Topological Control from a Synthetic Polymer

Congrats to Mohammed Alkattan and our University of Glasgow collaborator Joelle Prunet who have just had a really cool paper accepted as a VIP article in Angewandte Chemie:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ange.201805113

TOC Angw

The paper details our work on creating stereoregular cyclopolyethers. Ring-closing metathesis from an isotactic polyether affords the target cyclopolyether. Stereoselective cis-dihydroxylation gives a PEGose framework that mimics the helical ladder structure of amylose. This topological control of synthetic polymer frameworks is a really tough challenge in polymer science in the quest for biopolymer mimics. Great work!

Joseph Black Stars

Big congratulations to Meng Wang (2nd Place Talk Prize – Materials Chemistry) and Joanne Dunne (2nd Place Poster Prize – Synthesis and Catalysis) for their award winning work at the 4th annual Joseph Black Conference on 31 May.

Big congratulations to the rest of the group as well – Gerry gave a great talk in the Chem/Bio section on his sensor work; Dan and Mo both gave great talks in the Syn/Cat section (although Dan needs to get his face onto Titanium Man’s body, too…); and both Vishal and Yas had really attractive posters presenting their work on new polymers.

Great work!

One Last Lecture in Japan…

In my last week here in Japan, I presented a lecture to the local section of the Society of Polymer Science Japan, which has been promoting polymer science in industry and academia since 1951. Hosted by Prof. Masami Kamigaito, this was a fun lecture with lots of good questions from the students and staff attending, and an enjoyable meal of eel, a Nagoya specialty. I’m hopeful that Assistant Prof. Mineto Uchiyama keeps in touch – he just wouldn’t stop talking the entire night! Thanks very much for the hospitality – and hopefully we can collaborate in the future.IMG_4775.JPG

Science Adventures in Japan

My two months in Japan hosted by Nagoya University’s Research Center for Materials Science are almost at an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have learned a lot, both about Japanese culture and the remarkable science going on here in Nagoya and the rest of Japan.

My principal host on this adventure is Prof. Kunio Awaga, whose work sits at the interface between coordination chemistry and materials science, has been an exceptional guide. Our many lunches and “tea-times” have been a welcome tether during my stay. I have also appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the rest of the exceptional science going on in Nagoya, including emerging collaborations with the groups of Prof. Susumu Saito and Prof. Shigehiro Yamaguchi which seem super interesting and impactful.

I’ve also had the opportunity to explore beyond Nagoya, with excellent experiences talking science with Prof. Mitsuo Sawamoto at Chubu University, Prof. Makoto Ouchi (and his excellent – and humorous – colleagues!) at Kyoto University and Assistant Prof. Yasuhiro Kohsaka at Shinshu University. Hopefully some super collaborations to come out of those trips as well, especially with Yasuhiro’s interesting monomer collection!

Thanks to everyone who has been an exceptional host during my time here in Japan – I’m very appreciative of the hospitality and looking forward to my next visit!

UK Government Clamping Down on Plastic Waste (Eventually)

It was great to see that Theresa May and the UK government are taking the issue of plastic waste seriously. While it will be impossible to break our addition to plastic completely, replacing non-degradable petroleum-derived plastics with sustainable alternatives is the best route forward to saving our world from this plastic threat.

While 2042 is a long way off, it is great to see a clear indication of the importance of this as a target, including funding for research into sustainable plastics innovation. Check out the link below for the original story:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42639359