Coding molecules could help with burn victims and oil spills | Video

Dr. Michael Rogers and his team are working to understand what causes some molecules to assemble on their own.

(Left to right) Melted chocolate, a model of an organic molecule, and an oil slick.

Video: Coding molecules could help with burn victims and oil spills

Imagine if we could control and design molecules as easily as we can run code for a computer.

Scientists are working to understand what causes some molecules to assemble on their own. If they can determine what drives this growth, then it could be harnessed for our benefit: from helping to heal burn victims to cleaning up oil spills. It could help revolutionize multiple industries, according to Dr. Michael Rogers who is an Associate Professor with the University of Guelph and a Canada Research Chair in Food Nanotechnology.

His team is using the Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan to try to view what is going on at a structural level within small molecules that facilitates their mechanisms of self-assembly and to visualize their supramolecular hierarchical structures.

Rogers said it is similar to when Watson and Crick were working to identify the structure of DNA. In retrospect, the structures might seem obvious, but it's hard to visualize how things are spatially organized through various length scales until you see the bigger picture, he added. 

Nasr, Pedram, Maria G. Corradini, Jarvis Hill, Stuart T. Read, Scott M. Rosendahl, Richard G. Weiss, France-Isabelle Auzanneau, and Michael A. Rogers. "Hansen Solubility Parameters Clarify the Role of the Primary and Secondary Hydroxyl Groups on the Remarkable Self-Assembly of 1: 3, 2: 4-Dibenzylidene Sorbitol." The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 124, no. 48 (2020): 26455-26466. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.0c07671 

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To arrange an interview, contact:

Victoria Schramm
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Light Source
306-657-3516
victoria.schramm@lightsource.ca

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