Archive for November, 2014

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 Zhao 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

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 Français 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 the Groupe Français d’études etd’applications des Polymères.  It’s aim was to bring together around 200 researchers from different backgrounds, countries, universities, public research institutions and industries to discuss the latest advances in the field of polymers.

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.


Read Jürgen’s latest paper:

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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