Archive for August, 2011

Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week-Marcus Weck

Dr. Marcus Weck is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Associate Director of the Molecular Design Institute at NYU.  Before joining NYU in 2007, he was a member of the faculty in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He received his M.S. degree (diploma) from the University of Mainz, Germany, under the supervision of Professor Helmut Ringsdorf. Dr. Weck obtained his Ph.D. degree in organic and polymer chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the direction of Professor Robert H. Grubbs.  The same year, he joined the group of Professor George M. Whitesides at Harvard University as a German Academic Exchange Service Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Weck’s research interests are in the areas of organic and polymer chemistry as well as materials science.  Emphases include: 1) the development of novel synthetic methodologies for copolymer functionalization and their applications in materials science, 2) biological inspired materials, 3) the synthesis of complex polymers for biomedical applications, 4) polymeric organic light-emitting diodes, and 5) the use of soluble supports in catalysis. His research accomplishments have been recognized with the following awards: Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, NSF CAREER Award, Blanchard Assistant Professor Award, 3M-Nontenure Faculty Award, DuPont Young Professor Award, Sigma Xi Young Faculty Award, a CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.

Please follow the link for further information on Marcus’ research group and his recent paper in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

This goes back a long time. In high school, I was only really good in chemistry and biology. Both topics came naturally and I loved them. In particular doing hand-on experiments was great and really inspiring. Therefore, I decided to study chemistry. Unfortunately, my first 2-3 years of undergrad education in Germany was anything but exciting, motivating or inspiring. Thankfully, I made the right choice and joined the Ringsdorf group for my diploma thesis. Helmut is an amazing and motivating advisor and I was hooked again. During my PhD studies at Caltech in Bob Grubbs’ group I was always sure that I would go back to Germany and work in industry. It was actually Bob who suggested to me that I should consider academics.

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper?

My group is fascinated by the challenge to develop polymeric supports for well-defined catalysts that allow the catalytic reaction to proceed with higher activities and potentially higher selectivities than using the original homogeneous catalyst. We are always in search for new support systems that allow for higher catalyst activities and/or selectivities. We view shell-crosslinked micelles (SCM) as unique catalyst supports since they can be varied and tuned easily and allow for easy functionalization with catalytically active moieties in the core (thereby creating a nanoreactors) and/or the periphery (allowing for easy access of substrate in the aqueous solvent). The SCMs described in the article are based on poly(norbornene)s since my group has a long history of the use of living ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) to create block copolymers for a variety of applications. In the Polymer Chemistry publication, we employ the hydrolytic kinetic resolution (HKR) using Co-salen catalysts which was developed by Eric Jacobsen at Harvard over a decade ago as the benchmark catalytic transformation.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

I view Polymer Chemistry as one of the premier polymer journal in the world (RSC was lacking a polymer journal for a long time). In general, I try to vary the journals I submit my research group’s work to. Often the audience is slightly different and it is important to us to disseminate our work broadly.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

In March I will be at the Spring ACS meeting in San Diego and in January I am heading to Qatar for the14th international IUPAC Conference on polymers.

How do you spend your spare times?

Before the end of July, I would spend my spare free time listening to classical music at home or going to the opera in NYC. In July, my wife and I welcomed our first kid. At this point, my spare time is changing diapers and trying to get some sleep.

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

I would LOVE to be a music conductor. Listening to classical music allows me to relax (it also helps to write papers and proposals). Unfortunately, I do not play any instruments and would be a lousy conductor.

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Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week – Patrick Stayton

Patrick Stayton currently serves as the Washington Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.  He received his B.S. in Biology (summa cum laude) from Illinois State University in 1984, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1989, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, also at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Stayton’s eclectic research group works at the interface of fundamental molecular science and applied molecular bioengineering.  His laboratory has fundamental projects aimed at elucidating the basic principles underlying biomolecular recognition, and connected projects applying these principles to medical applications in the drug delivery, point-of-care diagnostics, and regenerative medicine fields. He has published over 200 scientific papers.  Dr. Stayton has a strong interest in translating the group’s research, has been awarded several patents, and is a co-founder of the startup companies PhaseRx Inc. based on his group’s drug delivery work, and Nexgenia based on their diagnostic work.

Dr. Stayton has been elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and has been the recipient of the Clemson Award from the Society For Biomaterials and the CRS-Cygnus Recognition Award from the Controlled Release Society. He served as Co-Chair of the Gordon Conference on Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology in 2010.  He has also been awarded the 2009 Faculty Research Innovation Award, UW College of Engineering, a Distinguished Teacher and Mentor Award from the Department of Bioengineering, and an Honorary Award from the College of Engineering’s Minority Science and Engineering Program.

Please follow the link for further information on Patrick’s research group and his recent paper in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

I was always in love with the intersection of biology, chemistry, and physics and found that if you could make macromolecules and engineer their structure and function that you could open up lots of interesting science problems that were connected to translational medical opportunities too.  I guess I  always find my creativity stimulated by these science discipline intersections, the science and technology intersections, the academic and industry intersections, and of course the underlying people intersections of different backgrounds that I find so energizing.  I love how macromolecules and (bio)polymers look, how they work thermodynamically and dynamically, and trying to engineer new ones that have interesting activities.

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper?

We are very enthused about the idea that polymers might be designed and constructed to have bioactivities connected to delivering biologic drugs to intracellular targets.  This led us to the idea that polymers having pH-dependent, membrane-destabilizing activities might alter the intracellular trafficking of protein antigens in such a way as to promote more cytosolic delivery and entry into the immune pathway connected to cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activation.  It is particularly important that the polymer chemistry field has come up with so many  new ways to make more defined and biofunctionalized polymers and I think we are inspired to see work from around the world that  has so many biomedical ramifications. We tried in this paper to move toward a more defined diblock polymer design to control the architecture of the bioactive portion of the carrier and separate it from the segment containing the vaccine antigen.  We think this will move it to a more realistic and defined polymer-protein vaccine species that could be moved preclinically. However, it must be noted that the activity while good is not yet ideal and there are lots of important challenges and opportunities to do better designs and more active compositions, and of course understand how this intersects with the complex immunology.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

I’ve been very impressed by the startup quality of the papers in the journal, but not so surprised given the high quality of the editors and journal staff, and we were excited to be part of the special issue on polymer bioconjugates.  We will definitely be submitting again.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I should be at the Controlled Release Society annual meeting and the ACS national meeting in the next couple months.

How do you spend your spare time?

I play with my best pal and friend, my 8 year old son, whom I’m glad to say shows all the signs of being a scientist too someday, and then I love to ride bikes and will be up early every morning watching the Tour de France this month– I’ve gone a couple times to watch and ride my bike up some of those mountain passes on the same day as the race, it is an incredible atmosphere and wow are they steep and long, you deserve all the french food and wine after those days….

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

I think I would be a starving artist and writer but the great thing about science is you can still do that on the side and not be quite so starving.

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Improving blood clearance times by copolymerization

Improving the blood clearance time of 125I labeled Dex-g-PMAGGCONHTyr by copolymerization: Pharmacokinetics studies shows that modifying a tyrosine conjugate with a 125I labelled graft copolymer increased the blood clearance time. The Chinese scientists behind the research claim that the modified dextran graft copolymer is potentially an excellent radiotherapy carrier.

Graphical abstract: Improving the blood clearance time of 125I labeled Dex-g-PMAGGCONHTyr by copolymerization 

Why not read the full article available for free (free registration required): Deqian Wang, Ruigang Liu, Ning Che, Qinmei Li, Zhuang Li, Ye Tian, Honglang Kang, Bing Jia and Yong Huang, Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1872-1878

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign up for the journal’s e-alerts or RSS feeds or follow Polymer Chemistry on Twitter or Facebook.

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Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week – Christophe Detrembleur

Christophe Detrembleur was born in Verviers (Belgium) in 1974 and he studied chemistry at the University of Liège (Belgium). In March 2001, he obtained his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Robert Jérôme at the Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM), University of Liège, Belgium. His major research topic was the search for new regulators for the controlled radical polymerisation of (meth)acrylic monomers. In parallel, he also contributed to the development of new functional aliphatic polyesters. He was an invited researcher at IBM, Almaden Research Center, California (USA) under the supervision of Dr. J. Hedrick for three months in 1998. In May 2001, he joined the Research Center of Bayer AG in Leverkusen (Germany), where he worked on materials synthesis and polymer processing. In January 2003, he moved to the polyurethane research division at Bayer, where he was involved in the development of new high performance UV coatings. In October 2003, he was awarded a permanent Research Associate position at CERM under the auspices of the National Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS). In October 2008, he was promoted Senior Research Associate by the F.R.S.-FNRS and heads a research team at CERM. His main research projects are in the field of new controlled radical polymerisation techniques, preparation of new polymeric materials by these techniques, and contribution of macromolecular engineering to nanotechnology.

Please follow the link for further information on Christophe Detrembleur’s scientific production and his recent paper in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

I have always been interested in sciences. Fortunately I got a very good chemistry teacher at school who sparked my interest in organic chemistry. It was for me really fascinating to write chemical reactions on a piece of paper and then to build new structures in the lab by mixing molecules in a suitable way. I love(d) reactions that are(were) fuming and that change(d) color!

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper? (DOI: 10.1039/c1py00198a)

My research activities have two main facets: (1) developing new tools for the macromolecular engineering mainly by searching for novel ways for controlling the radical polymerizations of difficult monomers, and (2) using the living/controlled polymerization techniques (home-made or not) for designing (nano)materials for advanced applications. The paper published in Polymer Chemistry belongs to the second category and originates from a fruitful collaboration between 6 complementary research teams. Our aim was to combine our different expertise to design new non-toxic MRI contrast agents of high interest in diagnostics. This article combines therefore polymer syntheses, polymer modifications, cytotoxicity tests, relaxometry measurements and CH50 tests (to evaluate the immune response after product injection). Some of our optimized products are actually being tested further… waiting for the results!!

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

Although it is a new journal, Polymer Chemistry is already a reference and is well-established in the polymer community. Most of the published articles are of high quality. There is no doubt for me that this journal will be amongst the most important ones in the polymer field. We submitted our article on invitation but we already published several in this journal…and others are in the pipeline!

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I will take part in the ACS fall meeting in Denver (USA) at the end of August. I am actually looking for two post-docs. I invite interested candidates that will participate in this meeting to meet me there (session on Controlled Radical Polymerization).

How do you spend your spare time?

Mountain-biking, playing with my son with video games, fishing and home renovation.

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

Fighter pilot.

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Polymer Chemistry issue 9 is now online!

front cover image for Polymer Chemistry, Issue 9, 2011

Polymer Chemistry issue 9 is now online.

The article highlighted on the front cover is Modular design for the controlled production of polymeric nanotubes from polymer/peptide conjugates by Robert Chapman, Katrina A. Jolliffe and Sébastien Perrier. The paper describes the preparation of nanotubes via the self assembly of well defined peptide polymer conjugates, synthesised using CuAAC chemistry.

Issue 9 contains 4 reviews:

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign up for the journal’s e-alerts or RSS feeds or follow Polymer Chemistry on Twitter or Facebook.

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Fluorescent dendrimers for the detection of explosives

Dendrimers capable of detecting TNT have been developed and tested by scientists in Australia. 

TNT and other nitroaromatic explosives are used in landmines. Current detectors for TNT are bulky and unsuitable for use in the field. Now Paul Burn, Paul Meredith and colleagues the University of Queensland have developed dendrimers that can sense nitroaromatic explosives. Burn and the team tested the performance of three generations of fluorescent carbazole dendrimers, in solution and in thin films, to identify differences in the binding between different explosives. This technology could help create portable sensors for detecting nitroaromatic explosives.

 Graphical abstract: Fluorescent carbazole dendrimers for the detection of explosives

Read the full article here (free registration required): G Tang, S S Y Chen, P E Shaw, K Hegedus, X Wang, P L Burn and P Meredith, Polym. Chem., 2011, DOI: 10.1039/c1py00222h

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign up for the journal’s e-alerts or RSS feeds or follow Polymer Chemistry on Twitter or Facebook.

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Polymer Chemistry Author of the Week-Marc Hillmyer

Marc Hillmyer received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Florida in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1994. After completing a postdoctoral research position in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science he joined the Chemistry faculty at Minnesota in 1997. He is currently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of chemistry and leads a research group focused on the synthesis and self-assembly of multifunctional polymers. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Marc also serves as an Associate Editor for the ACS journal Macromolecules and is the director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota.

Please follow the link for further information on Marc Hillmyer’s research group and his recent paper in Polymer Chemistry.

What was your inspiration in becoming a chemist?

Since I’ve been young, I have always been attracted to math and science in school. I really enjoyed lab work in high school and trying to understanding how things worked. The turning point for me with respect to choosing the chemistry path was as a freshman in college. My first chemistry professor was an inspirational lecturer and really sparked my interest in pursing chemistry as a career.

What was the motivation behind the research in your recent Polymer Chemistry paper? (DOI: 10.1039/c1py00147g)

We had some success in related isomerization work with seed oils and were curious about application of the same catalytic isomerization chemistry applied to unsaturated polymers. Simple catalytic conversions of renewable polymers can be a powerful approach to new sustainable materials development, and we saw how the conjugation approach using polyisoprene could have some utility. The work was also motivated by recent research in the group on how to toughen polylactide using graft copolymers. Functionalized polyisoprene enabled the preparation of a new set of materials that we hoped had similar (or even better!) properties.

Why did you choose Polymer Chemistry to publish your work?

I am a strong proponent of society journals and feel that Polymer Chemistry is rapidly emerging as an important venue for advances in synthetic polymer chemistry.

In which upcoming conferences may our readers meet you?

I will be at the IUPAC 2011 World Chemistry Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico this July/August.

How do you spend your spare time?

I do my best to spend most of my spare time with my family. Playing guitar, running, and golf take up the rest!

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

I would be a (paid) musician.

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Announcing the 33rd Australasian Polymer Symposium

The 33rd Australasian Polymer Symposium (33APS) will be held from 12th to 15th February 2012 at Wrest Point Convention Centre in Hobart, Tasmania.  An exciting program will cover all areas of polymer science and engineering, including synthesis, characterisation, processing, modeling and materials.  Topics will range from the latest techniques in polymer synthesis to applications in materials science, medicine, energy and environment. 

Registrations are now open and abstract submissions are being excepted until 2 September 2011. Visit www.33aps.org.au for more information.

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Top Ten most-read Polymer Chemistry articles in June

Read the most-read Journal of Materials Chemistry articles of June 2011, listed below:

Diels–Alder “click” reactions: recent applications in polymer and material science
Mehmet Atilla Tasdelen
Polym. Chem., 2011, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00041A

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

Controlled polymerizations for the synthesis of semiconducting conjugated polymers 
Ken Okamoto and Christine K. Luscombe
Polym. Chem., 2011, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00171J        

Multiresponsive polymers: nano-sized assemblies, stimuli-sensitive gels and smart surfaces
George Pasparakis and Maria Vamvakaki
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1234-1248

Polymer bioconjugates           
Jan van Hest and Brent Sumerlin
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1427-142

Synthesis and characterization of well-defined thermo- and light-responsive diblock copolymers by atom transfer radical polymerization and click chemistry      
Xiangdong Tao, Zhengguo Gao, Toshifumi Satoh, Yuan Cui, Toyoji Kakuchi and Qian Duan
Polym. Chem., 2011, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00165E7

Recognition of polymer side chains by cyclodextrins 
Akihito Hashidzume and Akira Harada
Polym. Chem., 2011, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00162K

Facile, modular transformations of RAFT block copolymers via sequential isocyanate and thiol-ene reactions      
Joel D. Flores, Nicolas J. Treat, Adam W. York and Charles L. McCormick
Polym. Chem., 2011, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00182E

Synthesis of thermo-responsive glycopolymers via copper catalysed azide?alkyne ?click? chemistry for inhibition of ricin: the effect of spacer between polymer backbone and galactose           
Jatin Kumar, Lyndal McDowall, Gaojian Chen and Martina H. Stenzel
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1879-1886

Construction and application of pH-triggered cleavable hyperbranched polyacylhydrazone for drug delivery  
Lijuan Zhu, Chunlai Tu, Bangshang Zhu, Yue Su, Yan Pang, Deyue Yan, Jieli Wu and Xinyuan Zhu
Polym. Chem., 2011, 2, 1761-1768

To keep up-to-date with all the latest research, sign up for the journal’s e-alerts or RSS feeds or follow Polymer Chemistry on Twitter or Facebook.

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