Synthetic Polymer Nanoparticles. Abiotic Receptors for Peptides, Proteins and Carbohydrates

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium

ChEMS Seminar

Dr. Kenneth J. Shea

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

University of California, Irvine


Just as medicinal chemists routinely design and synthesize small molecules to target the active site of a single protein in the proteome, we suggest that 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. The talk will describe abiotic protein/peptide and carbohydrate 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 affinity can be “turned off” simply by lowering the solution temperature, a strategy exploited in “catch and release” protein purification. The talk will be concerned with an exploration of new targets and applications for abiotic polymer nanoparticles.


Dr. Shea is Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UC Irvine.  He received his B.S. from University of Toledo in 1968 and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1973.

His research interests are Synthetic Organic, Polymer and Materials Chemistry.