Abstract by Daniel Hart
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Synthesizing pH responsive polymer vesicles
Amphiphilic block copolymers are polymers that self-assemble into well-defined structures in water, based upon different interactions of each block with the water. These copolymers can be designed to respond to different stimuli, such as light, temperature, or chemical environment, in ways that change the morphology of the structure. This response to different stimuli gives them potential for use in a variety of ways, including targeted drug delivery. The types of structures formed by these copolymers is usually affected by the fraction of the block copolymer made from the different type of polymers. My work focuses on the copolymer poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(acrylic acid) (PEO-b-PAA) because previous studies have shown that it can assemble and disassemble at a biologically-relevant pH. My work focuses on using the RAFT polymerization method to synthesize the PEO-PAA block copolymer and will explore how different block lengths of PEO and PAA affect the structure formed by self-assembly of these polymers.