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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Issue 7

Fathoming ferrocenes

Choosing a ferrocene ligand for catalysis might be easier in future, thanks to a review by researchers from Imperial College London, UK. Unsymmetrical ferrocene ligands have played a very important role in homogeneous catalysis and the vast range of ligands synthesised to date have now been categorised according to their synthetic routes. Research into these ligands continues to be refined, to allow the strategic development of more efficient catalysts.

Separating cells by a sticky process

Scientists at the University of California have proposed a method for cell separation in microfluidic devices. By mimicking the natural mechanism of leukocyte interaction with the walls of blood vessels, Wesley Chang and his colleagues have captured and concentrated cells, and achieved a fractionation into different cell types. They suggest two designs for the channels used in this biomimetic technique, enabling separation to occur directly from a rapid, continuous flowing sample.

Wake-up call for sleeping sickness

Sara Hoet and her colleagues at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and the Swiss Tropical Institute review natural products that are active against the vector-borne parasitic disease that causes sleeping sickness. Human African trypanosomiasis has re-emerged in over 30 African countries and the approved drugs for this potentially fatal disease are often unavailable. Safe, effective and cheap drugs are urgently needed. Natural compounds including alkaloids, terpenes and quinines could provide promising leads.

Know your anions

Workers in Dublin and Bristol have made the first examples of fluorescent anion sensors containing neutral thiourea receptors able to detect fluoride, acetates and phosphates. Anions bind to the receptor by hydrogen bonding, which alters electron transfer efficiency between fluorophore and receptor, thus altering the fluorescence quantum yield and lifetime. Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson and colleagues show that varying the thiourea receptor can easily change the anion recognition properties of their sensors and hope that chiral receptors may lead to detection of chiral carboxylates.

Essential Elements

Researcher receives top award

Professor William B. Tolman, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota and editorial board member for Dalton Transactions, has been awarded the p...

New book series on biomolecular science

Structure based drug design, pharmacokinetics and protein-carbohydrate interactions are just three topics to be covered in a forthcoming book series from the RSC.

See you at the ACS

This August sees the American Chemical Society host its 228th National Meeting in Philadelphia, US.

Research Highlights

Blood, sweat, tears and microfluidics

Analysing human physiological fluids may require researchers to rethink basics.

Chromatography under pressure

Notoriously difficult use of small-particle stationary phases in HPLC gets easier.

Bringing supercritical fluids to the masses

New technology removes the need for dangerous gas-handling equipment.

Resin d'Ętre

A supported recyclable catalyst with excellent activity and selectivity.

Yeast's foray into the unknown

Biosensors using brewer's yeast modified with jellyfish genes could find use on space flights.

Power-free pumping

Japanese scientists have developed a new power-free pumping method for poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microfluidic chips.

Failing kidneys identified by chips

Helping doctors to monitor kidney function is the latest aim of a team of US analytical chemists.

Feeling inhibited?

Researchers in Cambridge, UK, have turned their hand towards the tricky problem of understanding the mechanism of action of thiamin diphosphate dependent enzymes.

Improving zeolite catalysts

The first bidirectional zeolite that contains ultralarge and large intersecting pores has been made and shows higher catalytic activity than unidirectional ultralarge pore zeolites...

Peeking into fuel cells

Researchers will now be able to examine the degradation of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC's) membranes in a matter of minutes.

Nanotubes going soft

Water-filled soft nanotubes have been developed for biological applications by a team of Swiss researchers.