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Gibson Group News

MIG gives lecture at NewtonFund Glycosciences Event

Matt Gibson gave an invited talk at the Newton Fund supported Glycoscience event, held in Guanajuanto, Mexico. The theme of the meeting was Biotechnology and Glycotechnology Tools for Human Health. Matt summarised the groups reserach in glycan-inspired biomaterials with a particular focus on 'easy' diagnostic tools for infection.

Fri 13 October 2017, 10:59 | Tags: Group News

Group Attend RSC Carbohydrate Meeting, Dublin


On 7/8 September 6 members of the group attended the RSC Carbohydrate Group's annual meeting, held at Trinity Colleage Dublin. The meeting featured many excellent talks including Plenary's from Gert-Jan Boons and the Dextra Medal winner, Carman Galan.

Sun 10 September 2017, 11:15 | Tags: Group News

Latest Work Published in ACS Macro Letters


Our latest work on antifreeze-protein mimetic polymers has been published in ACS Macro Letters. We have a major research interest in developing polymers which can mimic the function of antifreeze proteins; specifically their ability to slow the rate of ice crystal growth (recrystallisation). Ice recrystallisation is a major problem during the cryostorage of cells for medicine, transfusion, transplant and basic cell biology, hence understanding how these polymers function will help us make new, safer regenerative medicine treatments.

We have previously shown that poly(vinyl alcohol), PVA, is a remarkable ice growth inhibtor, but we do not really understand exactly how it works. Here we used column chromtography to isolate near-monodisperse fractions of PVA. The starting polymers, made by RAFT, would normally be described as being 'well defined' with a dispersity of 1.2 However, this still contains a complex mixture. This work showed that polymers with DP = 10, when monodisperse, had a lot less activity than DP 10 with more dispersity and the activity was attributed to the high molecular weight tails. This helped to us to identify how long a polymer must be, to be active (above ~12 units) and will guide our future work.

This work was conducted by an undergraduate student, Nick Vail during his MChem placement.

Ultralow Dispersity Poly(vinyl alcohol) Reveals Significant Dispersity Effects on Ice Recrystallization Inhibition Activity

Thu 31 August 2017, 09:02 | Tags: Group News, Publication

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

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