RSC Publishing



Cover image for Highlights in Chemical Science

Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Issue 10

Stopping stickiness

The problem of molecules sticking to the inside of microfluidic channels is being tackled by researchers in the US. Non-specific adsorption of analytes causes significant problems in microfluidic devices, and can make analysis impossible. Now, Matthew Munson and co-workers at the University of Washington, Seattle, have shown that sheath flow, a type of flow configuration that results in one fluid completely surrounding another, can prevent the analytes sticking. The technique is particularly promising for miniaturised analysis of biological molecules.

Pocket-sized peptides

Drug discovery scientists at Cyclacel Ltd in Dundee, UK, have designed short, constrained peptide molecules that inhibit a key enzyme involved in cell multiplication, inducing cancer cells to commit suicide. Targeting this enzyme has enormous potential for specific, less toxic chemotherapeutic agents. The researchers have employed a wealth of structural information to explain why the conformational rigidity of their cyclic peptides makes them so potent. They have also optimised novel solid phase synthetic route chemistry that neatly integrates a cyclisation and a resin cleavage step.

Behind liver transplantation

Alterations occurring in the liver modify the physio-chemical state of fluorophores that are engaged in the metabolic processes, affecting the liver tissue's autofluorescence. Anna Croce and her team from the University of Pavia, Italy, have conducted a spectrofluorometric study on liver extracts in conditions that mimic phases of organ transplant. The team have characterised the nature of the fluorophores and their dependence on experimental conditions. This work could lead to the development of a real-time diagnostic technique for monitoring liver functional-metabolic conditions.

Ionic liquid energies

One of the advantages of ionic liquids, their negligibly low vapour pressures, also means that it is impossible to directly measure their internal energies of vaporisation experimentally. It is however possible to estimate these energies if the Hildebrand solubility parameter is known. Andrew McLean and colleagues at the University of Paisley, UK, are the first to successfully estimate this parameter for several ionic liquids, enabling researchers to predict which parameters most influence reactions in ionic liquids.

Essential Elements

ReSourCe - lighting the way to publication

ReSourCe - lighting the way to publication

Award winning journals

Award winning journals

And finally......

And finally......

Research Highlights

Dental x-rays reveal mummies' diets

Analysis of tooth cementum gives insight into ancient lives.

Souping up the prebiotic soup

Novel chiral amplification with links to origin of life.

Hair is their past

Non-destructive Raman spectroscopy may reveal lifestyles of historic figures.

Sweetness is a weakness

New inhibitors may overcome bacteria's resistance to tuberculosis drugs.

Access granted: probing the single cell

A new way to manipulate the biochemical nature of a single cell's interior has been developed by scientists in the US.

Illuminating changes

Piersandro Pallavicini and colleagues at the University of Pavia, Italy, have developed a system for fluorescence signalling within a pH range rather than at a specific pH value.

Crystal clear

UK scientists are using computational and NMR methods to predict three-dimensional crystalline structures.

BSE detection in live cattle a step closer

Detecting BSE in cattle early is critical, making a test for BSE in live cattle highly desirable.

Combinatorial inking

Devices made from films printed with ink-jet technology have been improved thanks to research undertaken in the Netherlands.

Lanthanides light the way

Lanthanide complexes are showing potential for second order nonlinear optics (NLO), according to French researchers.

New light on ion channels

By using artificial ion channels based on gramicidin, a bacterial toxin, scientists from Canada and Germany are quite literally illuminating nerve cell processes.