Volume 5

  • No. 6 June 2021

    The next global threat, may be a pollutant, a chemical toxin or a biohazard, and it may result from natural disaster or intentional misuse. It is especially important that we aim to protect those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect and caring for the safety of others. Chemistry can play its part through the development of surface coatings and functionalized fabrics that can inactivate or neutralize biological and chemical toxins. See Jabbour, Parker, Hutter & Weckhuysen.

  • No. 5 May 2021

    A ‘reversible’ catalyst allows a reaction to proceed rapidly even at small departures from equilibrium. These fast and energy-efficient transformations are part of a relatively smooth potential energy landscape that can feature in synthetic and biological systems alike. See Fourmond, Plumeré & Léger.

  • No. 4 April 2021

    Nanostructures built from DNA are being applied in biosensing, cell modulation, bioimaging and drug delivery. But the sensitivity of these structures to nucleases present in the physiological environment is an impediment. Strategies that increase the nuclease resistance of DNA nanostructures while retaining their functions are thus of great interest as are methods to evaluate resistance and quantify stability. See Chandrasekaran.

  • No. 3 March 2021

    Mechanical loads can affect chemical reactivity in diverse ways. Exerting pressure on fullerenes in a ball mill sees them dimerize and trimerize, while pulling on opposite ends of a biimidazole causes it to rupture into two radicals. Tension can also break bonds away from the main chain of a molecule, as in the case of phosphate esters. See O’Neil and Boulatov

  • No. 2 February 2021

    Bispecific antibodies have traditionally been generated by protein engineering, but recently, following developments in the field of site-selective protein modification and bioorthogonal click chemistry, new and improved chemical methods have begun to emerge. These methods offer advantages, including fast reaction times, modularity and the possible attachment of multiple additional cargo, such as dyes and drugs, to the construct. See Szijj & Chudasama

  • No. 1 January 2021

    The bioluminescent Lampyris beetles communicate with one other by making an excited light-emitting molecule called oxyluciferin, pictured here in one of its many protonation/tautomeric states. Generated by luciferase enzymes, oxyluciferin is common to many different animals that somehow each emit different colours. Thus, subtle structural differences in luciferases between species dictate the colours by which they communicate. See Carrasco-López et al.