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DTU Chemistry - Sophie Beeren

Supramolecular Chemistry

The broad area of research in the group is supramolecular chemistry and bioorganic chemistry. We are interested in understanding how molecules interact, how they recognise each other, how they fold and how they can assemble into larger, multi-component systems. Supramolecular chemistry focuses on the intermolecular interactions between molecules, such as hydrogen bonding, the hydrophobic effect, metal-ligand coordination, interactions and electrostatic effects. The goal of our research is to understand the role of non-covalent interaction in biological and chemical systems, to utilise supramolecular interactions to manipulate biological systems, and to take inspiration from biology to build new and complex chemical architectures, host-gest systems and adaptive materials.

Current areas of research include.
• Dynamic Covalent Chemistry
• Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular Materials
• Systems Chemistry

Dynamic Covalent Chemistry

Dynamic covalent chemistry is a synthetic methodology that relies upon self-assembly under thermodynamic control to direct the synthesis of complex architectures. The concept is illustrated schematically below. Small molecule building blocks are reacted together via reversible covalent reactions to give dynamic equilibrium mixtures of cyclic or linear oligomers called dynamic covalent libraries (DCLs). If exposed to a template that interacts favourably with one of the library components, this product will be energetically stabilised by the binding interaction and thus the system will be driven towards its selective or preferential synthesis.

This methodology can be used to explore molecular recognition, to develop molecular receptors, to discover ligands for biomolecules and to engineer the synthesis of new materials. Current projects in this area are focused on the development of receptors for glycoprotein recognition and the non-traditional synthesis of oligosaccharides using reversible enzyme-catalysed reactions.

DTU Chemistry - Sophie Beeren

S. R. Beeren and J. K. M. Sanders, 2011, ‘Discovery of linear receptors for multiple dihydrogen phosphate ions using dynamic combinatorial chemistry’, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 133, 3804–3807.
S. R. Beeren, M. Pittelkow and J. K. M. Sanders, 2011, ‘From static to dynamic: escaping kinetic traps in hydrazone-based dynamic combinatorial libraries’, Chem. Commun., 47, 7359–7361.
S. L. Diemer, M. Kristensen, B. Rasmussen, S. R. Beeren and M. Pittelkow, 2015, ‘Simultaneous disulfide and boronic acid ester exchange in dynamic combinatorial libraries’, Int. J. Mol. Sci., 16, 218585-21872.

Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular Materials

A stimuli-responsive material is one that adapts to its environment – the application of an external stimuli causes a change in the molecular or supramolecular structure of the material resulting in altered physical or chemical properties and function. External stimuli range from physical stimuli (e.g. temperature, light) to chemical stimuli (e.g. signalling molecules, ligands, receptors, pH) and biological stimuli (e.g. enzymes). Such ‘smart’ materials have huge potential in the area of nanomedicine, for transport and controlled delivery of active compounds, such as drugs and contrasts agents, and for responsive surfaces in biosensing and tissue engineering. Projects in this area aimed at the development of supramolecular probes for biomacromolecules, sensors, self-healing polymers and stimuli-responsive delivery systems.

DTU Kemi - Sophie Beeren

S. R. Beeren and O. Hindsgaul, 2013, ‘Nature’s dendrimer: characterizing amylopectin as a multivalent host’, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 52, 11265-11268.
S. R. Beeren, S. Meier and O. Hindsgaul, 2013, ‘Probing helical hydrophobic binding sites in branched starch polysaccharides using NMR spectroscopy’, Chem. Eur. J., 19, 15314-15320.
S. R. Beeren and O. Hindsgaul, 2014, ‘A fluorescence assay that detects long branches in the starch polysaccharide amylopectin’ Chem. Commun., 50, 1530-1532.

Systems Chemistry

Molecules and molecular interactions in nature exist not in isolation, but within complex chemical networks. Nevertheless, chemists and biochemist typically investigate binding interactions on individual isolated compounds. Systems chemistry, which is the study of complex mixtures of interacting synthetic molecules is a new but increasingly important field. Advances in this field require the availability of analytical tools to resolve and distinguish individual components in a mixture and the availability of simple methods to simultaneously quantify multiple competing binding interactions in mixtures. Projects in this area are looking at ways to use supramolecular chemistry together with NMR spectroscopy to study mixtures of interacting molecules.

DTU Chemistry - Sophie Beeren

S. Meier and S. R. Beeren, 2014, ‘Simultaneous determination of binding constants for multiple carbohydrate hosts in complex mixtures’, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 136, 11284-11287
S. R. Beeren and S. Meier, 2015, Supramolecular chemical shift reagents inducing conformational transitions: NMR analysis of carbohydrate homooligomer mixtures’, Chem. Commun., 51, 3073-3076.

26 MAY 2020