Organic Chemistry Seminar
Heather D. Maynard is the Dr. Myung Ki Hong Professor in Polymer Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. Maynard is a leader in the area of protein-polymer conjugates, which are important therapeutics for a variety of diseases. She develops new synthetic methods to make the materials, invents new polymers to improve properties such as stability, and demonstrates preclinical efficacy of her conjugates with an eye towards translation for human health. Maynard’s research and teaching have been recognized by numerous awards, including most recently the Bioconjugate Chemistry Lectureship Award, the American Chemical Society Arthur Cope Scholar Award, the UCLA Student Development Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, and election as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. Maynard is also an American Chemical Society POLY and PMSE, Leverhulme, Kavli Frontiers, and Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow, was a Fulbright Specialist in New Zealand, and a member of the US Defence Science Study Group. Maynard received her PhD from the California Institute of Technology with Robert H. Grubbs and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) with Jeffrey Hubbell.
Therapeutic proteins are challenging to transport and store, and thus the majority must be refrigerated or frozen. Proteins exposed to these conditions often lose activity. This can be harmful or even fatal for patients that take the medications. Thus, polymeric materials that are capable of stabilizing biomolecules at room temperature and to agitation are of significant interest. This talk will focus on new polymeric materials to address this important problem. Well-defined polymers were synthesized by controlled radical polymerization and ring opening polymerizations. These were tested in their ability to stabilize proteins to room temperature, elevated temperatures, mechanical agitation, and pH changes when added as excipients. Side chains derived from Nature and others from known excipient classes were compared and contrasted, and the mechanisms of stabilization were investigated. Grafting to and grafting from synthetic strategies were utilized to prepare protein conjugates of these polymers, and in vivo testing showed that the polymers significantly increased blood circulation times in addition to retaining protein activity after exposure to high temperatures. Furthermore, by altering the synthesis, the polymers could be made responsive in order to release protein drugs on demand. Synthesis, stabilization properties, and application of the polymers in medicine will be presented.