Archive of European Projects

Synthetic Polypeptides with Well-Defined Microstructures and Biological Activity (MicroPep)
Start date: 16 Feb 2015, End date: 15 Feb 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Peptides are nature’s expression language and as such perform vital roles in living organisms. They are highly functional and produced naturally with a precision that is unprecedented in synthetic polymers. Synthetic polypeptides present a promising alternative as they combine the accessibility of synthetic polymers with functionality and biocompatibility of natural peptides. They are thus ideally suited as a new (commercial) renewable and sustainable polymer materials platform if some practical hurdles in polymerisation control can be overcome.In this project, new routes for the synthesis of polypeptides will be explored that are inexpensive, scalable and reproducible and allow the tuning of polypeptide properties by copolymerisation. While the approach to be taken is generic, our efforts will focus on the synthesis of glycosylated polypeptides as mimics of glycoproteins. Glycoproteins are important in many biological processes from signalling to infection and are thus considered the next generation pharmaceutical products. While natural glycopeptides are highly complex in structure, this project aims at structurally simplistic yet bioactive synthetic glycosylated polypeptides by enhanced polymerisation control.This is a highly interdisciplinary project at the interface of polymer chemistry, combinatorial chemistry and life science. The applicant’s diverse experience makes her an ideal match for this work. The project also brings together two academics from world class institutions with complementary expertise that provides a unique environment for the applicant to develop her skills and accelerate her academic career.
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