Polymeric Bioactives: Polymers from Bioactives and as Bioactives by Prof. Kathryn E. Uhrich, University of California, Riverside



Polymeric Bioactives: Polymers from Bioactives and as Bioactives

Prof. Kathryn E. Uhrich

Dean, College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Distinguished Professor, Chemistry

University of California, Riverside

Tuesday, April 11,  Webinar at 6:00 PM Pacific time


Our research centers on polymeric bioactives; specifically, the design of biocompatible, biodegradable polymers. While polymeric bioactives were initially designed for delivering pharmaceuticals, the concept has been expanded to improve the lubricity of engine oils, to prevent plaque buildup on tooth enamel, and to improve skin appearance. To design biocompatible and biodegradable polymers, we begin with starting materials that are naturally occurring and deemed safe. We have two different classes of polymers - polymers that deliver bioactives and polymers derived from bioactives.

As polymers that deliver bioactives, nanoscale amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs) were initially created to encapsulate hydrophobic drugs and improve drug water-solubility and improve bioavailability. Our current work builds upon the discovery that demonstrated that the AMs themselves are bioactive – they actively coordinate with binding domains on macrophages to mitigate formation of atherosclerotic plaques. They also display novel mechanisms for mitigating biofilm formation.

As polymers derived from bioactives, PolyActives are designed to biodegrade into therapeutically useful or bioactive molecules. The first example was a poly(anhydride-ester) that yielded salicylic acid, the active component of aspirin. This concept has been expanded to include PolyAntibiotics, PolyAntiseptics and PolyOpiates useful for localized, controlled bioactive delivery for pharmaceutical, personal care, and commercial applications.

Prof. Uhrich's Background Statement

My research focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of biocompatible, biodegradable polymers that deliver bioactives. My most well known invention is “PolyAspirin”; it was the first example of a polymer that degrades into a bioactive such as salicylic acid that can locally reduce inflammation and pain. These polymers were evaluated for various wound healing applications, such as promoting bone regeneration in diabetic animals. Another invention is amphiphilic macromolecules, which are also bioactive. The bioactive AMs were unique therapeutic coatings for metal cardiac stents to reduce smooth muscle cell proliferation and platelet adhesion in humans. To date, this research has produced more than 190 peer-reviewed papers and generated nearly $30 million in federal and corporate research funding. I’m an inventor on more than 60 U.S. and international issued patents based upon research performed in my labs. I’ve also been involved in multiple start-up companies centered on biomedical polymers and worked in close partnership with companies, such as BASF, Chanel, Colgate-Palmolive, DuPont, ExxonMobil, and L’Oréal. The partnerships are typically to develop new materials and/or products that are nontoxic and biodegradable and which meet a consumer need in pharmaceutics, medical devices, personal care, or environmental applications.

DATE: Tuesday, April 11

Registration deadline: Monday, April 10, 1:00 PM.

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Webinar Timing: 6:00 PM.

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