Chevron Science Center, 219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Polymer Chemistry: Synthesis and Chemistry of New Polymeric Materials and Biopolymers
Professor Chapman ís current research is in the area of polymer synthesis, particularly polymers with potential biomedical applications. His research is currently centering on dendritic polymers made from naturally occurring amino acids and other metabolites to be used for applications ranging from drug delivery and gene therapy to tissue engineering and artificial blood. We have been focusing on amphiphilic dendritic polymers based on the amino acid lysine and also containing linear polymeric moieties. We refer to these polymers as "hydraamphiphiles" We are studying their ability to carry hydrophobic drugs either by forming micelles in water and absorbing the drugs or by stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions which function as the drug carriers. The polymers are also being studied as vectors for carrying DNA into cells and as modifiers of the mechanical properties of ceramic materials to be used as prostheses.
A second interest is the synthesis of fully conjugated dendrimers. These would serve as the basis of novel, organic "quantum dots" with very strong nonlinear optical properties and as a potential photoredox catalysts. In the latter capacity, these would model chloroplasts and potentially lead to a unique catalyst for splitting water photochemically.
A third interest remains the synthesis of biocompatible coatings based on polyurethanes. This involves synthesizing polyurethanes with biobenign hydrolysis products as well as creating backbone sites for modification in a way to promote the adhesion of natural surface cells.