There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom...of Hydrophobic Pockets

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dr. Bruce Gibb

Department of Chemistry

Tulane University

Dr. Bruce GibbIn water, preorganized hydrophobic pockets (more correctly, non-polar pockets) in deep-cavity cavitands are seen to have an affinity for a broad range of chemical entities: from small inorganic anions that are usually considered to be strongly hydrated, to large, non-polar organic molecules.  The reasons why these hosts can bind such a broad range of guest types are not known at this time, but the ramifications of this ability is wide and varied: from information pertinent to the mechanism of action of the Hofmeister Effect (why some salts increase the solubility of non-polar molecules in water whilst others decrease it), to the development of novel purification and separation protocols, to the detailed study of the properties of yocto (10–24) litre reaction vessels.  In this presentation, work focused on probing the non-covalent forces behind such phenomena, and studies illustrating the potential practical applications of these types of complexes, will be discussed.


Bruce C. Gibb was born in 1965 and hails from Aberdeen, Scotland. He received both his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Robert Gordon’s University. He was a post-doctoral researcher with Prof. John Sherman at the University of British Columbia in 1993 and 1994, and subsequently a post-doctoral research with Prof. James Canary at New York University. His independent career began in 1996 at the University of New Orleans. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2002, full professor in 2005, and University Research Professor in 2007. At the beginning of 2012 he moved to Tulane University. Prof. Gibb is co-Editor-in-Chief of Supramolecular Chemistry (Taylor and Francis), and has been a regular contributor to Nature Chemistry since its inception in 2009. The over-arching theme of his research is aqueous-based supramolecular chemistry, with particular emphasis on self-assembly leading to compartmentalization, and studies into the fundamentals of aqueous-solution phenomena such as the Hydrophobic Effect and the Hofmeister Effect.

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