Practical computational toolkits for dendrimers and dendrons structure design

Nuno Martinho, Liana Silva, Helena Florindo, Steve Brocchini, Teresa S Barata, Mire Zloh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Dendrimers and dendrons offer an excellent platform for developing novel drug delivery systems and medicines. The rational design and further development of these repetitively branched systems are restricted by difficulties in scalable synthesis and structural determination, which can be overcome by judicious use of molecular modelling and molecular simulations. A major difficulty to utilise in silico studies to design dendrimers lies in the laborious generation of their structures. Current modelling tools utilise automated assembly of simpler dendrimers or the inefficient manual assembly of monomer precursors to generate more complicated dendrimer structures. Herein we describe two novel graphical user interface (GUI) toolkits written in Python that provide an improved degree of automation for rapid assembly of dendrimers and generation of their 2D and 3D structures. Our first toolkit uses the RDkit library, SMILES nomenclature of monomers and SMARTS reaction nomenclature to generate SMILES and mol files of dendrimers without 3D coordinates. These files are used for simple graphical representations and storing their structures in databases. The second toolkit assembles complex topology dendrimers from monomers to construct 3D dendrimer structures to be used as starting points for simulation using existing and widely available software and force fields. Both tools were validated for ease-of-use to prototype dendrimer structure and the second toolkit was especially relevant for dendrimers of high complexity and size.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-827
JournalJournal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design
Issue number9
Early online date15 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2017


  • dendrimer
  • molecular modelling
  • builder


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