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Dr Angelo Amoroso  -  BSc(Hons) PhD


 

  • Development of highly fluorescent lanthanide complexes. We are synthesising lanthanide complexes and increasing their lifetimes and quantum yields. They will be used as biological tags or as chemical sensors.
  • Design and synthesis of ligands suitable for MRI contrast agents. We are currently synthesising reagents which will show strong switching behaviour in their relaxivity thus producing effective diagnostic reagents. We are also seeking to increase water exchange rates in complexes, leading to higher relaxivities.
  • Synthesis of fluorescent organometallic rhenium complexes.
  • Ligand modifications resulting in modified stereochemistry and reactivity. Underlying our applied research is the intriguing topic of how simple changes to a ligand array may greatly affect topology and prehaps reactivity.
  • Developing catalytic systems for the oxidation of alkanes. A major goal for industry as well as academia, we are aiming to produce electrochemically fuelled systems with a transition metal catalyst.

Recently we have been interested in developing new MRI contrast agents as research tools for neural stem cell implants. The use of embryonic stem cells for cellular therapies in neurodegenerative diseases — such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases, dementia, trauma or stroke — is an area of research which shows great promise for alleviating and potentially repairing a range of debilitating and ultimately fatal conditions. However, a major constraint on research in neural transplantation is the present inability to visualise, monitor and track the fate of the transplanted cells directly in vivo. Some progress has been made for tracking a variety of graft types in vivo using PET. This technology still has its place but it will always be constrained both by the absolute limitations of poor spatial and temporal resolution. By contrast, magnetic resonance techniques have potential advantages for non-invasive temporal studies of the fate of specific cells in vivo, with high resolution in space and time. Currently, we are collaborating with Prof. Stephen Dunnett of Biosciences in Cardifff, in an attempt to develop a new generation of MRI contrast agents that may be used for in vivo imaging of stem cell grafts. Recently, via an MRC funded project (G0300261) we have developed a new series of tripodal ligands and have found that they may be readily functionalised with a variety of donor groups. The proposed research would involve the further synthesis of new ligands based upon the shown ligand framework and an investigation of their co-ordination to a series of lanthanide ions. The physical properties of the formed metals complexes would then be assessed. These properties include (i) the thermodynamic stability of the complexes by potentiometric titration; (ii) assessment of stability of the complexes in phosphate buffers and biological media, and (iii) the T1 (and T2) relaxivity of the complexes (principally Gd3+ but also Eu2+, Dy3+ and Mn2+) by field-cycling relaxometry.

 

An image of examples of various geometries