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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C532309/1
Title: Pushing the Boundaries- Adventurous Chemistry at Strathclyde
Principal Investigator: Graham, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Cormack, Professor P Mulvey, Professor R Moore, Dr BD
Smith, Professor WE Murphy, Professor JA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Pure and Applied Chemistry
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 June 2005 Ends: 31 May 2007 Value (£): 258,198
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The research proposed within this application is broken down into four individual areas which are designed to act as lead cases for the overall effort in adventurous chemistry at the University of Strathclyde. In the first case, the idea is to use very small silver particles as a sensing species that provides information on the biological nature of a cell when exposed to light of a defined wavelength. The silver particles will be coated in specific DNA sequences that can recognise both large and small molecules commonly considered to be key to understanding biological processes. These include proteins, DNA, RNA and many other small molecules such as homocysteine and glutathione. When the silver particles recognise their target the light that is illuminating the cell will change wavelength and this will be used to indicate that the molecular interaction has taken place. The approach is capable of examining one molecule on its own and this may open up completely new areas of multidisciplinary research. The second case focuses on investigating some remarkable synergistic effects between metal ions in macromolecular complexes that generate reagents capable of promoting highly selective modification of target molecules. In this case zinc will be used with alkali metals such as sodium and potassium to produce complexes that will aim to selectively remove protons from normally stable species. In addition, this removal will be tested in the presence of other functionalities such as ketones which are normally incompatible with organometallic reagents such as those proposed. This will have far reaching effects in synthetic chemistry and stimulate further ground breaking research within the chemical community. The third case seeks to discover whether a synthetic polymer can be generated that is capable of binding selectively to a specific protein target in a manner analogous to that of an antibody. Antibodies are proteins that bind to a target molecule in the presence of many other similar molecules to form a stable complex. The targets can be large molecules such as proteins or small molecules such as biotin (vitamin H). Polymers can be produced that bind small molecules by a process called molecular imprinting but to date producing polymers that bind to large molecules such as proteins with the desired affinity and selectivity has been impossible. In this approach functionality will be added to the polymer to mimic the antibody and organisation around the target will generate the active species for further exploitation. This project will revolutionalise the use of synthetic antibody mimics by expanding the range of targets into new fields that again will promote interdisciplinary research. The last case details a preliminary study into a completely new approach to synthetic chemistry. In this piece of work the ability to use organic compounds that do-not contain metals as reagents, to achieve electron-transfer chemistry normally dependent on metals, will be attempted. These proposed reactions use achievement of aromaticity as a driving force for apparently difficult reactions. In addition this study will aim to generate unstable carbanions with nonmetallic counter-ions. This will potentially allow generation of dissociated ion pairs for such carbanions in the condensed state for the first time ; this should open a completely new chapter on reactivity of such carbanions.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk