Denison Summer Scholarships - Chemistry



Project: (CHEM1) Building a Modern Chemistry Set

In this project, the summer scholar will develop a set/sets of chemical demonstrations that are suitable for transportation for off site demonstrations. Each developed Chemistry Set will be designed for a specific audience (age/syllabus requirements etc.) and with suitable HIRAC/safety specifications in mind. Suitable applicants will have an interest in the communication of chemistry through practical demonstrations .

Supervisor: Dr Alice Williamson

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Feb

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM2) Designing Experiments on Super-wettability Surfaces

In this project the summer scholar will fabricate artificial surfaces with special wettability (superhydrophobic and slippery), and develop lab notes for this experiment to be used by undergraduate students interested in nanoscience. The experiment will combine experimental procedures already established in the Neto group and the literature with elements of advanced research to stimulate the students’ interest in nanoscience.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Chiara Neto

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Alice Williamson

Dates: Nov-Feb

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM3) Conducting Metal-Organic Framework Materials

The realisation of electronically conducting metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) materials is one of the most highly sought after goals in the field. This project will also make initial steps towards the integration of redox-active frameworks into solid-state devices.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Deanna D'Alessandro

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM4) Metal-Organic Frameworks for Greenhouse Gas Sequestration

The development of more efficient processes for carbon dioxide and methane capture is considered a key to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions implicated in global warming. This project will involve the synthesis of highly porous three-dimensional solids known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for use in the capture of greenhouse gases from major point sources such as power plant flue gas and natural gas sweetening.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Deanna D'Alessandro

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM5) Assembly of Nanorods for Solar Energy Applications

Among the barriers to making solar cells cheaper and more efficient is the high energy cost of the crystalline silicon and vapor deposition methods commonly used today. One possible solution is to print solar cells using an ink of semiconducting nanoparticles. In this project you will explore how interfaces (fluid-fluid and liquid-solid) affect the self-assembly of nanorods using models that our group has developed. This will yield design rules that can be used by experimental collaborators to make desired assemblies in the laboratory for testing in solar cells.

Supervisor: Dr Dr Asaph Widmer-Cooper

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM6) Fluorescent sensors for biological application

Fluorescent molecules enable the visualisation of sub-cellular structures and processes by confocal microscopy. In particular, fluorescent sensors report on the presence of specific biologically-important molecules (e.g. drugs, signalling molecules, toxins) based on changes in their fluorescence output. This project will involve synthesising new fluorescent sensors for biological application.

Supervisor: Dr Elizabeth New

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb or Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM7) Platinum anticancer drugs targeting the mitochondria

Platinum complexes such as cisplatin are widely used in chemotherapeutic regimens. While it is traditionally believed that they have activity by targeting DNA, there is recent evidence that they exert significant effects in the mitochondria. This project will involve preparing mitochondrially-targeted platinum complexes in order to evaluate their cellular activity.

Supervisor: Dr Elizabeth New

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb or Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM8) Faraday Rotation in organic semiconductors

Over the past two decades there has been an explosion in the amount and speed of information exchange around the world. Underlying this development is ultrafast optical communication between computers, which require unidirectional transport of light that can be switched by the use of Faraday rotators. In this project, you will perform experiments to study and optimise Faraday Rotation in an emerging class of highly symmetric organic semiconductors.

Supervisor: Dr Girish Lakhwani

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM9) Polarisation decay in organic semiconductors

Polarization decay is critical in modern optical data communication that requires polarizations switches to be very fast to work at high bit rates. Understanding various polarization decay processes is key to optimizing the operation of wider range of devices including OLEDs and ultrafast polarization switches. In this project, you will perform experiments to measure the optical phenomena from a chiral molecular system in its photoexcited state and probe the extent of polarisation decay.

Supervisor: Dr Girish Lakhwani

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM10) Computer simulation of next-generation solar cells

Several new technologies promise next-generation solar cells that are cheaper, more flexible, and more efficient than current ones. However, many elementary processes occurring in these solar cells are poorly understood, and your project will be to write and use computer programs to simulate how they work at the fundamental level. Options include studying organic solar cells and hybrid organic-inorganic perovskite solar cells. Programming experience is helpful, but not required.

Supervisor: Dr Ivan Kassal

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM11) Novel nanohybrids

Cylindrical polymer brushes are unimolecular templates that can be used to produce one-dimensional hybrid nanomaterials, such as nanowires and nanotubes. Recently, we have developed several strategies to produce organic/inorganic hybrid nanomaterials suitable for applications in catalysis, car exhaust filters or photovoltaic devices. In this project, we will progress this work and develop polymeric architectures that act as unique nanoreactors to produce novel hybrid nanomaterials. This multidisciplinary research aim merges the fields of chemistry and materials science.

Supervisor: Dr Markus Muellner

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Dec

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM12) Differential sensing arrays for the identification of allergens

The development of diagnostic devices which could rapidly identify common allergens would be a of significant benefit in the control of allergic reactions, which present a serious and growing public health challenge. Once rare, chronic allergic diseases now affect 150 million Europeans, a figure expected to rise to affect half of the European population in 2025 (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology).  In this project, polymers decorated with various functionalities implicated in immune response will be prepared, and further modified with a selection of fluorescent reporting units. This library of polymers will be used to assemble differential sensing arrays to detect and distinguish proteins associated with allergic reactions to various foodstuffs.

Supervisor: Dr Markus Muellner

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Clare Mahon

Dates: Jan-Feb

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM13) Open Source Drug Discovery

This project will involve the synthesis of new organic molecules with the potential to treat major infectious diseases such as malaria. We will adopt open source principles, a little like Wikipedia for Drugs: your lab book will be openly available online, you will work with other collaborators around the world and anyone can take part in your project. See http://opensourcemalaria.org/ for more.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Matthew Todd

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM14) Mechanical Origin of Static Electricity

Bring two solid surfaces into temporary contact and they will typically end up oppositely charged. The practical importance of static electricity is undisputed (safety hazards, atmospheric lightening, etc.) - the microscopic cause remains a source of debate. In this project you will develop a simple quantum treatment of mechanical bond dissociation and then apply it to the problem of the statistical distribution of static charges on a solid surface following contact with another surface. The goal is to compare these simulated results with recent measurements.

Supervisor: Professor Peter Harrowell

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM15) Are microparticles released from cancer and normal cells key players in disease pathology?

Microparticles (MPs) are microvesicles within the size of 100 nm to one micron that contain RNA, DNA, proteins and lipids and are released from all human cells and function to control cell-cell signaling under normal conditions, however, under disease conditions the number and composition of microparticles released changes and these “disease microparticles” act like human viruses to infect and damage healthy cells or promote cancers.  The aim of this project is to use biospectroscopies to probe differences in biochemical content in disease vs normal MPs and to examine how they change the biochemistry of target cells.  (Prof. Peter Lay, and Dr Aviva Levina in collaboration with Drs Elizabeth Carter and Joonsup Lee, Vibrational Spectroscopy Core Facility, and Professors Georges Grau and Nick King, Pathology, School of Medical Sciences).

Supervisor: Professor Peter Lay

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Aviva Levina

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM16) Synthesis, Characterisation and Biological Activities of V Complexes: Anti-diabetic and anti-cancer activities.

There is increasing evidence that V is an essential trace element (including a range of experiments in our lab) where it is involved in sugar metabolism, reducing cancer risk, reducing neurodegeneration, assisting immune system response and wound healing.  It is believed that V(IV) and V(V) and perhaps V(III) species are transported into cells by distinct mechanisms.  Once inside the cell, V has a number of roles including regulating a large range of intracellular signalling processes, and gene translation and expression.  This project will involve synthesis and characterisation of V complexes and spectroscopic and biological studies on the reactions in vitro (with Dr. Aviva Levina).

Supervisor: Professor Peter Lay

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Aviva Levina

Dates: Nov-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM17) Intramolecular Polarization of Binding Site in Modulating Transmembrane Anion Transport

In Nature, intramolecular interactions are crucial in controlling conformation of proteins and modulate instrinsic biochemical activities. Here, we seek to utilise intramolecular hydrogen-bonding to control the conformation and binding affinity of synthetic anion receptors and to modulate the fundamental functions of transmembrane anion transport in liposomes.

Supervisor: Professor Philip Gale

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Ethan Howe

Dates: Jan-Feb or Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM18) Macrocyclic anion receptors for selective membrane transport

Synthetic anion transporters that are highly active and selective for chloride over proton, hydroxide, fatty acids and bicarbonate are important physiology tools and have therapeutic potentail for ion channel diseases. Such transporters are not currently available. In this project, we propose to design macrocyclic receptors to  selectively encapsulate and transport chloride ions.

Supervisor: Professor Philip Gale

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Xin Wu

Dates: Jan-Feb or Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM19) Effects of Oxysterols on Membrane Phase Behaviour

Cholesterol is a major component in the cell membranes of all animals. Naturally occurring oxidative stress results in cholesterol oxidation which could potentially have disastrous effects on membrane function. Using the technique of differential scanning calorimetry in this project we will study the effect of cholesterol oxidation on lipid phase transitions.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Ron Clarke

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb or Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM20) Membrane-active cytoplasmic peptides of ion pumps

Ion pumps maintain ion gradients essential for numerous physiological functions, e.g. muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, kidney function, digestion. Recently we have discovered that many ion pumps possess lysine-rich cytoplasmic peptide sequences which interact the surrounding membrane and that this interaction plays a crucial role in their mechanism and regulation. In this project we will explore the specificity of this interaction by a variety of experimental techniques.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Ron Clarke

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb or Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM21) Hierarchical assembly of DNA origami

To physical and chemical scientists, DNA also has huge potential as a programmable building material for biocompatible nanostructures, which can be self-assembled from the bottom up. This project aims to take inspiration from biological systems and use hierarchical assembly to combine many DNA origami nanostructures into a larger assembly. Projects will generally involve some combination of: computer aided design and modelling of DNA origami, assembly of structures and analysis with advanced imaging techniques, such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM).

Supervisor: Dr Shelley Wickham

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Jan-Feb

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM22) New biocompatible reactions for protein modification

Site-specific modification of proteins is an important technique for drug development, and a major challenge for synthetic chemists. This is a question of chemoselectivity: how can we perform a reaction at a chosen functional group, without affecting the hundred other unprotected groups that exist on a protein? In this project, we will develop new synthetic reagents and methods for modifying proteins.

Supervisor: Dr Yu Heng Lau

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 

Project: (CHEM23) Self-assembling nanocompartments for catalysis and drug delivery

Nature is a master of self-assembly, constructing incredible nanoscale architectures from simple buildings blocks. One example of self-assembly is the “encapsulin” family of proteins, which can spontaneously form hollow 30 nm compartments. This project will involve re-engineering encapsulins, converting them into catalytic nanoreactors and vessels for drung delivery.

Supervisor: Dr Yu Heng Lau

Secondary Supervisor:   

Dates: Feb-Early Mar

Prerequisites:  

 


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