Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Meet Vincent Artero: Chemical Science Associate Editor

We are delighted to welcome Professor Vincent Artero as Chemical Science Associate Editor, handling submissions in the area of energy.

Vincent Artero graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Ulm) and the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6). He received his Ph.D. in 2000 under the supervision of Professor A. Proust and Professor P. Gouzerh. His doctoral work dealt with organometallic derivatives of polyoxometalates. After a postdoctoral stay at the University of Aachen (Aix la Chapelle) with Professor U. Kölle, he joined in 2001 the group of Professor M. Fontecave in Grenoble where he obtained a position in the Life Science Division of the CEA.

Since 2016, he leads the SolHyCat group as Research Director in the Laboratory of Chemistry and Biology of Metals (a research unit cooperated by CEA, CNRS and Univ. Grenoble Alpes) in Grenoble. Vincent Artero received the “Grand Prix Mergier-Bourdeix de l’Académie des Sciences” in 2011. In 2012, he was granted with a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). He currently acts as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the ARCANE Excellence Laboratory Network (LABEX) for bio-driven chemistry in Grenoble and co-chair of the French Research Network (GDR) on solar fuels.

His current research interests are in the structural and functional modelisation of hydrogenases, the design of artificial organometallic proteins and the photo- and electro-production of hydrogen. Vincent is keen to receive submissions in his area of expertise.  Below is a list of recent Chemical Science articles published within the energy-related field – all free to read. We hope you enjoy them!

Porous dendritic copper: an electrocatalyst for highly selective CO2 reduction to formate in water/ionic liquid electrolyte
Tran Ngoc Huan, Philippe Simon, Gwenaëlle Rousse, Isabelle Génois, Vincent Artero and Marc Fontecave
Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 742-747
DOI: 10.1039/C6SC03194C

Ligand effect on the catalytic activity of porphyrin-protected gold clusters in the electrochemical hydrogen evolution reaction
Daichi Eguchi, Masanori Sakamoto and Toshiharu Teranishi
Chem. Sci., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c7sc03997b

A matrix of heterobimetallic complexes for interrogation of hydrogen evolution reaction electrocatalysts
Pokhraj Ghosh, Shengda Ding, Rachel B. Chupik, Manuel Quiroz, Chung-Hung Hsieh, Nattami Bhuvanesh, Michael B. Hall
and Marcetta Y. Darensbourg
Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 8291-8300
DOI: 10.1039/c7sc03378h

Site-isolated manganese carbonyl on bipyridine-functionalities of periodic mesoporous organosilicas: efficient CO2 photoreduction and detection of key reaction intermediates
Xia Wang, Indre Thiel, Alexey Fedorov, Christophe Copéret, Victor Mougel and Marc Fontecave
Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 8204-8213
DOI: 10.1039/C7SC03512H

You can submit your high quality research in the area of energy to Vincent Artero’s Editorial Office.

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Old and new spectroscopic techniques team up to decipher intricate alkaloids

Cutting-edge strategies set to increase our access to chemical space after researchers use them to verify unprecedented structures

Scientists have identified the structures of two marine natural products that were previously considered too complicated to characterise.1 A combination of well-known spectroscopic tools and new experiments probing orientation-dependant bonding allowed the team to unpick the structures.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry
Structures of caulamidines A (left) and B (right)

Natural products are a rich source of pharmacologically-active compounds. The problem is: they are often difficult to purify and identify.

Gary Martin, of Merck Research Laboratories in the US, and Kirk Gustafson, from the US National Cancer Institute, have been studying and characterising natural products for years. ‘There has been a continuing flow of incorrectly reported complex natural product structures into the published literature … at present, there are more than 1200 structure revision papers. Stopping investigators from reporting incorrect structures in the first place will free up their time to pursue and identify new molecular entities,’ they say.

Read the full story by Hannah Kerr on Chemistry World.

1 D J Milanowski et al, Chem. Sci., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c7sc01996c (This paper is open access.)

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What’s left isn’t always right in total synthesis

Using detective skills that would make Hercule Poirot proud, researchers in the US have solved a longstanding mystery around the absolute configuration of natural product (+)-frondosin B.1

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry Summary of the enantioselective frondosin B syntheses reported to date

(+)-Frondosin B is part of a family of marine sesquiterpenes found in underwater sponges that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and have potential applications in anticancer and HIV therapy. Starting with Samuel Danishefsky’s route in 2001,2 there have been 5 total syntheses of (+)-frondosin B. However, due to a discrepancy in the optical rotation of the final product during Dirk Trauner’s 2002 synthesis,3 which was observed to have S rather than the expected R configuration, there has been a fierce debate in the synthetic community about the true stereochemistry at C8 in the natural product. After more than decade of attempts by synthetic organic chemists to explain this, particularly focused on different inversion processes, no definitive answer had arisen.

Read the full story by Jason Woolford on Chemistry World.

1 L A Joyce et al, Chem. Sci., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c7sc04249c (This paper is open access.)

2 M Inoue et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2001, 123, 1878 (DOI: 10.1021/ja0021060)

 

 

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Benchmark for molecular machine learning

A team at Stanford University in the US has developed a benchmark for machine learning in chemistry. By providing a consistent way to test different techniques across a range of chemical data, it aims to accelerate the growth of this new type of scientific problem-solving.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry
MoleculeNet curates multiple public datasets, establishes metrics for evaluation, and offers high quality open-source implementations of multiple previously proposed molecular featurisation and learning algorithms (released as part of the DeepChem open source library)

Machine learning methods train a computer to efficiently get from raw data to already-known answers. Once the expected results are consistently reproduced, the software is ready to perform the same task with entirely new data. To fairly compare different learning approaches, research groups around the globe need to train and test their methods using a shared set of problems. Reference databases already exist for images and text; MoleculeNet, an extension of the DeepChem project, provides such a benchmark for chemistry.

Read the full story by Alexander Whiteside on Chemistry World.

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Protonation enhances water splitting

Researchers in China and Singapore have designed a new platinum electrocatalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction that outperforms existing catalysts and also performs better than theoretical calculations suggest it should.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry
Transmission electron microscopy image of the new electrocatalyst showing its branched structure

Hydrogen can serve as a clean fuel, and electrochemical water splitting through the hydrogen evolution reaction is one way to generate this valuable resource. Many current electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction are based on platinum, which, although expensive, can be very efficient. Researchers are always looking to improve the efficiency of platinum electrocatalysts to make the hydrogen evolution reaction a suitable replacement for fossil fuels.

Read the full story by Suzanne Howson on Chemistry World.

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Peptide vehicle drives CRISPR delivery of Cas9 into cells

Scientists in Spain have put forward what they describe as the first non-covalent strategy for delivering the CRISPR Cas9 ribonucleoprotein into cells.1

Cas9 is a large RNA-guided DNA endonuclease enzyme that is responsible for accurately recognising and cutting the desired sequence of DNA in a cell’s genome during the gene editing process known as CRISPR. At the moment, CRISPR scientists typically transfect cells with a plasmid containing instructions to make Cas9: however, this isn’t ideal as it might result in permanent DNA recombination and persistent expression, which could have adverse effects. Researchers are therefore exploring methods that deliver Cas9 into cells.

Read the full story by Adrian Robinson on Chemistry World.

Peptide/Cas9 nanostructures for ribonucleoprotein cell membrane transport and gene edition

1 I Lostalé-Seijo et al, Chem. Sci., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c7sc03918b (This paper is open access.)

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Zirconium MOF buckles under dynamite pressure

Scientists in the US have found that a metal–organic framework (MOF) known for its robustness takes in the same amount of energy as a TNT blast releases when it breaks.

Shock-absorber MOF

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry After compression, the effective number of Zr–carboxylate oxygen bonds (shown in yellow) for each Zr(IV) ion decreased from 4 to ≈2

MOF materials are porous framework solids whose typical applications include gas storage, separation and catalysis. Scientists have studied the zirconium-based MOF, UiO-66, in more detail than most. It’s easily synthesised, has a well-known structure and is strong. Unlike some other MOFs, it doesn’t react with water, and on removing its residual solvent, the framework remains intact with true, empty voids.

Read the full story by Emma Stephen on Chemistry World.

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Quick test on pinprick of blood could help stop Ebola in its tracks

Scientists have developed a quick, cheap, safe and field-deployable method to detect the Ebola virus in unprocessed whole blood.

artist's impression of an ebola virus in the body

Source: Shutterstock The World Health Organization declared an end to the most recent Ebola epidemic in January 2016

The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa was responsible for 11,310 deaths. Containing this deadly virus relies on rapid, reliable diagnoses, but Ebola is difficult to diagnose because it shares its initial symptoms with other diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. It usually takes weeks before patients develop the bleeding associated with Ebola haemorrhagic fever; by this time, they may have passed the infection on to others.

The standard method of detection is reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), where chemical probes flag nucleic acids in the virus genome. This is reliable but involves deploying whole mobile laboratories and trained personnel. It is also expensive and results can take hours or even days, while the virus continues to spread. Another drawback is that it requires a blood draw, which is risky for both medical personnel and haemorrhagic patients.

Read the full story by Will Bergius on Chemistry World.

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Celebrate Open Access Week with Chemical Science!

Open Access Week is taking place on 23 – 29 October 2017! This global event is entering its 8th year, and is an opportunity for the research community to learn about the benefits of open access.

What is open access? It’s free, immediate, online access to published research and has widespread implications for academia, industry, medicine, and the entire society.

Here at Chemical Science, we are in our third year of being gold open access! This allows our publications, from breakthroughs in organic chemistry to research in energy and environmental chemistry, to be communicated to a worldwide audience without barriers.

Chemical Science articles published from 2015 onwards are freely available to read from our website and, as our publications charges are currently waived, it is also free for authors to publish. To date, we’ve published over 2,500 open access articles! Below is a selection of some of the articles that you can read for free.

Follow us on Twitter where we’ll be highlighting an ‘Article of the Day’ during Open Access Week!

Enrichment and single-cell analysis of circulating tumor cells
Yanling Song,Tian Tian, Yuanzhi Shi, Wenli Liu, Yuan Zou, Tahereh Khajvand, Sili Wang, Zhi Zhu and Chaoyong Yang
Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 1736-1751
DOI: 10.1039/C6SC04671A

Design of template-stabilized active and earth-abundant oxygen evolution catalysts in acid
Michael Huynh, Tuncay Ozel, Chong Liu, Eric C. Lau and Daniel G. Nocera
Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 4779-4794
DOI: 10.1039/C7SC01239J

Recent developments in and perspectives on three-coordinate boron materials: a bright future
Lei Ji, Stefanie Griesbeck and Todd B. Marder
Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 846-863
DOI: 10.1039/C6SC04245G

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Chemists reinvent the wheel

Scientists in the US have made a new molecular wheel. The bimetallic cluster, Nb2Au6, consists of a Nb≡Nb tripled bonded unit surrounded by a Au6 ring.

A molecular wheel with a short Nb≡Nb triple bond coordinated by an Au6 ring and reinforced by σ aromaticity

Lai-Sheng Wang and his team at Brown University made the cluster by striking a gold and niobium solid target with an intense laser beam. Theoretical calculations show that there are two π bonds and one σ bond in the Nb2 dimer. The cluster also has five totally delocalised σ bonds – scientists have not reported σ aromaticity in a metal–ligand system before.

Read the full story by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World.

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