Functional Macromolecules Group

Did you know that polymers can mimic functions displayed by natural macromolecules?

In nature, DNA and proteins with well-ordered structural skeletons can be recognized as sequence-defined macromolecules. DNA, composed of A, T, C, G nucleotides, is a natural polymer of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions. All essential informations to generate sequential protein chains from amino acids, by transcription and translation process, are encoded in the DNA sequence. Subsequently, the amino acid sequence determines three-dimensional structure of the protein and decides about their functions.

The synthesis of uniform macromolecules with defined monomer sequence, as displayed by natural polymers, is a challenge in modern polymer chemistry. In order to achieve full control over polymer structure, new synthesis strategies, based on iterative chemistry, has been recently developed. The accessibility of sequence-defined, uniform macromolecular structures enabled the design of polymeric materials beyond classical polymers applications, e.g. data storage. Furthermore, the monomer sequence regulation became an important parameter for the fine modulation of properties and functions of synthetic materials.

About Functional Macromolecules

Our goal

Our ambition is to develop life-like functions in synthetic polymers through regulation of monomer sequence for development of complex materials.

Work with us

We are always open for new, motivated people to join our team.

We are looking forward to collaborations with industrial partners to develop new technologies based on functional polymers.

Our work

Stay tuned about our research projects ranging from fundamental science to applied research and development. Follow us on social media and on our site to get updated on our progress.

Róża Szweda, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

EDUCATION
Jan 2015 PhD in Chemistry
Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland. Thesis: “Polymer-peptide arrays for detection of proteolytic enzymes” in the field of polymer-peptide materials for bioapplications, defended with distinction
Sep 2009 MSc in Chemistry
Faculty of Chemistry, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland. Thesis: “ Study of the degradation process of high molecular weight polyglycidol” in the field of polymer science

WORK EXPERIENCE
Nov 2019 – present Head of Research
Laboratory of Functional Macromolecules, Siec Badawcza Lukasiewicz-PORT Polish Center for Technology Development, Wrocław, Poland
Apr 2019 – Dec 2019 Project manager
Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires, Strasbourg, France – managing of the ITN project “CReaNet” financed within MSCA Horizon 2020 programme, https://creanet.u-strasbg.fr/
Apr 2017- Apr 2019 Project manager
Institute Charles Sadron, The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Strasbourg, France – managing of the ITN project “Euro-sequences” financed within MSCA Horizon 2020 programme, http://www.eurosequences.com/
Nov 2015-Apr 2019 Post-doc researcher
Institute Charles Sadron, The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Strasbourg, France – researcher in scientific projects in the field of sequence-controlled polymers and polymeric materials (European Research Council grant “Sequence Barcodes”)
Nov 2015-Feb 2017 Assistant professor
Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials Polish Academy of Sciences, Zabrze, Poland – supervision of PhD students, consulting of research projects, writing the articles
Sep 2009-Nov 2015 Research assistant
Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials Polish Academy of Sciences, Zabrze, Poland – researcher in 3 scientific projects financed by EU or polish government in the field of polymer science, polymer-peptide conjugates, and (bio)materials; teaching assistant of Bachelor’s course of “Physical Chemistry”

HONOURS AND AWARDS

  • Laureate of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education scholarship for outstanding young scientists (2020-2023)
  • Grant SONATA awarded by Polish National Science Centre (2019)
  • Special prize for poster presented during 18th National Symposium Polymers (2016)
  • Award of the Gliwice and Opole Branch of the Polish Chemical Society for the best poster presenting research done within the framework of cooperation between Institutions (2016)
  • 1st prize for the best poster presentation within the section: Chemistry of polymers and biopolymers at the 58th Congress of PTChem in Gdansk, Poland (2015)
  • Scholarships for the best PhD students awarded by the President of the Silesian University of Technology (2012-2014)
  • Scholarship DOKTORIS awarded by Marshal of the Silesia and Silesian University, project title:“ “Polymer-peptide arrays for detection of proteolytic enzymes” (Oct 2013-Dec 2014)
  • „Donation for young scientists 2011” for realization of the 10-month research project, awarded by Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials PAS , project title: “Polymer-peptide matrices for applications in clinical diagnostics” (July 2011- Apr 2012)
  • Scholarships RFSD 2, awarded by Networks of Centres of Excellence Bio-Tech-Med Silesia, project title:“ “Peptide arrays on polymeric substrates for applications in clinical diagnostics” (Oct 2009-Sept 2011)
  • Member of Polish Chemical Society (since 2014)

TEAM

Simone Giuseppe Giuffrida, Ph.D.

Giuseppe obtained his MSc degree in Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of Catania (Italy). In 2016, he started his PhD in development of novel imaging biosensors for prostate cancer detection. Giuseppe was awarded PhD in December 2020 and is currently working in the Functional Macromolecules group at the PORT as a research engineer. He is investigating structural properties of sequence-defined polymers towards applications in sensing.

 

Katarzyna Chomiak, Ph.D.

Katarzyna obtained her MSc Eng. degree in Technology of Chemistry at the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology. In 2010, she started her Ph.D. studies on Polymer and Carbonaceous Materials at her home university. She obtained her doctoral degree in November 2014 and worked for the next 3 years as a research assistant. Since April 2019, she is working as a research engineer in ŁUKASIEWICZ – PORT in Wroclaw.

 

Paweł Cwynar, M.Sc.

Paweł obtained his MSc Eng. Degree in Materials Engineering at the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology (WUST). He was a member of the research group NONA at the WUST University for 1 year and during this time he realized his master thesis about amyloidogenic proteins and their optical properties. In parallel he completed master studies – Erasmus Mundus Master Programme at the École Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay in the field of Nanobiophotonics. During his education, Paweł did two internships at the Aalto University in Helsinki and Institute of Materials Science ICMAB-CSIC in Barcelona. From September he joined Functional Macromolecules Group at Łukasiewicz PORT to pursue his PhD. Paweł’s scientific interests are mainly nanotechnology in biology and medicine applications whereas his personal interests are snowboarding, analog photography, and travels.

Mateusz Turski, M.Sc.

Mateusz graduated from the University of Wrocław in 2017, where he defended his master thesis: „Quantum-mechanics calculation for homo and heteromacrocycles”. After graduation he started working in Vetoquinol Biowet pharma company situated in Gorzów Wielkopolski. In Semptember 2020 he joined Functional Macromolecules Group at Łukasiewicz PORT as a PhD candidate working on ConFold project. His hobby are making origami, reading books and learning about Orient.


Sara Kozub

Sara completed bachelor’s degree in forensic chemistry and toxicology. Her bachelor thesis was about biomedical applications of polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes. Currently, she is a Master student of University of Wrocław with major in medical chemistry. On June 2020 she joined Functional Macromolecules Group as an intern to work on sequence-defined, aliphatic oligocarbamates with full control of stereocenters for her master degree project.

 

Weronika Forysiak

Weronika studied forensic chemistry and toxicology at University of Wrocław, and in 2019 I have completed her bachelor’s degree with thesis „Biomaterials based on functionalized silicon compounds”. Now, she is a Master student of Medical chemistry at University of Wrocław. Weronika is a Master student at University of Wrocław. On June 2020 she joined Functional Macromolecules Group as an intern to work on aromatic, sequence-defiened oligocarbamates for her master project. „I am interested in combining chemistry with medicine, like drug design or implant design and I enjoy creating computer graphic, reading books and listening to criminal podcasts.”

Maksymilian Szatko

Maksymilian obtained the bachelor’s degree in chemistry and industrial analytics at Wroclaw University of Science and Technology (WUST). In his thesis he examined the spectroscopic properties of lanthanide doped fluorite crystals. At this moment, he is Master student of WUST with major at bioinformatics. On October 2020 he joined Functional Macromolecules Group as an intern to work on simulating spatial structure of sequence-defined polymers. In his spare time, he enjoys playing role-playing games and explore forgotten places.

Our expertise lies in the field of (bio)polymers synthesis and nanomaterials preparation. It involves:

  • synthesis of tailored polymers using controlled/living polymerization methods, purification and post-polymerization modification
  • solid-phase synthesis: synthesis of peptides and oligonucleotides, their modification and purification
  • synthesis of sequence-defined polymers using iterative chemistry approaches
  • surface chemistry: functionalization of surface, monolayer coatings by covalent attachment (peptides, polymers), layer-by–layer films, spin coating deposition of polymer films
  • preparative organic synthesis: synthesis of monomers, polymerization initiators
  • synthesis of polymer bioconjugates (polymer-peptide, polymer-oligonucleotide)

Analysis methods:

  • spectroscopy: NMR, UV-vis, FTIR (ATR, transmission), fluorescence, CD
  • chromatography: HPLC, GPC, preparative HPLC, Flash
  • tensiometry for characterization of surface philicity
  • ellipsometry
  • light, fluorescence and AFM microscopy
  • dynamic light scattering
  • mass spectrometry (MALDI, ESI, Tof-SIMS)

ConFOLD
Sequence-defined macromolecules of controlled folding

The natural, uniform macromolecules such as proteins and DNA of sequence-defined structures have been inspiring polymer chemists for years. The roles and functions that they can attain are determined by their three-dimensional arrangement that depends on monomer sequence. To reach for the diverse structures and complex properties, represented by native biological polymers, sequence programmability of the synthetic polymer and control of their 3D structure are required.

ConFold aims to investigate structural properties of sequence-defined synthetic polymers -polycarbamates. The general objective in this project is to gain control over the three-dimensional structure of polymers by monomer sequence evolution, as it is observed for natural proteins formed from sequences of amino acids.

 

ConFOLD will add a fundamental knowledge of synthesis and structural properties of synthetic sequence-defined polymers to fill a part of the large information gap concerning properties and displayed functions between synthetic polymers and native biological materials.. This understanding of sequence-structure relationships will enable to gain better control over polymers properties and will advance their application scope.

Project No 2018/31/D/ST5/01365 funded by Polish National Science Centre, budget 1 455 799,00 PLN

 

We are always open to new, motivated people to join our team. Especially, with a background in organic or polymer chemistry (but not only). If you are interested to join us write direct email to roza.szweda@port.lukasiewicz.gov.pl and attach your CV.

We invite applications for a position of:
Internship for Master Students
National Science Centre Scholarship