Mar 142014

2logos_frame_noletteringA-level students from a range of schools attended a one-day course at the Museum of the History of Science and the Department of Chemistry in Oxford to find out about the science and applications of crystallography. In the morning they discovered how symmetry plays important role in the structure and diffraction of crystals in a lecture by Prof. Brian Sutton of King’s College, London. Prof. Richard Cooper then gave an rapid overview of the history of the applications of crystallography from Pasteur’s discovery of chirality in the pre- X-ray diffraction world to Hodgkin’s determination of the structure of penicillin. Prof. Elspeth Garman took the students through the ups and downs of crystallographic research in the decades long attempt to grow one crystal of a virus protein in an attempt to fight the tuberculosis virus.

Split into groups, the students then visited the Department of Chemistry where they visited three different activities:

  • Rapid collection of diffraction data (under 10 minutes) and solution of the structure of fructose crystals with Dr. Amber Thompson in the X-ray facility.
  •  Tasting how different crystalline structures (polymorphs) of cocoa butter in chocolate affect its texture and physical properties with Ms. Rachel Knight from Dirk Aarts’ research group (honorable mention to the one student who resisted temptation – having given up chocolate for lent!).
  • Exploring stereoisomers and enantiomers using physical models (including Pasteur’s tartrate ion) and discovering why mirror images of a molecule can have quite different smells.

Meanwhile back in the museum students visited the solar fuels outreach stand where they saw how crystallography can reveal the structures that nature uses to carry out photosynthesis, and, under the careful supervision of Johnny Brooks-Bartlett and Katharina Jungnickel from Biochemistry, they were able to carry out a recrystallisation of the protein lysozyme and watch while it grew in just a few minutes on a microscope slide.

Mar 072012

Dave is the Principal Beamline Scientist on the small-molecule single-crystal diffraction beamline, I19. Before his appointment at Diamond in 2006, Dave was a lecturer in The School of Physics at The University of Edinburgh and he laterally held an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship within The School of Chemistry. Apart from developing the beamline to improve its capabilities for the ever increasing user base, his main research interests involve the high-pressure and low-temperature polymorphism of small-molecule systems and the development of in situ crystal growth techniques. Dave can occasionally been seen around the department, usually on Tuesdays, when he gets the chance to attend the Chem. Cryst. group meetings.

Mar 072012

Chiralabs are long-term collaborators and world-leading experts in a wide range of spectroscopic, physicochemical and theoretical approaches including in chirality, circular dichroism, optical spectroscopies, crystallization and biopharmaceutical analysis. Specialist areas of investigation include:

  • Molecular chirality & enantiomeric composition
  • Crystal growth, polymorphism & solubility
  • Biomacromolecular structure, folding and properties
  • Biopharmaceutical development & spectroscopic fingerprinting
  • Spectroscopic & physicochemical characterisation

Chiralabs is also the home of CrystalGEM, the internationally award winning rational crystallisation screening technology that has revolutionised the screening of pharmaceutical polymorphism, morphology and crystal growth.

Jan 012006

Francesco obtained his PhD in Rome and since 2004 is Assistant Professor at the Chemical Division of the Department of Pharmaceutical Science of the University of Catania, Italy. He spent some months during 2005 and 2006 in our lab to improve his knowledge of crystallography. His principal area of research is the comparison of experimental X-ray diffraction data with computationally simulated data. The prediction of crystal morphology, polymorphism, atomic displacement parameters (adp), as well as the physico-chemical properties of biologically active compounds are among his interests.