PEG-b-PLA

Congratulations to Christian Agatemor! His paper on the role of tacticity (the relative positions of stereocentres in a polymer chain) in the properties of amphiphilic block copolymers has been accepted for publication in Biomacromolecules. The work details the synthesis and characterization of a series of poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(lactic acid) star where we have systematically varied the stereoregularity of the poly(lactic acid) block. The results are interesting, especially the effects on critical micelle concentrations measured through pyrene fluorescence.

Genny and Canadian Chemistry

Congratulations to Genny Keefe (Team Canada, soon to be Team Edinburgh) and our collaborators from Dalhousie University (Jean-d’Amour and Bruce). Our paper has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Chemistry.

Two quick thoughts:

(1) This is Genny’s first paper and captures work she did in between the 2nd and 3rd year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Prince Edward Island. It is SUPER important to get young scientists involved in real laboratory work early in their careers. Genny is proof that this experience can also be quite productive!

(2) It is also SUPER important to recognize the role that Can. J. Chem. plays in supporting the Canadian chemistry community. It is an important journal and one that Canadian scientists should strive to publish high quality work in more frequently.

Anyway, congrats Genny! Now get to work on that monomer for the NEXT paper!

Mitch Hates Vanadium

Congratulations to former Team Canada member Mitch Perry. His manuscript was just accepted into Dalton Transactions and will be published in a special issue on metal mediated polymerization reactions. This paper captures most of his MSc thesis on vanadium mediated radical polymerization using a whole whack-load of vanadium complexes, ensuring that Mitch never wants to work with vanadium again! Well done!

Mitch completed his MSc in the group last August and has started his PhD with Laurel Schafer at the University of British Columbia. My guess is he’s probably working on hydrosomethingation…

The Box!

Our glovebox has finally made it into our instrument room! After removing the door, the door jamb,  and then the entire door frame we got our glovebox into the right spot. Installation by MBraun tomorrow and then the fun really starts. With the Malvern triple detection GPC also up and running it’s like a second Christmas in the Green Materials Laboratory!

Note: Not a photo of the actual box.

Mike as glovebox

Under Pressure

I’ve just returned from a very rewarding trip to the Georg-August-Universitat Göttingen to visit the labs of Professor Michael Buback. Professor Buback is a world leader in understanding the kinetics of polymerization reactions – especially under extreme conditions. We are hoping that he can help us to understand the mechanisms behind some of our catalysts – no “pressure” though, guys!

Much thanks is deserved for the great hospitality during my visit, especially from the ATRP team (Hendrik Schröder, Nicolai Sörensen, Sebastian Smolne and – of course – Michael Buback). I enjoyed the opportunity to talk about our synthetic work to a physical chemistry audience and to learn a bit about the intriguing work that the Buback team is doing (thanks Hendrik and Nico!) and the amazing tools they have at their disposal. I focussed my evening efforts on debating the health benefits of Gluhwein and Creme Brulee with Team ATRP!

Genny’s Visit

A welcome is in order to Genny Keefe who will arrive in Edinburgh this evening. Genny is currently part of Team Canada, completing her Honour’s project at the University of Prince Edward Island working on the synthesis of new monomers for ring-opening polymerization. She’s coming over to Edinburgh to work out a few of the kinks in her project, have some in-depth scientific discussions about the progress of the work, and (maybe, time permitting) have a bit of fun in the UK.

Fun IS in order. The trip coincides with our group Christmas party (joint with Team Stephen Thomas), Genny’s birthday (December 12th) and Horrible Boss Shaver’s birthday (December 15th)!

Genny likes the Green Materials Laboratory so much that she’s actually decided to transition to Team Edinburgh full-time and will start a PhD here in September 2013 – so look out for a SECOND welcome post then!

Early Adopters

Welcome, Team Edinburgh!

Laura Allan runs the show and is on some bizarre circular homecoming that took her from Edinburgh to Cheltenham to London to Warwick to Canada and back, which really isn’t a circle. She’s done an amazing job getting the lab up and running. Well done!

Jarret MacDonald finally got to use his passport and took an amazing journey from home to Iceland to London, through the Underground, onto a train, and then showed up looking shell-shocked at Waverley Train Station in central Edinburgh. We did the sensible thing: picked him up, took him to a pub and gave him a pint of Deuchars and a haggis, neeps and tatties pie. His irrational fear of beavers has been replaced by a completely rational fear of buses.