Latest article publications from chemistry staff – October

Update of publications from our chemistry staff and research students

New for 2017/18 a monthly round-up of publications from staff and students in the chemistry area here at Brighton. Suscribe to the blog and get regular updates on what we are doing here at brighton

Dr Ostler and Dr Vishal Birar (ex-PhD student) are co-authors on the open access article “Small molecule modulation of splicing factor expression is associated with rescue from cellular senescence” in BMC Cell Biology.

Dr Cragg, Dr Willows, Dr Patel, Dr Kothur (ex-PhD student) and Ms Kamenica (MPhil student) have authored an open access article “Lithium ion sensors” in the journal Sensors

ACS Editor’s Choice for Brighton’s chemistry research

ACS Editor’s Choice for recently published Chemistry Research;

Recent work by Dr Marcus Dymond (Division of Chemistry, PABS) and Prof. George Attard (University of Southampton) with collaborators at the MAX IV synchrotron/ University of Lund, SE has been selected as a prestigious American Chemical Society Editor’s Choice article.

The ACS is the world’s largest scientific society, which publishes 51 research journals across the chemical sciences. Each year the ACS chooses 365 articles (one per day) from across its many journals to make open access as part of the ACS Editor’s Choice program. On the 29th of October 2017 new research by Dr Dymond and colleagues was chosen.

The paper, published in ACS Langmuir, looks at the membrane disrupting properties of aliphatic aldehydes. Aliphatic aldehydes are a class of chemicals that are used by algae as part of a defence mechanism however aliphatic aldehydes have also been implicated in a range of health related problems and disease mechanisms in humans. Notably aliphatic aldehydes are produced in cells as a response to reactive oxygen species (oxidative stress) interacting with lipids and there is an increasing body of evidence linking oxidative stress to global health challenges such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and many other health conditions. Aliphatic aldehydes are also produced when some fats are heated to high temperatures for frying food, raising concerns about their incorporation in the human diet.

The researchers used X-ray diffraction facilities available at the MAX IV synchrotron SE to show that aliphatic aldehydes destabilise the flat structures formed by some of the most prominent lipids found in cell membranes. Typically cells contain large numbers of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine lipids, which form flat lipid bilayer membrane structures that contain protein. The most widely known example is the plasma membrane, which encapsulates the cell and allows it to control chemical conditions inside its interior. However lipid bilayers are like microscopic springs that store elastic energy and it is thought that by controlling the composition of their membranes cells can regulate the elastic stress stored within. This enables cells to regulate the function of some proteins, which respond to elastic stresses in the membrane.

In the particular case of aliphatic aldehydes the researchers found that as the concentration of these molecules increases the lipid mixtures form curved aggregates, which cannot form flat bilayers. These results strongly suggest that aliphatic aldehydes cause high levels of elastic stress in membranes. It is already known that high elastic stress can disrupt the activity of membrane bound proteins and the research suggests that the negative health effects of aliphatic aldehydes might be linked to this property as summarised in Fig 1.

UoB KTP project – Process and Analytical Chemist required

New KTP awarded – seeking Chemistry graduate

New 3 year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – recruiting!

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a new 3 year KTP programme with Medisort Ltd based in Littlehampton, West Sussex.  Medisort collect, process and dispose of healthcare waste in the Southeast of England, offering a bespoke service which maximises segregation, ensures full compliance, delivers cost reductions and reduces environmental impact.
 
Through their membership of the University’s Green Growth Platform (GGP), the company were supported through the process of partnering with an academic team to bring analytical chemistry, microbiology and biomaterials expertise into their business through a KTP.
 
This three year project aims to develop waste treatment and material recovery processes to facilitate the development of novel products from bulk offensive waste.  The project – which has a total value of £229,191– is led and supervised by Dr Dipak Sarker and supported by Dr Ian Cooper and Dr Maureen Berg, all from the School of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences.
 
We are seeking an excellent Chemistry/Chemical Engineering (or related field) graduate to lead and deliver the project with Medisort, and would be grateful if you could bring this opportunity to the attention of any suitably qualified graduates.  Full details of the vacancy – for a Process and Analytical Chemist (KTP Associate) – are available at: https://jobs.brighton.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=EG4035-17-446.
 
To find out how you can become involved in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships please contact the Knowledge Exchange Team at KnowledgeExchange@brighton.ac.uk

BSS and NSS survey

Unless you have been avoiding emails, not coming into university and not talking to anyone in the School you will, no doubt, be aware that the all undergraduate students are being asked to give their feedback on their university experience to date via either the Brighton Student Survey or the National Student Survey. This feedback is extremely important to both the school and university and helps us make changes for you.

You can read about some of the changes we made this academic year as a consequence of feedback from last year please do have a look at the your voice matters blog (https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/yourvoicematters/school-of-pharmacy-and-biomolecular-sciences/ )

The Brighton Student Survey (BSS)

The BSS is the School and University’s main opportunity to gather feedback from all level 4 and 5 students so that we can understand what we are doing well and what we can improve.  The BSS is opened on Monday 6 February and will close at midnight on Monday 6 March, if you haven’t yet, please do take 10 minutes to complete the survey – there are only a few days left and every response matters. Completing the survey automatically enters you into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a £200 voucher from the university.

How do I complete the survey?

The National Student Survey (NSS)

The National Student Survey (NSS) is commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and is a national survey, undertaken by Ipsos MORI, which gathers the views of all final year undergraduates about what it has been like to study their course at their institution.

The survey comprises 27 questions in the survey cover teaching, assessment and feedback, learning opportunities, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, personal development, and the student voice. There are also questions about careers, course delivery, work placements, welfare resources and facilities, social opportunities and overall satisfaction.

How do I complete the survey?

Because the school would really like to receive feedback from as many students as possible we have decided to donate £100 to the student society associated with the course that has the highest proportion of their students completing both the BSS and NSS so your society could receive up to £200 for 10 minutes of your time.

Congratulations Kushal!

Congratulations to Kushal Sharma who passed his PhD viva this morning. Kushal’s research on probing ion transport mechanisms with synthetic channel-forming molecules was supervised by Dr Marcus Allen and Dr Peter Cragg.

Best of luck for the future!

International scholarships available in Tokyo

I have received some information about some scholarship programs running in the School of Science at the University of Tokyo. If you have an interest in studying in Japan then one of these might be of interest to you. They have summer and year long schemes and one for graduates. Please see full details on our Job Opportunities page

 

Demonstrators required

We require demonstrators for our undergraduate laboratory sessions. Open to our recent graduates who may still be in the area.This is a great opportunity to keep up your laboratory skills and gain some teaching experience.

A Level Thursday

Today is A level results day and our next cohort of students are receiving their results. We’d like to congratulate and welcome those who now have unconditional places with us. We are really looking forward to meeting you at the end of September and hope you are excited about joining our community. We have a Student Union facebook groups and our ChemSoc has their own Facebook group as well which you are welcome to join. You can get to know others on the course and at Brighton and find out what you could be doing when you get here.

For those who have not got quite what they were hoping for we still have a few places left on MChem, BSC(hons) Chemistry and BSc(hons) Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences. Call our clearing hotline on 01273 644000 and see if we can help you with your next steps. For more information on Clearing please visit our website

Life as a Student Rep

Today we have a guest writer for our blog, BSc(hons) Chemistry student Sophie Wain. Sophie has been the student year rep for two years running now and is heavily involved with ChemSoc, our chemistry student social group, having become vice-president this year. She is just about to embark on a year placement with BMW but has given us an insight into her role as a student rep before she goes.

sophie

I opted for the post of Course Representative in first year, feeling that there were changes I could make to my environment at the university and wanting to have an active role in doing so. Through working as a conduit between the staff and students, I brought about changes particularly in increasing interpersonal activities between the students – changes that could be seen the following year in the new freshman cohort, in which there was a much friendlier and close-knit relationship between the students.

Taking this role of responsibility gave me a taste for making a difference and through it I became much more confident in my leadership abilities. I took on another leadership role when the Chemistry Society was rekindled midway through my first year, and by second year I held the position of Vice President. I continued as Course Representative into second year and intend to resume my role again in third year after I have completed my placement year as an analytical chemist with luxury car manufacturer BMW, a position I believe that my active role in university helped me gain the skills to achieve.

We hope she enjoys her placement year and look forward to hearing more about it once she’s settled in.

 

student research

This has been a busy week for the chemists studying with us as it brings the culmination of the hard work on their research projects. The third years have defended their submitted work in oral viva voce examinations in tropical conditions with the nice weather we’ve been having. A good performance by the students and a chance to really delve into the details of their research.  All that was missing were the margharitas and sun loungers, which may have calmed a few nerves.

Our M level students for MChem and MRes have been presenting their research in the chemistry journal club and answering questions from the audience. Our MChem has also been presenting a poster of research with further questioning from the assessors, so a very busy week indeed.

Simon presenting his MChem poster with supervisor Dr Ian Gass

Simon presenting his MChem project poster with supervisor Dr Ian Gass