Scheme: Newton International Fellowships
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Dates: Jan 2011-Dec 2012
Summary: My research concerns the development of organic crystals with advanced surface and bulk properties. Crystalline organic materials have been recently recognized as important in pharmaceutical and materials sciences due to their intriguing physicochemical properties. These properties strongly depend on the arrangement of molecules within the crystal lattice, and have been shown to be tunable by combining the target molecule with other distinct molecules into multi-component crystalline architectures. With this in mind, solid-state chemists have started to explore a variety of methods to design multi-component organic solids (i.e. cocrystals) with desirable molecular architectures and properties. Such studies, generally referred to as crystal engineering, have yielded numerous strategies that allow the construction of functional cocrystals with applications in drug development or organic synthesis, among other uses. My research mainly focuses on materials with applications in medicine. Specifically, I aim to lay the foundations for the rational design of a new generation of target-specific nanodrugs based on surface-decorated crystals that have the potential to maximize the therapeutic effect at minimal dosages; thus, these new drugs have the potential to reduce undesirable side-effects to a minimum. My research strategy also focuses on controlling the outcome of crystallization experiments, using principles derived from close studies of crystal-surface structures, as well as on the development of crystal-seeding strategies of interest to academia and industry. Specifically, we are exploring organic crystal surfaces as substrates for epitaxial growth and nucleation of selected novel polymorphs with desired physicochemical properties. Considering that more than 200,000 crystalline organic materials have been reported so far, the use of cocrystals as crystallization seeds can open up endless opportunities the design and development of new materials and medicines.