Functionalized Polymersomes from a Polyisoprene-Activated Polyacrylamide Precursor

Jay R. Werber, Colin Peterson, Nicholas J. Van Zee, Marc A. Hillmyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Self-assembled polymer nanoparticles have tremendous potential in biomedical and environmental applications. For all applications, tailored polymer chemistries are critical. In this study, we demonstrate a precursor approach in which an activated, organic solvent-soluble block polymer precursor is modified through mild postpolymerization modifications to access new polymer structures. We synthesized and characterized poly(isoprene)-block-poly(di-Boc acrylamide) diblock polymers. This activated-acrylamide-based polymer was then reacted with amines or reductants in the absence of catalysts to yield the hydrophilic blocks polyacrylamide, poly(hydroxypropylene), and poly(N-ethyl acrylamide). The resulting amphiphilic block polymers self-assembled in water to form polymersomes, as confirmed by cryo-electron microscopy and confocal microscopy. The approach also enables simple functionalization with specialized ligands, which we demonstrated by tagging polymers with an amino-fluorophore and imaging by confocal microscopy. We expect that the methodologies established in this study will open doors to new and useful solution nanostructures with surface chemistries that can be optimized for various applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-498
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC-0020210. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, UMN, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. Confocal microscopy was conducted at the University of Minnesota - University Imaging Center, with the assistance of Guillermo Marqués.

MRSEC Support

  • Shared

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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  • MRFN

    Lodge, T.


    Project: Research project

  • MRSEC Program DMR-1420013

    Lodge, T.


    Project: Research project

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