QUILL Current Projects
Zwitterions for Biomedical Applications
Marijana Blesic and co-workers investigate the potential of zwitterionic polymers to resist attachment of proteins for use in anti-fouling surfaces.
Anti-fouling surfaces are a critical requirement for a wide range of biomedical applications, with unwanted attachment of proteins posing a risk of medical complications with patients or of medical device failure. Although it suffers drawbacks such as susceptibility to oxidation, such surfaces are typically achieved with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) films. However recently zwitterionic polymers have shown promise as an alternative, due to their higher chemical stability and comparible biofouling resistance. Zwitterionic salts (ZWSs) are a novel class of compounds that incorporate an additional zwitterionic moiety (a localised positive and negative charge on a single molecule) onto either the anion or cation of a conventional salt. Like ionic liquids they offer many possibilities to tailor properties to a given task or incorporate into polymers and substrates. However ZWSs exhibit pronounced salting in/out ability that lends itself to anti-fouling properties. Understanding the complex equilibria of water/polymer/ZWS and water/protein/ZWS ternary systems would provide crucial information for this industrially important system.