RSC Advances Science Communications: Solar-driven photoredox catalysis – A step towards a sustainable synthesis future

Author: Shruti Dadwal, Web Writer

One needs to seek nature in order to get the idea of sustainability either in daily life or in the chemistry lab. We have been learning since our childhood about plants survival via photosynthesis and humans survival by oxygen. The sun has been the ultimate powerhouse for all the beings on earth.

Photosynthesis is the apotheosis of sustainable chemical reactivity and the sun is one of the main pinnacles towards the target of green chemistry. In the context of sustainable synthetic approaches, photoredox chemistry has emerged as a scientific toolbox for organic transformations due to the tremendous ability to generate reactive intermediates under mild reaction conditions.

Photoredox catalysis depends upon the photoexcitation with visible light to facilitate single electron transfer (SET) and the generation of other intermediates. Sunlight energy could be the essential source for this cause owing to its free, non-toxic and environmentally benign nature. These benefits make photoredox catalysis valuable when designing new catalytic systems with sustainable approaches. However, there are other sources for the photoexcitation although they pose limitations due to high energy requirements and formation of side products. Even though photoredox catalysis has provided powerful methods in synthesis, the cost of photocatalysts and cost of light sources and environmental aspects on the synthesis are yet to be considered.

With the help of a broad range of molecules synthesized in our lab, modeling and utilization, we have been able to understand the potential of molecules for their photoredox catalytic activity. Considering this situation, my recent research focuses on the synthesis of molecules with strong visible range absorption and utilization of sunlight for photoexcitation to carry out various organic transformations via photoredox chemistry. By smartly incorporating the donor and acceptor groups, we are able to synthesize molecules with absorption in the visible region (Fig. 1).

My focus is on understanding the potential of the molecules to catalyze reactions with low energy radiations i.e. solar-driven. The synthesized molecules have been subjected to various experiments and found to be active towards aggregation-induced emission enhancement (AIEE) and solvatochromism phenomenon, reactive oxygen species generation as well as displayed catalytic activity towards reactions such as (i) oxidative homocoupling of benzyl amines (ii) additive free oxidative amidation of aldehydes and (iii) hydroxylation of boronic acids under the presence of sunlight. All you need to get a good transformation is chemicals, a stirrer and the sun. Our group continue to address challenges in this field, exploring more solar-driven chemical transformations.

To find out more, please read:
AIEE Active Nanoassemblies of Pyrazine Based Organic Photosensitizers as Efficient Metal-Free Supramolecular Photoredox Catalytic Systems
Scientific. Reports,2019, 9:1114.

About the Web Writer:

Shruti Dadwal is a Ph.D. candidate in organic chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Vandana Bhalla at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India; where she also completed her B.Sc and first class M.Sc in Hons. School Chemistry. Her research focuses on developing new and better donor-acceptor based molecules for sensing, photocatalysis and nanocatalysis. She enjoys music, writing and travelling. You can find her on Twitter @DadwalShrutii.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 2020 Reviews

Every month we update our Recent Reviews collection. This rolling collection showcases all of the review articles published in RSC Advances in the last 6 months. Don’t forget to come back next month to check out our latest reviews.

We hope you enjoy reading and as always, all of our articles are open access so you can easily share your favourites online and with your colleagues.

Check out the full collection!

Browse a selection of our July reviews below:

Applications of Cu(0) encapsulated nanocatalysts as superior catalytic systems in Cu-catalyzed organic transformations
Majid M. Heravi, Bahareh Heidari, Vahideh Zadsirjan and Leila Mohammadi
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 24893-24940
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA02341H, Review

Two decades of the synthesis of mono- and bis-aminomercapto[1,2,4]triazoles
Sayed M. Riyadh and Sobhi M. Gomha
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 24994-25012
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04208K, Review

Prospects of kefiran as a food-derived biopolymer for agri-food and biomedical applications
Kei-Xian Tan, Vidya N. Chamundeswari and Say Chye Joachim Loo
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25339-25351
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA02810J, Review

Simultaneous wastewater treatment and energy harvesting in microbial fuel cells: an update on the biocatalysts
Yajing Guo, Jiao Wang, Shrameeta Shinde, Xin Wang, Yang Li, Yexin Dai, Jun Ren, Pingping Zhang and Xianhua Liu
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25874-25887
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05234E, Review

Phosphonopeptides containing free phosphonic groups: recent advances
Paweł Kafarski
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25898-25910
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04655H, Review

A brief review on solid lipid nanoparticles: part and parcel of contemporary drug delivery systems
Yongtao Duan, Abhishek Dhar, Chetan Patel, Mehul Khimani, Swarnali Neogi, Prolay Sharma, Nadavala Siva Kumar and Rohit L. Vekariya
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 26777-26791
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03491F, Review

Understanding the relevance of protein corona in nanoparticle-based therapeutics and diagnostics
Debolina Chakraborty, K. R. Ethiraj and Amitava Mukherjee
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 27161-27172
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05241H, Review

Systematic overview of soft materials as a novel frontier for MRI contrast agents
Enrico Gallo, Elisabetta Rosa, Carlo Diaferia, Filomena Rossi, Diego Tesauro and Antonella Accardo
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 27064-27080
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03194A, Review

Targeting severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) with structurally diverse inhibitors: a comprehensive review
Maryam S. Hosseini-Zare, Ramasamy Thilagavathi and Chelliah Selvam
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 28287-28299
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04395H, Review

 

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July HOT Articles

Every month we update our RSC Advances HOT Article Collection. This rolling collection features all of the articles selected by our reviewers and handling editors as HOT in the last 6 months. Don’t forget to come back next month to check out our latest HOT articles.

We hope you enjoy reading and as always, all of our articles are open access so you can easily share your favourites online and with your colleagues.

Check out the full collection!

Browse our July HOT articles below:

Consensus virtual screening of dark chemical matter and food chemicals uncover potential inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 main protease
Marisa G. Santibáñez-Morán, Edgar López-López, Fernando D. Prieto-Martínez, Norberto Sánchez-Cruz and José L. Medina-Franco
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25089-25099
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04922K, Paper

Iodine-catalyzed efficient synthesis of xanthene/thioxanthene-indole derivatives under mild conditions
Weihang Miao, Pingting Ye, Mengjiao Bai, Zhixin Yang, Suyue Duan, Hengpan Duan and Xuequan Wang
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25165-25169
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05217E, Paper

Near-infrared and metal-free tetra(butylamino)phthalocyanine nanoparticles for dual modal cancer phototherapy
Ying-Jie Wu, Fan-Hong Lv, Jing-Lan Kan, Qun Guan, Anqi Xue, Quanbo Wang, Yan-An Li and Yu-Bin Dong
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 25958-25965
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03898A, Paper

Remdesivir-bound and ligand-free simulations reveal the probable mechanism of inhibiting the RNA dependent RNA polymerase of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
Shruti Koulgi, Vinod Jani, Mallikarjunachari V. N. Uppuladinne, Uddhavesh Sonavane and Rajendra Joshi
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 26792-26803
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04743K, Paper

Label-free single-molecule identification of telomere G-quadruplexes with a solid-state nanopore sensor
Sen Wang, Liyuan Liang, Jing Tang, Yao Cai, Chuanqi Zhao, Shaoxi Fang, Huabin Wang, Ting Weng, Liang Wang and Deqiang Wang
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 27215-27224
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05083K, Paper

Co-cultured Lepista sordida and Pholiota nameko polysaccharide-iron(iii) chelates exhibit good antioxidant activity
Shuping Yu, Jikang Jiang and Wenxiang Li
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 27259-27265
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03258A, Paper

Potential role of medicinal plants and their constituents in the mitigation of SARS-CoV-2: identifying related therapeutic targets using network pharmacology and molecular docking analyses
Eman Shawky, Ahmed A. Nada and Reham S. Ibrahim
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 27961-27983
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05126H, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

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Introducing our new Associate Editor: Maya Davidovich-Pinhas

We are very pleased to welcome Dr Maya Davidovich-Pinhas to the RSC Advances team as an Associate Editor today.

Maya Davidovich-Pinhas

 

Dr. Maya Davidovich-Pinhas gained her BSc in Biochemical Engineering and both her MSc and PhD in the Chemical Engineering department at the Technion, Israel. During her graduate studies, she focused on the development of hydrogel systems for mucoadhesion aiming for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. Her post-doctoral fellowship at University of Guelph concentrated on oil-based gels, termed oleogels, where she worked on the formation and characterization of oleogels for various applications.

Since 2015, she has been the head of the lipid and soft matter laboratory in the faculty of Biotechnology and Food engineering, Technion, Israel. The research done in her lab combines material science and engineering concepts toward the development of new soft matter systems for biotechnology and food applications. More specifically, her research focuses on structure-property-function relation of soft matter biomaterials using x-ray diffraction techniques, microscopy, thermal analysis, rheology and texture analysis.

 

 

 

Browse articles published by Maya in RSC journals:

Tuning the mechanical properties of alginate–peptide hydrogels
Guy Ochbaum, Maya Davidovich-Pinhas and Ronit Bitton
Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 4364-4373
DOI: C8SM00059J, Paper

Ethylcellulose oleogels for lipophilic bioactive delivery – effect of oleogelation on in vitro bioaccessibility and stability of beta-carotene
Chloe M. O′Sullivan, Maya Davidovich-Pinhas, Amanda J. Wright, Shai Barbut and Alejandro G. Marangoni
Food Funct., 2017, 8, 1438-1451
DOI: C6FO01805J, Paper

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of Chemistry

Submit your research or reviews to Sonia & Ahjeong now, they will be delighted to receive them! See our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

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RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Saurabh Das

We are very pleased to introduce Saurabh Das, the corresponding author of the paper A ZnII complex of ornidazole with decreased nitro radical anions that is still highly active on Entamoeba histolytica. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our June HOT articles.  Saurabh was kind enough to tell us more about the work that went into this article and what he hopes to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the author and their article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the Author

Saurabh Das completed his bachelor’s degree with honours in Chemistry from Presidency College in 1990, then affiliated to University of Calcutta. His Master’s with specialization in Inorganic Chemistry was done at the University College of Science, University of Calcutta in 1992. He received his PhD from University of Calcutta in 2000 having worked at the Chemical Sciences Division of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (Ph D Supervisor: Prof. Parikshit C Mandal). After two years of teaching at the Calcutta International School, Kolkata (1998-2000), five and a half years of teaching at the Department of Chemistry, Bejoy Narayan Mahavidyalaya, Hooghly (under University of Burdwan) (2000-2006) he joined the Department of Chemistry, Jadavpur University in January, 2006.

He is now a Professor with research interests in modulating the generation of reactive intermediates of different drugs forming inorganic complexes to strike a balance between efficacy and adverse effects; and offshoots of that general theme. He has 66 publications in peer reviewed international journals.

 

The research team:

Ms Neha Banyal (left photo) and Professor Kasturi Mukhopadhyay (right photo)

Professor Saurabh Das and Ms Promita Nandy (left photo) and Professor Sanjay Kumar and Mr Soumen Singha (right photo)

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
The molecule (Ornidazole) is a drug belonging to the 5-nitroimidazole family that is used to treat bacterial and/or parasitic infections. The performance of the drug depends on the generation of an intermediate (the nitro radical-anion) that kills disease causing microbes. The same intermediate is neurotoxic to the host (i.e. the system affected by disease causing microbes) upon prolonged use. Hence, controlling the generation of the nitro-radical anion is essential to strike a balance between efficacy and neurotoxic side effects.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
The results should have a good impact since we worked with a compound that is already established as a drug and is part of a number of pharmaceutical formulations. The modified compound, i. e. the zinc complex needs to be tried in vivo, in living systems in order to identify the extent of difference between the work performed by in the laboratory (on model systems) and what the results would be on living systems. Experts would understand and realize here that a certain difference would exist which needs to be identified.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
The motivation of the study was to strike a balance between efficacy and neurotoxic side effects for this family of drugs. For most drugs, intermediates involved with the drug’s efficacy are its problems as well. If they can be separated, then one can either increase cure for an accepted level of complication or decrease complications for an accepted level of cure.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
Modification of Ornidazole (the drug) in a manner that generation of nitro-radical anion is controlled, i.e, modulated. For our study, this was achieved through complex formation with Zn(II).

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
There were three aspects to the study i) preparation of the complex and its characterization,, ii) showing that generation of nitro-radical anion is less for the complex which we followed by an enzyme assay and iii) inspite of decrease in nitro-radical anion formation, the complex showed the same efficacy on amoeba, as that observed for Ornidazole. A combination of these three aspects performed through suitable experiments suggest decrease in the formation of the nitro radical-anion should decrease neurotoxicity on the host (although we did not verify this in our study) but it should happen since studies earlier to ours have linked neurotoxicity to nitro radical-anion formation. Simultaneously, bacteria or parasite killing should also be affected which in our case did not happen. The complex maintained its killing efficacy of amoeba even with decreased nitro radical-anion; being as good as Ornidazole. This we attributed to aspects related to complex formation. We showed one such attribute of the complex in our study, that of it being able to bind DNA better than Ornidazole. So it’s really a culmination of different experiments we performed.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
The fact modification of Ornidazole through complex formation with Zn(II) could increase its therapeutic index (T I) where T I = TD50/ED50; TD50 implies toxic dose in 50% of subjects and ED50 implies effective dose for 50% of population. The larger the T I, safer the drug. Besides, Zn being relatively non-toxic unlike other metal ions and since there is use for it in the bio-system, it should not be harmful if it goes into our bodies

What is the next step? What work is planned?
I have not really thought about it. Since the manuscript has been well received I will have to speak to one of my collaborators (Prof. Kasturi Mukhopadhyay of School of Environmental Sciences at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) in whose laboratory the biological experiments were performed, if she could take the Zn(II) complex forward and do few more studies with it that reveal its mechanism of action on bacteria and amoeba strains; may be try on different bacterial strains, while we perform more model studies to search for other attributes of complex formation. After these are done a sharing of data on biological experiments for mechanism of action and model studies performed (by us) could be useful to see for ourselves whether they correct to each other or establish a difference of opinion.

 

A ZnII complex of ornidazole with decreased nitro radical anions that is still highly active on Entamoeba histolytica
Promita Nandy, Soumen Singha, Neha Banyal, Sanjay Kumar, Kasturi Mukhopadhyay and Saurabh Das
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 23286-23296
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA02597F, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

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Editors’ Collection: Ferroelectric and Multiferroelectric Materials by Associate Editor Donna Arnold

We are delighted to share with you our latest collection of recently published articles focusing on Ferroelectric and Multiferroic Materials, handpicked by Associate Editor Donna Arnold.

Ferroelectric and multiferroic materials continue to attract extensive attention within the literature due to the potential of these materials to have an increased impact in our everyday lives. Research covers a whole plethora of chemistry and physics from the search for Pb-free ferroelectrics and new energy storage materials to demonstration of real-world device applications based on inorganic and/or organic materials including experimental and computational studies.

The collection features articles focussing on experimental studies of inorganic solid-state ceramics and thin films (including heterostructures and devices). The collection showcases the significance of not only the search for new materials with enhanced properties but also the importance of understanding the structure-property correlations in both powders and films as well as demonstrating their application in environments closer to commercial use. These articles demonstrate the continued growth of these areas as we strive towards next generation devices based on ferroelectric and multiferroic materials.

As the world’s largest gold open access chemistry journal, all publications in RSC Advances are free to access. We hope you enjoy reading these articles.

We invite you to submit your research to this collection and give your work the global visibility it deserves.

 

Submit your research now

 

Featured articles:

Effect of Bi-substitution into the A-site of multiferroic La0.8Ca0.2FeO3 on structural, electrical and dielectric properties
H. Issaoui, A. Benali, M. Bejar, E. Dhahri, B. F. O. Costa, M. P. F. Graca and M. A. Valente
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 16132-16146. DOI: 10.1039/D0RA02995E

Formation of polarization needle-like domain and its unusual switching in compositionally graded ferroelectric thin films: an improved phase field model
Le Van Lich and Van-Hai Dinh
RSC Adv., 2019,9, 7575-7586. DOI: 10.1039/C8RA10614B

Mechanical switching in ferroelectrics by shear stress and its implications on charged domain wall generation and vortex memory devices
W. J. Chen, Shuai Yuan, L. L. Ma, Ye Ji, Biao Wang and Yue Zheng
RSC Adv., 2018,8, 4434-4444. DOI: 10.1039/C7RA12233K

 

 Read the full collection here

 

Meet the Editor

Donna was awarded her PhD in 2004 from the University of London having studied structure -property correlations in porous manganese oxides. Postdoctoral positions at the Foundation of Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), Crete, University College Cork, Ireland and University of St Andrews, UK followed where she continued to investigate the behaviour in complex materials. In 2010 she took an academic position at the University of Kent.

Her current research interests lie in the area of correlating structure-property relationships in oxide materials with a particular emphasis on magnetic, ferroelectric and multiferroic materials.

 

 

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of Chemistry

Submit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

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RSC Advances Science Communications: Power and safety – a controversial drama between the properties of energetic materials

Author: B. Moses Abraham, Web Writer

From gunpowder to modern energetic materials, the so-called science of explosive research has renovated the potential capability to discover a wide range of novel energetic materials exclusively used in both military and civilian sectors. However, the controversial drama between the properties of energetic materials, namely, the power-safety contradiction, constitutes a great challenge in the design of new energetic materials. The desired energetic materials need to be balanced between these two inherently contradicting properties, which restricts their usage in practical applications, even though many energetic materials are synthesized every year.

Structure-properties-performance inter-relationship of BTO-based energetic materials

In order to obtain a fine balance between the properties of energetic materials, we have studied how the microstructures and intermolecular interactions influence the macroscopic behaviour of explosives. With the help of large-scale clusters, a broad range of theory, modelling and simulations, we have been able to understand the potential capabilities of energetic materials for possible real time applications.

Most of the energetic solids that I have studied are molecular crystals held together by inter-molecular interactions. By smartly incorporating the energetic groups as proton acceptors, we could form the strong hydrogen bonding networks crucial for the construction of high energy density materials. As improved intra- and intermolecular interactions tightly pack the crystal and thereby reduces its volume, the density and stability of the energetic materials is enhanced. This is therefore a highly efficient strategy to improve the performance and stability of explosives. The main objective of our studies is to understand the fundamental physical and chemical properties and the thermodynamic equation of the state of energetic crystals.

My focus is on the understanding of various properties of solid energetic materials using van der Waals density functional methods, including van der Waals interactions, structural stability, pressure induced structural phase transformations and vibrational properties of green energetic materials. In our recent work on a series of 5,5′-bitetrazole-1,1′-diolate based energetic ionic salts, we were able to provide a precise correlation between intermolecular interactions and impact sensitivity of energetic materials, in combination with molecular stability that can be set as a base for molecular and crystal design. In 2018, this work was recognized as a HOT article published in PCCP (1) and more recently, our research demonstrating the importance of high pressure studies was published in RSC Advances (2). Overall, our approach may provide a fundamental knowledge in designing the next-generation explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics prior to the actual experiments.

References:

  1. Moses Abraham, Vikas D. Ghule and G. Vaitheeswaran, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 20, 29693, 2018
  2. Moses Abraham, RSC Adv., 2020,10, 24867-24876

About the Web Writer:

Dr. B. Moses Abraham recently received his Ph.D from the University of Hyderabad, India. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Noble College, Machilipatnam, which is one of the first four educational institutions opened in India by the British Government in 1843.  Moses Abraham has been inducted as an Associate Member in Royal Society of Chemistry. His recent work on BTO-based energetic salts was recognized as HOT article for the year 2018 by Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. He has received various prestigious travel grants including the Royal Society of Chemistry and Science and Engineering Research Board travel grants to present his research on international scientific platforms. You can find him on Twitter @mosesabrahamb.

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

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RSC Advances Science Communications: The online conference experience

Author: Lee Birchall, Web Writer

Conference organisers all over the world have unfortunately had to cancel or postpone their plans in response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. However, some conference organisers made last-minute decisions to hold their conferences online. I have managed to attend two online conferences during lockdown; CEMWOQ 6.5 (The 6.5th Crystal Engineering and Emerging Materials Workshop of Ontario and Quebec) and CEFMC2020 (Crystal Engineering: From Molecule to Crystal 2020), which were held virtually via zoom from Canada and India respectively. Both conferences were attended by participants interested in crystals and crystalline materials from all parts of the world. Overall, they were extremely welcoming, well-organised and the feedback both during the conference and afterwards on twitter has been very positive.

Twitter has been extremely useful during lockdown to keep up with literature, discover useful webinars and it is where these online conferences were mostly advertised. It also provided a platform for posters to be presented prior to CEFMC2020, allowing participants and judges to browse at their own pace. In contrast, CEMWOQ 6.5 organisers made use of breakout rooms on zoom, which allowed the presenters to discuss their posters with other interested participants.

Whilst it is easier to network at normal conferences and meeting in-person is nice, online conferences have the potential to play an important role in improving diversity and inclusivity in science. Both CEMWOQ 6.5 and CEFMC2020 were completely free to attend and anyone who wanted to participate could register until capacity was reached. This provides an opportunity for postdocs, PhD students like me and even keen undergraduates to attend conferences and become inspired by incredible talks that they may have otherwise been unable to attend for financial or personal reasons. Even speakers with poor internet connections were able to present by providing pre-recorded talks.

One of the only negatives of the online conference is the time-zone difference. Depending on where you are based, a very early start or late night may be required, but that’s a reasonable sacrifice to learn about the fantastic research being done within the community.

Online conferences may become more commonplace post-COVID-19 now that they have been tried and tested. Whilst normal (in-person) conferences shouldn’t be completely replaced, switching between the online and in-person formats will allow for wider, more inclusive participation and less air travel is always a positive to help protect our planet.

About the Web Writer:

Lee Birchall has recently started his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Helena Shepherd at the University of Kent, where he also completed his MSc under the supervision of Dr. Stefano Biagini. He obtained a first class BSc at University College London. He enjoys music, languages and windsurfing and you can find him on Twitter at @LTBIRCH.

 

 

 

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

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RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Xu Zhang

We are very pleased to introduce Shine (Xu) Zhang, the corresponding author of the paper A simple and cost-effective approach to fabricate tunable length polymeric microneedle patches for controllable transdermal drug delivery. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our May HOT articles.  Shine was kind enough to tell us more about the work that went into this article and what he hopes to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the author and their article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the Author

Dr. Shine (Xu) Zhang holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Healthy Environments and Communities in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Health Sciences at Cape Breton University, Pearl River Scholar Guest Chair Professor of Pharmacy at Shenzhen Polytechnic, and an active member of Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute. His research aims at exploiting nanotechnology for health and environmental applications with focus on cancer diagnostics and treatment with precision nanomedicine. He is developing theranostic nanosystems for targeted combinatory therapy with his expertise in DNA aptamer technology, nanocomposite materials, polymeric microneedles, surface chemistry, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and reactive oxygen species chemistry (Fenton chemistry). Since 2015, Dr. Zhang has trained >50 postdoctoral fellows and research students, who obtained >25 prestigious scholarships and awards.

 

Dr. Zhang graduated with a PhD (Analytical Chemistry) from the University of Waterloo, followed with postdoctoral training at the University of Waterloo and Harvard University funded by fellowships from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Team picture

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
Dissolvable polymeric microneedles are micron-sized needles for delivering drugs through the outermost layer of skin for either rapid or prolonged release. This method is painless, can be self-administered, and does not require stringent storage conditions, which increases the availability and distribution of sensitive drug molecules. We simplified the microneedle manufacturing process by modifying widely available tattoo needle cartridges as master templates, reducing manufacturing time and cost and enabling researchers to develop microneedles of various formulations for proof-of-concept studies.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
Microneedles can be manufactured in many ways that are generally costly, and most moulding techniques only generate a single array morphology. We demonstrated that simple and inexpensive tattoo cartridges can be modified for manufacturing microneedles of desired length by applying a simple silicone spacer. This simplifies the procedure and enables low cost construction of these devices, which facilitates research and development in this field.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
Transdermal drug delivery is an attractive alternative to traditional subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intravenous injection; however, the outer layer skin is an effective barrier towards macromolecular and hydrophilic drugs. Microneedles penetrate the skin barrier, stabilize embedded drug molecules toward thermal and hydrolytic degradation, and facilitate distribution in remote and resource limited areas. They reduce burdens on healthcare systems and enable effective drug distribution to remote communities.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The key design considerations in this work were maintaining the morphological stability of the microneedles to ensure they remained rigid enough to penetrate the skin while also dissolving quickly within the skin tissue and delivering its drug cargo.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
High uniformity in morphology and geometry is required to ensure accurate and precise drug delivery. This was a challenge when preparing microneedles from different master templates and batches, including varying microneedle length using the same master template.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
The most exciting aspect of this work is its general applicability. Many modifications can be made, including incorporation of photothermal nanomaterials to enable precisely controlled drug release through controlled dissolution of the structural polymers.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
Our goal is the large-scale microneedle fabrication for the delivery of active biologics, e.g., proteins, vaccines, and siRNA. This technology may facilitate disease treatment and prevention, especially in areas with limited resources and healthcare availability.

 

A simple and cost-effective approach to fabricate tunable length polymeric microneedle patches for controllable transdermal drug delivery
Yongli Chen, Yiwen Xian, Andrew J. Carrier, Brian Youden, Mark Servos, Shufen Cui, Tiangang Luan, Sujing Lin and Xu Zhang
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 15541-15546
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA01382J, Paper

 

 

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June 2020 Reviews

Every month we update our Recent Reviews collection. This rolling collection showcases all of the review articles published in RSC Advances in the last 6 months. Don’t forget to come back next month to check out our latest reviews.

We hope you enjoy reading and as always, all of our articles are open access so you can easily share your favourites online and with your colleagues.

Check out the full collection!

Browse a selection of our June reviews below:

Recent advances in the synthesis of biologically and pharmaceutically active quinoline and its analogues: a review
Abdanne Weyesa and Endale Mulugeta
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 20784-20793
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03763J, Review

Catalytic conversion of ethane to valuable products through non-oxidative dehydrogenation and dehydroaromatization
Hikaru Saito and Yasushi Sekine
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 21427-21453
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03365K, Review

Developments and applications of nanomaterial-based carbon paste electrodes
Somayeh Tajik, Hadi Beitollahi, Fariba Garkani Nejad, Mohadeseh Safaei, Kaiqiang Zhang, Quyet Van Le, Rajender S. Varma, Ho Won Jang and Mohammadreza Shokouhimehr
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 21561-21581
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03672B, Review

Advances in PEG-based ABC terpolymers and their applications
Xiaojin Zhang, Yu Dai, Guofei Dai and Chunhui Deng
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 21602-21614
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03478A, Review

Recent advances in the design of cathode materials for Li-ion batteries
Nourhan Mohamed and Nageh K. Allam
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 21662-21685
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03314F, Review

The genus Micromonospora as a model microorganism for bioactive natural product discovery
Mohamed S. Hifnawy, Mohamed M. Fouda, Ahmed M. Sayed, Rabab Mohammed, Hossam M. Hassan, Sameh F. AbouZid, Mostafa E. Rateb, Alexander Keller, Martina Adamek, Nadine Ziemert and Usama Ramadan Abdelmohsen
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 20939-20959
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04025H, Review

Natural products’ role against COVID-19
Ananda da Silva Antonio, Larissa Silveira Moreira Wiedemann and Valdir Florêncio Veiga-Junior
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 23379-23393
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03774E, Review

Mechanistic aspects of saccharide dehydration to furan derivatives for reaction media design
Thibaut Istasse and Aurore Richel
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 23720-23742
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03892J, Review

Graphene quantum dot based materials for sensing, bio-imaging and energy storage applications: a review
Y. Ravi Kumar, Kalim Deshmukh, Kishor Kumar Sadasivuni and S. K. Khadheer Pasha
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 23861-23898
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03938A, Review

New insights into red plant pigments: more than just natural colorants
José A. Fernández-López, Vicente Fernández-Lledó and José M. Angosto
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 24669-24682
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03514A, Review
RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

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Stumble Now!
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