The research carried out by AMI's Macromolecular Chemistry Group, led by Professor Nico Bruns, is motivated by a fascination for polymers and proteins. The rationale behind our work exploits the various functions of proteins, such as their ability to self-assemble into well-defined three dimensional structures and to act as catalysts, and merges them with polymer systems, which are relatively easy to synthesize and can be tailored to specific applications. Via this approach, some of the best aspects of two different domains of macromolecular chemistry are combined in order to exploit the catalytic power of enzymes, to create novel nanosystems and to develop materials with unprecedented new functions. Four lines of research illustrate our strategy:
1) Biocatalytic Atom Transfer Radical Polymerizations (bioATRP)
2) Polymerization-amplified malaria diagnostics
2) Protein cages and polymersomes as nanoreactors and nanocapsules
3) Force-responsive polymer-protein hybrid materials
Since October 2018, Prof. Nico Bruns has moved to the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, where he is Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Part of his group remains under his scientific supervision at AMI, while the other part now works in his new labs in Glasgow.