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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V035460/1
Title: Multi-user Equipment at the University of Leeds
Principal Investigator: Plant, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Dougan, Professor L Marsden, Professor SP Hondow, Dr N
Beales, Dr P A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 06 November 2020 Ends: 05 May 2022 Value (£): 1,072,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Biophysics
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Synthetic Methodology
Materials Characterisation Particle Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Sep 2020 Core Equipment Award 2020 - Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The award delivers multi-user equipment to support research across engineering and physical sciences at the University of Leeds. Specifically, the equipment underpins major cross-disciplinary research within the Bragg Centre for Materials Research and the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at Leeds.

The Bragg Centre for Materials Research has been established to bring together cross-campus expertise in the discovery, creation, characterization and exploitation of materials engineered at the atomic and molecular level. It will provide new devices and systems to meet 21st century challenges in, for example, medical diagnostics, communications, battery technologies and sensors. It will be housed within the Sir William Henry Bragg building, a £96M capital investment from the University.

The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology brings together researchers in physical sciences, engineering, biology and medicine with the goal of understanding life in molecular detail. Relevant to this call, for example, researchers are developing tools and techniques to understand how cancer-related enzymes (kinases) interact with other proteins, how reactive oxygen species are managed within our cells and how mistakes can lead to disease, and how we can chemically mimic nature's evolution processes to develop new therapeutic molecules such as antibiotics.

The instruments will provide new or enhanced capabilities that will enable researchers to prepare, characterise and manipulate molecules, supramolecular assemblies and complex composites, delivering new insights which will lead to impactful research outcomes, disseminated for example through publication in internationally-recognised journals. They will also allow us to collaborate more widely with industrial partners to solve existing problems in commercially-relevant areas and to drive the uptake of new technologies arising from research at Leeds, creating new products and processes.

The four specific itms of equipment are:

1) Micromanipulators for In Situ Electron Microscopy: Leeds is a leading centre for electron microscopy in the UK. The micromanipulator is a versatile tool that can be attached to existing electron microscopes and allows the real-time study of what happens to materials when they are e.g. placed under force or indented with sub-micrometre precision. The addition of a cryogenic (cold) platform allows the study of emulsions and biological materials.

2) Molecular Separation/Purification for Physical Sciences: high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) allows the separation of molecular species from complex mixtures and is vital in, for example, the study of biologically-relevant molecules (natural, synthetic or semi-synthetic). An analytical HPLC instrument will allow the characterisation of complex mixtures while the preparative HPLC uses mass-spectrometry to facilitate the automated purification of desired molecules from the mixtures.

3) Flow Field-Flow Fractionation for Particulate, Macromolecular and Biophysical Sciences: asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation is a chromatographic technique that allows the size-based characterisation and purification of materials beyond the molecular scale (nanometer to micrometer) such as nanoparticles, supramolecular assemblies such as lipid vesicles and complexes of biomolecules such as proteins. This is vital, since the properties of these species/assemblies often vary critically and dramatically with size.

4) Rheometer for Soft Matter and Biological Physics: rheometry is the study of how properties of soft materials change in response to applied forces. This is essential to applications such as studying the behaviour of biomolecules such as modified biomolecules for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, new functional gels, liquid crystalline materials for displays and sensors, and colloidal materials within foods.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk