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.
Anti-Bacterial Polymers Published in Biomacromolecules
Our latest work, in collaboration with the Fullam group at the School of Life Sciences has been published in ACS Biomacromolecules. This is part of our larger collaboration, including an Innovation grant from the MRC, into new methods for addressing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Traditional antimicrobials function by targetting a specific enzyme/pathway, which often enables resistance to develop. We are interested in moving from single target/small molecule paradigm to more innovative targets. In this work, we wanted to evaluate cationic polymers as anti-mycobacterial agents. Cationic polymers are extremely well studied, but mostly against pathogenic gram-negative organisms. Mycobacteria, which are a unique class of gram positive micro-organisms, which include Mycobaterium Tuberculosis have not been studied. We found that poly(dimethyl aminoethyl methacrylate) was particularly potent against a non-pathogenic mycobacterium (M. smegmatis). Interestingly, the polymer did not appear to lyse the cell membranes, which is the assumed mode of action, but less active cationic polymers did. Electron microscopy analysis suggested the cell-walls were being stressed. We are currently investigating this in more detail.
Read the full paper here
On Saturday, 8th April, a high altitidue balloon will be launched to over 60,000 ft, containing an experiment designed in collaboration with the GibsonGroup. This is part of a NASA-sponsered program, being undertaken by students at Edgecombe Community College, in Carolina, USA. The balloon will contain equipment for monitoring the external environment and also cameras; the Balloon will be high enough for the curvature of the Earth to be clearly visible. A secondary payload will also be included, enabling an additional science experiment. Jilian Leary, a student at the College contacted Professor Gibson to see if our cryo-protective polymers, inspired by antifreeze proteins could be included in an experiment to see how cells (blood) survive in the harsh conditions.
The launch will be live on facebook on 8th April (evening, UK time),
Read more here
The photograph shows the lead student Jillian, preparing the samples.
GibsonGroup at ACS
The Group will be giving 5 talks at the forth coming ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, 2-5 April. This will cover a broad range of topics inlcuding polymer synthesis, diagnostics, toxin neutralization and antimicrobials, polymer self assembly and tissue cryopreservation!
Come along to the following Talks to hear more!
Rational design of antifreeze-protein mimetic materials to enable the cryopreservation of cells
GlycoNanoparticle barcodes for pathogen identification
Tuesday, April, 04, 2017 from 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM
Glycopolymers with selectivity as well as avidity through macromolecular enginnering
Tuesday, April, 04, 2017 from 8:35 AM - 9:05 AM
Group Outreach for World TB Day
On Friday 24th March members of the group took part in World TB day. The aim of the day was to reach out to local communities to inform them of the re-occurance of TB as a disease not just from low-income countries and is no longer a disease consigned to history. There were 10.4 million new cases in 2015 and 1.8 million deaths globally. In order to increase public awareness, on World TB day, we went to Cannon park shopping center to spread the word that TB is still not defeated. Activities for both adults and children, as twitter photograph competition, cross-word puzzle and coloring competition gave the opportunity not only to inform the public about key facts of TB but also to win prizes. Over 350 people visited the stall during the day.
Chris Stubbs Invited to Join SCI Materials Chemistry Committee
Chris, a 2nd year PhD student in the Gibson group, was recently invited to join the materials chemistry subcommittee of the society of chemical industry. This is a group comprised of PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, and early career academics as well as recent graduates and post-doctoral staff from within the materials chemistry industry. The intent of the subcommittee is to be responsible for representing the materials division of the SCI on social media, whilst also increasing its representation within universities, and encouraging collaboration between their industrial partners and early career principal investigators. The subcommittee is currently arranging social events, conferences and talks which engage final year undergraduates and PhD students, with the intention of encouraging them to pursue careers within the chemical industry. At the most recent meeting, Chris gave a talk entitled "Synthetic Polymers to Mimic Antifreeze Proteins".
Group Members Win Technology/Business Competition
Ben Martyn, Ben Graham. Trisha Bailey and Chris Stubbs have won first place in a Business, Innovation and Commercialisation competition for most investable pitch. This was organised by Warwick Ventures as part of our Postgraduate Transferrable skills program. Well done all!
Matt Gibson gives seminar at Birmingham University
On thursday, 9th March, Professor Matthew Gibson, gave a seminar at the University of Birmingham. This was part of the Physical Sciences for Health series. In this, Matt discussed the groups past resutls in designed new polymers to mimic antifreeze proteins. He showed the evolution from simple mimics to more advanced polymers and even some non-antifreeze proteins, which have surprising antifreeze-like activity. He also introduced the relatively new topic (to the group) on controlling ice nucleation. The medical and biotechnological applications were also discussed. He even managed to link cruical science discoveries to moments from the Empire Strikes Back...