Inaugural lecture of Professor Steve Eichhorn
Professor Steve Eichhorn, Sarah Michel
Lecture Theatre 1, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantock's Close, Bristol, BS8 1TS
Cellulose: Rich Past and Bright Future - lecture by Professor Steve Eichhorn
Cellulose is a natural biopolymer that is essentially made from a combination of carbon dioxide and water, and yet it is very hard to 'synthesise' in the lab. Luckily plants, trees, bacteria and some animals do this for us. My research on the material cellulose will be presented in this talk. I will demonstrate how we have gained understanding of the mechanical properties of highly organised forms of cellulose, how we have spun fibres from cellulose and how we have made some functional materials. I will also show how the field has expanded in recent years to encompass applications in energy storage, the medical field, composites and even in the construction industry. Finally, I will return to sugars and how very little is known about their function, particularly in the body, but also how polysaccharides (long chains of sugars, of which cellulose is just one) are structured in plant cell walls.
Polysaccharides as New State-of-the-Art Wound Healing Agents - introductory talk by Sarah Michel
Carbohydrates and polysaccharides are of key importance in various biological phenomena such as infection, cell recognition and wound healing. Sarah's research group is interested in the creation and application of 'designer' carbohydrates to study biological occurences, explore new chemical reactivity or develop new therapeutic agents. In this talk, she will focus on recent work using hydrogels, based on naturally bioactive polysaccharides for wound healing and tissue engineering. She will give an overview of her PhD project; how we can use these abundant and extremely attractive materials to provide an innovative cure for spina bifida, the most common birth defect.
Sweet Existence - an exhibition of abstract paintings by Karen Barber that showcase the incredibly diverse and vital roles of sugars.
The connection between the talks and the paintings is through IBCarb, a growing network of glycoscientists from academia and industry. Professor Steve Eichhorn was involved in their research into sugars. Karen Barber was asked to visually depict the work that IBCarb were doing to add an interesting and exciting new angle, and to help engage non-scientists. Karen's paintings have been inspired by science and the abstract representation of cells for many years.
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