- Advanced Macromolecular Architectures.
- Reversible Deactivation Radical Polymerization.
Research themes in the Klumperman group are:
Three main research lines form the core of our activities in the field of nanomedicine. Firstly, we investigate polymer-protein and polymer-peptide conjugates. We typically use poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) as our polymer of choice, and combine this with various conjugation techniques. Secondly, we are reviving the concept of polymeric prodrugs by reversibly linking hydrophobic drugs to a block copolymer. The drug-loaded block copolymer self-assembles into micelles that act as the delivery vehicle. Thirdly, we are starting efforts in the field of immunotherapy, where we initially focus on synthetic dendritic cells based on molecular brushes.
Advanced Macromolecular Architectures
The synthesis of carefully designed, well-defined polymers is in the heart of our research activities. We frequently use atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) mediated polymerization. These techniques are complemented by other polymerization methods, such as N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) ring-opening polymerization and organocatalyzed anionic ring-opening polymerization. Many of our macromolecular architectures are designed to undergo self-assembly in selective solvents. The study of such self-assembly processes forms an integral part of our research.
Over the past two decades, reversible deactivation radical polymerization (RDRP) has evolved from an interesting technique for specialists to a versatile synthetic tool in polymer synthesis. We continue to optimize the polymerization process and focus on retention of living chain ends as well as recently on monomer sequence control. Although RDRP is indispensable for nearly all our projects, in some projects the focus is really on the polymerization process itself, for example, when we try to understand polymerization behavior that deviates from our expectations.