Development of advanced chemical techniques for the production of graphene-based nanomaterials from graphite - Year Two

Graphene is a recently discovered two-dimensional material with remarkable properties that scientists and industry are intensely striving to understand and exploit. It can be used in energy applications (e.g., batteries and supercapacitors for electrical vehicles), as conductive thin films for solar panels, as membranes for water desalination, and in antibacterial and antiviral coatings. ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd.

New Methods for the Synthesis of mRNA Cap Analogues

mRNA is an essential biomolecule that is ‘translated’ into protein which is another type of biolmolecule that is essential to life. All mRNA has what is called a cap. The cap portion of the mRNA is necessary for initiating the translation process. To make the capped mRNA for therapeutic applications, such as mRNA vaccines, the cap must first be prepared chemically. The industrial partner synthesizes different types of caps and attaches them to mRNA. These capped mRNAs are then evaluated as novel mRNA therapeutics such as mRNA vaccines.

Anti-phase lock-in detection (APLID) as a means to overcome a strong fluorescence background in the Raman spectroscopy of soils

Efforts to sequester atmospheric carbon in soil require effective monitoring methods. Soil water content confounds the conventional application of infrared absorption. Raman spectroscopy contends well with water, but suffers from the overwhelming fluorescence typically encountered in the analysis of soil samples. Here we
propose to combine an modulated two-colour illumination scheme with antiphase lock-in detection that will serve to suppress fluorescent backgrounds and uncover Raman signatures of organic substances captured in soils.

Cycloadditions and Annulations of Epimeric Pyrroloimidazolone Derivatives for the Synthesis of Novel Drug Leads

The proposed research aims to exploit specific applications of epimeric pyrroloimidazolones (EPIs) for the synthesis of new drug leads. Two classes of biologically active molecules will be targeted. First, EPIs will serves as intermediates toward chiral bicyclic[2.2.2]octenes with nitrogen at the bridgehead position, which are known to have a broad range of biological activities. Second, EPIs will be used to develop a series of dihydrofurans such as nucleoside analogues that have known utility for treatment of various cancers.

Targeting classically intractable molecules with Quantum Computing

With the advent of quantum computing, finding applications for which quantum computers offer an advantage with respect to classical computers is crucial if this technology is to be fruitful. One of the areas where quantum computers are expected to be particularly useful is for the simulation of molecular systems, with applications in drug discovery, materials development, and energy solutions.

Investigation of Plant Volatiles on Grapes and Wine

Grapes will be exposed to volatiles from plants to investigate if the sensory profile of wine made from those grapes can be improved. The volatiles from forest fire smoke can get into grapes and negatively affect the sensory profile of wines, which is referred to as smoke taint. Grapes are most susceptible to smoke taint during their ripening stage, or veraison. Using this logic, the grapes will be subjected to plant volatiles during veraison.

Fluorescence Sensors for Singlet Oxygen

This proposed project is to develop efficient sensing materials and devices that can detect trace amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), in particular a type of activated oxygen, namely singlet oxygen. Detection of singlet oxygen is an important but very challenging task in biological and pharmaceutical applications. The main difficulty in detecting singlet oxygen is due to its very low stability and trace amounts. Certain molecules can capture singlet oxygen through rapid chemical reactions, which result in emission of fluorescence light.

Catalytic enantioselective synthesis of isotopically labelled amino acids

Enantioenriched isotopically labelled amino acids are useful building blocks in the synthesis of radiolabelled molecules needed for drug development. The preparation of these compounds is expensive and time consuming because the 14C-label must be incorporated at an early stage of synthesis, and the remaining amino acid structure built up subsequently We have discovered that aldehydes catalyze carboxylate exchange in amino acids with dissolved *CO2 (* = 11, 13, 14). Certain chiral aldehydes can mediate enantioselective labelling with 13CO2.

Development of total consumption systems for inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in single particle and single cell modes

Metal nanoparticles are increasingly used in cosmetics, food packaging, textiles, toothpaste, and other ubiquitous products. Yet, their impact on our environment, food, and health is largely unknown because measuring nanoparticles in environmental and biological systems is very difficult. Similarly, measuring the uptake of metal-containing drugs by cells to develop smart therapeutics targeting tumors is also difficult because it requires analysis of numerous individual cells to assess the selectivity of the drug uptake by diseased cells versus healthy cells.

Material design for flexible non-enzymatic sensors to monitor analytes for detection of anastomotic leaks post-surgery

Development of leaks in abdominal cavity following surgery cause acute complications that have a high mortality rate and lead to expensive corrective procedures. These leaks are mostly detected a few days following the development of complications. Currently, there is no method for early detection. Hence, timely intervention, which can save lives, is not possible. In this aspect, the sensor development of crucial biomarkers for the detection of such leaks prior to the development of a full breach through real-time monitoring will lead to early detection and intervention for preventive care.