Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

ResMoSys Report Summary

Project ID: 642192
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ResMoSys (Multi-Stimuli Responsive Molecular Systems and Materials)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Nanotechnology has been identified as a key enabling technology of economic. In order to be a market leader in this area, it is imperative that Europe invest in research where the gap between knowledge creation and successful commercialisation is bridged, and in training the next generation of highly skilled researchers in nanotechnology. The ResMoSys innovative training network (ITN) will increase innovation capacity and strengthen doctoral training in nanotechnology on a European level by uniting leading experts from both the academic and non-academic sectors under the theme “Multi-Stimuli Responsive Molecular Systems and Materials”. The objective of the research programme is to prepare new “smart” molecular systems and materials in a bottom-up approach from low molecular weight building blocks by exploiting dynamic covalent chemistry and supramolecular interactions. Close collaboration between the academic and industrial members in this ITN will ensure immediate commercialisation of any new technology or materials developed by the network. 10 early-stage researchers (ESRs) were recruited and are currently trained so they are equipped with a balance of research-related and transferable skills to enhance their career perspectives in both the academic and non-academic sectors. Thus, the network will produce highly skilled, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial researchers who will contribute to European innovation capacity in nanotechnology.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Towards new smart molecular systems, the fellows have been working on their own individual research projects. Main results and following objectives are summarized below (numbers are assigned randomly and do not reflect specific members of this ITN):
• ESR1 has been working on the preparation of new chiral metal organic frameworks (MOFs) from achiral pyridine-based ligands. These pyridine-based chiral MOFs can be fabricated on surface with orientation, which may find applications in chiral separation.
• ESR2 has been studying the biocompatibility of hydrogels based on supramolecular self-synthesising fibers. Cells were suspended in the produced gels and their growth and evolution was monitored over time, showing promising results.
• ESR3 has been working in the development of supramolecular dynamic architectures based on helical aromatic oligoquinolines. Current efforts are directed towards the preparation of longer linear polymers/cyclic macrocycles.
• ESR4 has been working towards the synthesis of cyclopeptide-derived coordination cages. She has successfully synthesized different cyclopeptides with peripheral aromatic amino and pyridine groups, which should serve as pre-cursors for these species.
• ESR5 has been working on responsive multifunctional nanocarriers based on lipid coated mesoporous silica nano-particles (NPs) that would selectively target pathogenic bacteria through bacterial iron uptake. Poly-functional amphiphilic molecules act as anchors on the surface of the mesoporous silica nanoparticles, allowing a full coating of the NPs with surfactants of choice.
• ESR6 has been working towards the formation of differently charged supramolecular host-guest Complex Coaceravate Core Micelles (C3Ms). The stimuli responsive micellar assembly and disassembly might be used to encapsulate and trigger release of drug molecules.
• ESR7 has been working toward the understanding of meridional vertice formation in self-assembled supramolecular structures. Some structures with this geometry have been shown to form prismatic cages, which could act as potential ion channels.
• ESR8 is working on the synthesis, characterization and clinical evaluation of biocompatible stimuli-responsive (light, pH, redox) injectable hydrogels. The hydrogels have been fully characterized and their biocompatibility has been tested with different kinds of cells. Some of the hydrogels are also under clinical testing with medical doctors for gastrointestinal disease.
• ESR9 has been working towards the synthesis of iminoboronate based polymers. The dynamic covalent properties of these species are expected to lead to a highly modular and adaptive platform, lending to the optical tractability of the polymer as well as for sensing applications.
• ESR10 has been working to develop receptors that specifically recognise sialic acids through combinatorial and dynamic combinatorial chemistry approaches. It is hoped that the receptors developed in this work could be applied as biosensors, or in affinity chromatography.
In the next period of this ITN the afore-mentioned research objectives will be tackled by the individual ESRs. Furthermore, all ESRs will complete secondments with the industrial partners of the network to complement their academic training with industrial expertise and to ensure direct commercialization of new technology or materials developed by the network.
Training:
Some of the ESRs have undergone secondments to partner organisations and gained valuable industrial experience thereby. General academic training and training in experimental and analytical methods necessary for the respective ESRs’ research project is being provided by the ESRs’ local host institutions. Furthermore, the ResMoSys ITN has organised two workshops in Strasbourg and Wagenigen, with scientific and transferrable skills based training provided. Those workshops were always co-organized by the respective local ESRs which provided them with valuable transferable skills as well. In Strasbourg, the ESRs were trained on poster presentation skills and photo physics. In Wageningen, the ESRs received theoretical and practical training on scattering, electron microscopy, NMR and MRI techniques. Furthermore, attending representative from the industrial partners introduced the work at their companies to the ESRs to facilitate the choice for the ESRs where to do their secondments. The fellows have all developed personal career development plans, which they review each year in close collaboration with their respective supervisors.
Communication:
The ResMoSys website (http://www.resmosys.ch.cam.ac.uk/) provides general information about the ITN including on the goals of the project and on the individual network members for members of the scientific community, industry and the general public.
The ESRs have launched and maintain a public Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/itnresmosys/?fref=ts), via which they post photos and updates on network activities, and publicise their outreach activities for the general public. At the workshop in Strasbourg, each ESR recorded a short video of themselves describing their research for a general audience and talking about their career path to date and their aspirations for the future. These videos have been made available to the public through the Facebook group.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

A wide variety of new nanostructures and materials have been developed in the progress of the action so far. This work is of excellent academic interest, and 2 research papers have been published in high impact journals. It is hoped that these nanostructures may be applied across a diverse range of fields, including chemical separation science, cell culture, drug delivery, antibiotic development, pharmaceutical development, optical materials and sensors. This could have great socio-economic impact in such diverse fields as microfluidic systems, materials science (battery and display technologies), medicinal diagnostics and therapeutics.
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