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Nanodecoys lure and trap Zika virus

By James Urquhart Gelatin nanoparticles camouflaged by mosquito membrane mop up virus and stop it crossing placenta Chinese researchers have developed therapeutic nanoparticles that attract and trap the Zika virus in infected mice. The approach could potentially provide a much needed therapy for the virus in humans. Transmitted by mosquitos, Zika hit the headlines in […]

New tools direct reactions at specific C–H bonds in organic molecules

By Nina Notman Elegant catalysts offer quicker routes to complex compounds When looking for ways to build up an organic molecule, traditionally chemists ignored carbon–hydrogen bonds. Unless activated by a nearby functional group such as a carbonyl, alcohol or amine, they were deemed unreactive. Recent years have seen a shift in this thinking, with new […]

Chemist’s rescue mission saved doctoral student trapped in Isis war zone

By Katrina Krämer It sounds like the plot of an action film, but a chemist at a Swedish university organised a daring rescue of her Iraqi doctoral student and his family after they became trapped in an Islamic State (IS) war zone. The rescue took place in 2014 but has only recently come to light. […]

Catalytically, is copper the new gold?

By Andy Extance Approach for depositing copper on silica support influences how easily it oxidises, and in turn the reactions it catalyses Researchers in China claim that they have changed the chemical properties affecting a copper catalyst’s electronic structure, making it more like gold or silver. The team, led by Jian Sun from Dalian Institute […]

The father of the periodic table

By Mike Sutton Mendeleev’s patience revealed periodicity in the elements The urge to discover patterns in our surroundings appears to be a fundamental human trait. Thousands of years ago, our remote ancestors built massive stone monuments that were precisely aligned to significant points in the annual solar cycle. And in the 19th century, thoughtful chemists […]

Democratizing synthesis by automation

By Anat Milo There is something particularly satisfying in watching an automaton as it impeccably performs its task, be it an Archimedean screw pump or a machine for making cookie cutters. In this vein, the videos accompanying the article on page 144 by Steiner et al. (1), depicting their self-driven synthetic chemistry setup—in effect, an […]