Biologically-inspired hybrid block copolymers

Our research activities in the area of block copolymers primarily focus on conjugates of synthetic polymers and biologically-inspired peptide sequences. The peptide sequences are adapted from protein tertiary structures and act as auxiliaries that direct the structure formation of the synthetic polymer. The use of such peptide sequences offers several unique advantages. First of all, due to the very specific folding and organization properties of the peptide sequences, they allow the organization of synthetic polymers in complex, hierarchically-organized structures that are very difficult to generate otherwise. Secondly, the structure and properties of peptide – synthetic hybrid block copolymers can be manipulated by single amino acid “mutations” in the peptide segments. The peptide sequence of the hybrid block copolymers cannot only be used to drive structure formation, but can also be used to encode specific functionalities. This is a subject of ongoing research efforts.



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