Feature interview with RSC Advances Executive Editor Laura Fisher

Laura Fisher is Executive Editor for RSC Advances at the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is responsible for the strategic development of the journal, working with members of the Editorial Board and Associate Editors to ensure RSC Advances upholds its standards of quality and impact, and supports the global chemistry community. She kindly agreed to talk about her career in publishing and her aspirations for RSC Advances in the future.

You started as Managing Editor for RSC Advances in June 2019 and in January this year, you were appointed as Executive Editor. Going forward, what is your vision for the journal? What can authors and readers expect of RSC Advances in the future?

I’ve really enjoyed working with the RSC Advances team for the past year. My previous role was across five journals, all of which were much smaller and more subject-specific, as well as not being open access. RSC Advances offers completely different challenges in terms of the size of the journal and engaging with authors across a much broader subject range, and I have learned a lot in the past year! I have really enjoyed the Open Access focus, and working with our huge team of Associate Editors who cover so many different subjects and geographies, but are all so engaged with what we are doing.

In the future I would like us to engage with more and more early career researchers, and give them opportunities to be involved in the journal, whether it is as web writers on our blog, as reviewers, or as Associate Editors. I’d also really like to engage with more people who are really passionate about open access publishing, as I really believe it is the future of our field.

Soon after you started as Executive Editor, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. How has this affected you and the journal? What has been most challenging?

From a personal standpoint the biggest transitions have been working from home rather than seeing my colleagues and teammates in the office every day, and also the lack of international travel. I was lucky to get out to China and meet some of the community there last November, but it has been really strange not getting to meet authors and readers in person at conferences over the past year.

From a journal point of view we saw a big spike in submissions at the start of lockdown, when I guess more people had time for writing, and more recently a slight dip as labs are opening up and people are focussing on getting their research back on track. We are also seeing funding being limited in certain regions, which can be challenging for open access.

I also think there have been some positives though, such as the way we have learned to communicate with each other remotely through various means, and that could have a really big benefit going forwards both in terms of collaboration, but also in limiting the amount of international travel for conferences, which is a big part of both my role as an Executive Editor, as well as those of our authors, editors, and readers.

It is the International Open Access Week and you are leading one of the largest gold open access chemistry journals in the world. What makes RSC Advances an important journal in the work towards open research?

The main thing for me is that we are really trying to make open access publishing as inclusive as possible. Our APCs are some of the lowest in the industry, and we offer waivers and discounts to authors from developing countries. To me that shows that we really are doing this for the researchers, and to make chemical science more accessible for everyone.

What would you say to researchers who are on the fence about open access?

It really depends on their reasoning. For those who have concerns about whether the research is reliable and of high quality, I would highlight the fact that at RSC Advances our standards have not changed since before we were open access. Our reject rate has been steady at ~55% for the past 7 years, and this shows that we are applying the same quality standards to open access work as we were previously. 

It is also important to clarify that at the RSC we keep our editorial decisions very separate from any decisions about discounts or waivers. We do that for a good reason – so that we are only judging people’s research on the research itself, and not on the author’s ability to pay an APC. That is the way it should always be.

Finally I would tell people that one of the main benefits of open access is that your research can be read by more people. Under the subscription model only people at institutions with subscription access, or those who pay per article, can read articles, whereas with Open Access anyone can read your work. That includes people at institutions with lower budgets, people in developing countries who don’t generally have broad access to research, and people working in different fields. This means more opportunities for citation and collaboration.

You have a background in research yourself, a PhD in chemistry. Please could you tell us about that?

I did my undergraduate degree and my PhD at the University of Bath. Technically my PhD is in chemical engineering, but it had a quite heavy chemistry focus – synthesising and characterising MOFs, and then measuring their hydrogen adsorption capacity for potential use in fuel cells. After leaving Bath I completed a postdoc at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. However, I have to say I was never a very good practical chemist, and my accident-prone nature made me realise that being in the lab probably wasn’t the best career path for me. I really wanted to stay involved in science though, which is why I applied to work at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

In the past, you have worked on several different journals as well as been involved in the launching of new journals. What made you interested in a career in publishing in the first place? What do you find most exciting with RSC Advances?

As I said in the previous question, it was mostly wanting to stay involved in science but recognising that a career in research didn’t really suit me. I also really enjoy writing, and initially was attracted to the language editing side of the role – helping authors improve their papers. As my career developed I realised I was better at the more outward-facing side of the editor role, and I really enjoy getting to work directly with members of the scientific community on a daily basis. The breadth of scope in RSC Advances makes that even better, because there are so many people who have published in, reviewed for, or read the journal, and each has a different insight.

What is the most common question people ask you about RSC Advances and what is your response to it?

I get a lot of questions from people who have been offered a transfer to RSC Advances from another RSC journal, asking why this is. The main reason is that we get a lot of really great work submitted to all of our journals at the RSC, but sometimes that work isn’t suitable for the journal it was submitted to, whether that is because it isn’t in scope, or because it doesn’t meet the novelty or impact standards of that journal. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t great work, and we want to keep as much of that great work as we can at the RSC, by offering the authors the option to publish in a more suitable journal. 

We see this as a service for authors, because the transfer is automatic once they approve it, so they don’t have to go through the submission process from the beginning again, and if their paper has already been through peer review, we can often use the same referees, or even the same referee reports, saving the authors time.

Sometimes a transfer offer will be made to one of our subscription journals, and sometimes it will be an open access journal, such as RSC Advances. The only criterion driving transfer offers is the suitability of the venue for the paper in question. And of course, these transfer offers are always optional! 

Do you have any favourite RSC Advances articles? If so, which ones and why?

There was a paper earlier in the year where the authors had been inspired by the way beetles capture water from the air in deserts, and had used the same concept to design a surface that could capture water from fog, with the potential to generate drinking water in arid regions. I really do love how nature can inspire scientists in so many ways!

Back in 2016–2018 when I was working on the journal Soft Matter there was a series of papers in RSC Advances and Soft Matter where the authors were engineering edible microballoons that could be used to deliver nutritional supplements to babies in developing countries. The work they had published with us helped them secure a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant. It’s really great when publications in our journals lead to work that can make such a difference in the world.

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: Open Access

Author: Lee Birchall, Web Writer

In my recent blog post, I discussed the benefits of online conferences for inclusion and wide participation. Access to science without barriers like money and travel is always appreciated and fosters greater interest and collaboration within communities.

As a PhD student at the University of Kent in the UK, I am privileged because my institution has subscriptions to most of the journals needed to progress with my research and understanding. This level of access is quite normal in the UK and therefore it can be easy to forget that not everyone has this luxury. But it is important for this imbalance to be recognized and over the last few years it has been pleasant to see the increased use of open access publishing. I was pleased to publish my first paper as open access because I believe that the dissemination of research will be increasingly important as the world faces new problems.

Scientific innovation can take huge leaps forward when working to overcome challenges. We have seen evidence of this with COVID-19 and the incredible response from scientists all over the world. However, COVID-19 is not the only issue that the world faces. Each country has its own characteristics such as climate, agriculture and infrastructure which results in specific and unique challenges that may light the spark for scientific innovation. However, lack of access to key research can result in missed opportunities and ideas that would benefit the entire world. Issues such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance, pose serious threats to our way of life, with consequences worse than we have seen with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has shocked the world. Therefore, it is increasingly important that the global scientific community can work collaboratively and with fewer barriers through open access so that we can be better prepared for what the future holds.

It is also important to recognise that misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding science is becoming increasingly common, resulting in a disconnect with the public. With the adoption of open access, factual and reliable scientific information will be much easier to find by anyone if they so wish.

Unfortunately, publishing open access does not come without issues. It can be expensive, and the existence of predatory journals can result in published science that has not been through the same rigorous peer-review process that is used by reputable journals. But choosing to publish open access in trusted journals, providing funds are available, will help to advance the progress and inclusivity of science, which is important now more than ever.

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.

 

 

 

 

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RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Mitsuru Ando

We are very pleased to introduce Dr Mitsuru Ando, first author of the paper ‘Preparation of cationic proteoliposomes using cell-free membrane protein synthesis: the chaperoning effect of cationic liposomes‘. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our September HOT articles. Mitsuru told 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 his article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Dr Mitsuru Ando received his undergraduate degree in Polymer Science and Engineering in 2007 from Kyoto Institute of Technology by under the supervision of Professor Akira Murakami. He received his master degree and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Kyoto University by under the supervision of Professor Yoshinobu Takakura in 2010 and 2013, respectively. After graduation, Dr. Ando has been a postdoctoral fellow at Graduate school of pharmaceutical sciences (2013-2014) and at the Department of Polymer Chemistry, Graduate school of Engineering, Kyoto University (2014-date). His research project focuses on membrane protein science, drug delivery system and synthetic biology.

 

 

 

 

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?
Our article describes the investigation of the effect of cationic liposome, one of the drug delivery system scaffolds, on cell-free membrane protein synthesis and the preparation method of the bioactive membrane protein reconstituted cationic liposomes.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
Our study provides the advanced drug delivery system based on combination of membrane protein-guide with cationic liposomes. This cationic proteoliposome has the potential of highly specific interaction with target ligand on plasma membrane and more efficient delivery of encapsulated liposomal content through improvements to cellular attachment, fusion and ultimately delivery.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
Since membrane proteins in modulating cellular homeostasis, they are expected for their use in advanced applications. However, compared with the soluble protein science, the membrane protein science is still quite preliminary. We hope to use membrane proteins as a membrane protein-conducted drug delivery targeting materials and biosensor chips.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
A key point for this study is to control the surface positive charge of liposome and the concentration of cationic lipids.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The most challenging aspect is the optimization of cationic lipid contents and concentrations under cell-free protein synthesis to control droplet-like polyion complexes.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
At this moment, we are very excited in establishing the preparation method of cationic proteoliposomes to open the advanced drug delivery system pivoted membrane protein science.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
In the next step, we plan and performe to use other membrane protein-reconstituted cationic liposomes in the membrane protein-conducted drug delivery strategy.

 

Preparation of cationic proteoliposomes using cell-free membrane protein synthesis: the chaperoning effect of cationic liposomes
Mitsuru Ando, Yoshihiro Sasaki and Kazunari Akiyoshi
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 28741-28745
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05825D, Paper

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RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Hamdy M. Abdel-Rahman and his team

We are very pleased to introduce Professor Hamdy M. Abdel-Rahman, Dr Asmaa M. AboulMagd and Mr Mostafa A. Mansour, the authors of the paper ‘Quinazoline-Schiff base conjugates: in silico study and ADMET predictions as multi-target inhibitors of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) proteins‘. Their article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our September HOT articles. The authors told us more about the work that went into this article and what they hope to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the authors and their article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Prof. Hamdy M. Abdel-Rahman received the Ph.D. degree in medicinal chemistry in 1999 in a joint supervision system between Faculty of Pharmacy Assiut University, Egypt and Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Japan. After Two postdoctoral positions, from 2002-2004, at Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Japan and from 2006-2009 at institute of cancer therapeutics, Bradford University, UK; he returned back to Assiut University, Egypt where he promoted to full professor in 2012. From 2014 he joined the Faculty of Pharmacy, Nahda University, Egypt, where he is the dean from 2018 till now.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Asmaa M. AboulMagd received the Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical chemistry in 2016 from Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University. She is interested in design and synthesis of small molecules with potential biological activities and the use of computer aided drug design. Since 2017, she has been a lecturer of pharmaceutical chemistry at Faculty of Pharmacy, Nahda University, Egypt, till now.

 

 

 

 

Mr. Mostafa A. Mansour graduated from Faculty of pharmacy, Nahda University, Egypt in 2013 and received the Master degree in medicinal chemistry in 2020 from Faculty of Pharmacy, Beni-Suef University, Egypt. Interested in computer aided drug design techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 focus of this article is to find a drug for treatment of coronavirus diseases COVID-19.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
Reaching to a therapeutic drug against coronavirus will have a social, economic, and political impact.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
In a previous work, we have designed and synthesized a class of synthetic compounds and were evaluated against PDE 4B activity (anti-inflammatory in chest diseases), we thought that this would be ideal pharmaceutical therapy against COVID-19 disease.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The key design considerations in this study is to find out that these compounds could be used as potential therapeutic agents for COVID-19.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
COVID-19 pandemic is considered as a global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced nowadays.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
Using computer modeling softwares, we proved that these compounds have a potential therapeutic effect on coronavirus by several mechanisms.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
The in-vitro evaluation of the biological activity of the synthesized derivatives is our next step in an attempt to discover a potential multi-target agent against coronavirus.

Quinazoline-Schiff base conjugates: in silico study and ADMET predictions as multi-target inhibitors of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) proteins
Mostafa A. Mansour, Asmaa M. AboulMagd and Hamdy M. Abdel-Rahman
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 34033-34045
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06424F, 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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RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Shuntaro Takahashi and Naoki Sugimoto

We are very pleased to introduce Dr Shuntaro Takahashi and Professor Naoki Sugimoto, first author and corresponding author of the paper ‘Molecular crowding induces primer extension by RNA polymerase through base stacking beyond Watson–Crick rules‘. Their article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our September HOT articles. The authors told us more about the work that went into this article and what they hope to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the authors and their article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Shuntaro Takahashi is an Associate Professor at the Frontier Institute for Biomolecular Engineering Research (FIBER), Konan University, Japan. Dr. Takahashi earned his PhD degree at Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2007. After a period of research at Tokyo Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor, he joined FIBER in 2012. He is currently studying the biophysics of nucleic acids in cells and the mechanism of molecular crowding for nucleic acid structures that affect cellular metabolism.

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Sugimoto received his PhD in 1985 from Kyoto University, Japan. After completing his postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester in the U.S.A., he became a faculty member at Konan University in Kobe, Japan in 1988. He has been a full professor since 1994 and a director at the Frontier Institute for Biomolecular Engineering Research (FIBER), Konan University since 2003. He received The Imbach-Townsend Award from IS3NA in 2018. In 2020, he was awarded CSJ Awards from the Chemical Society of Japan. His research interests include biophysical chemistry, biomaterials, biofunctional chemistry, and biotechnology in the field of nucleic acid chemistry.

 

 

 

 

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?
We investigated the effect of chemical environments on gene replication of the virus RNA polymerase. This article provides insight into not only the evolution of life but also the mechanism of mutation of the virus genome including SARS-CoV-2.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
Our results provide one story that the molecular environment could take part in the evolution of life by enhancing the replication error of genome sequences. Moreover, this study suggests the significance of molecular environments of patients’ cells for spreading viruses.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
The stability of the Watson-Crick base pair is NOT always the most stable, which can be perturbed by molecular environments. Therefore, we speculated that the replication of nucleic acids in the enzyme could also be affected by molecular environments and cause replication errors.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The key design consideration of our study is to quantitatively understand the effect of molecular environments on the replication fidelity because the stability of nucleic acids structures depends on the physicochemical properties of the solution such as dielectric constant and water activity.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
For the reagents for the molecular environments, we used poly(ethylene glycol)s. Although these reagents were easy to tune the solution properties, the effect on RNA and protein were different and complex. The choice of suitable condition was very important for this kind of research.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
We were excited to find the replication rules became dependent on the stacking interactions more than Watson-Crick base pairing under molecular crowding conditions. This indicates that the replication error can be simply explained by the changes in dielectric constant.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
This study suggests that the rule of the base pairings can be differentiated under molecular crowding conditions. Thus, we will pursue the biological role of non-Watson-Crick base pairings such as Hoogsteen base pairs under different cellular conditions. We are also interested in the effect of molecular environments on the reaction of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of Covid-19.

Molecular crowding induces primer extension by RNA polymerase through base stacking beyond Watson–Crick rules
Shuntaro Takahashi, Hiromichi Okura, Pallavi Chilka, Saptarshi Ghosh and Naoki Sugimoto
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 33052-33058
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06502A, 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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RSC Advances Editors’ Collections

Have you been enjoying our monthly Editors’ Collections? We’ve certainly loved putting them together! Each collection is curated by one of our expert Associate Editors, focuses on a specific topic and includes lots of great articles from RSC Advances.

In case you’ve missed any, we have collected all of our Editors’ collections over the last year in one place.

If you would like to submit your work to any of these collections, please contact the Editorial Office – we invite you to submit your research to these collection and give your work the global visibility it deserves

Environmental chemistry: Pollution control

This collection, guest-edited by RSC Advances Associate Editor Professor Feng Zhao (Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences) features articles on the theme ‘pollution control’, illustrating the notability, quality and variety of publications in RSC Advances. These articles are already among the most highly cited research articles in the journal, illustrating their impact. Subject areas include absorptive materials, photocatalytic materials, bio-magnetic membranes and method development.

Ferroelectric and multiferroic materials

In this collection, guest edited by RSC Advances Associate Editor Dr Donna Arnold (University of Kent), we look at some of the contributions to the fields of multiferroic and ferroelectric materials published in the journal. The articles featured here focus 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.

 

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.

Fluorine chemistry in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology

This collection, guest-edited by RSC Advances Editorial Board member Professor Norio Shibata (Nagoya Institute of Technology), features articles published in the journal on fluorine chemistry related to medicinal chemistry and chemical biology.

Organofluorine compounds are revealed in the extensive use of key materials in diverse industrial areas of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, specialty materials, and polymers. In particular, the high demand for organofluorine compounds on the drug market has been evidenced by the sharp increase in the number of fluoro-pharmaceuticals approved each year. Fluorine-related papers published in the journal span over various research fields, including synthetic methodology, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and materials science.

Supramolecular polymers

Sebastien Ulrich RSC Advances Associate EditorThis collection, guest-edited by RSC Advances Associate Editor Dr Sébastien Ulrich (CNRS, Université de Montpellier), features articles published in the journal on the topic of Supramolecular Polymers. Supramolecular polymers results from the poly-association of molecules through non-covalent interactions. Uniquely and because they are self-assembled through reversible linkages, these materials are dynamic and can therefore adapt to different conditions and respond to different stimuli. Although supramolecular polymers were first seen as a lab curiosity, they have now demonstrated their utility in a wide range of applications from material to biological sciences. Recent breakthroughs such as the discovery of living supramolecular polymerization make the field very active and opens up exciting new opportunities.

The collection of selected articles witnesses this blooming activity, by reporting on i) the design of new molecular building blocks that impart new structures and functions, ii) the expansion to new types of self-assembly processes, which affect the dynamic feature of the corresponding adaptive materials, iii) our understanding, modelling and characterization of the mechanism of self-assembly, and iv) on the application of these smart systems in a wide range of area from biomedicine to material science.

Food Engineering, science, technology, and nutrition

Angela Meireles. RSC Advances Associate Editor RSCGuest-edited by RSC Advances Associate Editor Professor Maria Angela A. Meireles, this collection features research with the area of food engineering, science, technology, and nutrition, illustrating the multidisciplinary aspects of this field that produces exciting research.

The collection shows a fascinating relationship between the various fields involved in the subject area of food. From articles that deal with the cultivation, livestock, etc. to articles dealing with the effects of metabolites in the human gut microbiota including articles on new sources of fibers and other bioactive compounds.

Physical chemistry of colloids and interfaces

Guest-edited by RSC Advances Associate Editor Dr Juan J. Giner-Casares, this collection features exciting research with the core in physical chemistry of interfaces, illustrating a vibrant field that in itself produces stimulating research.

The physical chemistry of colloids and interfaces is enjoying a fruitful interaction with a vast number of fields; joint ventures with the biomedical discipline constitute undoubtedly a prominent topic, in which chemical and biomedical researchers highly benefit from each other. There are also many other subjects that profit from interactions with physical chemistry.

Antimicrobial polymers

Roberto Rosal, RSC Advances Associate Editor, Antimicrobial polymersGuest-edited by RSC Advances Associate Editor Professor Roberto Rosal, this collection features remarkable contributions on antimicrobial polymers published in the journal and aims to highlight recent work published on the design, characterization, and efficiency of antimicrobial polymers.

Antimicrobial polymers are materials aimed at inhibiting or killing different types of microorganisms. The importance of developing new antimicrobial substances and materials arises from the health problem posed by multidrug-resistant microbes.

This set of articles describes some recent developments on the use of different types of antimicrobial polymers. They include antimicrobial nanomaterials, antimicrobial fibres and surfaces and drug-delivery systems with a focus on potentially pathogenic bacterial strains.

 Photodynamic therapy

Fabienne Dumoulin, RSC Advances Associate Editor, Royal Society of ChemistryThis collection, guest-edited by Associate Editor Dr Fabienne Dumoulin (Gebze Technical University), features articles published in the journal from 2018 on photodynamic therapy that comprise biological experiments. As an alternative therapeutic modality, recognised as an efficient way to treat not only several cancers but also infections, it has inspired the development of different treatment strategies.

The collection reflects the variety of photosensitising systems, and the significant amount of nanophotosensitisers, including carbon nanomaterials. Various targeted approaches are being developed; theranostics are significantly expanding, as well as synergistic effects and specific activation in the tumour microenvironment. Related photothermal and sonodynamic therapies, even at less mature development stages, have proved their efficiency. Photochemical internalisation is also an excellent means to improve drug delivery and drug efficiency. Photodynamic therapy is undoubtedly a valuable way to save lives, and this collection aims at highlighting its achievements and promises.

Carbon Dioxide Capture/Reduction

This collection is edited by Associate Editor Professor Carlos D. Garcia (Clemson University) and contains selected Reviews, Communications and full Papers published since 2018. The collection features the most remarkable contributions published in the journal and aims to highlight recent work published and raise awareness of the most current strategies to mitigate the impact of CO2 on the atmosphere.

These articles describe strategies to either promote the capture of CO2 or its reduction to yield organic compounds of higher value (methane, methanol, carbon monoxide, and short-chain organic acids). Although most of these articles describe clever chemical reactivity, their main focus ranges from biomimetic approaches to electrochemistry and photocatalysis.

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: Photothermally triggered nanoplatform based on IR780-encapsulated PLGA nanoparticles – A plausible remedy for breast cancer metastasis to bones

Author: Ayan Kumar Barui, Web Writer

Among different types of malignant diseases, breast cancer is the most prevalent one among women throughout the world. Breast cancer patients often face bone metastasis at middle and late stages of malignancies, causing various skeletal diseases (e.g. bone loss, extreme pain, hypercalcaemia, pathological fracture etc) as well as mortality. The conventional therapies for breast cancer metastasis to bone include surgery and chemotherapy, which involve several limitations. For instance, surgery is not suitable for eliminating poorly defined and small metastases. Then again, chemotherapy is associated with adverse toxicity, side effects, drug resistance, tumour recurrence, tumour targeting issue etc. Therefore, it is urgently required to develop some alternative approaches for the treatment of breast cancer and associated bone metastasis by solving the aforementioned limitations. In this context, nanomedicine might play a pivotal role, considering its potent biomedical applications in drug delivery, radiotherapy, gene therapy and photothermal therapy (PTT) to treat different types of cancers. Of late, near-infrared (NIR) laser light-based PTT involving biocompatible nanomaterials has been immense popular, due to the minimized invasiveness approach with enhanced safeguarding of adjacent tissues and potent anti-cancer efficiency, by producing high temperature in tumour tissues locally upon absorbance of light, ultimately leading to cancer cell death in a targeted manner. Even though, PTT has been widely studied for the treatment of superficial tumours, there is scarcity of reports related to its application for the therapy of deep tumors including bone metastasis of breast cancer.

In this scenario, Wang and co-workers have recently developed an NIR-triggered nanoplatform based on IR780 (NIR absorber)-encapsulated biocompatible poly-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) nanoparticles (IR780@PLGA NPs) and investigated its PTT potential for the treatment of bone metastasis of breast cancer. The researchers established a bone metastasis model of tumours in BALB/c mice by inoculating 4T1 cells (mice breast cancer cells) into right tibia of mice through intraosseous infusion. The intra-tumoural administration of IR780@PLGA NPs to the tumor containing mice in presence of NIR light exhibited better tumor growth inhibition than the PBS control group and IR780@PLGA NPs group without NIR radiation, suggesting that the nanoplatform could effectively suppress the breast cancer cell metastasis to bone through PTT. Additionally, histopathology study revealed that tumor containing legs administered with IR780@PLGA NPs and NIR light illustrated less damage of bone and more number of healthy tissues around it as compared to the control groups. Overall, the study provides the basis for potent clinical application of IR780@PLGA NPs-based PTT for the treatment of bone metastasis of breast cancer in near future.

Reference

Near-infrared-induced IR780-loaded PLGA nanoparticles for photothermal therapy to treat breast cancer metastasis in bones, Li et al., RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 35976-35983

About the Web Writer:

Dr. Ayan Kumar Barui received his Ph.D. degree from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), India in 2017. Then he worked as a postdoctoral research associate in Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea for more than two years. Currently, he is associated with an R&D institute based in India. His research focuses on the development of nano/bio-materials for pro- and anti-angiogenic therapy, targeted drug delivery, cancer therapy, vascular disease therapy, wound healing, and bio-imaging. He possesses 37 peer-reviewed international publications and several international conference awards. He is recognized as a member (MRSC) of the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK. He also serves as an invited reviewer for various international journals including Nanoscale, Biomaterials Science, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Materials Science and Engineering C, RSC Advances, Food & Function etc.

You can find him on Twitter @AYANBARUI

 

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RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with He Dong

We are very pleased to introduce He Dong, the corresponding author of the paper Modular design and self-assembly of multidomain peptides towards cytocompatible supramolecular cell penetrating nanofibers. Her article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our September HOT articles.  He Dong was kind enough to tell us more about the work that went into this article and what she 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

He Dong obtained her PhD degree in organic chemistry at Rice University in 2008. After postdoc work at Emory University and the University of California at Berkeley, she started her independent career in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science at Clarkson University in 2012. She joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2018. Her research is focused on biomimetic design and supramolecular assembly of soft matter nanomaterials for anticancer and antimicrobial therapy development. She received a NSF Faculty Early Career Award for her work on the design and self-assembly of antimicrobial peptides. Recently, she was named as an Emerging Investigator of Journal of Materials Chemistry for the development of stimuli-responsive cell penetrating nanomaterials.

 

 

 

Dong Group

Graduate students Weike Chen (1st from the left), Ryan Madigan (2nd from the Left), Su Yang (2nd from the right) and Dr. He Dong (1st from the right) at the UTA Science & Engineering Innovation & Research Building.

Project defense of a high school student, Sidney Wang (2nd from the left) who was selected for research experiences of 2019 Welch Summer Scholar Program. Sidney’s project is to study the fundamental physicochemical property of supramolecular peptide nanofibers. Sidney’s mother (1st from the left), undergraduate student, Samuel Gardner (1st from the right) and Dr. Dong (2nd from the right) attended her defense.

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 efficacy of chemotherapy or gene therapy, in large part, depends on the ability of chemotherapeutics or genetic materials to cross the cell membrane to reach the cytoplasm. Designing nanomaterials that can facilitate intracellular delivery of therapeutics to the cytosol is of great interests from both fundamental research and practical point of view. This work is focused on a supramolecular approach for the design, and synthesis of supramolecular cell penetrating nanofibers (SCPNs) which have potent membrane activity and excellent cytocompatibility for intracellular delivery of therapeutics and/or imaging agents.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
The success of the project will substantially advance our ability to develop peptide-based cell penetrating nanomaterials for a range of biomedical applications which required the delivery of therapeutics inside the cell. The range of molecular and supramolecular chemistry developed in this project will lead to a comprehensive fundamental understanding of the structure-activity relationship beyond the molecular level. The acquired knowledge will help build up a solid foundation for the rational design of supramolecular nanostructured materials, in particular nanofiber-based materials for other applications, not limited to drug/gene delivery in the biological arena. They can be potential used for vaccine delivery and antimicrobial materials design and development, all of which require potent cell penetrating activity.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
The discovery of cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) has great impacts on both fundamental and translational biomedical research due to their seemingly at will ability to transverse the cell membrane. However, most natural and synthetic CPPs suffer from poor stability against proteolysis and rapid in vivo clearance. Peptide self-assembly offers an effective method to generate supramolecular nanomaterials with improved stability, dynamic nanostructure and biological activity. In particular, the high aspect ratio peptide nanofibers showed good in vivo stability and have been extensively studied as functional scaffolds and for a variety of in vivo biomedical applications. Inspired by both natural CPPs and fibrous peptides, we build a novel class of supramolecular cell penetrating nanofibers (SCPNs) through the self-assembly of integrated cationic -sheet forming peptides to overcome the intrinsic limitation of traditional CPPs while having potent cell penetrating activity and minimum cytotoxicity.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The key design considerations are on the modular design and self-assembly of MDPs to afford supramolecular assemblies with tunable nanostructure morphology and cationic domain conformational flexibility. The combined supramolecular structures and conformational flexibility of the cationic domain play dual roles in mediating the cell penetrating activity and therefore drug delivery efficacy.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
Understanding the correlation between structure and cell penetrating activity requires detailed structural characterization on both the molecular and supramolecular level. The biggest challenges that we overcome is the elucidation of the solution self-assembly states adopted by different supramolecular assemblies and further their structure-dependent membrane activity.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
From the fundamental self-assembly point of view, the work is novel and significant as it established a general peptide self-assembly mechanism by which SPCNs can be generated and optimized for both nanostructures and cell penetrating activity. From a broader viewpoint of biomedical application, these MDPs can be readily modified with various chemical functionalities, particular those served as stimuli-responsive chemical linkers that can respond to a range of disease-specific microenvironment to turn on/off the cell penetrating activity. Such efforts would be greatly beneficial for the development of smart SPCNs as disease-specific molecular therapy and imaging agents.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
The current work laid solid foundation for the synthesis of tumor microenvironment (such as pH, enzymes, ROS or hypoxia) responsive SCPNs which have tumor-specific cell penetrating activity. These “smart” tumor-responsive SCPNs would be great candidates to test the in vivo stability, targeting efficacy and overall therapeutic efficacy of SCPNs.

 

Modular design and self-assembly of multidomain peptides towards cytocompatible supramolecular cell penetrating nanofibers
Su Yang and He Dong
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 29469-29474
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04748A, Paper

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September 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 September reviews below:

Regio- and stereoselective intermolecular carbolithiation reactions
G. Marsico, P. Scafato, S. Belviso and S. Superchi
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 32581-32601
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06101H

One-pot construction of carbohydrate scaffolds mediated by metal catalysts
Mana Mohan Mukherjee, Sajal Kumar Maity and Rina Ghosh
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 32450-32475
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05355D

Recent progress to construct calixarene-based polymers using covalent bonds: synthesis and applications
Reza Zadmard, Fahimeh Hokmabadi, Mohammad Reza Jalali and Ali Akbarzadeh
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 32690-32722
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05707J

Recent progress in porphyrin- and phthalocyanine-containing perovskite solar cells
Yutaka Matsuo, Keisuke Ogumi, Il Jeon, Huan Wang and Takafumi Nakagawa
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 32678-32689
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03234D

Furo[3,2-c]coumarins carrying carbon substituents at C-2 and/or C-3. Isolation, biological activity, synthesis and reaction mechanisms
Iván Cortés, L. Javier Cala, Andrea B. J. Bracca and Teodoro S. Kaufman
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 33344-33377
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06930B

Graphitic carbon nitride nanotubes: a new material for emerging applications
Oleksandr Stroyuk, Oleksandra Raievska and Dietrich R. T. Zahn
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 34059-34087
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05580H

In vivo and in vitro studies of antisense oligonucleotides – a review
Anna Kilanowska and Sylwia Studzińska
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 34501-34516
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04978F

 

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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September 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 September HOT articles below:

Pharmacoinformatics approaches to identify potential hits against tetraacyldisaccharide 4′-kinase (LpxK) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Manoj G. Damale, Shahebaaz K. Pathan, Rajesh B. Patil and Jaiprakash N. Sangshetti
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 32856-32874
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06675C

Molecular crowding induces primer extension by RNA polymerase through base stacking beyond Watson–Crick rules
Shuntaro Takahashi, Hiromichi Okura, Pallavi Chilka, Saptarshi Ghosha and Naoki Sugimoto
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 33052-33058
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06502A

One-pot synthesis of indoles and quinolinones from ortho-tosylaminophenyl-substituted para-quinone methides
Junwei Wang, Xiang Pan, Quanjin Rong, Lei Zhao, Lin Zhao, Weichen Dai, Kun Zhao and Lihong Hu
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 33455-33460
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05497F

NaBH4 induces a high ratio of Ni3+/Ni2+ boosting OER activity of the NiFe LDH electrocatalyst
Yaqiong Wang, Shi Tao, He Lin, Shaobo Han, Wenhua Zhong, Yangshan Xie, Jue Hu and Shihe Yang
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 33475-33482
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06617F

Quinazoline-Schiff base conjugates: in silico study and ADMET predictions as multi-target inhibitors of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) proteins
Mostafa A. Mansour, Asmaa M. AboulMagd and Hamdy M. Abdel-Rahman
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 34033-34045
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06424F

Mechanistic understanding of humin formation in the conversion of glucose and fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in [BMIM]Cl ionic liquid
Zhanwei Xu, Yiwen Yang, Peifang Yan, Zhi Xia, Xuebin Liu and Z. Conrad Zhang
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 34732-34737
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA05641C

P-stereocontrolled synthesis of oligo(nucleoside N3′→O5′ phosphoramidothioate)s – opportunities and limitations
Ewa Radzikowska, Renata Kaczmarek, Dariusz Korczyński, Agnieszka Krakowiak, Barbara Mikołajczyk, Janina Baraniak, Piotr Guga, Kraig A. Wheeler, Tomasz Pawlak and Barbara Nawrot
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 35185-35197
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA04987E

Several coumarin derivatives and their Pd(ii) complexes as potential inhibitors of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, an in silico approach
Dejan A. Milenković, Dušan S. Dimić, Edina H. Avdović and Zoran S. Marković
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 35099-35108
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07062A

Synthesis and biological activities of novel trifluoromethylpyridine amide derivatives containing sulfur moieties
S. X. Guo, F. He, A. L. Dai, R. F. Zhang, S. H. Chen and J. Wu
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 35658-35670
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07301F

Design and optimization of a subunit vaccine targeting COVID-19 molecular shreds using an immunoinformatics framework
Neeraj Kumar, Damini Sood and Ramesh Chandra
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 35856-35872
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06849G

 

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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