Paper Published in ACS Central Science
Our latest work, from Lewis' PhD in collaboration with the O'Reilly Group (formally Warwick, now Birmingham) has been published in ACS Central Science. This work proposes a new method to retain the function of therapeutic (or other) enzymes without needing covalent conjugation. Traditional strategies to improve the pharmacokinetics of protein drugs involve addition of polymers (such as PEG) to the protein to reduce proteolytic degredation and immune responses. In this work we packaged enzymes inside a polymeric vesicle by in situ PISA (polymerization induced self assembly). We showed that the PISA process enables full retention of protein activity. However, most improtanlty we observed that the poly(hydroxylpropylmethacrylate) component was selctively permeable to small molecules - this meant the enzynme could peform its catalytic function, but larger molecules, such as proteins, could not access it. Using this strategy asparaginase was encapsulated in the vesicle and shown using a cell-based assay that it retained it is therapeutic function. We feel this offers a new opportunity in molecular sieving and will have broad application
Read the paper here
Professor Gibson awarded ACS Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Prize!
Professor Matthew Gibson has been honoured as 1 of the 2 recipients of the ACS Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Prize! This is an annual award given to a scientist in polymer science of any nationality under the age of 40. The award citation reads;
Professor Gibson was selected in recognition of his outstanding contributions in fields of bioinspired materials and polymer chemistry, having successfully translated his basic research findings to industrial partners. Prof. Gibson is acknowledged as having created the field of macromolecular cryoprotectants, which is making a global impact, in addition to his work on glyco-materials and new polymer synthesis.
This follows a long tradition at Warwick, with Perrier, Dove, O'Reilly all being previous awardees.
We're Hiring! PDRA vacancy
We have a vacancy for an ambitious PDRA to work on our new cell cryopreservation technology. This role is to undertaken world-class cell biology to understand how our macromolecular (polymer) antifreeze protein mimics enable cells to survive cryopreservation, with the long term aim of reducing, or removing, the need for organic sovlents in cryopreservation. A particular aim of this project is to enable the cryopreservatino of donor stem cells, so the candidate will have experience of using primary human tissue, and all necessary analytics (microscopy, flow cytometry). We work as a team, spread over 4 laboratories in the Medical School and the Department of Chemistry, so a strong team-ethic is essential.
Paper published in JACS!
Our latest work on trying to understand, and mimic, how antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) function to slow ice growth has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. AFGPs have several macroscopic properties due to their ability to influence ice crystal growth but it is not fully clear how they work, or how they recognise ice faces. There is no crystal structure of antifreeze proteins, so the 3-D structural information is still missing. In this work, we build upon our previous observations that amphipathic helicies (compounds with hydrophilic and hydrophobic faces) are potent ice growth inhibitors, and that solution-state studies of AFGPs suggest they have a defined hydrophobic face which binds to ice. We show that by synthesising polymers with a sugar on one face, and a hydrophobic opposing face we can selectively introduce the ability to slow ice growth. This is improtant as it shows that the sugar alone is not the essential component but rather the spacial segregation of different units along a polymer backbone.
Read the paper here
Group Awarded ERC Funding for Clinical Translation of Cryopreservation
Professor Gibson has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept Grant entitled 'Solvent Free Cryopreservation of Hematopeotic Stem Cells'. This grant is only available to ERC grant holders, to follow up on results obtained during the ERC grant to translate it to real world applications. This project will seek to revolutionise how we store bone marrow cells (hematopoetic stem cells) by using polymeric mimics of antifreeze proteins.
A Postdoctoral vacancy will be available soon on this project.
We're hiring! Administrative Coordinator
We have a vacancy for an administrative coordinator to join us. The role will be to help with the administration of the large and diverse group, split between the Chemistry Department and The Medical School and to provide clerical support to Professor Gibson.
Responsive Glyco-Particles in ACS MacroLetters
Our latest work, from Sangho, has been published in ACS MacoLetters. This work continues our interest in designing nanomaterials which can mimic the complexity of natural glycans (carbohydrates) for biomedical applications. Most glyco-materials are static- they present the same glycan over time in the same format, but this is not representative of the cell surface. By the action of enzymes, glycans are constantly being presented, modified, recycled and so on. Here we enginnered gold nanoparticle surfaces so that the presentation of lactose could be controlled by temperature. To achieve this we added a responsive polymer 'gate' to the particles, which upon heating collapses (pNIPAM) and then presents the glycan present on another, non-responsive polymer. Using this we were able to probe the lactose-lactose interaction, which is sugested to be a carbohydrate-carbohydrate interaction mediated by divalent ions such as calcium. Whilst the function of CCIs is unclear, we show here that controlling the expression of lactose does let us control lac-lac interactinos, but also lac-GM3 interactions.
Read the paper here
New Group Member; Antonio Leazza
Dr Antonio Leazza has joined the group as a research fellow. He is supported by a Newton Fund/CNR (Italian) Fellowship for outstanding early career researchers. He did his PhD in Naples working on the synthesis of complex sulphated glycans and will bring new carbohydrate chemistry skills to the group.