Master of Science
Dr. Elizabeth R Gillies
Amphiphilic block copolymers (BCPs) and dendrimers are known to self-assemble in aqueous solution to form a number of aggregate morphologies. These different architectures are largely a function of the hydrophilic volume or weight fractions of the different components of the polymer system. One possible morphology is a vesicle, also referred to as a polymersome or dendrimersome when BCPs or dendrimers, respectively, are used. Vesicles are multi-functional, supramolecular, bilayer assemblies, whose potential for stimuli-responsiveness and surface functionalization make them promising materials for a variety of biomedical applications. This thesis demonstrates the use of UV-sensitive block copolymers forming photodegradable vesicles, as well as the use of dendrimersomes as a platform for surface functionalization. Polymersomes were formed from an amphiphilic triblock copolymer consisting of a UV-sensitive o-nitrobenzyl ester homopolymer functionalized with poly(ethylene glycol) chains at its termini. The assembled polymersomes degraded upon exposure to UV light and reassembled into smaller aggregate morphologies demonstrating their potential for encapsulation and targeted delivery of cargo. Surface functionalizable dendrimersomes were prepared using a combination of Janus dendrimers and their azide-terminated analogues. The dendrimersome surface was functionalized with a 2 kg/mol poly(ethylene oxide)-alkyne derivative showing that it may be functionalized with a variety of ligands using copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne click chemistry. Combined, these examples demonstrate the versatility of stimuli-responsive and surface functionalized vesicle systems for a wide range of applications.
McIntosh, J Trevor, "Stimuli-Responsive Polymersomes and Surface Functionalized Dendrimersomes: Platforms for Biomedical Applications" (2015). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 3202.