Polymer chemistry is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of macromolecules. Synthetic and natural polymers are frequently used in medicine and pharmacology, such as implants as drug depots for the controlled release of active pharmaceutical ingredients, drug-polymer hybrids, micelles as drug carriers, as well as hydrogels for the temporary replacement of tissues, functions and organs.
For optimum interaction with human bodies, biocompatibility, tailor-made rates of biodegradation and drug release, as well as surface functionalization are prime topics that can be adressed by our polymer research teams.
The polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials group has lab facilities to perform various types of polymerizations and surface modifications and has state of the art equipment for characterization of polymer bulk properties and surface characterization. An important asset is the polymer processing division with developments in electrospinning (micro- and nanofibers), plasma treatment and rapid prototyping for 3D-printing.
The research activities cover the following items.
The advanced materials are development for a divers set of biomaterials such as: porous polyesters to be applied for meniscus repair (Bone regeneration), hepatocyte transplantations/ bioartificial liver devices (Liver regeneration), Responsive hydrogels or porous hydrogels for soft tissue repair (Cardio-vascular applications), hydrogels based on biopolymers (Wound treatment), etc.
The Supramolecular Chemistry Group operates at the interphase of organic and polymer chemistry aiming to develop adaptive and responsive smart materials. To be able to identify structure-property relationships in our materials, we have specialized in the preparation of defined polymers with narrow molar mass distribution by living cationic ring-opening polymerization, and controlled radical polymerization (RAFT, ATRP, NMP and SET-LRP). These polymers are being developed for a range of biomedical/biological applications:
These are just some examples of the many specific biological applications that can be targeted with our defined polymer structures that can be (orthogonally) functionalized with small molecules, peptides, proteins and labels (fluorescent or radioisotopes).
Polymer Reaction Design(UHasselt)
The PRD group strives for the development of new materials via state of the art polymer synthesis methods. From fundamentals and kinetics of polymerizations to the design of new polymer reaction pathways, all elemental steps are addressed and custom-made precision polymer materials are constructed from controlled radical polymerization techniques, anionic polymerization or classical free-radical polymerization.
The PRD group has specific experience in the synthesis of