Editor’s Collection: Anthony Davis

In this month’s Editor’s collection, Chair Anthony Davis shares some of their favourite recent Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry articles

The Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry Editor’s collection is a showcase of some of the best articles published in the journal, hand selected by our Associate Editors and Editorial Board members.

For this month’s selection, Chair Anthony Davis has highlighted some of his favourite recent works.

Take a look at what he thought of the articles below, and find out more about the research and the researchers behind the papers in our interviews with the authors.

Tony’s selection:

Chalcogen bonding mediates the formation of supramolecular helices of azapeptides in crystals
Di Shi, Jinlian Cao, Peimin Weng, Xiaosheng Yan, Zhao Lia and Yun-Bao Jiang

Tony’s comment:
Chalcogen bonding is a fascinating addition to the armoury of supramolecular chemists. In this paper by Yan, Jiang and co-workers it is used in a rational fashion to control molecular conformations. The success of their approach bodes well for future efforts to exploit this under-appreciated phenomenon.

Find out more in our interview with the authors

Calixarene-decorated liposomes for intracellular cargo delivery
Ilaria Morbioli, Alessandro Casnati, Jeffrey D. Esko, Yitzhak Tor and Francesco Sansone

Tony’s comment:
Calixarenes are widely used as synthetic scaffolds for the presentation of multiple functional groups. Tor, Sansone and co-workers show here that calixarenes bearing guanidinium groups can be inserted in liposomes and promote the delivery of contents to cells. The paper nicely exemplifies the efforts of today’s supramolecular chemists to create systems with real-world medical applications.

Find out more in our interview with the authors

Duplex vs. folding: tuning the self-assembly of synthetic recognition-encoded aniline oligomers
Daniele Rosa-Gastaldo, Vytautas Pečiukėnas, Christopher A. Hunter and Luca Gabrielli

Tony’s comment:
It is well-understood how nucleic acids and related molecules can store and transmit information, but the extension of this behaviour to other types of molecules is not well-explored. The Hunter group has investigated duplex formation via hydrogen bonding in carefully-designed oligomers. In collaboration with the Gabrielli group, they here show how unwanted folding can be avoided, pointing towards systems with true information-carrying capacity.

Find out more in our interview with the authors

A supramolecular host for phosphatidylglycerol (PG) lipids with antibacterial activity
Elliot S. Williams, Hassan Gneid, Sarah R. Marshall, Mario J. González, Jorgi A. Mandelbaum and Nathalie Busschaert

Tony’s comment:
In another example of supramolecular chemistry with medical potential, molecules designed to bind anionic lipids are used to target bacterial cell membranes. The systems of Busschaert and co-workers exploit well-known motifs combined in quite simple structures to obtain good selectivity and impressive antibacterial activity.

Find out more in our interview with the authors

Meet the Editor:
Anthony Davis, OBC Chair

Anthony Davis gained a B.A. in Chemistry from Oxford University in 1977, then stayed for a D.Phil. under Dr. G. H. Whitham and postdoctoral work with Prof. J. E. Baldwin. In 1981 he moved to the ETH Zürich as a Royal Society European Exchange Fellow working with Prof. A. Eschenmoser, then in 1982 was appointed Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Trinity College, Dublin. In September 2000 he moved to the University of Bristol, where he is Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry in the School of Chemistry.

His research focuses on the development of supramolecular systems with potential for biological applications, especially carbohydrate receptors and transmembrane anion transporters. He has co-founded two companies to exploit discoveries in carbohydrate recognition and sensing; Ziylo, which was sold in 2018 to Novo Nordisk, and Carbometrics, which continues to work in the area.


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