Paper of the week: Fluorescent PEGylation agent by a thiolactone-based one-pot reaction

One pot preparation of fluorescent PEGylated proteins by a thiolactone reaction to be used in theranostic applications has been reported by Tao et al.

Theranostic combinations usually contain an imaging, a therapeutic and a cloaking component to simultaneously fulfil diagnostic and therapeutic functions. Using upgraded PEGylation technology, a straightforward one-pot strategy based on thiolactone ring-opening has been developed to facilely synthesize a multifunctional PEGylation agent, fluorescent protein-reactive poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), which can subsequently react with a model therapeutic protein to form a fluorescent PEGylated protein as a model of sophisticated theranostic combinations.

Fluorescent PEGylation agent by a thiolactone-based one-pot reaction: a new strategy for theranostic combinations by Yuan Zhao, Bin Yang, Yaling Zhang, Shiqi Wang, Changkui Fu, Yen Wei and   Lei Tao Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 6656-6661

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information.

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GFP 2014 Saint Malo Best Oral presentation Winner

Congratulations to Lucie Imbernon, who was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Polymer Chemistry prize for the best oral presentation at the GFP 2014 congress.

GFP 2014 RSC Polymer Chemistry Oral Presentation Prize Winner

Lucie Imbernon receives her prize for the best Oral Presentation from Jean-Luc Audic at the GFP 2014- Saint Malo Congress

Lucie Imbernon receiving her Best Oral presentation prize at Groupe Fraincais des Polymeres (GFP) 2014. The young PhD student winner was delighted with her gift certificate and will enjoy reading Polymer Chemistry thanks to the year’s subscription provided by the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Lucie’s presentation was based on her PhD research and titled “Immiscible Blends of Epoxidized Natural Rubber: a Way to achieve Semi-Interpenetrating Networks.” She is part of the Soft Matter and Chemistry group at the ESPCI Paris-Tech-CNRS, PSL Research University in Paris. An overview of Lucie’s work is outlined in the abstract below:


“Directly obtained by epoxidation of Natural Rubber (NR), Epoxidized Natural Rubber (ENR) is a unique elastomer widely used in the industry. ENR retains most of the properties of natural rubber, in particular high tensile properties and resistance to crack propagation up to 50 mol% epoxidation. While keeping the advantages of NR, ENR presents a new reactive functionality. Our group recently showed the possibility to crosslink this elastomer by reaction with a dicarboxylic acid (DA). The DA molecules react with the epoxy groups, producing β hydroxy-esters along the chain.


Here, we show that different grades of ENR are immiscible and that the polar crosslinker DA is more soluble when the level of epoxidation increases. Because the curing rate is faster with more epoxidized grades of ENR, we selectively crosslinked blends of immiscible ENRs presenting different levels of epoxidation (ENR10 and ENR50).The morphology of the resulting material can be tuned from nodules of crosslinked ENR50 dispersed in a soft ENR10 matrix to a semi-interpenetrating continuous network giving rise to elastomeric properties (see figure below).”

Mechanical properties of the blends linked with their morphology

Mechanical properties of the blends linked with their morphology

Lucie’s work led to the publication of “Crosslinking of epoxidized natural rubber by dicarboxylic acids: An alternative to standard vulcanization” and “Semi-interpenetrating Networks in Blends of Epoxidized Natural Rubbers” last year in Macromolecular Symposia and Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics respectively.


GFP 2014 took place on 3rd – 6th November 2014 in Saint Malo and was the 43rd National Conference organised by .  It’s aim was to bring together around 200 researchers from different backgrounds, countries, universities, public research institutions and industries to discuss the latests advances in the field of polymers.


Thanks to all the partners and sponsors for their support at the meeting:

Groupe Fraincais des Polymeres 2014 - Saint Malo congress partners and sponsers

Groupe Fraincais des Polymeres 2014 - Saint Malo congress partners and sponsorsGroupe Fraincais des Polymeres 2014 - Saint Malo congress partners and sponsors

For the latest Polymer Chemistry news follow us on Twitter @PolymChem


Check out the latest Polymer Chemistry articles.

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Author of the Month: Jürgen Liebscher

Professor Jürgen Liebscher graduated from Technical University Dresden, Germany where he also obtained his PhD and habilitation (1977).  From 1979 till 1982 he held the position of Associate Professor at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and joined the Department of Chemistry, Humboldt-University Berlin later on, where he is professor of organic chemistry. Since 2010 he has been Senior Researcher I and project leader at the National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies (IN CDTIM) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and Assoc. Professor at Babes Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. His research interests are widespread ranging from organic synthesis, bioorganic chemistry (nucleic acid-lipid conjugates, amino acids), catalysis, peroxide chemistry, heterocycles to pharmaceutically active compounds. For 10 years he has mainly been involved in the field of materials, i. e. magnetic core-shell nanoparticles, where he entered polymer chemistry, in particular polymers with functional groups for various applications (catalysis, biological recognition, separation, drug transport and delivery).

Links to his research groups are:  http://www.itim-cj.ro/~liebscher/ (and before at Humboldt-University Berlin:  http://fakultaeten.hu-berlin.de/mnf1/mitarbeiter/4125.)

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

I had an excellent chemistry teacher (Erhard Matthes) at high school in Freital, Germany, who made me highly interested in this field. I still remember some highlights (tasting synthetic urea, distillation of alcoholic drinks, where half of the class was tipsy before we even started the experiment, explosion of phosphorous-perchlorate mixture, preparation and investigations of simple polymers). He is now 91 years old and a dear friend of mine with whom I still enjoy exciting discussions during our visits. I like chemistry because of its interaction of practical experiments with theoretical backgrounds. It is exciting to have an idea, to go to the laboratory and get it verified experimentally. Because most of the ideas do not work, it makes the final success even more attractive. Chemistry is also interesting to me because of its potential of practical application, to find something that is useful in our society. In this respect, interdisciplinary research is essential and challenging. I learned a lot and shaped my scientific profile much by such collaborations as I learned from lecturing students in advanced organic chemistry courses.

What was the motivation to write your Polymer Chemistry article?

Our group got new insight into the structure of polydopamine, a material which after its invention by Messersmith et al. in 2007 is in the focus of contemporary research. We succeeded to provide experimental proof by spectroscopic methods that this material contains primary amino groups, which hitherto were not exploited for interesting synthetic modifications. Recently we found that polydopamine even acts as an organocatalyst, i.e. it is not an innocent polymer. As we learned from the responce of reviewers to our publication manuscripts not everybody shared our opinion. The successful diazo transfer reaction to dopamine reported in our Polymer Chemistry article is further unambiguous experimental proof for the existence of primary amino groups in polydopamine. In addition, it opens a way to link a variety of interesting functions (catalytic, biological, complex forming) to polydopamine via click chemistry (CuAAC). It further allows Janus like systems with at least two different functions connected to polydopamine.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

Polymer Chemistry is a journal of high quality. It attracts a wide readership by covering chemistry and the polymer field. We find that scientists who are interested in our results will be reached by this journal. The time between submitting the manuscript and receiving the decision about its acceptance is usually very short thanks to the well organized editorial and production team.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

4th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials, March 2015, Sitges (near Barcelona), Spain.

How do you spend your spare time?

I dedicate most of my free time to my 1 year old son. When he gets a bit older I will return to my hobbies such as enjoying nature, hiking, biking and classical concerts.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a chemist?

It is hard for me to imagine another profession which would give me so much satisfaction. Maybe, I would choose biochemistry, biology or eventually medicine.


Diazo transfer at polydopamine – a new way to functionalization

Polym. Chem., 2014, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C4PY00670D


Cyrille Boyer is a guest web-writer for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently an associate professor and an ARC-Future Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales (Australia) and deputy director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.

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Paper of the week: Functional α,ω-dienes via thiol-Michael chemistry

The preparation of functional α,ω-dienes via thiol-Michael chemistry including synthesis, oxidative protection, acyclic diene metathesis (ADMET) polymerization and radical thiol–ene modification has been reported by Lowe et al.


The synthesis of the novel α,ω-diene 2-(undec-10-en-1-yl)tridec-12-en-1-yl acrylate is described. Thiol-Michael coupling of this substrate followed by chemoselective oxidation of the thioether moiety with triazotriphosphorine tetrachloride (TAPC) furnished a suite of functional and symmetrical ADMET-active monomers in a quick and convenient manner. Polymerization of these adducts with Grubbs 1st generation catalyst (RuCl2(PCy3)2CHPh) was demonstrated to high conversion, and quantitative radical initiated thiol–ene modification of the backbone C[double bond, length as m-dash]C bonds was performed to impart additional functionality to each ADMET polymer. These reactions highlight the compatibility of thiol-based click chemistries for the preparation and post-modification of functional ADMET materials.

Functional α,ω-dienes via thiol-Michael chemistry: synthesis, oxidative protection, acyclic diene metathesis (ADMET) polymerization and radical thiol–ene modification by Johannes A. van Hensbergen, Taylor W. Gaines, Kenneth B. Wagener, Robert P. Burford and  Andrew B. Lowe Polym. Chem., 2014, 5, 6225-6235.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information.

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Paper of the week: Ethanol biosensors based on conducting polymers with peptide and ferrocene on the side chain

The synthesis and characterization of conducting polymers containing polypeptide and ferrocene side chains as ethanol biosensors has been reported by Yagci and Toppare et al.

This paper describes a novel approach for the fabrication of a biosensor from a conducting polymer bearing polypeptide segments and ferrocene moieties. The approach involves the electrochemical copolymerization of the electroactive polypeptide macromonomer and independently prepared ferrocene imidazole derivative of dithiophene, on the electrode surface. The polypeptide macromonomer was synthesized by the simultaneous formation of N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) and ring opening polymerization of N-Boc-L-lysine (α-amino acid of the corresponding NCA) using an amino functional bis-EDOT derivative (BEDOA-6) as an initiator. Alcohol oxidase was then covalently immobilized onto the copolymer coated electrode using glutaraldehyde as the crosslinking agent. The intermediates and final conducting copolymer before and after enzyme immobilization were fully characterized by FT-IR, 1H-NMR, GPC, cyclic voltammetry, SEM and EIS analyses. The newly designed biosensor which combined the advantages of each component was tested as an ethanol sensing system offering fast response time (9 s), wide linear range (0.17 mM and 4.25 mM) and low detection limit (0.28 mM) with a high sensitivity (12.52 μA mM−1 cm−2). Kinetic parameters KappM and Imax were 2.67 mM and 2.98 μA, respectively. The capability of the biosensor in determining ethanol content in alcoholic beverages was also demonstrated.

Synthesis and characterization of conducting polymers containing polypeptide and ferrocene side chains as ethanol biosensors by Melis Kesik, Huseyin Akbulut, Saniye Söylemez, Şevki Can Cevher, Gönül Hızalan, Yasemin Arslan Udum, Takeshi Endo, Shuhei Yamada, Ali Çırpan, Yusuf Yağcı and Levent Toppare Polym. Chem., 2014, 5, 6295-6306.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information.

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Author of the Month: Hyung-il Lee

Professor Hyung-il Lee received his BS and MS degrees in Industrial Chemistry from Hanyang University in South Korea in 1998 and 2000, respectively. He received a PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Kris Matyjaszewski from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of  Technology (2007-2009). He then joined the Department of Chemistry at Ulsan University in South Korea in 2009, and now he is an associate professor of chemistry. His current research interests are focused on the synthesis of stimuli-responsive polymers for sensing and bio-related applications.

Take a look at Professor Lee’s research group website

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

Actually, I never wanted to be a chemist who deals with a million tiny, stinky chemicals. I happened to major in chemistry just like other dreamless boys in college. However, after I knew that polymerization is a wonderful magic which turns useless gases to valuable materials for our life, I lived my life with the synthesis of polymers. I will guide my son to be a theoretical chemist though.

What was the motivation to write your Polymer Chemistry article?

Recently, a great deal of effort has been made to prepare polymers with multiple-responsive components. For example, the LCST of thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)s containing light responsive azobenzene groups in the side or end of the polymer chain was tuned by isomerization of the azobenzene moieties by photoirradiation. Several studies revealed that the biologically important green fluorescent protein (GFP) chromophore undergoes non-irradiative processes, such as E/Z isomerization, upon irradiation with light. With these as an inspiration, we turned to design dual responsive polymers in which thermoresponsive behaviors are further tuned by the E/Z isomerization of benzylidene oxazolone moieties by light irradiation.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

Since my work is related to polymer chemistry, which journal should I publish in except ‘Polymer Chemistry’?

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I might be attending the Spring 2015 ACS meeting.

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend it babysitting my 2 year old son and 9 month old daughter. If my wife lets me, I love to sleep.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

A professional GO (chess) player.


Read Professor Lee’s latest Polymer Chemistry paper:

New benzylidene oxazolone derived polymeric photoswitches for light-induced tunable thermoresponsive behaviors A. Balamurugan and Hyung-il Lee


Cyrille Boyer is a guest web-writer for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently an associate professor and an ARC-Future Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales (Australia) and deputy director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.


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Paper of the week: Supramolecular polymerization of supramonomers

The synthesis of supramolecular polymers using supramonomers have been reported by Zhang et al.

The paper of the week describes a new method of fabricating supramolecular polymers through supramolecular polymerization of supramonomers. To mix building blocks of Phe-Gly-Gly linked with an azobenzene group and cucurbit[8]uril (CB[8]) in a molar ratio of 2:1 in aqueous solutions, supramonomers were obtained by host–guest interaction between tripeptide and CB[8]. Then supramolecular polymers were formed spontaneously by mixing the supramonomers with bis-β-cyclodextrins in a molar ratio of 1:1 in an aqueous solution through noncovalent host–guest complexation of the azobenzene group and β-cyclodextrin. Considering that various noncovalent interactions can be used to drive the formation of supramonomers and the supramolecular polymerization of the supramonomers, this study can enrich the methodology of fabricating supramolecular polymers.

Supramolecular polymerization of supramonomers: a way for fabricating supramolecular polymers by Qiao Song, Fei Li, Xinxin Tan, Liulin Yang, Zhiqiang Wang and Xi Zhang Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 5895-5899.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information!

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Paper of the week: Zwitterionic poly(2-oxazoline)s for blood-contacting applications

The synthesis of highly hemo- and cytocompatible zwitterionic 2-oxazoline-based poly(sulfobetaine)s and poly(carboxybetaine)s, which demonstrate beneficial anticoagulant activity, has been reported by Schubert et al.

The polymers were obtained by thiol–ene photoaddition of a tertiary amine-containing thiol onto an alkene-containing precursor copoly(2-oxazoline), followed by betainization with 1,3-propansultone and β-propiolactone. The polymers and their intermediates were characterized by means of 1H NMR spectroscopy and size exclusion chromatography. The influence of the zwitterionic polymers on the aggregation and hemolysis of erythrocytes, the whole blood viscosity, the platelet and complement activation as well as the blood coagulation has been studied in detail. In addition, the cytotoxicity of the materials has been evaluated.

It was found that the zwitterionic POx show no negative interactions with blood. Moreover, anticoagulant activity via the intrinsic and/or the common coagulation pathway was observed. The high hemocompatibility and the low cytotoxicity as well as the beneficial anticoagulant activity of the presented zwitterionic poly(2-oxazoline)s demonstrate their potential for the use in biomedical applications.

Zwitterionic poly(2-oxazoline)s as promising candidates for blood contacting applications by Lutz Tauhardt, David Pretzel, Kristian Kempe, Michael Gottschaldt, Dirk Pohlers and  Ulrich S. Schubert Polym. Chem. 2014, 5, 5751-5764.

Remzi Becer is a web-writer and advisory board member for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Materials Science and the director of the Polymer Science and Nanotechnology masters programme at Queen Mary, University of London. Visit www.becergroup.com for more information!

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Author of the Month: Guocan Yu

Guocan Yu was born in Zhejiang, China in 1987. He received his BS degree in polymer materials and engineering from Hefei University of Technology in 2010. Then he joined the laboratory of Professor Feihe Huang at Zhejiang University to pursue his PhD degree in chemistry. From 2013, he was selected as a subgroup leader in Professor Huang’s group. His current research interests are focused on the construction of functional supramolecular amphiphiles, controllable self-assembly based on pillararenes, and their biologically relevant applications. Research Group Website

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

When I was a middle school student, I was interested in Chemistry. I wanted to figure out the reasons behind chemical phenomena. Therefore, I chose chemistry as my major when I was in University. I like chemistry, and I can get a lot of joy from my work everyday.

What was the motivation to write your Polymer Chemistry article?

In our research group, we are interested in the fabrication of supramolecular polymers with interesting functions on the basis of host–guest recognitions. In this manuscript, we found that the linear supramolecular polymer exhibited pH- and photo- responsiveness. On the other hand, we constructed a photo-responsive supramolecular network based on the same recognition motif. We thought this manuscript was suitable for Polymer Chemistry.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work? (DOI: 10.1039/C4PY01042F )

Polymer Chemistry is a high-level journal in the field of polymer science, and the papers published in this journal are always high-quality. As well, the reviewing and publishing process are very fast.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

The 4th International Conference on Molecular Sensors and Molecular Logic Gates (MSMLG), November 9-12, 2014, Shanghai, China.

How do you spend your spare time?

In my spare time, I like reading chemical or biological literature, because I want to become a knowledgeable person like my boss. Sometimes, I play basketball with my groupmates.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Maybe I would be a carpenter, because my father is a carpenter.  He can make a series of nice furniture, he is my idol.


Read Guocan Yu’s latest Polymer Chemistry paper:

Construction of a pillar[5]arene-based linear supramolecular polymer and a photo-responsive supramolecular network

Jie Yang, Zhengtao Li, Yujuan Zhou and Guocan Yu

Polym. Chem., 2014, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C4PY01042F



Cyrille Boyer is a guest web-writer for Polymer Chemistry. He is currently an associate professor and an ARC-Future Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of New South Wales (Australia) and deputy director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.

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Top 10 most-read Polymer Chemistry articles – Q2 2014

This month sees the following articles in Polymer Chemistry that are in the top 10 most accessed from April – June:

Thiol-ene “click” reactions and recent applications in polymer and materials synthesis 
Andrew B. Lowe 
Polym. Chem., 2010,1, 17-36 
DOI: 10.1039/B9PY00216B 

Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly (PISA) – Control Over the Morphology of Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery Applications 
Bunyamin Karagoz, Lars Esser, Hien T. Duong, Johan S. Basuki, Cyrille Boyer and Thomas P. Davis 
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 350-355 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01306E 

Short Peptide Based Self-Assembled Nanostructures: Implication In Drug Delivery And Tissue Engineering 
Jiban Jyoti Panda and Virander Singh Chauhan    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 4418-4436 
DOI: 10.1039/C4PY00173G 

Investigation into thiol-(meth)acrylate Michael addition reactions using amine and phosphine catalysts 
Guang-Zhao Li, Rajan K. Randev, Alexander H. Soeriyadi, Gregory Rees, Cyrille Boyer, Zhen Tong, Thomas P. Davis, C. Remzi Becer and David M. Haddleton 
Polym. Chem., 2010,1, 1196-1204 
DOI: 10.1039/C0PY00100G 

The Power of Light in Polymer Science: Photochemical Processes to Manipulate Polymer Formation, Structure, and Properties 
Shunsuke Chatani, Christopher J. Kloxin and Christopher N. Bowman    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 2187-2201 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01334K 

Bringing D-Limonene to the Scene of Bio-Based Thermoset Coatings via Free-Radical Thiol–Ene Chemistry: Macromonomer Synthesis, UV-Curing and Thermo–Mechanical Characterization 
Mauro Claudino, Jeanne-Marie Mathevet, Mats Jonsson and Mats Johansson    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 3245-3260 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01302B 

The quest for sustainable polyesters – insights into the future 
Carla Vilela, Andreia F. Sousa, Ana C. Fonseca, Arménio C. Serra, Jorge F. J. Coelho, Carmen S. R. Freire and Armando J. D. Silvestre    
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 3119-3141 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01213A 

Phenylboronic Acid-based Glucose-responsive Polymeric Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Applications in Drug Delivery 
Rujiang Ma and Linqi Shi 
Polym. Chem., 2014,5, 1503-1518 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY01202F 

Oxidant-induced dopamine polymerization for multifunctional coatings 
Qiang Wei, Fulong Zhang, Jie Li, Beijia Li and Changsheng Zhao 
Polym. Chem., 2010,1, 1430-1433 
DOI: 10.1039/C0PY00215A 

Benzotrithiophene and benzodithiophene-based polymers for efficient polymer solar cells with high open-circuit voltage 
Guobing Zhang, Jianyu Yuan, Peng Li, Jingxuan Ma, Hongbo Lu, Longzhen Qiu and Wanli Ma  
Polym. Chem., 2013,4, 3390-3397 
DOI: 10.1039/C3PY00251A 

Why not take a look at the articles today and blog your thoughts and comments below.

Fancy submitting an article to Polymer Chemistry? Then why not submit to us today!

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