The proposal concerns the study of interactions between polyoxometalates and biomolecular systems, including proteins and carbohydrates. Polyoxometalates (POMs) are early transition metal-oxygen anionic molecular nanoclusters.
In addition of numerous other positive properties, some POMs exhibit anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumour, anti cancer activities or are observed to reduce the symptoms of diabetis.
However, the detailed mechanisms of these phenomena at the molecular level remain elusive. This project is aimed at shedding some light on the matter, in order to open the way for a rational application of POMs in the medical domain.
The proposal is highly multidisciplinary and involves collaboration between a number of research groups. For example, collaboration with groups expert in the synthesis of new POMs will be useful to enlarge the impressive number and variety of nanoclusters already available in the host group.
The characterisation of the nanostructures will involve detailed X-ray analysis of the superstructures and various electron microscopic techniques. Selection, purification and/or modification of proteins and the synthesis of rationally designed carbohydrates necessitate work with biochemists and scientists familiar with glycolipids.
The evaluation of the biological activity of POMs will also be studied in collaboration. Nanoscience, in which POMs participate, is believed to be an area of research most likely to produce breakthroughs and European Commission has marked this field as one of its high priority research areas, taking into account the high potential for innovative applications.
Health is another area of constant concern. The results of the present research project are expected to impact positively two issues among currently important topics. For intellectual properties, the guidelines of the European Commission will be strictly adhered to. A detailed indicative work plan is proposed in Europe and back to China.
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