NChem Research Highlights: Bryostatin, dendrimers and rowing microparticles

A busy week in the Nature Chemistry office: Anne has just returned from a tour of Japanese universities, Stu is about to head off to Bath for Catalysis and Sensing for our Environment 08, Gav’s already in Grenoble for ElecMol 08, Steve’s visiting Harvard tomorrow and I’m off to a symposium in honour of Professor the Lord Lewis of Newnham at the Royal Society on Thursday and Friday. Phew! But we’ve still time to bring you a dose of Research Highlights.

Total synthesis can be mind-bogglingly difficult, so why not just go and marvel at bryostatin 16?

Dendrimers, I imagine, are probably normally a big writhing mass of chemistry, but these pyrene dendrimers sound a lot more…staid. Thanks to the stiffness of the dendron units themselves, the whole thing is pretty rigid.

Another article that really needs a movie…swimming microparticles! Although rowing is quite a good way to get your head round it. A big particle (the boat) is linked to a smaller one (the oar). They’re magnetic, so a precessing magnetic field makes them rotate (errr, the rower? Bear with me!). In a bulk solvent, they’d just happily rotate, but when they’re close to a surface, the viscosity gradient means that the oar ‘grips’ the the gloopier liquid and the particle/boat moves.

And finally…some shameless slapping of our own backs. According to this post over at Nascent, we almost totally rule! Well, we’re in joint second place for the chemistry blog most linked from the blogs registered at blogs.

Thanks for linking,


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)