapes, developed at Oxford University, promises to speed up the drug discovery process - and could lead to a much wider application as a 'Google for shapes'. Ultra-fast Shape Recognition (USR) is 1,500 times quicker at matching three-dimensional shapes than the best existing computer methods, say its inventors, Graham Richards and Pedro Ballester.

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Hydrogen breakthrough could open the road to carbon-free carsHydrogen breakthrough could open the road to carbon-free cars

A new breakthrough in hydrogen storage technology could remove a key barrier to widespread uptake of non-polluting cars that produce no carbon dioxide emissions. The breakthrough has been achieved by a team from the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, under the auspices of the UK Sustainable Hydrogen Energy Consortium (UK-SHEC). UK-SHEC is funded by the SUPERGEN (Sustainable Power Generation and Supply) initiative managed and led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

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Angewandte Chemie Cover PictureAngewandte Chemie Cover Picture

A panoramic library: Multiwell library screening of acceptor structures has allowed the identification of the first examples of glycosynthase enzymes that utilize non-natural substrates. In their Communication on page 3885 ff., G. Davies, B. Davis, and M. Yang show that the novel specificity, activity, and catalytic efficiency of the mutants are comparable with those of natural glycosyltransferases. The cover shows a 360° view of the multiwell ceiling of Oxford's Radcliffe Science Library.

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Angewandte Chemie Communications FrontispieceAngewandte Chemie Communications Frontispiece

Recent work from the groups of Prof. John Simons and Prof. Ben Davis on probing aromatic-sugar complexes has been selected as a frontispiece for Angewandte Chemie. Sugar-arene complexes have been created in molecular-beam experiments and observed by IR ion-dip spectroscopy in the gas phase. These complexes are powerful models of the selective recognition seen in protein-sugar complexes, for example between the galactose-specific lectin from Artocarpus hirsute and MeGal

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Cover article in PCCP Cover article in PCCP

An invited article by Jonathan Doye, Alex Wilber and Ard Louis on computer simulations of crystallization is featured on the front cover of the current issue of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

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Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Oxford ChemistRoyal Society of Chemistry Award for Oxford Chemist

Professor Tim Donohoe has been awarded one of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 2006 Corday-Morgan Medals for distinguished contributions to synthetic organic chemistry.

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