Upcoming Events

Bioinspired Processing of Soft Materials

Wed27
Oct

13:00

Bioinspired Processing of Soft Materials

Professor Esther Amstad
13:00, Wednesday 27 October 2021

This Wednesday lunchtime we have a super interesting talk by Professor Esther Amstad, a soft matter researcher at EPFL.
Nature produces materials possessing exceptional mechanical properties. These properties are to a large extent related to the well-defined structure and locally varying composition of natural materials. Key to the excellent control nature possesses over the structure and local composition of its materials is their fabrication: Many of these materials are formed from compartmentalized reagents that are transported to the desired locations where they are locally released. Inspired by nature, we use emulsion drops as compartments to build macroscopic granular load-bearing soft materials. In this talk, I will demonstrate how we use emulsion drops to produce self-healing capsules that controllably release reagents on demand and how we convert these capsules and microparticles into strong macroscopic hydrogels. These hydrogels can bear significant loads, a feature that is frequently seen in natural hydrogels, but very rarely obtained in synthetic counterparts.

Bioelectronics in Tissue Engineering and Disease Modeling

Thu28
Oct

18:15

Bioelectronics in Tissue Engineering and Disease Modeling

Dr Brian Timko
18:15, Thursday 28 October 2021

Join us for a talk led by Prof Brian Timko, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University.
Hybrid bioelectronic systems offer a unique route toward achieving two-way electronic communication with living cells and tissues. Recent advances in bioelectronics and bioactive materials have enabled multiplexed, stable and seamless interfaces with surrounding cells and tissues, representing a distinct advantage over conventional systems such as patch clamp and optical dyes. We will first present an overview of our recent heart-on-a-chip platform which integrated both extra- and intracellular devices for monitoring cardiac electrophysiology during episodes of acute hypoxia. This system allowed us to monitor not only cell-cell communication (e.g., wavefront propagation) but also action potentials at several spatially-distinct regions simultaneously. Our platform provided a unique route toward understanding the role of hypoxia on ion channel dynamics. For example, we found that APs narrowed during hypoxia, consistent with proposed mechanisms by which oxygen deficits activate ATP-dependent K+ channels that promote membrane repolarization. We will next discuss routes toward extending our bioelectronic platform to 3D, enabling new classes of hybrid, devices-embedded tissues. We developed a Photo-crosslinkable Silk Fibroin (PSF) derivative which was compatible with conventional photolithography processes and enabled flexible scaffolds with well-defined geometries and cm-scale uniformity. Our freestanding PSF-based scaffolds supported bioelectronic devices, provided excellent electrical passivation, and adhered both cardiac and neuron model cells, opening new avenues toward engineered brain hybrids. We will also present recent work to develop electromagnetic stimulation elements for spatially-selective cellular activation. Taken together, these research directions open new avenues for engineered, bioelectronics-innervated cardiac and brain systems. We will discuss prospects for merging our bioelectronic devices with state-of-the-art tissue engineering techniques.

Fragments of Crystalline Silicon via Target-Oriented Synthesis

Tue02
Nov

18:15

Fragments of Crystalline Silicon via Target-Oriented Synthesis

Professor Rebekka Klausen
18:15, Tuesday 2 November 2021

Join us for a talk led by Professor Rebekka Klausen, a associate professor at JHU Department of Chemistry.
Daily life depends on the ubiquitous semiconductor silicon: computers, solar cells, and many more. Yet silicon synthesis relies on top-down, high-temperature approaches that yield only the most thermodynamically stable forms of silicon. Uncovering new structure-function space demands a different synthetic vision. This talk will describe the synthesis of molecular and polymeric silanes inspired by the complexity, selectivity, and elegance of target-oriented organic synthesis. Topics include the chemoselective polymerization of novel bifunctional silane monomers, selective preparation of linear and cyclic polycyclosilanes, and the stereocontrolled synthesis of cis- and trans-siladecalin. Approaches to the structural characterization of novel silane architectures will also be discussed.

Molecular Organisation: A Journey Through Complex Structures

Wed03
Nov

13:00

Molecular Organisation: A Journey Through Complex Structures

Professor Neil Champness
13:00, Wednesday 3 November 2021

Join us for a talk by Professor Neil Champness, his work at the University of Birmingham focuses on supramolecular chemistry!
Synopsis:
Non-covalent directional intermolecular interactions provide a pre-determined recognition pathway which has been widely exploited in supramolecular chemistry to form functional nanostructures in the solid-state, in solution and on surfaces. Our studies using intermolecular interactions to enable the directed assembly of extended nanostructures will be presented.
The talk will include studies of solid-state self-assembly to create metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), including examples that enable the crystallographic study of reaction processes; solution-phase self-assembly of interlocked structures, including new molecular handcuff structures that facilitate studies of the effect of intermolecular stacking on optical and redox properties; and surface-based self-assembly studies including highly unusual random self-assembly.

Using Dietary Tracers to Understand the Feeding Ecology of North Atlantic Killer Whales

Tue16
Nov

18:15

Using Dietary Tracers to Understand the Feeding Ecology of North Atlantic Killer Whales

Anaïs Remili
18:15, Tuesday 16 November 2021

Join us on Tuesday for a talk by Anaïs Remili, a PhD candidate at McGill University. On top of her research on killer whales, Anaïs is the founder of Whale Scientists, a science communication platform about marine mammals that features early-career marine mammalogists.
Synopsis:
Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are among the most contaminated animals on the planet. Their exposure to high levels of contaminants like persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been thought to contribute to reduced reproductive success and population growth. As a generalist apex predator with a tendency to adopt prey specializations at the individual or population level, killer whales may provide critical insights into how feeding ecology may influence/drive contaminant accumulation. The use of chemical tracers has increased in the last decades due to their relative ease of sampling and ability to reflect integrated diet signals over time. This talk will dive into the North Atlantic Ocean and apply chemical tracers to different killer whale populations to understand their diets and contaminant exposures.

Solvation and Sorption: The old thermodynamic questions that still haunt us today

Wed17
Nov

13:00

Solvation and Sorption: The old thermodynamic questions that still haunt us today

Dr Seishi Shimizu
13:00, Wednesday 17 November 2021

Join us for a talk by Dr Seishi Shimizu on the complexities of Thermodynamics!
Synopsis:
There are questions that trouble us when we apply chemistry. Why does this molecule dissolve so poorly? Why isn't this macromolecule stable in water? Why does this powder mixture suck up so much moisture? These questions are very difficult to answer because prediction schemes are still quite limited. The difficulty comes from the theoretical foundation: statistical thermodynamics. I will try my best to tell you why these questions are difficult and why statistical thermodynamics, despite its difficulty, is a fascinating and rewarding subject that reveals the fundamental principles beneath real-life and industrial questions.

Chemical Biology Studies of the Thalidomide Binding Domain of Cereblon

Tue23
Nov

18:15

Chemical Biology Studies of the Thalidomide Binding Domain of Cereblon

Professor Christina Woo
18:15, Tuesday 23 November 2021

Join us for a talk led by Professor Christina Woo, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and an affiliate member of the Broad Institute. Christina’s research focuses on the design of small molecule and protein approaches to alter post-translational modifications and the signaling outcomes they produce.
Synopsis:
The E3 ligase adaptor cereblon is a target of thalidomide and lenalidomide, therapeutic agents that are used in the treatment of hematopoietic cancers despite teratogenic toxicity. These agents act in part by modulating substrate selection and degradation through the thalidomide binding domain of cereblon. However, despite the expanding use of cereblon in targeted protein degradation technologies, identification of a degron, the recognition domain that controls the endogenous substrate selection mechanisms of cereblon, has remained elusive. Here, I will describe chemoproteomics approaches to target identification in the study of molecular glues like lenalidomide, and how these chemical biology approaches can reveal new insights about the thalidomide binding domain of cereblon.

Two Centuries of the Rare Earths

Wed01
Dec

13:00

Two Centuries of the Rare Earths

Dr Simon Cotton
13:00, Wednesday 1 December 2021

We have an exciting talk by Dr Simon Cotton, a science communicator who has written over 7 books about transition metals, lanthanides and actinides!
Synopsis:
There are seventeen rare earths - scandium, yttrium and the lanthanides. At the time that Mendeleev published his first Periodic Table (1869), only five of these elements were known; their discovery and isolation extended from 1794 until 1947. In the last half century or so, many developments have taken place in their chemistry - extending the range of their coordination numbers, an increasing number of compounds in unusual oxidation states, and most recently lanthanide-containing enzymes, raising questions about their role in living systems. Applications bring rare earths into our lives – batteries, lighting, hard drives in PCs and wind turbines are among the examples. This talk will examine several aspects of these remarkable elements.

Plants of the São Paulo State Cerrado as Sources of Bioactive Compounds and Sustainability

Tue07
Dec

18:15

Plants of the São Paulo State Cerrado as Sources of Bioactive Compounds and Sustainability

Professor Patrícia Pauletti
18:15, Tuesday 7 December 2021

Join us for a talk led by Prof Patrícia Mendonca Pauletti, a professor and researcher at the University of Franca (UNIFRAN), state of São Paulo, Brazil.
Synopsis:
In the past, the São Paulo State Cerrado vegetation occupied 14% of the territory of the state of São Paulo. However, today this vegetation constitutes only 1% of the territory of this state due to growing loss of biodiversity and occupation of this biome by various economic activities. Consequently, the Cerrado areas have become cause for environmental concern and have been included among the most threatened natural ecosystems. In this scenario, protecting and promoting rational exploitation of plant biodiversity as a source of new products, such as medicines, has strategic importance for sustainable use. Plants have been selected for chemical studies and in vitro bioassays involving human cell cultures and parasites. The chemical studies have identified the presence of flavonoids, triterpenes, norneolignans, alkyl-phenols, and phenylethanoids glycosides mainly. Most of these compounds display moderate to weak activity in vitro; few present promising activity. Therefore, studies on crude extracts of new plant species should continue to contribute to chemical knowledge and chemosystematics, and some compounds deserve to be further investigated, so that their mechanism of action and activity in vivo can be established.

Past Talks

Are Pigeons Smarter than Mathematicians? 

Tue06
Oct

18:15

Are Pigeons Smarter than Mathematicians? 

Dr Anna Roffey 
18:15, Tuesday 6 October 2020

 

The story of a counterintuitive maths problem solved by a female polymath in the face of overwhelming opposition. With a little help from active learning we will also solve this problem, which stumped some of the best minds in mathematics, but not the humble pigeon… 

Link to the talk will be on our Moodle Page - See you then!

Artificial cells on a chip for drug discovery

Tue13
Oct

18:15

Artificial cells on a chip for drug discovery

Dr Katherine Elvira
18:15, Tuesday 13 October 2020

Lecture given by Dr Katherine Elvira

Dr Elvira is the Canada Research Chair in New Materials and Techniques for Health Applications, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her group builds artificial cells and tissues from the bottom up using lab-on-a-chip (microfluidic) technologies. They aim to use these in vitro models to better understand how drugs behave in humans.

Link to the talk is available on our Moodle page - See you then!

Discovering the Phase 1 candidate CCT289346/BOS172722 for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. 

Tue20
Oct

18:15

Discovering the Phase 1 candidate CCT289346/BOS172722 for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. 

Dr Swen Hoelder 
18:15, Tuesday 20 October 2020

 

Treating cancer remains a huge scientific challenge despite significant progress in the last decades. Treatment options for many cancer types are very limited and is some cases no effective treatments are available resulting in poor prognosis for these patients. In this seminar, I will briefly summarise why cancer is so difficult to treat. I will then describe a drug discovery project that has been going on at The Institute of Cancer Research. The aim of this project was to discover small molecule inhibitors of the mitotic kinase MPS1 as a new treatment for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). TNBC is significant fraction of all breast cancers. It is characterised by a significantly worse prognosis than other breast cancers types and remains an area of unmet medical need. I will give an over of the MPS1project from its inception to the discovery of our clinical candidate BOS172722 that is currently undergoing phase I clinical trials. A particular emphasis will be on the medicinal chemistry aspects of the project conducted in my research team. 

Link to the talk will be on our Moodle Page - See you then!

The Inbetweeners – Methods beyond Born-Type models in Photoelectron Holography  

Tue27
Oct

18:15

The Inbetweeners – Methods beyond Born-Type models in Photoelectron Holography  

Abbie Bray  
18:15, Tuesday 27 October 2020

Similarly, to light holography, ultrafast photoelectron holography makes use of a probe and a reference wave to reconstruct a target using phase differences. This makes use of the fact that different pathways for an electron in a strong laser field may be associated with specific interference patterns.  Typically, the reference is a direct pathway and the probe is associated to a laser-induced rescattering process.  If traditional orbit-based approaches are employed, such as the strong-field approximation, for linearly polarized fields rescattering will occur near and on the polarization axis. This will make it detrimental for probing targets whose geometry is oriented perpendicular to the field.  In the present contribution, we employ a novel approach which goes beyond that and takes into account the residual binding potential and the external laser field on equal footing: The Coulomb Quantum Orbit Strong-Field Approximation (CQSFA). 

By studying a variety of atomic species prepared in excited states of different geometries, we show that, due to the presence of the Coulomb potential, rescattering will no longer be confined to this axis, which makes it possible to probe orbitals whose polarization is perpendicular to that of the field.  We also identify the main types of orbits responsible for a non-vanishing photoelectron signal within the CQSFA and initial momentum distributions of the instances of tunnelling and re-scattering as well as assess the orbits geometries. We further probe the interplay between the driving field and the binding potential by modifying parameters such as the field intensity and the binding energy. 

Link to the talk will be on our Moodle Page - See you then!

Diamonds- More Than Just A Girl’s Best Friend?

Tue17
Nov

18:15

Diamonds- More Than Just A Girl’s Best Friend?

Professor Katherine Holt
18:15, Tuesday 17 November 2020

Lecture by UCL's very own Professor Katherine Holt!
A whirl-wind tour around diamond's many forms: from gemstone to space dust, high-tech coating to drug-delivery, maybe even a catalyst?
You won't want to miss this talk!

Link: https://ucl.zoom.us/j/91892562935?pwd=dTg5L1ZSZmZrVUwya3JncFJvbVl1Zz09

Artificial Intelligence in Video Games: Past, Present and Future 

Tue24
Nov

18:15

Artificial Intelligence in Video Games: Past, Present and Future 

Dr Tommy Thompson 
18:15, Tuesday 24 November 2020

The term "Artificial intelligence" has become increasingly ubiquitous with gains and changes in technology, although it's rare we know how that actually works.  One of the most prominent areas that AI is applied but is often misunderstood is video games.  In fact, the video games industry has a variety of bespoke AI tools and methodologies designed to support the unique challenges faced in creating vast game worlds and interesting non-player characters.  But in more recent years innovations in deep learning and machine are having a significant impact on numerous industries.  But how can it prove useful for games?  In this talk we're going to look at how AI has traditionally been operated within video games, how machine learning has previously struggled to make gains in the games industry and the new risks and opportunities for AI that are emerging as games are made and played all over the world.    

Link to the talk will be on our Moodle Page - See you then!

Incarceration changes behaviour, for molecules too 

Wed25
Nov

13:00

Incarceration changes behaviour, for molecules too 

Professor Jonathan Nitschke
13:00, Wednesday 25 November 2020

Lunchtime talk by Professor Jonathan Nitschke (13:00 UK time)

Large, hollow molecules can swallow smaller ones. The swallowed (encapsulated) molecule may be prevented from reacting in a way that it otherwise might, or it may be transformed by its experience on the inside. The encapsulating molecule may also transport its passenger far from 'home', allowing chemical separations and purifications to happen in new ways. Research in the Nitschke group has enabled many new molecular containers to be prepared through the self-assembly of small building blocks around metal ions to give larger polyhedral structures with inner cavities. We'll talk about some of these, and some of the uses to which we've put them recently. 

Lapis Lazuli – Medieval Materials Processing 

Tue01
Dec

18:15

Lapis Lazuli – Medieval Materials Processing 

Dr Spike Bucklow
18:15, Tuesday 1 December 2020

The talk will consider a process of mineral separation that was documented across Europe for over 1,000 years that reliably created a blue colour for artists and a widely used drug. It will post-rationalize the identity of recipe ingredients and procedural details in terms of the available – mainly Aristotelian – theories about the physical world. It will briefly consider the material’s importance to industrial chemistry in the nineteenth century and the recipe’s afterlife in modern chemical engineering. It will be offered as a case study that questions relationships between theories and practices and between C.P. Snow’s ‘two cultures’. 

Link to the talk will be on our Moodle Page - See you then!

Illuminating Materials: The Materials Science of Light Emitting Diodes 

Tue08
Dec

18:15

Illuminating Materials: The Materials Science of Light Emitting Diodes 

Professor Rachel Oliver 
18:15, Tuesday 8 December 2020

About a quarter of the electricity generated worldwide is used for lighting.  Energy efficient light bulbs based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) are about five times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and hence have the potential to allow enormous energy savings.  The key material used in LEDs which emit white light is gallium nitride, a human-made compound, which has never been observed to occur in nature.  Optimising this new material to make LEDs which are efficient, long-lived and reasonably affordable has been a huge challenge, and despite the undoubted commercial success of these devices many aspects of their operation remain mysterious.  This lecture will explain how we can take LEDs apart, literally atom by atom, to understand their structure and how this controls their properties.  The relevant techniques emerged from traditional metallurgy, but are now being used to understand materials for cutting edge optoelectronic devices, illustrating how the basic principles of materials science are vital to the development of the technologies of tomorrow. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/illuminating-materials-the-materials-science-of-leds-tickets-131624256695

 

Sponges for mitigating environmental and health impacts of polluted water

Wed09
Dec

13:00

Sponges for mitigating environmental and health impacts of polluted water

Dr Pavani Cherukupally
13:00, Wednesday 9 December 2020

According to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030, there is a need for affordable, sustainable technologies to combat global water, environmental, and public health challenges. For example, the international oil industry produces over 100 billion liters of oil contaminated wastewater annually. The residual crude oil in these effluents is hazardous to the environment and valuable crude oil loss. On the other hand, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are estimated to cause 10 million deaths and $100 trillion in medical costs per year by 2050. In this talk, I will discuss a new sponge-based adsorption technology used to reclaim oily wastewater, reuse sponges, and recover residual crude oil from wastewater to improve circular economy metrics in the oil industry. Also, I will discuss sponges’ design for removing and killing bacteria in the water to provide safe water in medium- and low-income countries like Rwanda. Due to the excellent performance and cost-efficacy, the sponges could contribute to reforming water policies and accessible to people across the world.

Check out the eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sponges-for-mitigating-environmental-and-health-impacts-of-polluted-water-tickets-131623055101

A very wet lab: Translating optical technology to the marine environment for ecophysiology measurement of free-ranging marine mammals

Tue05
Oct

18:15

A very wet lab: Translating optical technology to the marine environment for ecophysiology measurement of free-ranging marine mammals

Dr Chris McKnight
18:15, Tuesday 5 October 2021

We have a very exciting talk by Dr Chris McKnight, a research fellow at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews. Check out the moodle page and facebook for event details and links!

Can we predict how organic molecules crystallise?

Tue12
Oct

18:15

Can we predict how organic molecules crystallise?

Professor Sally Price
18:15, Tuesday 12 October 2021

Join us on Tuesday for a talk by UCL's very own Professor Sally Price. Her research aims to model the intermolecular and intramolecular forces in organic molecules, such as pharmaceuticals, sufficiently realistically so that they can be used for predicting the crystallization and solid state properties of the molecules.

Superhero Science: The Next Time You Go to the Movies

Wed13
Oct

13:00

Superhero Science: The Next Time You Go to the Movies

Dr Sibrina Collins
13:00, Wednesday 13 October 2021

Dr Sibrina Collins will be talking about the uses of pop-culture as pedological resources in STEM education.

Sensors and Analytical Microsystems

Tue19
Oct

18:15

Sensors and Analytical Microsystems

Dr Ruchi Gupta
18:15, Tuesday 19 October 2021

Join us for a talk led by Dr Ruchi Gupta, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham.

Banking the World’s Seeds, and other stories…

Wed20
Oct

13:00

Banking the World’s Seeds, and other stories…

Dr Christopher Cockel
13:00, Wednesday 20 October 2021

We have an exciting talk by Dr Christopher Cockel, the coordinator for the UK Native Seed Hub (UKNSH) at Kew Gardens.
The talk will look at the role of Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in safeguarding the world’s plant genetic resources at a time when plant populations globally are under unprecedented pressures from anthropogenic activities. I’ll explain why we do what we do and how we do it, and I’ll give some case study examples of recently concluded and active projects where seed banking is conserving these genetic resources for use in such activities as safeguarding future food security, for their medicinal properties, and in species conservation and habitat restoration more generally.