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Durham University

Department of Chemistry

News / Twitter

Lipid membranes affected by small molecules

(28 April 2020)

A novel investigation by the research group of Dr John Sanderson describing the effects of small organic molecules on lipid membranes revealed that reactivity with lipids depends on the structure - not on the lipophilicity - of the small molecule. This exciting study is published at

This research, along with recent publications by the same Durham Chemistry group, showed lipid membranes to be much more susceptible to external substances than previously thought. Any lipid degradation would be detrimental to function (and may, for example, be caused by some pharmaceutical agents). New membrane-active agents could potentially be used for new disease treatments, such as eliminating viruses with lipid membranes (influenza, ebola, Covid-19) using lytic molecules that do not possess detergent activities.