Project Title: Functional amyloids; investigating the dynamics of aggregation and release of Somatostatin
First-year PhD student, funded by EPSRC via Molecular Analytical Science CDT (MAS-CDT). My research focusses on utilising an array of analytical techniques to study the mechanism of functional amyloid fibrillation in the hormonal peptide, Somatostatin-14 (SST). Techniques including fluorescence spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and circular dichroism (CD) allow for kinetic and structural investigations into the fibrillation process in SST and other peptides.
For full research interests and experience visit my MAS CDT profile - Monica Kumar
First year PhD student working under Dr Paul Wilson. My game is electrochemical synthesis, specifically on the nanoscale. Most syntheses are inorganic redox reactions, involving the transfer of electrons. For example, most people are familiar with industrial electrochemical synthesis of water to literally split it into hydrogen and oxygen molecules, involving a transfer of electrons between O2- and H+. These industrial reactions could in principle be done on the nanoscale. This is where my PhD comes in. Nanoscale electrochemical synthesis is not new: Cu2+ ions can be reduced to Cu atoms on the nanoscale and this has been done already. r-shaped copper nanostructures can be formed by precisely directing an electrochemical probe in different positions in the cell and inducing electrochemical reduction at the probe. This research, while highly interesting, does not lend itself to formation of materials with the wide variety of interesting properties that could be attained by organic reactions. Organic chemistry is known for its ability to build an infinitely large range of molecules, and we hope to tap into the power of organic chemistry by bringing electro-organic reactions to the nanoscale.
My PhD centres around the localised electrochemical synthesis of polymers on the nanoscale using aqueous surface eATRP, a more sophisticated reaction. Most people enjoy doing polymer chemistry in vials or in larger containers, but it is possible to do the same in tiny electrochemical cells. The tiny electrochemical cells are between 10-9m3 and 10-11 m3 in volume. Since each electrochemical cell is a droplet on a much larger substrate, you can end up with massive arrays of dots on the substrate surface The polymer reaction can be induced by applying a voltage to the cell.
The localised nature of these syntheses lends itself to command over - for instance - polymer length and properties. Oxygen, however, readily dissolves in water during surface eATRP, and can itself be reduced to the reactive initiator, the oxygen radical anion, resulting in unwanted bulk polymerization and loss of control. Essentially, one is left with nanolitres of something a skilled polymer chemist could make millions of times greater in volume on a lab desk. To counter this unfortunate result, a multitude of bulk cyclic voltammetric measurements are being performed to accurately and reliably identify the voltages necessary for catalyst activation without simultaneous oxygen activation. They can then be translated onto the nanoscale to further our research goals. Interests include running, cooking, and photography. If you would like to speak with me, please contact Dr Wilson in the first instance via email@example.com.
First figure on copper deposition reproduced from: D. Momotenko, A. Page, M. Adobes-Vidal and P. R. Unwin, ACS Nano, 2016, 10, 8871–8878.
Second figure on SECCM spiral reproduced from: E. E. Oseland, Z. J. Ayres, A. Basile, D. M. Haddleton, P. Wilson and P. R. Unwin, Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 9929–9932.
Project Title: Precision synthesis using nanoscale electrochemistry
First-year PhD student and my preferred name is Boyu Zhao.The long-term goal is to develop high precision probe-based electrosynthesis on the micro, meso and nanoscale by expanding the capabilities of scanning electrochemical probe microscopy. In addition, I have usd electrasyn to do Cu2+ and Fe3+ CV experiments. I'm currently running SICM to get film topography.
If you have any question, just email:Boyu.Zhao@warwick.ac.uk