The discoveries, which involved adding new materials to a previously unstable chemical scaffold and building molecules onto the “pigments of life”, will also offer new possibilities to molecular engineers, materials and computer scientists, and energy researchers.
Thinking inside the box
In the first case, scientists solved a decades-old challenge by developing new tools for a synthetic (man-made) molecule – cubane – that is widely used in the pharma industry. Cubane molecules consist of eight carbon atoms arranged at the corners of a perfect cube. Yet despite the simplicity of the shape, modern chemistry has, until now, had a very tough time handling its unique reactivity. By deciphering how to circumvent this inherent reactivity, the door is now open for drug developers to create new, more diverse therapeutics from cubane and its derivatives.
The scientists were led by a team from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Chemistry. Their discovery was recently published in the international journal Chemistry – A European Journal, in which it features as a VIP paper and on the journal front cover.