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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V047035/2
Title: Intracellular Controlled Radical Polymerizations
Principal Investigator: Bruns, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
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Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Technical University of Darmstadt
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 January 2022 Ends: 30 April 2023 Value (£): 74,652
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Synthetic biology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
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Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The interface of synthetic biology and (bio)materials is a highly promising, yet underexplored field of research. It can play a key role in addressing one of the biggest questions to mankind, which is how life started and how non-living materials became living. If synthetic polymers are successfully integrated into living cells, it will become feasible to induce effects within cells by bio-orthogonal triggers, thereby, opening up new avenues to gain control over cells, i.e. over their development and behavior.

The overarching goal of this project is to integrate biocatalytic controlled radical polymerizations (bioCRP) into living cells as a fundamentally new approach to interface biological systems with synthetic polymers and polymeric nanostructures. This project aims to achieve a fundamental understanding of what happens when amphiphilic block copolymers are synthesized and self-assembled directly within cells, and how this process can be steered to form nanostructures or semi-synthetic cell membranes. To this end, methods for intracellular bioCRP and polymerization-induced self-assembly will be developed and the intracellular self-assembly of block copolymers and their integration into the cell membrane will be studied.
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