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Engineering polymersomes of selective permeability towards nanoreactors for biocatalysis

Grant number: 22/14668-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Effective date (End): February 28, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Fernando Carlos Giacomelli
Grantee:Anabella Patricia Rosso
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas (CCNH). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/12071-6 - Tailoring colloids through supramolecular interactions: from fundamentals to applications, AP.TEM


This subproposal relies on the manufacturing of nanoreactors based on polymeric vesicles of selective permeability towards applications in the field of biotechnology. The experimental approach is envisioned to provide a confined space where enzymes can be entrapped, and biochemical reactions can take place. The permeable membranes are hypothesized to allow the selective permeation of small molecules only (substrates and products) while biomacromolecules remain constrained. The polymeric vesicles (polymersomes) will be produced by the self-assembly of a variety of amphiphilic block copolymers of varied architecture, composition and manufacturing approaches towards the preparation of hollow spheres with different permeability properties. The permeability is in principle dictated by the membrane thickness, degree of chain entanglement, glass transition temperature of the polymeric material and degree of hydrophobicity, for instance, and additionally can be tuned by using stimuli-responsive polymers. Higher and slower rates of diffusion could be achieved by membrane swelling/shrinkage using pH-responsive polymers. This is in principle reachable by changing the degree of protonation of the hydrophobic membranes via tiny variations in the pH of the environment close to the pKa of the polymer. Similarly, the control over membrane permeability is expected to occur by changing membrane hydration using thermo-responsive assemblies where swelling and shrinkage occurs close to the lower critical solution temperature. Accordingly, the use of pH- and thermo-responsive block copolymers are envisaged. (AU)

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