Welcoming new RSC Advances Editorial board members

RSC Advances gives a warm welcome to the following new Editorial board members: Giridhar Madras, Heloise Pastore and Manuel Minas de Piedade.

Giridhar Madras has been a Full Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at the Indian Institute of Science, India since 2007 and has published more than 450 international journal articles, which have more than 13000 citations and is among the most cited engineering scientists in India with a h-index of 55. His research interests are in the area of reaction engineering applied to polymers, supercritical fluids, and catalysis.


Heloise Pastore
is currently a Full Professor at the Chemistry Institute of the State University of Campinas in Brazil and has research interests and experience in Molecular sieves, isomorphic substitution, zeolites, mcm-41 and supramolecular arrangements.

Professor Pastore is responsible for the invention of two new families of molecular sieves called CAL and UEC.

 

Manuel Minas da Piedade‘s research interests are mainly focused on the energetics of molecules (e.g. fullerenes, PAHs, ionic liquids), crystals (nucleation, polymorphism, crystal engineering), and, very recently, also living cells. He is currently based at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal as an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

 

Please see a small selection of articles from our new board members below:

Facile one-pot scalable strategy to engineer biocidal silver nanocluster assembly on thiolated PVDF membranes for water purification
Maya Sharma, Nagarajan Padmavathy, Sanjay Remanan, Giridhar Madras and Suryasarathi Bose
RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 38972-38983
DOI: 10.1039/C6RA03143A, Paper

Lamellar zeolites: an oxymoron?
F. Solânea O. Ramos, Mendelssolm K. de Pietre and Heloise O. Pastore
RSC Adv., 2013, 3, 2084-2111
DOI: 10.1039/C2RA21573J, Review Article

Direct experimental observation of the aggregation of α-amino acids into 100–200 nm clusters in aqueous solution
Daniel Hagmeyer, Johannes Ruesing, Tassilo Fenske, Heinz-Werner Klein, Carsten Schmuck, Wolfgang Schrader, Manuel E. Minas da Piedade and Matthias Epple
RSC Adv., 2012, 2, 4690-4696
DOI: 10.1039/C2RA01352E, Paper

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Sandpaper electrode harvests electricity from friction

Written by James Sudlow for Chemistry World.

Researchers in South Korea have developed a method to turn common sandpaper into an electrode that generates current from friction, promising a way to power portable devices with ambient mechanical energy.

Source: © iStock Sandpaper already has the rough texture required to make an effective triboelectric generator

Wirelessly powering small devices by harvesting energy from the environment could eliminate the need to ever recharge them. This is especially useful for embedded sensors as they will often be located in inaccessible places without a power supply, for example, on the inside of machines or the side of buildings.

Interested? Read the full article in Chemistry World.

The original article can be read below:

Large-sized sandpaper coated with solution-processed aluminum for a triboelectric nanogenerator with reliable durability
Daewon Kim, Hye Moon Lee and Yang-Kyu Choi
RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 137-144
DOI:  10.1039/C6RA26677K

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Within The Heart: Regenerating Diseased Heart Valve Leaflets

Hair and nails grow back, but heart valves cannot regenerate naturally. This fact is being challenged by a team of scientists who have developed a method that could someday regrow defective heart valves.

Valvular interstitial cells (VIC), the most prevalent cells in the heart valve, are developmentally locked in a state of quiescence, preventing their division within the body. In people suffering from inflammation-induced or inborn heart valve defects, damaged valves have to be replaced surgically with either mechanical (made with artificial polymers) or bioprosthetic (made with heart tissue) valves.

People with artificial valves are required to take blood thinners for extended periods and make significant changes to their lifestyle. In addition, artificial valves in younger patients do not grow and remodel with time, causing additional complications during adulthood. These issues are further compounded by an estimate suggesting that over 850,000 patients will require heart valve transplants by the year 2050.

Soumen Jana and colleagues at the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, USA approached this problem from a different angle. Relying on studies showing that VICs can be isolated from heart valves and grown in a laboratory setting, the team developed a nanofibrous membrane-based scaffolding structure to support the growth of VICs. Similar to the cross-cross patterns formed by ropes in a hammock, their polycaprolactone polymer scaffold comprises randomly oriented nanofibers (~457 nm in diameter) to form a cradle within which VICs from defective valves can be grown.

Within the body, VICs are arranged as monolayer sheets, forming a veneer on the outer surfaces of heart valve leaflets. They form this complex structure by depositing collagen – a cellular cementing protein that allows cells to interlock like a cobblestone path to form a sheet-like structure. The researchers reasoned that by artificially simulating conditions ideal for VIC growth within the body, they could create VIC sheets in the laboratory and examine their similarity to naturally occurring VICs in heart valve leaflets.

The study found that VICs from healthy valves showed greater levels of cell division on the scaffold compared to VICs from defective valves. Interestingly, the scaffold induced collagen deposition from VICs obtained from both healthy and defective valves. The study also looked at a series of genes and proteins important in VIC growth. Patient derived VICs grown on nanofibrous scaffolds deposited appropriate amounts of cementing proteins necessary for leaflet regeneration.

Clinical trials aimed at regenerating heart valves with chemical drugs and DNA modifying methods are under way. In their study, Jana and colleagues suggest VIC regeneration as a novel idea. They also engineer a scaffold that supports VIC growth, demonstrate its practicality and highlight its ability to be translated into a clinically impactful technology.

Read the full article here:

Regeneration ability of valvular interstitial cells from diseased heart valve leaflets
Soumen Jana, Rebecca Hennessy, Federico Franchi, Melissa Young, Ryan Hennessya and Amir Lerman

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Major society chemistry publishers jointly commit to integration with ORCID

ORCID provides an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship and innovation activities, ensuring authors gain full credit for their work.

Today, we signed their open letter, along with ACS Publications, committing to unambiguous identification of all authors that publish in our journals.

The official press release can be read here.

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Serving up anti-cancer cocktails: design, synthesis and evaluation of hybrid inhibitors

Scientists in the area of cancer drug development constantly find ways to target cancer’s Achilles heel. Bcr-Abl is a protein expressed in 95% of all Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (a type of blood cancer) cases. It remains activated (i.e. switched ON) and instructs cancer cells to divide indefinitely. Bcr-Abl has remained an attractive target for therapy. Yet another attractive therapeutic target is Histone Deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) – a protein known to control cell survival via its ability to influence the turning on and turning off of certain genes.

Previous studies show that the drugs Dasatinib and MS-275 efficiently inhibit the cancer promoting activities of Bcr-Abl and HDAC1 respectively.  Clinical trials also suggest that these drugs, when used independently in separate studies, can be used to treat a variety of solid as well as blood-borne cancers. Bcr-Abl and HDAC1 are components of distinct cellular wiring systems, referred to as signalling pathways, which sustain cell survival and division. Single agent drugs, or drugs that stifle a single cancer-promoting pathway, weed out most cancer cells but also set the stage for drug-resistant cells. Reports suggest that both Dasatinib and MS-275 are associated with cancer drug resistance.

Multi-target inhibitors are a new and evolving class of cancer drugs that can simultaneously inhibit at least two signalling pathways. These compounds  have emerged as a potential solution in circumventing cancer drug resistance. Chen and colleagues at the Department of Organic Chemistry, School of Science, China Pharmaceutical University, China, designed and produced a series of hybrid drug molecules which combine the attributes of the HDAC inhibitor MS-275 with the Bcr-Abl inhibitor Dasatinib.

To determine the effect of the hybrid drugs on cancer cell survival, the research team tested the drug’s ability to halt the growth of three cell types exhibiting features of leukemia, kidney cancer and prostate cancer respectively. They found that all drugs in the series were toxic to cancer cells, with leukemia and kidney cancer cells showing the greatest degree of sensitivity to the hybrid drugs.

To better understand how the hybrid drugs interacted with the Bcr-Abl and HDAC1 active sites (i.e. the ON switch), the team relied on computer-generated three-dimensional models of the hybrid drugs, Bcr-Abl and HDAC1 proteins. Using a method similar to finding the right key for a lock, a computer program found that a hybrid compound termed 6a, which happened to be the most potent compound in the series, fit most snugly into both Bcr-Abl  and HDAC1 active sites. In theory, 6a would prevent both Bcr-Abl and HDAC1 from becoming activated (i.e they remain switched OFF).

On the basis of these observations, this study strengthens the paradigm that chemically melding two cancer drugs to form a novel single molecule may prove to be an effective clinical strategy for anticancer treatment. On a broader scale, this is one among many studies advocating for the use of multi-target agents in cancer treatment, highlighting an imminent upsurge in single molecule combination therapies.

Read the full article here:

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Professor Karen Faulds joins the Editorial Board

A very warm welcome to Professor Karen Faulds!

Karen FauldsPlease join us in extending a very warm welcome to Professor Karen Faulds, as she joins the RSC Advances team as an Editorial Board member!

Karen is a Professor in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde and an expert in the development of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and other spectroscopic techniques for novel analytical detection strategies. She is the recipient of the Nexxus Young Life Scientist of the Year award (2009), the RSC Joseph Black Award (2013) and the Craver Award from the Coblentz Society (2016). In 2011 was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012. She is the Strathclyde Director of the EPSRC and MRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging, OPTIMA and is the current Chair of the Infrared and Raman Discussion Group (IRDG).

Karen is very much looking forward to her new role:

‘I am delighted to be joining the Editorial Board for RSC Advances and look forward to working with the journal, it will be particularly exciting to work with a journal which has a remit which spans the diversity of the chemical sciences’

Karen Faulds and Matthew Baker have recently guest edited a Chemical Society Reviews themed issue on Fundamental Developments in Clinical Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy.

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A hydrogel-based trojan horse for antitumor therapy

Paclitaxel (PTX) is among the most widely used chemotherapeutic agents in clinical settings. The drug imposes its anticancer effect by preventing cell division. Cancer cells learn to resist PTX over time by various mechanisms including creating alterations in the protein targeted by PTX and rewiring of cell survival pathways to evade cell death.

Clinicians combine PTX with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) to suppress cancer drug resistance and improve treatment outcome. The benefits of combination therapy include improved accumulation of the drug at cancer sites, the ability to trigger cell death by complementary or synergistic mechanisms and longer retention of the drug within patients. Given the strong rationale for combination therapies, Shu and colleagues at the Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis, Key Laboratory on Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology, China developed a novel peptide hydrogel which encapsulates PTX and SAHA within a single co-delivery nano-carrier.

Graphical Abstract for C6RA19917H The researchers loaded PTX and SAHA onto the same nano-carrier in the following sequence: (1) an amino acid-based self assembling hydrogel precursor (Nap) was prepared, (2) PTX was conjugated to the self assembling hydrogel to form a pro-drug and (3) the pro-drug was allowed to encapsulate SAHA, forming the final drug (Nap-PTX-SAHA). The researchers subsequently characterized the mechanical features of their novel drug delivery system and tested it using a mouse model of liver cancer.

The study found that the Nap-PTX-SAHA hydrogels could be injected at room temperature into test mice, suggesting that no specialized equipment or storage conditions were necessary to administer the drug. The study also found that SAHA is released more readily than PTX from Nap-PTX-SAHA hydrogels. This could mean that cancer cells will be exposed to the two chemotherapy agents at different times, allowing for a one-two punch based tumor killing strategy.

When administered to tumor-bearing mice, the Nap-PTX-SAHA regimen was found to decrease tumor volume up to 2-fold compared to mice treated traditionally with PTX or SAHA alone. Interestingly, the researchers also noted that Nap-PTX-SAHA was associated with fewer side effects, as evidenced by normal eating behavior and weight in test mice. Interestingly, Nap-PTX-SAHA was absorbed lesser in non-target organs such as the heart, spleen and kidneys.

On the basis of these promising preclinical studies, the authors propose that Nap-PTX-SAHA represents a promising candidate for clinical trials in the years to come.

Read the full article here:

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Micelles meet transplantation medicine: How a novel nanoparticle based immune cell blocker might benefit human organ transplantation

Organ transplantation saves lives. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, U.S Department of Health and Human Services, over 22,000 organs transplantation surgeries have been conducted between January and September 2016.

Ischemia Reperfusion Injury (IRI) is a well characterized cardiac transplantation-related complication wherein the host tissue (graft), deprived of blood supply for prolonged periods, undergoes damage when blood supply is restored post-implantation. Immune cells at the interface of the graft and recipient tissue mediate damage by releasing inflammation-promoting chemicals and free radicals.

In a study led by Nadig and colleagues at the Department of Surgery, Division of Transplant, Medical University of South Carolina, USA, researchers first acknowledge the central role played by endothelial cells (EC) in promoting IRI-associated tissue damage and subsequently developed a novel pH-sensitive, immunosuppressive drug-loaded, targeted micelle nanoparticle to curb the damaging effects of ECs. The team choose rapamycin as their immunosuppressive drug of choice given its dual roles in limiting cytotoxic immune cell functions and in protecting tissues that make up blood vessels.

While treating patients with immunosuppressive drugs prior to surgery is currently a standard practice, a major drawback of this approach is that these drugs prevent immune system activity throughout the body, placing patients at risk for diseases including diabetes and cancer. As an initial step in addressing this limitation, Nadig et al. coated the micelles with cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartate moieties, which specifically bind to and integrin protein (the alpha v beta 3 receptor protein) present almost exclusively on ECs. As a finishing touch, the team attached fluorescent chemical compounds to allow for tracking and visualization in their studies.

Graphical abstract of "Immunosuppressive nano-therapeutic micelles downregulate endothelial cell inflammation and immunogenicity"Their studies showed that the rapamycin-loaded nanoparticles were stable and biocompatible when tested in human endothelial cells. Further, the rapamycin release could be controlled by adjusting the pH values lower than 7 or higher than 8. The study found that the micelles were being taken up by cells within 6h after incubation. The study also demonstrates the specificity of the micelles by showing that what the cells were pre-treated with an integrin inhibitor,  they were  less likely to take up the micelles.

To demonstrate the clinical utility of their idea, the researchers exposed human endothelial cell cultures to hydrogen peroxide to mimic IRI-like conditions. The cells responded by increasing their production of inflammation-promoting chemicals. Importantly, the rapamycin-loaded nanoparticle micelles significantly curbed this response. Nadig et al. propose that the ultimate goal is to incorporate this technology into organ storage media to minimize the harmful effects of IRI.

Read the full article here:

Satish N. Nadig, Suraj K. Dixit, Natalie Levey, Scott Esckilsen, Kayla Miller, William Dennis, Carl Atkinson and Ann-Marie Broome

RSC Adv., 2015, 5, 43552-43562

DOI: 10.1039/C5RA04057D

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Top 10 most-downloaded articles: Q3 July–September 2016

Take a look at the most-downloaded RSC Advances articles from the months of July, August and September 2016 and let us know what you think!

Free radicals, natural antioxidants, and their reaction mechanisms
Satish Balasaheb Nimse and Dilipkumar Pal
RSC Adv., 2015,5, 27986-28006
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA13315C

Size-controlled silver nanoparticles synthesized over the range 5–100 nm using the same protocol and their antibacterial efficacy
Shekhar Agnihotri, Soumyo Mukherji and Suparna Mukherji
RSC Adv., 2014,4, 3974-3983
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA44507K

Synthesis and characterization of magnetic bromochromate hybrid nanomaterials with triphenylphosphine surface-modified iron oxide nanoparticles and their catalytic application in multicomponent reactions
Ali Maleki, Rahmatollah Rahimi, Saied Maleki and Negar Hamidi
RSC Adv., 2014,4, 29765-29771
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA04654D

Thermal-runaway experiments on consumer Li-ion batteries with metal-oxide and olivin-type cathodes
Andrey W. Golubkov, David Fuchs, Julian Wagner, Helmar Wiltsche, Christoph Stangl, Gisela Fauler, Gernot Voitic, Alexander Thaler and Viktor Hacker
RSC Adv., 2014,4, 3633-3642
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA45748F

Synthesis and properties of molybdenum disulphide: from bulk to atomic layers
Intek Song, Chibeom Park and Hee Cheul Choi
RSC Adv., 2015,5, 7495-7514
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA11852A

Graphene and its nanocomposite material based electrochemical sensor platform for dopamine
Alagarsamy Pandikumar, Gregory Thien Soon How, Teo Peik See, Fatin Saiha Omar, Subramaniam Jayabal, Khosro Zangeneh Kamali, Norazriena Yusoff, Asilah Jamil, Ramasamy Ramaraj, Swamidoss Abraham John, Hong Ngee Lim and Nay Ming Huang
RSC Adv., 2014,4, 63296-63323
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA13777A

Dual protection of amino functions involving Boc
Ulf Ragnarsson and Leif Grehn
RSC Adv., 2013,3, 18691-18697
DOI: 10.1039/C3RA42956C

Electrically conductive polymers and composites for biomedical applications
Gagan Kaur, Raju Adhikari, Peter Cass, Mark Bown and Pathiraja Gunatillake
RSC Adv., 2015,5, 37553-37567
DOI: 10.1039/C5RA01851J

Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals: controlled synthesis and surface chemistry in organic media
Jin Chang and Eric R. Waclawik
RSC Adv., 2014,4, 23505-23527
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA02684E

Anti-bacterial surfaces: natural agents, mechanisms of action, and plasma surface modification
K. Bazaka, M. V. Jacob, W. Chrzanowski and K. Ostrikov
RSC Adv., 2015,5, 48739-48759
DOI: 10.1039/C4RA17244B

Interesting in submitting to RSC Advances? You can submit online today, or email us with your ideas and suggestions.

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RSC Advances: Recognising our reviewers

This week, the Royal Society of Chemistry has been joining in the celebrations for Peer Review Week – a global event recognising the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality.

At RSC Advances, recognising our reviewers is very important to us. Earlier this year we launched the RSC Advances Reviewer Panel, containing almost 450 members from over 50 countries, spread across 6 continents.  Members of the Reviewer Panel are hand-picked by the editors and are specialists from across all fields of the chemical sciences. They are a key part of our commitment to deliver rigorous and fair peer review and that your manuscript is handled by experts throughout the peer review process. We are proud to work with these individuals and to recognise their crucial role, their names are published on our website and they receive a certificate, thanking them for their hard work, dedication and valuable contribution they have made to the journal.

Our Associate Editors also play an important role in our peer review process providing reviews on manuscripts they are handling that are in their area of expertise. The Associate Editors receive payment for the manuscripts they handle as part of our recognition of the central role they have in maintaining the strict scientific and quality standards of RSC Advances.

We would like to say a massive thank you to our Associate Editors and Reviewer Panel members, as well as the RSC Advances Editorial Board, and all of the chemical sciences community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

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