École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Number of employees (in the laboratory of Prof. Klok): 23

The Laboratoire des Polymères at EPFL (Lausanne) is headed by Prof. Harm-Anton Klok and currently consists of ~ 10 PhD students and 4 postdocs supported by one senior scientist, an engineer and a secretary. Almost all students and postdocs are financed via projects which are supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, industrial partners as well as the European Commission (3 FP6 projects, currently), amongst others. The research activities of LP can be subdivided in three areas: (i) polymer brushes / surface-initiated controlled radical polymerization; (ii) peptide/protein – polymer conjugates and (iii) macromolecular engineering.

Our expertise in the area of surface-initiated polymerization provides the basis for replica surface modification described in this proposal. We have gathered significant expertise with the use of this technology in the preparation of thin polymer coatings for the development of protein microarrays[1,2] and coatings for blood contacting biomaterials.[3] Within the framework of these activities, our laboratory has also obtained significant experience with the functionalization of polymer surfaces with biologically active peptides and proteins.[1,2,3] A second major research thrust of our laboratory are peptide/protein – synthetic polymer conjugates.[4,5] Within this cluster of projects, our laboratory has also gained much experience with the conjugation of peptides and proteins to synthetic polymers, which will also be of use for the present project.

The Laboratoire des Polymères has excellent facilities for the preparation of the proposed replica coatings, including 30 fume hoods for chemical synthesis, which are equipped with standard organic and polymer chemistry equipment, and also possess or has routine access to x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy as well as water contact angle measuring instrumentation, which are essential tools for the characterization of the proposed replica coatings.

Relevant Publications

S. Tugulu, A. Arnold, I. Sielaff, K. Johnsson, H.-A. Klok, Protein functionalized polymer brushes, Biomacromolecules 2005, 6, 1602 – 1607.

Sielaff, A. Arnold, G. Godin, S. Tugulu, H.-A. Klok, K. Johnsson, Protein function microarrays based on self-immobilizing and self-labeling fusion proteins, ChemBioChem 2006, 7, 194 – 202.

S. Tugulu, P. Silacci, N. Stergiopulos, H.-A. Klok, RGD-functionalized polymer brushes as substrates for the integrin specific adhesion of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, Biomaterials 2007, 28, 2536 – 2546.

W. M. Vandermeulen, H.-A. Klok, Peptide/protein hybrid materials: enhanced control of structure and improved performance through conjugation of biological and synthetic polymers, Macromol. Biosci. 2004, 4, 383 – 398.

H.-A. Klok, Biological – synthetic hybrid block copolymers: Combining the best from two worlds, J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2005, 43, 1 – 17.

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