PhD candidate: Daniel BACINELLO

Date and place of defence: May 21, 2014 - University of Waterloo, Canada.

Biocompatible block copolymers consisting of a peptide and a synthetic segment can be induced to self-assemble into organized nanostructures for drug or gene delivery applications. In addition, we can design functional colloids that have been cross-linked using well-established synthetic platform, such as emulsion polymerization to produce nanostructures for similar applications. The difference between these two systems is that the former is dynamic while the later is static. One of the principle purposes of this research is to design nanostructures that can respond to external stimuli, such as pH, temperature, ionic strength etc. Once the systems have been developed, careful characterization to elucidate their microstructure, binding thermodynamics of drug/polymer complex, and the release kinetics of the drug/gene will be elucidated. The physical techniques used will include various scattering techniques (e.g. laser, x-ray and neutron), titration calorimetry, transmission electron microscopy etc. Depending on the progress, the research can be extended to include cell-transfection studies, and possible animals, such as rats.

Successful applicant will have the opportunity to work in the laboratories of Professor Lecommandoux (University of Bordeaux, France) and Professor Tam (University of Waterloo, Canada).

Related publications:
Dai, S., Ravi, P., Tam, K.C., Thermo- and Photo-responsive Polymeric Systems, Soft Matter, (2009), 5, 2513-2533.
Sinaga, A.; Hatton, T. A.; Tam, K.C., Thermodynamics of Micellization of Beta-sheet Forming Poly(acrylic acid)-block-poly(l-valine) Hybrids, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2008), 112 (37), 11542-11550.
Tian, Y., Bromberg, L., S.N. Lin, Hatton, T.A., Tam, K.C., Complexation and Release of a Cancer Drug (Doxorubicin) from its Complexes with Pluronic P85-b-poly(acrylic acid) Tri-block Copolymers, Journal of Controlled Release (2007), 121, 137-145.
Carlsen, A.; Lecommandoux, S., Self-assembly of polypeptide-based block copolymer amphiphiles, Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science, (2009), 14, 329-339.
Agut, W.; Agnaou, R.; Lecommandoux, S.; Taton, D., Synthesis of block copolypeptides by click chemistry, Macromolecular Rapid Communications (2008), 29, 1147-1155.
Schatz, C.; Louguet, S.; Le Meins, J.F.; Lecommandoux, S., Polysaccharide-block-polypeptide Copolymer Vesicles: Towards Synthetic Viral Capsids, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, (2009), 48, 2572-2575.