The discovery of how hormone-like molecules turn on antibiotic production in soil bacteria could unlock the untapped opportunities for medicines that are under our very feet.
An international team of scientists working in the Department of Chemistry, the School of Life Sciences and the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre at the University of Warwick, UK, and Monash University, Australia, have determined the molecular basis of a biological mechanism that could enable more efficient and cost-effective production of existing antibiotics, and also allow scientists to uncover new antibiotics in soil bacteria.
It is detailed in a new study published in the journal Nature.
A new biotechnology company, CryoLogyx, has been spun-out from the department, supported from a grant from InnovateUK. Cryologyx will be led by Dr Tom Congdon (A UoW UG and PG alumus) and will exploit technology developed by the GibsonGroup. Cryologyx will use innovative macromolecular (polymeric) cryoprotectants to protect biological samples, including cells used in therapy, diagnostics and drug discovery.
Read the news story here and more details will be released soon.
Professor Matthew Gibson has been awarded the 2021 McBain medal from the Society for Chemical Industry and Royal Society of Chemistry. This award is to "honour an early career researcher or technologist who has made a meritorious contribution to colloid and interface science." There were will be a special symposia late in 2021 where Matt will receive the medal and give a lecture.
The department of Chemistry expects to appoint around 60 funded and self-funded PhD and MSc students in the 2021/2022 academic year
Glycans (aka sugars, carbohydrates) direct many recognition and signalling processes in biology. Multivalency (presentation of lots of copies) is crucial to overcome glycans intrinsic low affinity, hence materials (polymers, particles, surfaces) which display them are appealing probes of function, or as new diagnostics (e.g. see our work on COVID diagnostics). However, most studies use simple monosaccharides, which may not have selectivity or are only tested against plant proteins. In this work, we collaborated with teams from Bristol, York and Southampton - our collaborators developed a chemoenzymatic synthesis to obtainselectively fluorinated glycans based on lacto-N-biose. Fluorine is appealing as it is small, does no have significant effects on conformation, but can change hydrogen bonding patterns. These glycans were incorporated into our polymer-stabilised nanoparticle platform, and found to modulate the affinity towards 2 galectins -an important class of galactose-binding biomarkers. This work shows that unnatural glycan-functional nanoparticles could be deployed as biosensors.
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