Polymer Synthesis for Bioapplications


The objective of this course is to provide students with a knowledge base in the most recent advances in synthetic polymers for drug delivery and biomaterial drug delivery platforms. At the end of the course students should be able to:

1. Understand the fundamentals of polymer science relevant to drug delivery applications.

2. Understand the basic structures and  synthetic processes of polymers and macromolecular structures.

3. Understand various ways to synthesize/engineer polymers and high-order assemblies and have        confidence in reading and reproducing synthetic protocols in modern literatures. 

4. Be familiar with latest development in engineered (bio)polymers.

5. Understand modern tools for proteins and peptide discovery.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Ana Isabel Nobre Martins Aguiar de Oliveira Ricardo, Ana Rita Cruz Duarte


Weekly - 4

Total - 69

Teaching language





“Introduction to polymers,” 3rd edition, R. J. Young and P. A. Lovell, CRC Press,   2011, ISBN-10: 0849339294

Required reading (book chapters) & analysis of research papers & material posted on webpage. Readings form basis of in-class discussions and integral part of class participation.

Teaching method

The course is made up of lectures, in-class workshops and lab sessions. Before each lecture, students will be provided with handout, reading assignment, and cases, which will introduce them to upcoming concepts, through Moodle course site. An in-class workshop on solving problems using the fundamental concepts taught during the lecture will be a part of each lecture. There will be individual homework assignments each week.

Evaluation method

This course features lectures (40%), discussions/forums (30%),   exploring case  studies and studying published papers (30%). In addition to lectures, weekly assignments and follow up discussions  are integral part of the class.            

Subject matter

I – Polymers/Biopolymers
1. Polymer synthesis in conventional and non-conventional solvents. Polymerization mechanisms and kinetics.
2. Properties of polymers – morphological, mechanical and thermal properties (GPC, MALDI, DSC, Rheometer), .
3. Stimuli-responsive polymers.

II - Hydrogels
1.     Hydrogel structure and physical chemistry
2.     Methods of polymerization and cross-linking.
3.     Physical hydrogels: ionic and hydrogen bonding in gels; association of amphiphilic block copolymers
4.     Polyelectrolyte hydrogels.

III – Polymer Microparticles/Nanoparticles/Micelles/Vesicles
1.         Synthetic nano- and micro particle carriers.
2.         Surface modification of micro/nanoparticle carriers. Affinity ligands binding.
3.         Pegylated carriers. Alternative pegylation.

Lab Classes
Production of a hydrogel. Yield calculation
Hydrogel properties:  Morphological, mechanical and thermal properties characterization. Swelling ability.


Programs where the course is taught: