Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
What is your research focus?
Flow chemistry provides a pathway for the automation of iterative procedures which allows for rapid and scalable preparation of polymers. An example of flow chemistry we conduct in the Leibfarth group is programming an autosampler to selectively withdraw certain volumes from a selection of monomer solutions allowing for the synthesis of random heteropolymers with incrementally varying comonomer compositions. At the BioPACIFIC MIP we seek to leverage this feature to synthesize a library of random heteropolymers that can be used to form a stabilizing shell of adsorbed polymers around enzymes in non-aqueous environments. An ideal heteropolymer composition for optimal enzyme adsorption could be deduced from the synthesis and testing of a wide variety of polymer compositions and used to form an adsorbed stabilizing shell around the enzyme. The new BioPACIFIC MIP contains facilities and instruments which would allow us to screen for a variety of different material properties and enzymatic activity in a high throughput manner.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
Along with providing a platform to learn emerging techniques and instrumentation in the field, being a BioPACIFIC MIP Associate would present an opportunity to expand my professional skills and network, forming a bridge between my academic background and industry. Being able to expand my ability to communicate effectively to a diverse and interdisciplinary group of chemists, and learning from other fellows and associates would expand my network and skillset as a chemist. Becoming an Associate would allow me learn from, and share my research with students, faculty and industry representatives of different scientific backgrounds.