ChEMS Seminar: Abiotic Synthetic Polymers -- Functional Alternatives to Antibodies, and Applications for Protein Stabilization, Inhibition of Signal Transduction and as Broad-Spectrum Antivenom

Kenneth J. Shea
McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium
Kenneth J. Shea

Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science
University of California, Irvine

Abstract: Advances in polymer synthesis, structural biology and nanotechnology have progressed to the point where we can design synthetic polymer nanoparticles (NPs) with antibody-like affinity and selectivity for targeted biomacromolecules. 

Abiotic Synthetic Polymers

The talk will describe abiotic protein/peptide affinity agents (“plastic antibodies”).

These agents, synthetic polymer NP hydrogels, are formulated with functional groups complementary to the biomacromolecule target. Unique to these materials is that their biomacromolecule affinity can be switched on/off by external stimuli including temperature, pH and ionic strength. The talk will be concerned with exploring the applications of these materials for protein separation and as potential therapeutic agents to replace antibody drugs.

Bio: Kenneth J. Shea was born in New York. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Toledo and doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. Following postdoctoral studies at Cal Tech, he joined the faculty at UC Irvine, where he is currently Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering & Material Science. His research interests include the development of new polymerization reactions, synthetic antibodies and the molecular design of hybrid organic−inorganic materials. Shea has mentored more than 150 graduate and postdoctoral students and 20 visitors at the University of California and has published over 290 manuscripts. His professional services and awards include president of the Society of Molecular Imprinting (2006-2012), American Chemical Society Cope Scholar award 2007 and a visiting professor at State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University (2012-present). He also is a standing member of the Committee to Review Science and Technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Shea is a fellow of the ACS Polymeric Materials, Science and Engineering Division and the ACS Polymer Chemistry Division. In 2015, he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. 

Host: Martha Mecartney