Polymers are all around us, ranging from the commodity plastics we take for granted, like polystyrene (Styrofoam), to biological polymers such as DNA and proteins. In most cases commodity synthetic polymer are made with poor control over the structure of the underlying macromolecules, but with great flexibility over the incorporated functional groups. In contrast, biological macromolecules such as DNA and proteins are made with incredible control over the structure of the molecule, but naturally occurring biomolecules are limited in the scope of functional groups, to for instance to a relatively 4 base pairs in DNA or 20 amino acids for proteins. In our group we expand techniques similar to those used to make simple commodity polymers, and apply these techniques to the synthesis of polymers with useful functional groups and complex architectures.
About Our Team and Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Our lab serves as a welcoming, safe, and respectful place that encourages diversity and equality amongst all members. We thrive because of people from all backgrounds regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, gender-identity, age, nationality, and faith. We hold dear to our hearts the values of justice, and the freedom to speak, write, listen, engage, challenge, live and learn. We respect one another in order to foster a better working professional relationship amongst group members. As a team, we acknowledge mistakes and work together for a better future by supporting each other to promote productivity, dedication, and engagement. With this in mind, we strive to build an inclusive team and family of researchers.
Target Materials & Synthesis
The goal is to use industrially accessible syntheses to make materials with complexity and control over the structure approaching that of biological systems. Examples of the complex polymer architectures we can synthesize are shown below.
We target our macromolecules to given applications. These applications include the development of efficient photochemical processes, protein engineering through protein polymer hybrids, and the development of self healing materials. Examples of our target materials are highlighted.
In all cases we use the techniques of organic chemistry to create the desired polymeric structure. In most cases we use controlled radical polymerization (reversible deactivation radical polymerization) to synthesize the polymeric backbone, and we utilize high yield organic reactions, or click reactions to modify our polymers. Finally we take advantage of self-assembly to generate more complex structures.
Dr Dominik Konkolewicz
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
254 Hughes Laboratories
651 E High St
Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
Check out updates from the groups research and outreach activities on our twitter feed (@polykonkol).
Our group's YouTube channel includes videos that discuss topics relevant to Organic Chemistry coursework and materials Chemistry Concepts