Polymer Chemistry

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.

Polymer Reaction Design(UHasselt)

Polymer Reaction Design(UHasselt)

  • Prof. Thomas Junkers

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

  • Functional sequence-controlled polymers (mono- and polydisperse)
  • Biodegradable materials
  • Fluorescent poly(p-phenylene vinylene)-containing polymers for bioimaging and flexible electronics application
  • Molecular Imprinted Polymers (MIPs)


Supramolecular Chemistry Group (UGent)

  • Prof. Richard Hoogenboom

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:

  • Formulation of drugs in solid dispersions and dispersible nanoparticles for sustained release and enhanced bioavailability;
  • Conjugation to proteins to enhance blood half-life and suppress degradation;
  • Targeting of bioactive components to specific tissue (diagnostics, drug delivery);
  • Hydrogels as cell culture scaffolds.

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).

link to the website

Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials Group (UGent)

  • Prof. Peter Dubruel

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.

  • Functional polymers for biomedical applications
  • Biomaterials: e.g. biocompatibe coatings
  • Advanced drug/gene delivery systems
  • Scaffolds for tissue engineering
  • Biosensors and polymers for optical applications

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.

link to the website