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The University of Southampton
Chemistry

Research project: Grossel: Biological applications of polymers

Currently Active: 
Yes

PAMAM dendrimers provide a potentially valuable vehicle for preparing well-defined and characterised multifunctional reagents for use in chemical and biological systems. We are currently exploring several applications of such materials.

One project concerns the synthesis of surface functionalized dendrimers as delivery systems for neutrophil elastase inhibition as a potential treatment for Cystic Fibrosis. This project, funded by a BBSRC/MOD grant, is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Jan Shute’s research group (Pharmacy Department, University of Portsmouth) who carry out biological evaluation of our materials.

A second project involves an exploration of the use of surface functionalized PAMAM dendrimers as potential synthetic cell nuclei (acting as artificial histones), capable of self-assembly and transcription. This EU-funded Neonuclei project is being undertaken in collaboration with Prof. George Attard and a number of other European research groups (in Sweden, Portugal). Our contribution to this programme involves the synthesis of PAMAM dendrimers bearing a variety of different surface components designed to act as DNA docking sites. We are labelling the dendrimers with fluorescent groups in order to facilitate the determination of their location within the cell nucleus and we are exploring the behaviour of dendrimers incorporating photoresponsive groups to provide access to a molecule that can alter its shape and size, and thus modify its binding properties with DNA substrates.

In a separate project we are investigating a number of different polymer systems for the treatment of a range of ophthalmic disorders in collaboration with Prof. Andrew Lotery (School of Medicine, University of Southampton).

Related research groups

Organic Chemistry: Synthesis, Catalysis and Flow
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