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Gibson Group News

Professor Gibson speaks at Glycobiotechnology 2018

Professor Gibson spoke at the Glycobiotechnology 2018 event hosted at Manchester University. This was an event to celebrate and showcase UK Glycoscience research. Professor Gibson showed new research from the group in the design of dynamic glycomaterials, where we exploit polymer chemistry to contorl the presentation of specfic glycans in response to external stimuli. He also highlgihted the role of the RSC Carbohydrate Group, of which he is the present chair.

Fri 14 September 2018, 09:41

Professor Gibson Gives Keynote at EuCHems Conference

On 29th September, Professor Gibson gave the keynote lecture in the Biomaterials Stream of the 7th EuChems international Confernece in Liverpool. In this he discusssed the groups latest research into using polymers to transform the Biologic Cold Chain. This included how to target ice crystals with polymers, and the cryopreseration of mammalian and bacterial cells as well as protein drugs.

Fri 14 September 2018, 09:34 | Tags: Group News

Paper in ChemEurJ; Hot paper and Media Attention

Our latest work into developing non-traditional antimicrobial agents has been published in Chemistry: A European Journal. This continues our research into cationic polymers as antimicrobial agents. In this new work, we demonstrate a semi-automated synthesis platform, which can use robotics to speed up the liquid handling, alongside exploiting photo-chemical polymerization to enable this to take place in 'open air'; this is a key step as it removes the need for sealed vials and allowed us to polymerise directly in 96 well plates. 96 well plates are industry-standard for biological screening, which enabled us to rapidly screen ~ 100 polymers for antimicrobial activity, as well as blood compatability. Using this high-throughoput approach a surprising 'hit' was found, where including 15 mol % of oligopropyleneglycol methacrylate lead to a dramatic enhancement in bacteriostatic activity, but without introducing bacteriocidal activity.

Read the paper here

Photochemical 'In-Air' Combinatorial Discovery of Antimicrobial Copolymers

The paper was also featured in the media, and highlighted by the reviewers as being a 'hot' paper.

Wed 29 August 2018, 12:39 | Tags: Group News, Publication

Paper Published in Biomacromolecules

Our latest cryopreservation work has been published in Biomacromolecules. This work describes the development of an 'all-polymer' cryopreservation formulation for bacteria. Bacteria are used routinely in all molecular and structural biology labs around the world, and are key in many biotechnology and food processes (e.g. 'friendly bacteria' in yoghurts). The bacteria are not kept continously growing, but are stored as stocks, using glycerol to reduce ice-induced damage in freezers. In this work, we were inspired by antifreeze proteins which let extreomphile species survive in the coldest places on earth, but used synthetic polymers, which are cheaper, more scalable and practical for daily use. We have previously shown that polymer mimics of antifreeze proteins can protect mammalian cells in DMSO-mediated cryopreservation, but the mechanisms of stress (and recovery) from cold are very different in bacteria. Here we simply used precise ratios of PEG and PVA (both are food-safe, low cost commodity polymers) and show we can match, or outperform, glycerol in several bacteria storage scenarios.

Read the paper here;

Ice Recrystallization Inhibiting Polymers Enable Glycerol-Free Cryopreservation of Microorganisms

Mon 06 August 2018, 10:38 | Tags: Group News, Publication

Ben wins a poster Prize at the MacroGroupUK YRM

Ben Graham, a PhD student in the group, won a prize for his poster on designing antifreeze-protein inspired polymers at the 2018 MacroGroupUK Young Researchers Conference

Mon 06 August 2018, 10:32 | Tags: Group News

Alice wins best poster prize at


Alice Fayter, a PhD in the group won best poster prize at the KTN Bioformulation conference. Her poster detailed her work on new polymeric cryopreservation agents for storing micro-organisms and proteins.

Mon 06 August 2018, 10:31 | Tags: Group News

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

Confinement of therapeutic enzymes in selectively permeable polymer vesicles by polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) reduces antibody binding and proteolytic susceptibility'

Thu 17 May 2018, 14:28 | Tags: Publication

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.

Read the release here

This follows a long tradition at Warwick, with Perrier, Dove, O'Reilly all being previous awardees.

Fri 11 May 2018, 08:17 | Tags: Group News, Publicity

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