Projekt finansowany przez Narodowe Centrum Nauki w ramach konkursu „Opus Lap 21”.

Samoorganizacja polimerów o zdefiniowanej sekwencji w kierunku materiałów naśladujących systemy żywe.

Nr projektu: UMO-2021/43/I/ST4/01294
Wartość projektu: 1.890.384,00 PLN
Wartość dofinansowania: 1.890.384,00 PLN
Okres realizacji projektu: 02.01.2023 – 01.01.2027

Kierownik projektu: dr inż. Róża Szweda

Creating synthetic polymer materials with the sophistication and complexity represented by living matter has been a long-term goal in materials science. In living matter, self-assembly benefits from the evolutionary processes that tune interactions to optimize the properties, morphology and functionality of the resulting biomaterials. Nature exploits the primary sequence of natural macromolecules (e.g., proteins) that fold into particular motifs that self-organize into complex structures representing various properties. In contrast, man-made polymer materials are far away from advanced functionalities as represented by living systems. From a material innovation standpoint, it is imperative that the interactions between the building blocks are welldesigned in order to assemble into predetermined hierarchical architectures and manifest various functionalities.

Over the last years, peptide self-assembly attracted considerable attention. Although, self-assembly of peptides with defined sequences has been extensively studied for the applications as functional materials, difficulty of large-scale synthesis and quick degradation of peptides remain as challenges beyond the proof-of-concept. Sequence-defined abiotic polymers has a potential to overcome these challenges, while a similar strategy adopted in peptide self-assembly can be used. With their nature-like feature that is defined by primary structure, sequence-defined polymers offer the opportunity to explore future applications of abiotic polymeric materials beyond the state-of-the-art. Yet, so far, very little is known about single chain folding of non-natural macromolecules with well-defined primary structure and their assembly into complex supramolecular structures has not been investigated.

Two research Teams of complementary competences:

  • Roza Szweda`s Functional Macromolecules Team at Łukasiewicz-PORT, Poland, chemist specializing in polymer science and polymer bioconjugates self-assembly with broad experience in research on sequence-defined polymers;
  • Takuji Adachi`s Group from Faculty of Sciences at University of Geneva, Switzerland, physical chemist and specialist in optical spectroscopy on self-assembled materials, developing in-situ spectroscopy tools to study assembly dynamics jointly took a challenge to investigate fundamental self-assembly process of abiotic, sequence-defined polymers. The project aims to obtain the knowledge on sequence-regulated, hierarchical polymer self-assembly, which is required for creating synthetic materials with the structural sophistication and complex function as represented by living matter.

The project includes three main research objectives:

  • development of synthesis method of high-molar mass, sequence-defined polycarbamates based on mechanochemistry approach;
  • their self-assembly studies and
  • characterization of material properties.

We aim to understand how the monomeric sequence and stereochemistry of non-natural polycarbamates affects their aggregation into hierarchical, complex architectures in solution and solid state. We will apply in-situ microspectroscopy methods to get an insight into the mechanism of their self-organization process. The dependence of primary structure on material rheological and thermal properties will be examined, that will enable fine-tuning of material characteristics and functionalities. Control of monomer sequence and knowledge on sequenceproperty relationship will be an excellent tool for de novo design of functional materials.