Image & Design: Rachael Tremlett

Embracing automation in small molecule drug discovery

Integration of automated systems that are applied in the individual stages of drug discovery has the potential to improve productivity but several challenges must be met for this to be effective.

Latest Reviews

  • Perspective |

    The discovery of bioactive small molecules is generally driven via iterative design–make–purify–test cycles. Progress has been made towards the automation and integration of adjacent stages within such discovery workflows, which can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of bioactive small-molecule discovery.

    • Shiao Chow
    • , Samuel Liver
    •  & Adam Nelson
  • Review Article |

    Semiconducting quantum dots (QDs) can serve as light-absorbing components in efficient artificial photosynthetic systems for H2 evolution. This Review describes how we can optimize QDs for H2 evolution using sacrificial reductants, before moving on to sustainable strategies for the photolysis of biomass or H2O.

    • Xu-Bing Li
    • , Chen-Ho Tung
    •  & Li-Zhu Wu
  • Perspective |

    Humans have evolved innate and adaptive immune systems to survive infection. Chemical approaches have enabled modulation of the immune system to activate or dampen it, leading to the development of new treatments for cancer and autoimmunity.

    • Sander I. van Kasteren
    • , Jacques Neefjes
    •  & Huib Ovaa
  • Review Article |

    Traditional approaches for studying glycans can lack the precision required to uncover their roles in biomolecular processes. Progress has been made in the use of single molecule techniques for examining individual events in glycobiology — such as the molecular interactions of sugars and their roles in biological processes — within challenging mixtures.

    • Abirami Lakshminarayanan
    • , Mylène Richard
    •  & Benjamin G. Davis
  • Review Article |

    Proteins, DNA and RNA can be used to build functional nanostructures. This Review compares protein and DNA/RNA in terms of biochemical properties and ease of engineering in three major areas of application: biomolecular recognition, biocatalysis and structural support.

    • Genevieve C. Pugh
    • , Jonathan R. Burns
    •  & Stefan Howorka
  • Review Article |

    This Review describes excited-state intramolecular proton-transfer (ESIPT) reactions with amines as proton donors. Systematic variation of N−H bond strength, acidity and reaction rate enables ESIPT kinetics and thermodynamics to be correlated and new molecules to be designed for sensing and optoelectronics applications.

    • Chi-Lin Chen
    • , Yi-Ting Chen
    • , Alexander P. Demchenko
    •  & Pi-Tai Chou

News & Comment

  • Research Highlight |

    A team of French and UK researchers have used DNA to template a key photocatalysed cycloaddition reaction in the total synthesis of a marine natural product.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Isoporous block copolymer films have useful morphological features, but lack the conductivity necessary for chemiresistive sensing. Combining such films with carbon nanotubes affords new porous composites, whose conductivity is sensitive to guest molecules.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Research Highlight |

    Superatoms — particularly paramagnetic ones — can be difficult to isolate and study. Bulky organic ligands have been shown to stabilize a large copper-aluminium superatom with a unique open-shell electronic structure.

    • David Schilter
  • In the Classroom |

    QR Chem is a free resource that enables teachers and researchers to link audiences directly to three-dimensional renderings of molecules.

    • Johnny Dang
    • , Brian Lin
    • , Julia Yuan
    • , Shawn T. Schwartz
    • , Rishabh M. Shah
    •  & Neil K. Garg
  • Research Highlight |

    The design of machines in the nanodimesional space is advancing fast. Ben Feringa and co-workers now report on solvent-driven aggregations of molecular motors into nanodimesional bowl-shaped objects and show how molecular rotation can be controlled in such confined volumes.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Digoxin is a widely used heart drug, but metabolism by bacteria in the human gut leads to variable efficacy. The enzyme responsible has now been identified and characterized.

    • Stephen G. Davey


Electrocatalysis for fuels

David Schilter/Rachael Tremlett

Electrocatalysis for fuels

Efficient redox catalysis offers an important avenue in using renewable energy to process fuels. To this end, efforts in homogeneous, heterogeneous and microbial catalysis may each advance our fundamental understanding and technological capabilities.

David Schilter