CANCELLED Special Inorganic Seminar

Seminar series
Inorganic Chemistry
Tue, Mar 31 3:30pm
Young Hall 2033
Speaker Prof. Justin M. Chalker
Flinders University, Australia
Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology

Sulfur Two Ways:

The Chemical Biology of Cysteine Oxidation and

New Frontiers in Polymers Made from Elemental Sulfur

This lecture will present two different research themes in sulfur chemistry. The first project involves making selective probes to trap cysteine sulfenic acid on proteins and in live cells. Cysteine sulfenic acid is thought to be a biomarker for oxidative stress and associated diseases, but we have an incomplete understanding of which proteins contain this group and what this means for cellular function and physiology.1 One challenge in mapping cysteine sulfenic acid is the paucity of probes that react both rapidly and selectively with this functional group inside the cell.1 Our research team has recently used norbornene derivatives to trap cysteine sulfenic acid on small molecules, purified proteins, and proteins in living cells.1-4 Enrichment of these proteins and subsequent proteomics analysis has revealed 148 proteins previously unknown to form cysteine sulfenic acid during oxidative stress.4 I will discuss potential implications of these discoveries with respect to fundamental biochemistry, new diagnostic tools, and leads for medicinal chemistry.

The second half of my lecture will feature the synthesis and applications of polymers made from sulfur.5,6 Inspired by Jeff Pyun’s concept of “inverse vulcanisation,”7 our lab has been at the forefront in the resurgence of high sulfur polymers and composites—materials that contain 50-80% sulfur by mass. I will discuss our efforts to establish design principles that enable the synthesis of sulfur polymers with desired mechanical, thermal and optical properties.8 New and unpublished concepts in the repair and recycling of these unique materials will also be presented. Finally, I will present recent case studies in using these polymers in environmental remediation,9-11 controlled-release fertilisers,12 and mercury- and cyanide-free gold mining.13