Research

Poly(2-oxazoline)s (PAOx)

Description

The living cationic ring-opening polymerization of 2-oxazolines has been studied in great detail since its discovery in 1966. In the new millennium, a revival of PAOx has arisen because of their potential use as biomedical and thermoresponsive materials, as well as the easy access to defined amphiphilic structures for (hierarchical) self-assembly.

Our research group focuses on all aspects of PAOx ranging from new monomer synthesis and development, in dept investigation of (co)polymerization kinetics up to the safety and biodistribution of the resulting PAOx and their use for various, mostly biomedical applications. Specific applications that we develop include the use of PAOx as excipients for oral formulations, tissue adhesives (see www.gatt-tech.com) as well as polymer therapeutics. Finally, we are working towards the commercialization of PAOx under the name Ultroxa® (see www.ultroxa.com).

Recent achievements

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Supramolecular materials

Description

Nature exploits a limited number of building blocks in combination with non-covalent and hydrophobic interactions to build complex functional assemblies, such as proteins and cells. In principle, the use of synthetic building blocks allows a higher level of complexity when compared to the limited diversity in nature.

Our research group focuses on the combination of well-defined "smart" polymer structures with supramolecular interactions provided as a platform to develop responsive and functional materials for, e.g., sensors and diagnostics as well as responsive and tough hydrogels. This research covers all aspects ranging from the synthesis and development of novel supramolecular entities, such as host-guest systems and metal coordinating ligands, their incorporation into polymer structures and the evaluation of the resulting supramolecular material properties.

Recent achievements

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Responsive polymers

Description

Responsive polymeric materials that undergo a change in properties in response to external triggers are gaining significant interest for the development of smart materials. Especially, polymers that undergo a solution phase transition in response to temperature and/or pH changers are appealing for various applications.

Our research group focuses on the development of novel responsive polymer materials, chromic materials that change color as well as their applications as, e.g. sensors, logic gates and drug delivery vehicles, but also as additives for cement. This research covers the synthesis of novel monomers and chain transfer agents, study on the incorporation of such monomers into a copolymer structure as well as more application directed studies on their properties.

Recent achievements

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Running EU projects

H2020 PoCOsteo

The PoCOsteo-project focuses on developing tools for prevention, detection and treatment of bone deseases such as i.a. osteoporisis (see https://pocosteo.mijnweblayout.be/).

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Interreg - InTiCosm

This InTiCosm-project focuses on developing formulation for cosmetics that are based on naturally occuring, biological compounds (see www.interreg-fwvl.eu/sites/default/files/inticosm_nl.pdf).

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Valorization

Ultroxa®

Poly(oxazolines) are being commercialized under the tradename Ultroxa® by Avroxa BVBA, a spin-off company from Ghent University (see www.ultroxa.com).

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ChemTech

ChemTech is a UGent-based valorization center that serves as an intermediate between UGent-based research groups developing new chemistry and chemical technologies, and industrial collaborators (see www.chemtech.ugent.be).

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