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Developing sequence controlled polymers for organization, templation and recognition

Objective

Nature‘s toolbox for replication uses DNA and RNA which are nucleic acids capable of templating new copies of themselves. Nature‘s ability to replicate has led to the evolution of a wide variety of forms and functions for biological materials which cannot be achieved using current synthetic approaches. It seems likely that if we were able to teach plastics or other polymers how to template new copies of themselves that we would similarly be able to make new, impossible materials and hence further expand the potential function and properties of these materials. These new materials would provide enhanced properties and function (such as replication and evolution) that are not currently available to material chemists. This would allow for a best-of-both-worlds scenario with the development of robust synthetic materials, with tuneable properties including crystallinity, thermal properties, shape memory, and self-healing. Most importantly, by developing an empirical and perhaps even model-based connection between polymer sequence / composition and polymer properties it would be possible to begin to design new materials in a rational and knowledge-based way. Indeed, it could be argued that this advance would ultimately solve one of the major problems in materials science, multiscale modelling of polymer properties. It seems certain that achieving even a portion of these goals would open up a completely new area of material science. Hence, following the model of DNA, we propose developing a number of new routes for the preparation of sequence controlled polymers (SCPs) and specifically a new class of SCPs which are capable of replication and ultimately evolution. This will produce polymers and self-assembled structures with unprecedented physical properties and the ability to functionally interact and communicate with biological materials. Realizing this goal will allow us to bring new function to chemistry, through expanding chemical space to access new precision polymers

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/nucleic acid
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/polymer science

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-CoG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-CG - ERC Consolidator Grants

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
Address
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 324 271
Principal investigator
Rachel Kerry O'reilly (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Catherine Cochrane (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 2 324 271
Address
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Rachel Kerry O'reilly (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Catherine Cochrane (Ms.)