Gibson Group News
Sarah-Jane wins #RSCAnalyticalposter prize
Sarah-Jane Richards had won the RSC's first analytical science twitter-based poster competition. The aim was to clearly summarise an area of analytical science, which would be understandable as a poster, uploaded to Twitter.
Matt Gibson Awarded 2015 RSC/Dextra Carbohydrate Award
Matt Gibson has been awarded the Dextra Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry's Carbohydrate Group. This award, which is sponsored by Dextra Laboratories, was founded in 1970. It is presented to a scientist in the early/mid stage of their career for meritorious work in carbohydrate chemistry that has largely been conducted in the UK.
Matt will present a lecture, and recieve the medal at the Spring Meeting of the Carbohydrate Group in Bangor, Wales.
This Award is recognition for the Group's continuing work at interface of polymer and glycosciences. For list of (prestiguous!) previous winners see;
Paper Accepted in Chem Commun
Collaborative work between with Liz Fullam (Warwick Life Sciences) and Richard Thompson (Durham Chemistry) conducted by Richard Lowery has been published in Chemical Communications.
This work describes the use of a new method for probing nutrient uptake into (pathogenic) bacteria, with the aim of increasing our understanding of their surival mechanisms. Here we showed that deuterium-labelled sugars could be used as 'label-free' probes for uptake using Nuclear Reaction Analysis; a technique more commonly used for depth profiling materials. Deuterium is easy to incorportate, and due to its relativley low natural abundance can be easily detected in isolated bacteria.
Read the article here; http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/cc/c4cc09588j#!divAbstract
Matt Gibson joins the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports
Matt has joined the editorial board of Scientific Reports from Nature Publishing group. He will handle manuscripts in fields related to the Lab's research in polymer science, carbohydrate science and biomaterials. Scientific Reports is open access only journal (no double-dipping of access fees).
Matthew Gibson awarded an ERC Starting Grant
Dr. Matthew Gibson has been awarded a prestigious ERC (European Research Council) starting grant, with a value of €1.5 million. These grants are highly competitive and awarded on the basis of science excellence, rather than any targetted research field. Starter grants of for young academics within 7 years of completing their PhD. This grant will accerate the Group's work in the field of Antifreeze GlycoProtein (AFGP) Mimics. In particular, the GibsonGroup have pioneered the use of synthetic polymers as mimics of AFGPs, showing that they are capable of controlling ice crystal growth- The growth of ice is a huge problem in the cryostorage of donated cells and tissues, limiting their availabilty for transplantation and regenerative medicine.
There will be several PhD and Postdoctoral vacanices associated with this.
Review Article Published in Polymer Chemistry
Our review article describing how we can engineer thermally-responsive polymers to respond to biological cues has been published in RSC Journal Polymer Chemistry. The scope of this article was to show that although thermo-responsive polymers are often called 'smart' polymers, their applicaiton is limited by a single trigger (heat). Here we describe how their LCST can be tuned using subtle modifications to end-groups, side chains, or back bones to enable an 'isothermal' (no heating) response in the presence to biologically relevant triggers such as metabolites, enzymes and ions.
Read the paper here
Responsive polymers have found diverse application across polymer, biomaterials, medical, sensing and engineering fields. Despite many years of study, this has focussed mainly on those polymers which undergo thermally-induced changes – either a lower, or upper critical solution temperature. To rival the adaptability of Nature’s macromolecules, polymers must respond in a ‘smarter’ way to other triggers such as enzymes, biochemical gradients, ion concentration or metabolites, to name a few. Here we review the concept of ‘isothermal’ responses where core thermoresponsive polymers are chemically engineered such that they undergo their useful response (such as coil-globule transition, cell uptake or cargo release) but at constant temperature. This is achieved by consideration of their phase diagram where solubility can be changed by small structural changes to the end-group, side-chain/substituents or through main chain modification/binding. The current state-of-the-art is summarised here.
ACS Macro Letters Paper Published
Our latest paper on responsive polymers has been published in ACS Macro Letters.
Read paper here
Thermoresponsive polymers have attracted huge interest as a way of developing smart/adaptable materials for biomedicine, particularly due to changes in their solubility above the LCST. However, temperature is not always an appropriate or desirable stimulus given the variety of other cellular microenvironments that exist, including pH, redox potentials, ionic strength, and metal ion concentration. Here, we achieve a highly specific, isothermal solubility switch for poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) by application of ferric iron (Fe3+), a species implicated in a range of neurodegenerative conditions. This is achieved by the site-specific incorporation of (Fe3+-binding) catechol units onto the polymer chain-end, inspired by the mechanism by which bacterial siderophores sequester iron from mammalian hosts. The ability to manipulate the hydrophilicity of responsive systems without the need for a temperature gradient offers an exciting approach toward preparing increasingly selective, targeted polymeric materials.
J. Materials Chemistry B Paper Online
Our latest paper, in collaboration with Gemma-Louise Davies, has been published in the RSC J. Mater. Chem. B. This paper describes the design, and investigation of sidereophore-inpsired nanoparticle biosensors for Fe3+. Siderophores are used by bacteria to capture Fe3+ (essential for them) from environment, and have catechol groups which bind this in a highly specific manner. Inspired by this, we installed catechol groups on the corona of polymer-coated gold nanoparticles. By tuning the chemistry, we obtained gold particles which selectively aggregated in the presence of Fe3+ (but not Fe2+ or a range of other ions) giving a change in colour from red to blue. Such a simple output is appealing, for low-cost sensors. Also, the detection of Fe3+ over Fe2+ is crucial in a range of neurodegenerative diseases, inlcuding Alzheimers.
Read the paper here.