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  • 09/07/17 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM

    Department Seminar: Professor Theresa M. Reineke

    Department Seminar

"Enabling Multifunctional Biomaterials Through Controlled Polymer Synthesis"

Functional macromolecules have a tremendous impact on a multitude of applications. For example, the development of polymer excipients can improve the solubility and bioavailability of intractable drugs, nucleic acid delivery vehicles have promise to promote selective genome editing, and materials from bio-based monomers may lower the environmental impact of plastics. While the materials function is diverse across these fields, the polymer chemistry is similar and should be readily tunable for each specific application while remaining biologically and environmentally benign. Sustainable feedstocks such as carbohydrates, seed oils, and their derivatives offer great promise for tailoring materials development for a multitude of uses due to their rich functionality (high heteroatom content and stereochemistry), renewable production on an impressive scale, low toxicity, and the potential for triggered degradation. In addition, renewable feedstocks can offer high glass transition temperatures, the ability to modulate solubility through chemical modification, and the utility to target delivery to selective tissue types. Indeed, the chemical, physical, mechanical, and morphological properties of polymers containing renewable and biologically-friendly monomers can be tuned based on chemistry, sequence, and composition to yield diverse function and properties. Herein, the design and development of tailored polymers using a variety of synthetic pathways will be presented. Their application in the development of sustainable polymers, improvement of oral pharmaceutical bioavailability, and design of nucleic acid delivery vehicles for genome editing applications will be presented.

Professor Reineke

Professor Reineke is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota and holds graduate faculty appointments in the departments of Chemical Engineering/Materials Science and Pharmaceutics. She is director of a MN Innovation Partnership with Dow Chemical Company and leads the Polymer Interdisciplinary Research Group of the UMN Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Professor Reineke also serves as publicity chair for the American Chemical Society Polymer Chemistry (POLY) Division and is the founding faculty advisor of the UMN Student Chapter of the ACS POLY/PMSE Division.

She is currently on the Editorial Advisory Boards of the ACS journals Biomacromolecules and Bioconjugate Chemistry, and is a founding associate editor of ACS MacroLetters. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, her master’s degree from Arizona State University, and her doctorate from the University of Michigan. She was a National Institutes of Health Post-doctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Reineke worked at Upsher-Smith Pharmaceuticals, and began her academia career at the University of Cincinnati and Virginia Tech.

Research focus

Professor Reineke's research group is focused on enabling fundamental scientific and applied technology advancements in three areas: 1) the design of polymer-based delivery systems that encapsulate DNA and RNA for genetic disease treatments, 2) the development of polymer-based delivery systems for enhancing oral delivery of important peptides and drugs, and 3) the creation of sustainable and environmentally friendly polymers/plastics from naturally occurring chemicals derived from plants. Studies in these areas are centered both on novel polymer synthesis, understanding the fundamental mechanisms involved in polymer function, and applied use of our materials for advanced material/biomaterial function. The research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative with numerous groups in chemistry, engineering, and medicine.

  • Event Details

    Location: 331 Smith Hall
    Host: Department of Chemistry
    • Professor Theresa Reineke
    • Theresa Reineke
    • Department of Chemistry
    • University of Minnesota

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