Slinn Pickings – chemistry news

  • UW-Madison chemists devise better way to prepare workhorse molecules – Writing in the current online issue (June 9) of the journal Science, a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison chemistry Professor Shannon Stahl reports a new, environmentally friendly way to make substituted aromatic molecules that can be customized for different industrial needs.
  • Molecular movements could lead to new way to treat cancer – Work by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London could point to a new way to treat aggressive types of cancer. The scientists have found that a molecule called Met is responsible for stimulating the growth and spread of cancer because it is relocating to the wrong part of the cell. Experiments in the lab suggest that moving Met molecules from the inside of the cell to the cell surface could halt the growth of cancer cells and even cause tumours to shrink.
  • Is earwax an organocatalyst? – The June 6th edition of Chemical and Engineering News has a funny little item in the Newscripts section (written this week by Steve Ritter) on a gentleman who believes his earwax could be a reagent.
  • Into the (mis)fold: a diagnostic tool for proteins – Scientists at Berkeley Lab have engineered a universal, highly sensitive technique for detecting misfolded proteins in biological fluids. This groundbreaking nanoscience capability could help pinpoint Alzheimer’s in its early stages and enable researchers to discover new therapies for this devastating disease.
  • Chemists shed light on sun’s role mixing up molecules – University of Sydney scientists have discovered a startling new mechanism where sunlight can rearrange the atoms of molecules to form new chemical substances.

Robert Slinn, chemist and writer, picks out six of the best for his regular chemistry news column on Reactive Reports