Dr. Douglas Adamson and Dr. Thomas Seery Awarded NSF Grant

By Zachary Johnson

Dr. Douglas Adamson and Dr. Thomas Seery were awarded a NSF Grant of $200,000 for the project, “Unimolecular Micelles: Design, Synthesis, and Properties.” The grant was funded by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry Program of the Chemistry Division.

The project aims to synthesize and observe polymers that can create stable, single chain globules in solutions. Dr. Adamson says that “protein folds in such a way as to hide most of those insoluble amino acids while the leaving the water soluble ones near the surface.” The objective is to understand how artificial polymers can imitate the nanostructure forming abilities of proteins at a very fundamental level.

The formations of these accurately discrete structures are a continuous challenge for chemists. Adamson and Seery believe that the results of the project “will lead to applications such as robust artificial enzymes” and “plastic antibodies that function much like natural antibodies but avoid the need for biological source.” The morphology within these nanostructures can impact vast areas of technology such as medicines, electronics and biotechnology.

Now with the funding of NSF, Dr. Adamson and Dr. Seery are able to proceed in the process of exploring synthetic materials that may perform some of the functions of proteins. The project will also involve visits to local schools and will contribute to the training of undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Douglas H. Adamson received his B.S. degree at the University of Evansville, Indiana and his Ph.D. degree at University of Southern California. He joined the University of Connecticut in August 2008, becoming an Associate Professor in the Polymer Program at IMS with Chemistry as his home department. Dr. Adamson was appointed Director of the Polymer Program in July 2011.

Dr. Thomas Seery, Associate Professor of Chemistry, received his B.A. degree at Harvard University and his Ph. D. degree at University of Southern California. He joined the University of Connecticut in 1994. Dr. Seery’s research interests include studying polymer synthesis at surfaces and physical chemistry of polymers in solution.