|Deborah Snyder, 1st year
Graduate Program: Polymer Science and Engineering
Lab: Todd Emrick
Education: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Polymer zwitterions are useful for numerous biomaterials applications, including non-fouling surfaces, implantable devices, and drug delivery vehicles. Despite their “bio-friendliness”, the monomers used to synthesize these and most other polymers are not yet bio-sourced. Therefore, increasing the level of sustainability of polymer zwitterions requires discovering innovative new monomer and polymer syntheses. Working with Professor Todd Emrick in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department, I seek to sustainably redesign water-soluble polymer zwitterions. This will involve using enzymatic catalysis techniques, which are developing rapidly for free radical polymerizations, and investigating catalytic systems and cascades that lead to molecular weight control over the polymer products. These findings would motivate future work in enzyme immobilization and in-situ polymerizations for the benefit of industry and the biomedical field (i.e., surgical adhesives, gels, etc.), respectively. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the research, I look forward to bridging collaborations across the polymer chemistry, engineering and biology communities, so that expertise in each area can be utilized to generate innovative solutions in biomaterials and medicine.