Emerging Investigator Series – Maciek Kopeć

Maciek received his MEng degree in Polymer Chemistry and Technology from Cracow University of Technology in 2009, followed by a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Jagiellonian University and Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow, Poland in 2014. During his Ph.D. he spent six months as a Fulbright Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA working with Kris Matyjaszewski and Tomek Kowalewski, where he returned as a postdoc in 2014. From 2016 to 2018 he was a Research Fellow in the Materials Science and Technology of Polymers department at the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands. Next, he spent three months at the University of Bristol in the UK before starting his current position as a Lecturer at the University of Bath in 2019. His research interests involve polymer gels/networks, degradable and reversible thermosets, controlled radical polymerisation, polymer topology, and polymer-derived carbon materials.

Read Maciek’s Emerging Investigator article, Strands vs. crosslinks: topology-dependent degradation and regelation of polyacrylate networks synthesised by RAFT polymerisation, DOI D3PY01008B.


Check out of interview with Maciek below:


How do you feel about Polymer Chemistry as a place to publish research on this topic?

I think it’s perfect. Polymer Chemistry is a go-to journal for any quality polymer research. This work felt particularly suitable as some of the Editors are pioneers in the field which guaranteed a thorough reviewing process.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

When I started my independent research, our group focused mostly on crosslinked polymer systems, i.e., gels and networks which I didn’t have much previous experience with. I am still fascinated by the very fundamental aspects of these materials such as the mechanism of crosslinking in various polymerisation techniques or network topology.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

I think for degradable/recyclable polymers it is finding a compromise between degradability and stability necessary for successful translation of these materials into applications. In case of polymer networks more generally, there is still a lot we don’t know about their complex internal structure and how exactly it affects their physical properties.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Embrace teaching! It can be a great source of inspiration as well as a refreshing break from your research.


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