Gibson Group News
Paper accepted in ACS Biomaterials Science and Enginnering
Our most recent cryopreservation/antifreeze protein mimetic paper has been accepted in the new ACS Journal, Biomaterials Science and Enginneering. In this work we sought to develop an 'all polymer' cryopreservation solution based upon ice recrystalisation inhibiting polymers. We have previously shown that PVA is a potent ice growth inhibitor and used this to preserve red blood cells. However, the total recovery using these polymers alone was not high enough for translation to real application. In this paper we used hydroxyethyl starch as a non-vitrifying cryopreservative, in tandem with our ice-modulating polymers. THis enabled us to recover far higher amounts of red blood cells, post freezing. Compared to glycerol (the current state of the art), this system was easier to use (no equilibration time issues) and all compounds are non-cell penetrating - meaning easy removal post thawing. A secondary benefit of an 'all polymer' system is the low molar concentration of cryoprotectants enabling us to succesfully store blood at - 20 C; a temperature where glycerol systems would still be liquid.
Read the paper here
MRC Innovation Grant Awarded
In collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Fullam (Life Sciences), we have been awarded a grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) from the Cross Council AMR Theme 1 Initiative (1 of only 8 awards made). This will seek to develop new tools for targetting the cell wall of Tuberculosis to validate new antibacterial and diagnostic agents. There is a 2 year postdoctoral position associated with this grant, so please contact us if interested.
Group's research highlighted in Chemistry World
Our recent paper in Chemical Communications has been highlighted by the Royal Society of Chemistry's magazine 'Chemistry World'. The article reviews are recent findings on how slowing the rate of ice growth during thawing of frozen cells, can improve their viability. In particular, we exemplify this for red blood cells, which are currently only frozen using large amounts of the organic solvent glycerol.
Read our related work here
Research Grant funded from Leverhulme Trust
We have been awarded a research grant, joint with the group of Nick Waterfield (Warwick Medical School), from the Leverhulme Trust. The project involves using a combination of chemistry and molecular biology (a.k.a. synthetic biology) to understand the function and potential uses of naturally occuring molecular syringes. There will be a PDRA (Med School) and PhD (Chemistry) working on this project
Paper published in Chem Commun
Our latest paper exploring the use of synthetic polymers for blood cryopreservation has been published. We have preivoulsy shown that ice recrystalisation inhibiting (IRI) polymers can improve cryopreservation, based on the PVA scaffold. Here we rationally designed a new polymer, based on an amopholyte structure - alternating cationinc/anionic charges. This was enabled by using the commodity polymer Gantraz, which gave us previce control over the charge balance. The new polymer was easy to make, and found to inhibit ice growth. It also was non-heamolytic to red blood cells and was used to enhance HES-mediated cryopreservation.
Read the paper here
Dr Matt Gibson Awarded PAT 'Young Talent' Award 2015
At the 13th PAT (Polymers for Advanced Technology) conference, in HongZhou (China) Matt was awarded the Young Talent award for outstanding research for an academic < 40 years old. He was selected from a shortlist of 5, including academics from USA, Europe and China.
Matt also delivered an invited lecture at the meeting.
Tom Congdon becomes a Dr!
Tom Congdon, co-supervised by Dr R. Notman has become the 4th member of the group to pass his PhD viva. His Thesis focussed on the synthesis and application of polymeric ice recrystalisation inhibitors; inspired by how antifreeze glycoproteins function. Tom also made signficant contributions to the design of new thermoresponsive polymers based upon intrinsically biocompatible scaffolds - namely carbohydrates and poly(vinyl alcohol)
Read some of this papers here;
Congdon, T., Shaw P., Gibson, 2015, Polymer Chemistry, 'Thermoresponsive, Well-defined, poly(vinyl alcohol) co- polymers' Accepted Link
Congdon, TR, Wilmet, C., Williams, R., Polt, J., Lilliman, M., and Gibson, M.I., Eur. Polym. J., 2015, 62, 352 - 362, "Functionalised Carbohydrate-Centred Oligomers and Polymers. Thermoresponsivity, Lectin Binding and Degradability"
Congdon, TC, Notman, R., Gibson, MI, Biomacromolecules, 2013, 14, 1578 - 1586 "Antifreeze (Glyco)Protein Mimetic Behaviour of Poly(vinyl alcohol): Detailed Structure-Ice Recrystallisation Inhibition Activity Study" link
Deller, R.C., Congdon, T., Sahid, M., Morgan, M., Vatish, M., Mitchell, D.A., Notman, R., Gibson, M.I., Biomater. Sci., 2013, 1, 478 - 485 "Ice recrystallisation inhibition by polyols: comparison of molecular and macromolecular inhibitors and role of hydrophobic units" Link
Paper Accepted in RSC Advances
Our latest paper has been accepted in RSC Advances. This paper describes our attempts to specfically identifiy lectins associated with bacterial infection and virulence. Lectins are proteins which bind glycans, but are famously promiscuous - any lectin can bind a range of sugars, and vice versa, making sensing them challenging. Current methods rely on protemics (e.g. expensive mass spec) or antibody based strategies - neitehr of these are useful for point of care diagnostics. Here we take an approach inspired by Tongues - these only have 5 different inputs, but can discriminate between a range of tastes by a combination of multiplexing (measuring relative response of each input) and training. Using just 3 simple monosaccharide surfaces we could profile and identify between 5 lectins which all 'bind' galactose. This includes the cholera toxin and a surrogate for ricin - a potential biological warefare agent.
Read the paper here:
Discrimination between Lectins with Similar Specificities by Ratiometric Profiling of Binding to Glycosylated Surfaces; A Chemical ‘Tongue’ Approach