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Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Giovanni Bottari: organic chemistry.

Julia Eckhoff: chemical biology, medicinal and prebiotic chemistry.

Johannes Kreutzer: soft matter and organic functional materials. 

Prabhjot Saini: polymers and hydrogels.

Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage on organic chemistry and chemical biology. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.

The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the area of organic chemistry and chemical biology at Nature Communications.

Make sure to check the Editors' Highlights page each month for new featured articles.

Photo-induced polymerizations are being utilized to design and fabricate macromolecular structures with spatial and temporal control. Here the authors use a near-infrared light free-radical photoinitiator consisting of oxime-ester coumarin functionalities on the surface of upconversion nanoparticles for free-radical and thiol-ene photopolymerizations.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Tuning the environment of catalytic active sites may improve the selectivity of heterogeneous catalysts. Here, the authors modify the outer-sphere environment of active sites in hydroformylation catalysts by encapsulating the active sites in nanovessels formed by ion pair-directed supramolecular assembly.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Multiblock oxygenated polyols often show better properties than the constituent polyols, but their synthesis can be complex and difficult. Here a switchable catalysis concept is described which allows for the efficient preparation of multiblock poly(ether-b-ester) materials starting from mixtures of common monomers.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Super engineering plastics that utilise bio-derived cyclic monomers rarely offer the same thermal/mechanical properties, scalability and recyclability as petrochemical derived plastics. Here the authors use a phase transfer catalyst to synthesise a transparent, recyclable and tough isosorbide-based polymer with a high molecular weight.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The increasing concern of global plastic pollution has led to an increase in the production and characterization of bio-based and biodegradable alternatives. Here the authors show the synthesis of a series of fully bio-based alternatives based on 2,4-, 2,5-, and 2,6- pyridinedicarboxylic acids, via enzymatic catalysis.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Digital polymers with precisely ordered units for next-generation data storage media are continually investigated for higher storage capacity. Here the authors show the synthesis of information-coded 2D digital dendrimers and the generated data matrix barcode can be read by a common hand-held device.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Although common in biology, controlled stiffening of hydrogels in vitro is difficult to achieve. Here the authors show how a biomimetic hybrid hydrogel can be stiffened instantaneously and reversibly up to 50 times.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Long-chain polyamides could bridge the gap between traditional polyamides and polyethylenes. Here the authors show the preparation of diamide diene monomers derived from natural resources coupled by thiol-ene addition copolymerization to form long-chain amide-containing polymers for the synthesis of ultra-strong elastomers.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

There is often a trade-off between mechanical properties (modulus and toughness) and dynamic self-healing in materials. Here the authors design and synthesize a polymer containing thermodynamically stable whilst kinetically labile coordination complexes to address this conundrum.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications