Workshops & seminars

"Self-immolative Linear Polymers: New Backbones, End-caps, and Assemblies"
Dr. Elizabeth R. Gillies (Western)

Thursday, May 19, 2016
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Dr. Elizabeth R. Gillies


This event is free



Dajana Vuckovic


Hingston Hall, wing HC
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Room HC-157



Self-immolative polymers are a class of materials that degrade by an end-to-end depolymerization mechanism in response to a stimulus-mediated cleavage of a stabilizing end-cap from the polymer terminus. Relative to conventional stimuli-responsive or biodegradable polymers, they exhibit several unique properties including a degradation time dependent on the degree of polymerization and the ability to change their responsiveness to stimuli by simply changing the end-cap. These aspects make them of increasing interest for a wide variety of applications including sensors, membranes, and controlled drug release. This presentation will describe our group’s progress toward the development of new self-immolative polymer backbones, end-caps and block copolymers. In particular the development of new monomers capable of undergoing cyclization at different rates can enable the rate of depolymerization to be controlled. Polyglyoxylates are also particularly attractive as they can be derived from natural sources and depolymerize to metabolic intermediates. Different end-caps allow the depolymerization to be triggered under a range of different stimuli including changes in pH, reduction potential, and photochemical stimuli. Finally, the development of self-immolative block copolymers enables the controlled assembly of nanomaterials ranging from micelles to vesicles in solution. These systems enable the encapsulation and controlled release of payloads such as anti-cancer drugs. 

Elizabeth Gillies is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials Synthesis in the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario. She obtained her B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada in 2000. She then moved to the University of California, Berkeley where she completed her Ph.D. degree in 2004 working under the guidance of Jean Fréchet. After postdoctoral work at the University of Bordeaux with Ivan Huc, she joined Western in 2006. Her research interests are in the development of biodegradable polymers, polymer assemblies, and dendrimers for drug delivery, tissue engineering, medical imaging and functional surfaces.

She is the guest of Dr. John Oh

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