Archive for the ‘Subject Areas’ Category

Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867) – call for papers in physical chemistry

This year we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Michael Faraday, perhaps one of the most prolific and influential scientists who ever lived. His ground-breaking research into the relationship between electricity and magnetism ultimately led to the invention of the electric motor.

One of his most well-known creations, the Faraday cage, is the basis of MRI machines which are routinely used for a range of medical diagnoses. He also discovered benzene, pioneered research into nanotechnology, and gave his name to the Faraday Effect, Faraday’s Law, and the SI unit of capacitance, the farad.

At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we are honouring Michael Faraday with a special Chemical Communications web themed issue, highlighting key discoveries and developments in physical chemistry.

We encourage you to submit your best research to be included in this unique collection! More information about our article types can be found here. Submit at www.rsc.org/ChemComm by 31st July 2017! Please note that all submissions will be subject to peer review in accordance with the journal’s quality and standards. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email chemcomm-rsc@rsc.org

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Improving Sodium-Ion Batteries for Large-Scale Energy Storage

One of the greatest global challenges is the ever-growing demand for reliable, large-scale energy production.

The depletion of cost-effective fossil fuels and concerns about climate change are driving the need for clean energy sources derived from renewable technologies. Wind and solar power show significant potential as sustainable alternatives however, both solar photovoltaics and wind energy display intermittent output which has led to concerns regarding reliability for global energy production. As a result, there has been an increased demand for the development of large-scale energy storage.

Among energy storage technologies, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) predominate however lithium’s high cost, abundance, unevenglobal distribution and safety concerns have limited its widespread application. In recent years, researchers have become interested in high energy sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) as a safer and less expensive alternative. Nevertheless, their inferior electrochemical performances, due to the larger size and heavier mass of sodium ions, has become a major hurdle in the development and implementation of SIBs.

In a recent ChemComm publication, Prof. Jun Chen of Nankai University has demonstrated the improved capabilities of SIBs using a manganite hydroxide (MnOOH)-based anode.

In the past, transition metal oxides, such as MnOx-based materials, have been used in LIBs as they possess a high theoretical capacity and—in some cases—improved conductivity. In this study by Chen and co-workers, MnOOH nanorods (figure, top) were synthesized, and were shown to display a higher initial Coulombic efficiency and rate performance compared to MnO2 (a common anode material in LIBs). Cyclic voltammetry (figure, bottom) and various other spectroscopic techniques were used to investigate the electrochemical properties and storage behaviour of MnOOH-SIBs. These experiments showed improvements in charge capacity and overall rate performance when compared to other transition metal oxides and sulfides.

The results of this work show promise toward the fabrication of high-performance SIBs which are encouraging alternatives for energy storage due to sustainable cost, improved thermal stability and transport safety. The performance of SIBs still lags behind that of LIBs but this study, among others, demonstrates that new electrode materials need to be explored in the development of SIBs and solving large-scale energy storage challenges.

To find out more see:

MnOOH nanorods as high-performance anodes for sodium ion batteries
Lianyi Shao, Qing Zhao and Jun Chen
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC00087A


Victoria Corless is currently completing her Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Prof. Andrei Yudin at The University of Toronto. Her research is centred on the synthesis of kinetically amphoteric molecules, which offer a versatile platform for the development of chemoselective transformations with particular emphasis on creating novel biologically active molecules.

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Soft drinks power origami cell

Graphical Abstract

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry - The tiny fuel cell is made from a folded sheet of filter paper that holds the anode and cathode

Miniature fuel cell made from folded filter paper runs on sugary drinks.

Researchers in China have found a way to integrate the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, origami, into a miniature biofuel cell that can generate energy from soft drinks.

Biofuel cells use enzymes, instead of precious metals, as catalysts to oxidise their fuel. Miniature versions have excited researchers because they are portable and have high efficiency. They could provide power for implants or electronic contact lenses or harvest energy from perspiration. However, designing these small biofuel cells is difficult due to complicated assembly and high costs.


Read the full article in Chemistry World >>>


A miniature origami biofuel cell based on a consumed cathode
You Yu, Yujie Han, Baohua Lou, Lingling Zhang, Lei Hana and Shaojun Dong
Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 13499-13502
DOI: 10.1039/C6CC07466A, Communication

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Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize 2017 – call for nominations

ISMSC-ISACS 2017, 2-6 July 2017, Cambridge, UK

The International Committee of the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry is pleased to invite nominations for the Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize for young supramolecular chemists.

The Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize, named in honour of the winners of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, recognises significant original and independent work in supramolecular chemistry.

Previous winners include Ivan Aprahamian, Feihe Huang, Oren Schermann, Tomoki Ogoshi, Jonathan Nitschke, and Amar Flood.

Those who are within 10 years of receiving their PhD on 31st December 2016 are eligible for the 2017 award. The winner will receive a prize of £2000 and free registration for the ISMSC-ISACS meeting in Cambridge, UK. In addition to giving a lecture at ISMSC-ISACS, a short lecture tour will be organised after the meeting in consultation with the Editor of Chemical Communications, the sponsor of the award.

Nomination Details:

You may nominate yourself or someone else. Please send your CV, list of publications (divided into publications from your PhD and post-doc, and those from your independent work), and if desired, a letter of support, or these materials for someone you wish to nominate, to Prof. Roger Harrison (ISMSC Secretary) at rgharris@chem.byu.edu by 31st December 2016.

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Professor Itaru Hamachi joins as Associate Editor

We are very pleased to welcome Professor Itaru Hamachi from Kyoto University as a new Associate Editor to the ChemComm team and look forward to working with him over the coming years.

Itaru is a chemical biologist with expertise in live-cell organic chemistry, chemical biology, bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry, and supramolecular biomaterials. He is now accepting submissions to ChemComm in the area of chemical biology.

Itaru is looking froward to his new role:

I would like to encourage that new chemistry and chemical approaches between the chemistry and biology interfaces will appear in ChemComm, in order to decipher a lot of chemical-biology problems and also to create novel bio-inspired materials.

About Itaru:

Professor Itaru Hamachi was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan in 1960 and received his Ph.D. in 1988 from Kyoto University under the guidance of the late Professor Iwao Tabushi. Immediately thereafter he joined Kyushu University, where he worked as an Assistant Professor for three years in the Kunitake laboratory before he became an Associate Professor in the Shinkai laboratory in 1992. In 2001, he became a Full Professor at IFOC, Kyushu University and moved to Kyoto University in 2005 where he currently heads the bioorganic chemistry wing.

Professor Hamachi has been a PRESTO investigator for 7 years (from 2000 to 2006) and a team leader of two CREST projects (from 2008 to 2013 and then from 2013 to 2018), which all are supported by the Japan Science and Technology (JST) Agency.

Submit your next top-notch, high-impact research now to Itaru Hamachi’s Editorial Office.



Itaru’s recent articles in ChemComm and other Royal Society of Chemistry journals include:*

Protein recognition using synthetic small-molecular binders toward optical protein sensing in vitro and in live cells
Ryou Kubota and Itaru Hamachi
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2015, 44, 4454-4471
DOI: 10.1039/C4CS00381K, Review Article

Ligand-directed dibromophenyl benzoate chemistry for rapid and selective acylation of intracellular natural proteins
Yousuke Takaoka, Yuki Nishikawa, Yuki Hashimoto, Kenta Sasaki and Itaru Hamachi
Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 3217-3224
DOI: 10.1039/C5SC00190K, Edge Article
OA iconOpen Access

Hoechst tagging: a modular strategy to design synthetic fluorescent probes for live-cell nucleus imaging
Akinobu Nakamura, Kazumasa Takigawa, Yasutaka Kurishita, Keiko Kuwata, Manabu Ishida, Yasushi Shimoda, Itaru Hamachi and Shinya Tsukiji
Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, 6149-6152
DOI: 10.1039/C4CC01753F, Communication

*Access is free until 30/09/2016 through a registered RSC account.

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Ivan Aprahamian wins Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize

Photograph of Professor Ivan AprahamianThe International Committee of the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry is delighted to announce that the 2016 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize, given annually to an outstanding early-career supramolecular chemist, has been awarded to Professor Ivan Aprahamian, Dartmouth College, USA for his exciting research on molecular switches – congratulations!

As part of the Prize, Prof. Aprahamian will give a lecture at the 11th International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry meeting in Seoul, Korea which takes place from 10–14 July 2016.

Photograph of Dr Jeanne AndresDr Jeanne Andres (Deputy Editor of ChemComm) will be attending the event and will present the award in person. She would love to hear about your research and meet with our readers, authors and referees. Please do get in touch with Jeanne if you would like to arrange a meeting in advance.

We are also delighted to announce that the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry in 2017 will be held in conjuction with ISACS: Challenges in Organic Materials & Supramolecular Chemistry.

Our keynote speakers will be:

  • François Diederich (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • David Leigh (The University of Manchester, UK)
  • Jeffrey Long (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
  • Vivian Yam (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
  • Xi Zhang (Tsinghua University, China)

Full details of all the confirmed speakers may be found on the event website.

We hope you can join us in Cambridge, UK – save the dates 2–6 July 2017!

While you are waiting you might like to check out some of our recent themed collections of articles in the area of supramolecular chemistry – Enjoy!

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Fluorescently finding a specific disease marker needle in a biological haystack

The early detection and monitoring of disease is a somewhat recent advancement in healthcare that offers the significant advantage of being able to treat an illness in its initial stages, rather than once it has already manifested itself in the patient. Such a feat requires, however, the ability to see very specific and characteristic disease markers in situ, not unlike the search for a needle in a haystack.
 
Luckily, with the advent of fluorescence (and other) imaging techniques, methods have been developed whereby, in combination with contrast agents that are able to interact with specific molecules in the body, cell chemistry and function can be observed with high sensitivity, and, more importantly, abnormalities in these processes noticed in real time.
 
The art and ultimate success of this fluorescence imaging comes from the design of the contrast agent employed – the probe should be able to selectively recognise and target the relevant disease marker reversibly and under biological conditions. A number of approaches currently exist that meet these requirements, one of which is the boronic acid recognition motif that is able to act as a molecular receptor for the 1,2- and 1,3-diols commonly expressed in carbohydrates and complex glycoproteins. Tony James and his team from the University of Bath, whose own research focuses on such use of boronic acid receptors in the detection of carbohydrates, have summarised the recent and exciting advances in this particular field of selective biological imaging.
 
The well-known and strong affinity of boronic acids for carbohydrates offers a convenient means of detecting commonly expressed markers in diseases including some cancers, as well as Alzheimer’s, autoimmune, and heart diseases. As such, the attachment of this relatively simple chemical moiety to fluorescent small molecular, polymeric or benzoxaborale-based probes offers a diagnostic tool that is able to detect, monitor, and aid in the personalised treatment of such significant and life-changing diseases.
 
This Feature Article convincingly highlights the impact that boronic acid-based fluorescence imaging will ultimately have on a range of important clinical and theranostic practices and their successes.
  
Read this hot ChemComm article in full:
X. Sun, W. Zhai, J. S. Fossey and T. D. James
Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 3456–3469
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC08633G

About the Writer:
Anthea Blackburn is a guest Web Writer for Chemical Communications. Anthea hails from New Zealand, carried out her graduate studies in mechanostereochemistry under the guidance of Prof. Fraser Stoddart in the US, and has recently relocated to live in London. She is a recent addition to the Econic Technologies team, where she is working on the development of new catalysts for the environmentally beneficial preparation of polycarbonates from CO2.
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Nominate now for the 2016 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize in Supramolecular Chemistry

The International Committee of the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry is pleased to invite nominations for the Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize for young supramolecular chemists.

The Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize, named in honour of the winners of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, recognises significant original and independent work in supramolecular chemistry.

Previous winners include Feihe Huang, Oren Schermann, Tomoki Ogoshi, Jonathan Nitschke, and Amar Flood.

Those who are within 10 years of receiving their PhD on 31st December 2015 are eligible for the 2016 award. The winner will receive a prize of £2000 and free registration for the ISMSC meeting in Seoul, Korea. In addition to giving a lecture at ISMSC, a short lecture tour will be organised after the meeting in consultation with the Editor of Chemical Communications, the sponsor of the award.

Nomination Details:

You may nominate yourself or someone else. Please send your CV, list of publications (divided into publications from your PhD and post-doc, and those from your independent work), and if desired, a letter of support, or these materials for someone you wish to nominate, to Prof. Roger Harrison (ISMSC Secretary) at rgharris@chem.byu.edu by 31st January 2016.

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Sharpening up super-resolution images by getting heavy

Single molecule super-resolution microscopy is the technique which takes advantage of the photoconversion of fluorescent probes and single molecule dyes to image cellular ultrastructures beyond the diffraction limit of light. The most common approach for this technique is to genetically fuse photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs) to the biomolecules of interest. However, PA-FPs do not emit as much light as organic dyes, which poses a problem since this technique relies heavily on the number of photons that are collected. If you can increase the amount of photons emitted, you can increase the amount collected, which leads to higher localization and ultimately a higher resolution image.

Bo Huang and colleagues from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco set out to investigate ways to make the PA-FPs brighter. It was previously shown that heavy water (D2O) increased the photon count from popular small molecule dyes1; would the same effect be seen in the PA-FPs? The answer was yes: as the heavy water component increased, the photon count also increased.

Photon counts seen from 8 fluorescent proteins in PBS and D2O PBS

One possible concern is that heavy water in live cells can slow down cell growth and even cause cell death. However, in real life this happens on significantly longer time-scales than it does in an experimental environment, therefore, any adverse effects on live cells would be minimal.
 
If you use PA-FPs in your work and you want to sharpen up your images then this paper is worth a read.
 
To find out the details, read the ChemComm article in full:
Heavy Water: A Simple Solution to Increasing Brightness of Fluorescence Proteins in Super-resolution Imaging
Wei Qiang Ong, Y. Rose Citron, Joerg Schnitzbauer, Daichi Kamiyama and Bo Huang
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC04575D
 
1S. van de Linde, A. Loschberger, T. Klein, M. Heidbreder, S. Wolter, M. Heilemann and M. Sauer, Nat. Protoc., 2011, 6, 991
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In celebration of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded to  Tomas Lindahl, former director of Cancer Research UK’s Clare Hall Laboratories, Paul Modrich from Duke University in the US and Aziz Sancar from the University of North Carolina in the US  for their  “mechanistic studies of DNA repair”.

nobel laureates
Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar © Inserm-P. Latron, Mary Schwalm/AP/Press Association, Max Englund/UNC School of Medicine.

Tomas Lindahl’s research pieced together a molecular image of how base excision repairs DNA when a base of a nucleotide is damaged and subsequently managed to recreate the human repair process in vitro. The mechanism known as nucleotide excision repair, which excises damage from UV and carcinogenic substances, was then mapped by Aziz Sancar – the molecular details of this process changed the entire research field. Paul Modrich also studied the human version of the repair system. His work focused on DNA mismatch repair, a natural process which corrects mismatches that occur when DNA is copied during cell division.

The research carried out by the three 2015 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry has not only revolutionised our knowledge of how we function but also lead to the development of life – saving treatments. To celebrate these remarkable achievements, we are delighted to present a collection of recent Chemical Communications, Chemical Science and Chemical Society Reviews articles on DNA repair, FREE to read until 1 December 2015!

We invite you to submit your best research related to DNA repair mechanisms to Chemical Communications, Chemical Science and Chemical Society Reviews!


Reviews

Finding needles in a basestack: recognition of mismatched base pairs in DNA by small molecules
Anton Granzhan, Naoko Kotera and  Marie-Paule Teulade-Fichou
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2014, 43, 3630-3665
DOI: 10.1039/C3CS60455


The chemical biology of sirtuins
Bing Chen, Wenwen Zang, Juan Wang, Yajun Huang, Yanhua He,  Lingling Yan,  Jiajia Liu and Weiping Zheng
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2015, 44, 5246-5264
DOI: 10.1039/C4CS00373J


Luminescent oligonucleotide-based detection of enzymes involved with DNA repair
Chung-Hang Leung, Hai-Jing Zhong, Hong-Zhang He, Lihua Lu, Daniel Shiu-Hin Chan and Dik-Lung Ma
Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 3781-3795
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC51228B


 

 

Research articles

A label-free and sensitive fluorescent method for the detection of uracil-DNA glycosylase activity
Jing Tao, Panshu Song, Yusuke Sato, Seiichi Nishizawa, Norio Teramae, Aijun Tong  and Yu Xiang
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 929-932
DOI: 10.1039/C4CC06170E


DNA-mediated supercharged fluorescent protein/graphene oxide interaction for label-free fluorescence assay of base excision repair enzyme activity
Zhen Wang, Yong Li, Lijun Li, Daiqi Li, Yan Huang, Zhou Nie and Shouzhuo Yao
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 13373-13376
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC04759E


A fluorescent G-quadruplex probe for the assay of base excision repair enzyme activity
Chang Yeol Lee, Ki Soo Park and Hyun Gyu Park
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 13744-13747
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC05010C


A chemical probe targets DNA 5-formylcytosine sites and inhibits TDG excision, polymerases bypass, and gene expression
Liang Xu, Ying-Chu Chen, Satoshi Nakajima, Jenny Chong, Lanfeng Wang,  Li Lan, Chao Zhang and  Dong Wang
Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 567-574
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC51849C


Sensitive detection of polynucleotide kinase using rolling circle amplification-induced chemiluminescence
Wei Tang, Guichi Zhu and Chun-yang Zhang
Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, 4733-4735
DOI: 10.1039/C4CC00256C


Rescuing DNA repair activity by rewiring the H-atom transfer pathway in the radical SAM enzyme, spore photoproduct lyase
Alhosna Benjdia, Korbinian Heil, Andreas Winkler, Thomas Carell and Ilme Schlichting
Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, 14201-14204
DOI: 10.1039/C4CC05158K


Expanding DNAzyme functionality through enzyme cascades with applications in single nucleotide repair and tunable DNA-directedassembly of nanomaterials
Yu Xiang, Zidong Wang, Hang Xing and  Yi Lu
Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 398-404
DOI: 10.1039/C2SC20763J


Detection of base excision repair enzyme activity using a luminescent G-quadruplex selective switch-on probe
Ka-Ho Leung, Hong-Zhang He, Victor Pui-Yan Ma, Hai-Jing Zhong, Daniel Shiu-Hin Chan,  Jun Zhou,  Jean-Louis Mergny, Chung-Hang Leung and  Dik-Lung Ma
Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 5630-5632
DOI: 10.1039/C3CC41129J


Endonuclease IV discriminates mismatches next to the apurinic/apyrimidinic site in DNA strands: constructing DNA sensing platforms with extremely high selectivity
Xianjin Xiao, Yang Liu and  Meiping Zhao
Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 2819-2821
DOI: 10.1039/C3CC40902C


Also of interest: Find out more about the three Chemistry Nobel Laureates and their research.

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