Dr Mark C. McCairn

Dr Mark C. McCairn

Dr. Mark C. McCairn joined the Organic Materials Innovation Centre (OMIC) as a Research Associate to contribute his expertise in high-throughput parallel synthesis and screening.

High-throughput, microwave promoted synthesis and novel purification techniques have been developed to facilitate the discovery of new organic materials for semiconductor applications.

Combinatorial libraries of p-conjugated oligomers have been synthesised by implementation of his high-throughput methodologies and subsequently evaluated using a variety of techniques to determine structure property relationships. In addition, appropriately functionalised p-conjugated oligomers have been synthesised for adsorption onto an electrode surface as a self assembled monolayer for organic field effect transistor applications.

His research interests have extended to regioregular polyarylamines of low molecular weight distribution for application in electronic devises. The optimal reaction conditions for the microwave promoted synthesis of polyarylamines were determined by an iterative approach of design, catalyst-ligand screening and evaluation.

Prior to joining OMIC he travelled across Russia, China and South East Asia to visit several universities where he presented his PhD research on Combinatorial Synthesis and Scintillation Proximity Assays.

In collaboration with Sense Proteomic Limited, he synthesised a library of scintillant-lipid hybrid molecules that were evaluated for the ability to scintillate and assemble into liposomes. The liposome that exhibited optimal properties was incorporated successfully into the membrane of living cells, which enabled the development of a patented cell-based scintillation proximity assay to detect and quantify protein
function and activity in vitro.

He also constructed a series of novel chemically functionalised, scintillant-containing supports that have superior organic and aqueous solvent compatibilities compared with commercial resins. The patented supports were utilised in the efficient solid-phase synthesis of a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligomer-library. The supported PNA-oligomer library was screened in situ against [33P]-DNA, which detected and quantified the extent of hybridisation with number and position of PNA-DNA base mismatches with excellent sensitivity and selectivity. It is anticipated that these novel supports will find generic application in the high-throughput synthesis of PNA-oligomer libraries and subsequent in situ screening of these libraries against genetic disease targets of interest using the associated scintillation proximity hybridisation assay.

Selected Publications

  • Solid-phase PNA synthesis and in situ scintillation proximity assay for the detection of PNA-DNA hybridization. J. Comb. Chem., 2006, 8, 1.
  • Synthesis and evaluation of 4-functionalised-2,5-diphenyloxazole derivatives for application in cell-based scintillation proximity assays, Tetrahedron Lett., 2004, 45, 2163.
  • A novel cell-based scintillation proximity assay for studying protein function and activity in vitro using membrane soluble scintillants, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 2002, 296, 857.
  • Scintillation proximity assays for the real-time detection and quantification of the progress of reactions upon solid supports, J. Chem. Soc. Chem. Commun., 2004, 296.
  • Synthesis and evaluation of scintillant-containing poly(oxyethylene glycol) polymer supports, J. Mater. Chem., 2003, 13, 225.
  • Synthesis and evaluation of poly(oxyethylene glycol) polymer (POP) supports, J. Org. Chem., 2002, 67, 4847.
  • Smart polymer supports for generic application in combinatorial chemistry, Innovation & Perspectives in Solid Phase Synthesis & combinatorial Libraries, Mayflower press, 2004, 93.