Molecular Recognition 

graduate students: Ali 

Molecular imprinting has been widely studied and applied in the last two decades as an innovative tool for various technological and scientific fields. The first approach to molecular imprinting was not well known until 1949 when Dicky and his coworkers succeeded to create complementary molecular cavities for certain dye molecules. Dickey's silicates could be considered as the first molecularly imprinted material. In general, molecular imprinting process involves the formation of molecular cavities inside the polymer matrix being imprinted which are of complementary structural, functional group orientation and geometrical features with respect to the molecule being imprinted (Template). Specifically, the molecular cavities are created by incorporating a template molecule during the polymerization process in a way that 3D network is formed around the molecule being imprinted. Upon extraction of the template from the polymer matrix, molecular cavities with specific shape, size and electrostatic features, remain in the cross-linked host material. Molecularly Imprinted Materials (MIP) were applied in high performance liquid chromatography, food analysis , capillary chromatography, solid phase extraction  and drug delivery techniques.

In our group we investigated the molecular imprinting of hybrid materials formed by the acid hydrolysis and condensation of a mixture of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) and phenyltriethylorthosilicate (PTEOS) as functional monomers then imprinted by a group of molecules of biological activity (neurotransmitters and amino acides) to be used in molecular recognition of the imprinted compounds. The imprinted materials were coated as ultrathin films on electrochemical conventional glassy carbon electrodes using spin coating technology.

A moderate computational work using Gaussian software has been carried out to study the interaction energy between functional monomers and different template molecules. In this aspect, we could correlate some experimental results with the theoretical calculation. Moreover, the nature of electrostatic interaction within the complexes formed between the template molecules could be also explored.


Selected Publications

1-      Smart electrochemical sensor for some neurotransmitters using imprinted sol–gel films, Nada F. Atta, Ali M. Abdel-Mageed, Talanta, 80, 511-518, (2009). Full Article

2-      Computational investigation and synthesis of a sol-gel imprinted material for sensing application of some biologically active molecules, Nada F. Atta, Maher M. Hamed, Ali M. Abdel-Mageed, Anal. Chim. Act., 667, 63-70 (2010). Full Article 

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