RSC Desktop Seminar with Chemical Science

15 September 2020 10:00-11:30, United States

Welcome to the latest RSC Desktop Seminars, sponsored by Chemical Science, ChemComm and Chem Soc Rev. Each session will highlight two speakers, one journal board member and an early career researcher who has published in the journal.
Join Heather Maynard, Dr. Myung Ki Hong Professor in Polymer Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA and Associate Editor of Chemical Science, and Athina Anastasaki, Assistant Professor in the Materials Department at ETH Zurich and Editorial Board member of Polymer Chemistry, to hear about their latest work.

This 90 minute seminar will allow researchers of all professional levels to connect and share ideas and questions.


Professor Heather Maynard
"Polymers that mimic natural saccharides for applications in drug delivery"

Therapeutic proteins are challenging to transport and store, and thus the majority must be refrigerated or frozen.  Proteins exposed to these conditions and others such as mechanical agitation often lose activity.  This can be harmful or even fatal for patients that take the medications and can also increase costs because of the requirement of the cold chain.  Thus, polymeric materials that are capable of stabilizing biomolecules at room temperature and to agitation are of significant interest.  This talk will focus on polymeric materials to address this important problem. Well-defined polymers were synthesized by controlled radical polymerization and ring opening polymerizations.  These were tested in their ability to stabilize proteins to room temperature, elevated temperatures, mechanical agitation, and pH changes when added as excipients.  Side chains derived from Nature and others from known excipient classes were compared and contrasted, and the mechanisms of stabilization were investigated. Grafting to and grafting from synthetic strategies were utilized to prepare protein conjugates of these polymers, and in vivo testing showed that the polymers significantly increased blood circulation times (i.e. pharmacokinetics) in addition to retaining protein activity after exposure to high temperatures. Synthesis, stabilization properties and mechanisms, and application of the polymers to treat diabetes will be presented. 

Prof. Dr. Athina Anastasaki
“Tailoring Polymer Dispersity by Controlled Radical Polymerization”

Dispersity (Ɖ) can significantly affect polymer properties and is a key parameter in materials design. In this talk, methods to fully control polymer dispersity will be extensively discussed. In particular, two versatile radical polymerization approaches will be utilized in order to tailor molecular weight distributions for a wide range of monomer classes, including acrylates, acrylamides, methacrylates, and styrene. The possibility to maintain high livingness despite achieving high dispersities will also be presented.

Programme (EDT)

10.00    Introduction
10.05 “Polymers that mimic natural saccharides for applications in drug delivery” Professor Heather Maynard
10.55 “Tailoring Polymer Dispersity by Controlled Radical Polymerization”Prof. Dr. Athina Anastasaki
11.30 Closing remarks

Heather Maynard, University of California Los Angeles, United States

Heather D. Maynard is the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Professor in Polymer Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. Maynard is a leader in the area of protein-polymer conjugates, which are important therapeutics for a variety of diseases. She develops new synthetic methods to make the materials, designs new polymers to improve properties such as stability, and demonstrates preclinical efficacy of her conjugates with an eye towards translation for human health. Maynard also works in the areas of smart materials, biomaterials, and nanomaterials for precision medicine. Maynard’s research and teaching have been recognized by numerous awards, including most recently the American Chemical Society Arthur Cope Scholar Award and Bioconjugate Chemistry Lectureship Award; the UCLA Student Development Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award; and election as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. Maynard is also an American Chemical Society POLY and PMSE, Leverhulme, Kavli Frontiers, and Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow and was a Fulbright Specialist in New Zealand.  Maynard received her PhD from the California Institute of Technology and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). 

Athina Anastasaki, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Athina Anastasaki completed her PhD studies at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Professor Dave Haddleton and received the Jon Weaver Award for the best PhD thesis in Polymer Chemistry in the United Kingdom. She then commenced a Monash-Warwick post-doctoral appointment between Monash University (with Professor Tom Davis) and the University of Warwick (with Professor Haddleton). In 2016, she was awarded an Elings fellowship and a Global Marie Curie Fellowship to conduct research at the University of California in Santa Barbara working alongside Professor Craig Hawker. She is now an Assistant Professor at the Materials Department of ETH Zurich and has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles. Her research focuses on controlled radical polymerization, self-assembly of polymeric materials, polymerization mechanisms and complex materials of different architectures.

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