Creagh E.M.,Trinity College Dublin
Trends in Immunology | Year: 2014
The caspase family of cysteine proteases has been functionally divided into two groups: those involved in apoptosis and those involved in innate immune signalling. Recent findings have identified 'apoptotic' caspases within inflammasome complexes and revealed that 'inflammatory' caspases are capable of inducing cell death, suggesting that the earlier view of caspase function may have been overly simplistic. Here, I review evidence attributing nonclassical functions to many caspases and propose that caspases serve as critical mediators in the integration of apoptotic and inflammatory pathways, thereby forming an integrated signalling system that regulates cell death and innate immune responses during development, infection, and homeostasis. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Mitchell F.J.G.,Trinity College Dublin
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2011
Much ecological research focuses on changes in vegetation on spatial scales from stands to landscapes; however, capturing data on vegetation change over relevant timescales remains a challenge. Pollen analysis offers unrivalled access to data with global coverage over long timescales. Robust techniques have now been developed that enable pollen data to be converted into vegetation data in terms of individual taxa, plant communities or biomes, with the possibility of deriving from those data a range of plant attributes and ecological indicators. In this review, I discuss how coupling pollen with macrofossil, charcoal and genetic data opens up the extensive pollen databases to investigation of the drivers of vegetation change over time and also provides extensive data sets for testing hypotheses with wide ecological relevance. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Coleman J.N.,Trinity College Dublin
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2013
Due to its unprecedented physical properties, graphene has generated huge interest over the last 7 years. Graphene is generally fabricated in one of two ways: as very high quality sheets produced in limited quantities by micromechanical cleavage or vapor growth or as a rather defective, graphene-like material, graphene oxide, produced in large quantities. However, a growing number of applications would profit from the availability of a method to produce high-quality graphene in large quantities.This Account describes recent work to develop such a processing route inspired by previous theoretical and experimental studies on the solvent dispersion of carbon nanotubes. That work had shown that nanotubes could be effectively dispersed in solvents whose surface energy matched that of the nanotubes. We describe the application of the same approach to the exfoliation of graphite to give graphene in a range of solvents. When graphite powder is exposed to ultrasonication in the presence of a suitable solvent, the powder fragments into nanosheets, which are stabilized against aggregation by the solvent. The enthalpy of mixing is minimized for solvents with surface energies close to that of graphene (∼68 mJ/m 2). The exfoliated nanosheets are free of defects and oxides and can be produced in large quantities. Once solvent exfoliation is possible, the process can be optimized and the nanosheets can be separated by size. The use of surfactants can also stabilize exfoliated graphene in water, where the ζ potential of the surfactant-coated graphene nanosheets controls the dispersed concentration.Liquid exfoliated graphene can be used for a range of applications: graphene dispersions as optical limiters, films of graphene flakes as transparent conductors or sensors, and exfoliated graphene as a mechanical reinforcement for polymer-based composites. Finally, we have extended this process to exfoliate other layered compounds such as BN and MoS2. Such materials will be important in a range of applications from thermoelectrics to battery electrodes. This liquid exfoliation technique can be applied to a wide range of materials and has the potential to be scaled up into an industrial process. We believe the coming decade will see an explosion in the applications involving liquid exfoliated two-dimensional materials. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
Sanvito S.,Trinity College Dublin
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2011
The electron spin made its debut in the device world only two decades ago but today our ability of detecting the spin state of a moving electron underpins the entire magnetic data storage industry. This technological revolution has been driven by a constant improvement in our understanding on how spins can be injected, manipulated and detected in the solid state, a field which is collectively named Spintronics. Recently a number of pioneering experiments and theoretical works suggest that organic materials can offer similar and perhaps superior performances in making spin-devices than the more conventional inorganic metals and semiconductors. Furthermore they can pave the way for radically new device concepts. This is Molecular Spintronics, a blossoming research area aimed at exploring how the unique properties of the organic world can marry the requirements of spin-devices. Importantly, after a first phase, where most of the research was focussed on exporting the concepts of inorganic spintronics to organic materials, the field has moved to a more mature age, where the exploitation of the unique properties of molecules has begun to emerge. Molecular spintronics now collects a diverse and interdisciplinary community ranging from device physicists to synthetic chemists to surface scientists. In this critical review, I will survey this fascinating, rapidly evolving, field with a particular eye on new directions and opportunities. The main differences and challenges with respect to standard spintronics will be discussed and so will be the potential cross-fertilization with other fields (177 references). © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2011.
Paludan S.,University of Aarhus |
Bowie A.,Trinity College Dublin
Immunity | Year: 2013
Although it has been appreciated for some years that cytosolic DNA is immune stimulatory, it is only in the past five years that the molecular basis of DNA sensing by the innate immune system has begun to be revealed. In particular it has been described how DNA induces type I interferon, central in antiviral responses and a mediator of autoimmunity. To date more than ten cytosolic receptors of DNA have been proposed, but STING is a key adaptor protein for most DNA-sensing pathways, and we are now beginning to understand the signaling mechanisms for STING. In this review we describe the recent progress in understanding signaling mechanisms activated by DNA and the relevance of DNA sensing to pathogen responses and autoimmunity. We highlight new insights gained into how and why the immune system responds to both pathogen and self DNA and define important questions that now need to be addressed in the field of innate immune activation by DNA. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.