So, what does this group actually do? If you've looked through the publication list and come out a little confused, don't worry. It's not you. It's me. The core interest of the group is to solve challenges in biomedicine and materials science in new ways. We look for well-defined problems; problems where we know the properties of the materials we need, or the biological target we need to interact with. The solutions to these problems are normally molecules. And we are good at molecules. John is primarily interested in designing these solutions, whether it be a new molecule, a new way to make a chemical bond, a new way to arrange molecules or detect molecules, or a new way to mask or hide a molecule or a protein. We often use computational tools to design our solutions using a variety of methods (we are currently one of Canada's SuperUsers of our national computational resources), then we go into the bio and the chemistry lab to make them. This normally involves figuring out new ways to make new molecules and combines the best of total synthesis; polymer, bioorganic, physical, supramolecular, and/or analytical chemistry; chemical biology; and organic and catalytic methodology development. We then test our molecules either against the protein of interest (using biophysics binding assays, or cell-based assays), or for the physical properties. Then we move it into a "real-world" situation, either in an animal model (with the goal of moving into human models) a 3-D bioprinted human cell/organ model, or a real-world engineering application (we really like coating door handles with things). We then use the results of these tests to reinform and adjust our computational model, and start the cycle again. It's a lot of fun. And we learn a lot. And we get to do weird things that no one else is doing. I highly recommend it.
The Team is also just that, a Team. A lot of our research interests have developed organically by blending the skill sets of different members of the group, and starting working on a new problem: what do inorganic chemistry, peptide science, and whisky analysis have in common? What about sugar chemistry, macrocycles, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and fundamental physical chemistry? Sometimes the solution to big problems just involves mixing the right reagents, or Team members together.
Find out more below!
We are using synthetic organic chemistry in combination with computational techniques to design and make interesting new carbohydrates, peptides and polymers for biological, supramolecular, immunological, material and medical applications. We are particularly interested in projects that involve a multidisciplinary strategy at the interface of chemistry, materials science and biology.
We are also based in Windsor, Ontario which is the heart of the historic Canadian whisky industry, and the modern Canadian greenhouse industry. We have active research programs and collaborations in both fields and are always looking for more partners. For more detail than is available on this site, please contact Dr. Trant.