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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R73584/01
Title: The Effect of Pressure on the Structures of Amino Acids
Principal Investigator: Parsons, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Marshall, Dr WG Morrison, Dr C Sawyer, Professor L
Allan, Dr DR Pulham, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2002 Ends: 30 September 2005 Value (£): 175,881
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biological & Medicinal Chem. Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Dec 2001 Chemistry responsive December 01 Deferred
Summary on Grant Application Form
Pressure is the most powerful thermodynamic variable for effecting phase changes in solids. A large volume of structural work has been performed on very simple systems such as metals, hydrogen, water etc., but very little information is available on even relatively simple molecular systems of chemical interest. We will use both X-ray and neutron crystallography, vibrational spectroscopy and theoretical methods to establish an interdisciplinary research programme in which we will build on our exploratory work on small organic molecules and on glycine, to focus on the structural chemistry of amino acids. The systems to be studied will be guided by a need for fundamental structural information on single amino acids and known biological questions. We will investigate serine, aspartic acid and cysteine to establish parallels between amino acid behaviour and that of simple alcohols, acids and thiols. Racemic amino acids will be studied to test the effect of chirality in crystal packing under pressure. The influence of pressure on the conformation of the peptide bond in proline is of interest in the protein folding problem, while the behaviour of systems with amide side chains will be studied in an attempt to explain why these residues are so rare in extremophile proteins. This proposal is made in the context of JIF funding for the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions at Edinburgh. No funding for expensive equipment is necessary, but funding for students is urgently required.
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