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Gibson Group News

Group Attend 3rd Ice Binding Proteins Conference and Invited Talk

Matt, Ben and Alice attended the 3rd Ice Binding Protein Conference in Rehovot, Israel. This is the words premier gathing of scientists who work on ice binding ('antifreeze') proteins. Matt gave an invited lecture describing the groups recent successes in mimic the function of antifreeze proteins with polymers, but also lower molecular weight compounds, challenging established concepts about what is possible in this field.

Thu 17 August 2017, 16:55 | Tags: Group News

Graphenic Ice Nucleators Published in PCCP


Our latest work in mimicing Nature's solutions to controlling ice growth and formation has been published in Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics. We have previously studied the use of synthetic polymers to mimic antifreeze proteins - essentially to stop ice crystals from growing larger, which has a major impact on cellular cryopreservation for regenerative medicine. However, the formation of ice (nucleation) is also an incredibly complex process which is also important in cell cryopreservation. There are few known ice nucleators and most are inorganic minerals (dust) rather than molecular systems. In this work, in collaboration with Jon Rourke, we took base washed graphene oxide (bwGO) as a scaffold to develop new nucleating agents. bwGO has epoxide groups, which we exploited to graft various thiols, including small molecules and polymers, to the surface. Using a multi-point nucleation assay we identified several candidates which were potent nucleators.

This is signifcant as it shows we can develop molecular systems to mimic ice nucleating proteins - proteins which are crucial for life, or even for making snow on ski slopes! (really..)

Read the paper here

Impact of Sequential Surface-Modification of Graphene Oxide on Ice Nucleation

Wed 09 August 2017, 07:45 | Tags: Group News, Publication

Matt delivers invited Talk at Monash University

Prof. Matt Gibson presented an update on our latest work towards the design, synthesis and application of glycomaterials, whilst visiting Monash University. Matt discussed the application of glycomaterials and the need to move away from 'does it precipitate ConA' towards either real application or a detailed understanding of the interactions involved. He showed new data on dynamic glycomaterials, where the carbohydrates are only expressed upon application of an external trigger, enabling temporal control over binding. He also introduce automated synthesis of glyco-materials to enable high-throughput screening.

Sat 29 July 2017, 03:48 | Tags: Group News

Matt Delivers Invited Talk at RACI 100th Anniversary Conference


Matt Gibson presented an update on the groups progress towards making fully synthetic mimics of antifreeze proteins, and their translation to cell storage.The congress was to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Australian Chemical Society, with >3000 delegates. During this talk Matt introduce the latest work, including self-assembled antifreeze-active materials and enhanced cellular storage.

Thu 27 July 2017, 00:48 | Tags: Group News

Latest Work Published In J.A.C.S !


In our latest publication we describe an entirely new approach to mimicing antifreeze protein (AFP) function, using self-assembled metal complexes, in place of helical peptides. This work also provides insight into the fundemental design principles to mimic AFP function.

It is often assumed that the desirable property of IRI (ice recrystalisation inhibition), associated with AFPs, requries a specific 'match' or structure to interact with growing ice crystals. We have hypothesised that, in fact, key macromolecular features, rather than 'binding motifs' are what are required. Here we used self-assembled metal complexes which have similar dimensions and pitch to short helical antifreeze proteins as potent IRI's. Crucially, the ligands themselves are not water soluble, but the produced metal complexes are. Modelling showed that the active 'metallohelices' had 'patchy amphiphilicity'; in short, segregated domains of hydrophobic and hydrophilic character. There are not obvious ice-binding sites, and few hydrogen bond donors, confirming that amphipathicity (not amphiphilicity) is the crucial feature.

These results are exciting for both fundamental studies of ice/water interface, but to help us develop new cryoprotectants for low-temperature applications, especially cell/tissue cryopreservation.

The work was conducted in collaboration with the Scott and Fox groups, and can be found here;

Antifreeze Protein Mimetic Metallohelices with Potent Ice Recrystallization Inhibition Activity
Tue 18 July 2017, 14:47 | Tags: Group News, Publication

Prof Gibson gives his Inauguration lecture at Warwick Medical School


On 26th June, Professor Matthew Gibson gave his inuagral ('leading lights') lecture at Warwick Medical School. This is a celebration of his promotion to a personal chair (professorship) joint between Warwick Medical School and the Department of Chemistry. After introductions by Prof Sudhesh Kumar (WMS Dean) and Prof Martin Wills (HoD of Chemistry) Matt introduced his career path on his way to Warwick, sharing success (and failures!) along the way. He then described two areas of research where his group actively works with his Medical School (and Life Sciences) colleagues; Glycoscience to study infection and new cell cryo-storage methods.

Following this, the Group had a Cocktail night to celebrate this, and future group successes!

Tue 27 June 2017, 11:24 | Tags: Group News, Publicity

Group attend APME 2017

7 Members of the group attended the APME (Advanced polymers via macromolecular engineering) conference in Gent. The group presented posters cover a diverse range of topics from bacterial biosensors, synthesis of poly(ampholytes), near antifreeze-protein mimetic polymers and glycopolymers for anti-adhesion therapy. Matt gave an invited lecture discussing the synthesis and most importantly activity of glycomaterials for infection. Our new approaches to make this process more high-throughput was also introduced.

Fri 26 May 2017, 09:04 | Tags: Group News

Sucessful Launch of Polymers to Near-Space!


Our collaboration with Edgecombe Community College, NC, USA, funded by a Nasa outreach grant resulted in the high-altitude balloon launch on Saturday. Our polymers were sent up added to several biological samples. Due to the polymers ability to mimic the function of natural antifreeze proteins, the cells (blood and algae) were protected from teh extreme cold stress and survived the (bumpy) journey.

Read the press release (with videos) here

Tue 11 April 2017, 12:55 | Tags: Group News, Publicity

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