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Research Activities of the WEBERSKIRCH Group

1) Fabrication of Tailor-Made Hydrogels for Stem Cell Research

The reconstitution of stem cell niches with functional equivalents of the natural tissue is a challenging task in stem cell therapy. Our current research is focused on the development of biopolymers that mimic the microenvironment of stem cell niches. A main focus of our work is concerned with the development of polymer matrices that are suitable for 2D and 3D cell experiments with Prof. D. Schade, University Greifswald). Moreover, we study the effect of polymer composition, the presentation of ECM motifs and the presence of cationic charges on the behavior of neural stem cells (with Prof. A. Faissner, RUB). The aim of our research is to elucidate further mechanism that control cell function, such as cell viability and differentiation and at the same time reduce the complexity of the artificial stem cell niche.


Recent References:



 1) M. Sallouh, P. Degen, W. Hiller, R. Weberskirch,

1H HR-MAS NMR spectroscopy as a simple tool to
characterize  peptide - functionalized hydrogels
as a  function of cross linker density;

Polymer 2015, 56, 141-146.



2) O. Sallouh, R. Weberskirch,

Facile formation of hydrogels by using functional
Precursor polymers and the chemoselective
Staudinger coupling,

Polymer 2016, 86, 189-196.



3) M. Sallouh, M. Jarocki, O. Sallouh, P. Degen,A. Faissner, R. Weberskirch,

The Synergistic Effect of Cationic  Moieties and GRGDSF-Peptides in Hydrogels  on Neural Stem Cell Behavior,
Macromol: Biosci. 2017, 17, 1600178.



Members: Florian Pätzold 


2) Bottom-up Approach towards Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Diagnostic and Drug Delivery Application

The development of multifunctional nanoparticles is a rapidly emerging field due to the potential application in drug delivery and diagnostics. The main challenge is how to tailor nanoparticles for specific intracellular applications as contrast agents, drug delivery vehicles, and therapeutics e.g. by a modularly assembled process from different materials with different chemical and physical properties. By developing tailor-made macromonomer surfactants based on poly(2-oxazolines) and their application in a microemulsion process we were able to fabricate a set of core-shell nanoparticles in the size fo 20 to 80 nm. Furthermore, the versatility of the polymerization process allows the selective incorporation of a diagnostic function such as SiFA moieties (with Prof. K. Jurkschat, TUD) for subsequent 18F‑radiolabeling and in vivo PET analysis of these nanoparticles in a murine mammary tumor model (EMT6) (with Prof. R. Schirrmacher, Univ. of Alberta, CA).


Recent References:



1) G. Bissadi, R. Weberskirch,

Formation of polyoxazoline-silica nanoparticles via
the surface-initiated cationic polymerization of

Polym. Chem. 2016, 7, 5157 - 5168.



2) A. L. Kampmann, T. Grabe, C. Jaworski, R. Weberskirch,

Synthesis of Well-Defined Core-Shell Nanoparticles  based on Bifunctional Poly(2-oxazoline) Macromonomer Surfactant and a Microemulsion Polymerization Process,
RSC Adv. 2016, 6, 99752–99763.



3)  S. Berke, A.-L. Kampmann, M. Wuest, J. J. Bailey,B. Glowacki, F. Wuest,  K. Jurkschat, R.Weberskirch, R.Schirrmacher,

18F-Radiolabeling and In Vivo Analysisof SiFA-derivatized Polymeric Core-Shell Nanoparticles
Bioconjugate Chem. 2018, 29, 89-95.



Members: Irene Pretzer, Yannik Olszowy

3) Sustainable Chemical Synthesis in Water with Tailor-made Polymeric Nanoparticles

Polymer-supported catalysis has witnessed a tremendous interest in the past years. The main reason for this is the possibility of polymers to serve as a support material for catalyst and thus offering the advantage of simplified product purification and catalyst recycling. We have developed a platform of amphiphilic block polymers that self-organize in water and form catalytically active micelles. These micelles can be used to encapsulate catalysts to perform e.g. Au-based catalysis in a micellar system (with Prof. N. Krause, TUD) or to covalently link the ligands / catalysts to the block copolymer and subsequently to the micellar core or shell. While the first approach enables e.g. to carry out typical organic reactions in an aqueous micellar environment the second approach and covalent conjugation of the catalyst to the polymer facilitates also catalyst recycling. In an attempt to further broaden the application of such micellar systems, we have recently developed well-defined amphiphilic macromonomer surfactants that can be used to form core-shell particles in a microemulsion process with a cross linked core. These nanoparticles can now be combined with other non-compatible catalysts or enzymes to carry out tandem reactions in water and thus open many new opportunities for such carrier systems in organic synthesis.

Recent References:



1) H. Sand, R. Weberskirch,

Bipyridine-functionalized amphiphilic block copolymers as support materials
for the aerobic oxidation of primary alcohols in aqueous media,

RSC Adv. 2015, 5, 38235-38242.



2) L. Lempke, A. Ernst , R. Weberskirch, N. Krause,

Sustainable Micellar Gold Catalysis – Poly(2-oxazolines)
as Versatile Amphiphiles,

Adv. Synth. Catal. 2016, 358, 1491 –1499



3)H. Sand, R. Weberskirch,

Chemoenzymatic one-pot reaction of noncompatible catalysts: combining enzymatic ester hydrolysis with Cu(I)/bipyridine catalyzed oxidation in aqueous medium,
RSc Adv. 2017, 7, 33614 – 33626.


Members:  Hanne Petersen, David Pelzer