Synthesizing smaller molecules to explore different compounds in the field of medicine and technology, as a whole, can offer immense potential. However, the problem of synthesizing molecules is that it is a time consuming process and not all researchers have access to molecule-synthesizing tools.
Recently, researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have simplified a way to manufacture small molecules from a common set of building blocks using specialized 3D printers for small molecules. Led by Martin Burke from the University of Illinois, they were able to create a small molecule synthesizer that comes with chemical connectors that can be linked to a building block using a standard chemical reaction. The researchers were able to make 14 small molecules from simple linear structures to more complicated and densely folded molecules.
Burke and his team took cues from nature in order to improve the process of synthesizing small molecules. By analyzing the small molecules, they were able to dissect the building blocks that were common. The building blocks were then catalogued and used to fashion small molecules with a customized 3D printer. Currently, Burke and his team are expanding the vision of being able to create thousands of useful molecules using only one simple 3D machine for small molecules.
If their plans come to fruition, they will be able to discover new molecules that can lead to the revolution in industrial as well as medical technology. All kinds of researchers from different industries will be able to create small molecules to help them revolutionize their field of study.