The Stavros group has recently recognised an opportunity to partner with an organic synthetic and a biosynthetic lab within Warwick to develop a new class of sunscreens.
Our initial synthetic adventures take inspiration from natural products with proven potential as UV absorbers in the UVB and UVA. There are few current examples in the literature of reducing the complexity of these naturally occurring molecules while retaining the UV activity in order to make them scalable, safe and attractive active ingredients. With several target molecules in mind, we are exploring both organic synthesis and a new methodology that draws on engineered enzymes from bacteria.
Figure 1: A synthetic approach that combines synthetic precursors and enzymes
In terms of fundamental research, we believe that combining ultrafast spectroscopy, theory and a range of synthetic approaches can complete the picture of how different molecular structures and other factors can underlie the observed photo-dynamics.