Dr Sebastian Spain
Department of Chemistry
Lecturer in Polymer Chemistry
+44 114 222 9362
Full contact details
Department of Chemistry
13 Brook Hill
Dr. Spain received his MChem from the University of Durham, followed by a PhD from the same institution. He then moved to a postdoctoral positions at the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Oxford (2008-10), and the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham (2010-14). In 2014 he was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Sheffield.
- Research interests
My research interests lie at the interfaces of chemistry, biology and pharmacy, particularly the use of modern synthetic polymer chemistry for the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics. Particular areas of interest are outlined below.
Stimuli-responsive, or "smart", materials are those that display a non-linear change in properties (e.g. solubility) in the presence of an external trigger. By matching the stimulus to the biochemical environment of a certain disease or tissue the resulting property switch can be used target that site. For example, through use of a temperature responsive polymer the uptake of drug loaded particles into cells can be controlled in a temperature dependent manner. In addition to commonly used stimuli (e.g. pH or temperature) we have developed systems that respond to specific nucleic acid sequences, allowing far greater control over the switching process. We are now extending this research to target markers of immunological disease.
Modular approaches to biomaterials
Despite advances in controlled polymerisation, polymeric materials are, by their nature, disperse with a distribution of molecular weights/chain lengths. This dispersity leads to additional variables when comparing different materials which is particularly problematic in an already complex system such as a human cell. Modular approaches, where a core structure may be later decorated with functional components, allow many materials to be synthesised and compared while minimising variations in dispersity.
Biological interactions with polymers
Polymers have been used routinely in cosmetics and medicines for decades however there is increasing materials that have been "generally regarded as safe" may not always be so. I am interested in how synthetic polymers interact with biological entities, by what mechanism and how can altering polymer structure affect this interaction.
- Incorporation of lysozyme into a mucoadhesive electrospun patch for rapid protein delivery to the oral mucosa. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 112. View this article in WRRO
- Mucoadhesive Electrospun Fibre-Based Technologies for Oral Medicine.. Pharmaceutics, 12(6).
- Medium-chain fatty acids released from polymeric electrospun patches inhibit Candida albicans growth and reduce the biofilm viability. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.
- Mucoadhesive Electrospun Patch Delivery of Lidocaine to the Oral Mucosa and Investigation of Spatial Distribution in a Tissue Using MALDI-Mass Spectrometry Imaging. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 16(9), 3948-3956. View this article in WRRO
- Polyvalent diazonium polymers provide efficient protection of oncolytic adenovirus Enadenotucirev from neutralising antibodies while maintaining biological activity in vitro and in vivo. Bioconjugate Chemistry. View this article in WRRO
- Self-Assembly of Amphiphilic Statistical Copolymers and Their Aqueous Rheological Properties. Macromolecules, 51(4), 1474-1487. View this article in WRRO
- Alkyl-Modified Oligonucleotides as Intercalating Vehicles for Doxorubicin Uptake via Albumin Binding. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 15(2), 427-446. View this article in WRRO
- Control of aggregation temperatures in mixed and blended cytocompatible thermoresponsive block co-polymer nanoparticles. Soft Matter, 13, 7441-7452. View this article in WRRO
- The effect of hyperbranched poly(acrylic acid)s on the morphology and size of precipitated nanoscale (fluor)hydroxyapatite. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 5(30), 6027-6033. View this article in WRRO
- Influence of polymer size on uptake and cytotoxicity of doxorubicin-loaded DNA–PEG conjugates. Bioconjugate Chemistry, 27(5), 1244-1252. View this article in WRRO
- The effect of protein concentration on the viscosity of a recombinant albumin solution formulation. RSC Advances, 6(18), 15143-15154. View this article in WRRO
- Synthesis of 19F nucleic acid–polymer conjugates as real-time MRI probes of biorecognition. Polymer Chemistry, 7, 2180-2191. View this article in WRRO
- Erratum: Corrigendum: Bacteria-instructed synthesis of polymers for self-selective microbial binding and labelling. Nature Materials, 15(2), 243-243.
- Phosphonium Polymethacrylates for Short Interfering RNA Delivery: Effect of Polymer and RNA Structural Parameters on Polyplex Assembly and Gene Knockdown. Biomacromolecules, 16(11), 3480-3490.
- Multifunctional Poly[N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide] Copolymers via Postpolymerization Modification and Sequential Thiol–Ene Chemistry. Macromolecules, 48(9), 2857-2863.
- Bacteria-instructed synthesis of polymers for self-selective microbial binding and labelling. Nature Materials, 13(7), 748-755.
- Programmed assembly of polymer–DNA conjugate nanoparticles with optical readout and sequence-specific activation of biorecognition. Nanoscale, 6(4), 2368-2374. View this article in WRRO
- Multi-modal switching in responsive DNA block co-polymer conjugates. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 15(38), 16263-16263.
- Enhanced uptake of nanoparticle drug carriers via a thermoresponsive shell enhances cytotoxicity in a cancer cell line. Biomaterials Science, 1(4), 434-434.
- Well-defined polymeric vesicles with high stability and modulation of cell uptake by a simple coating protocol. Polymer Chemistry, 3(9), 2596-2596.
- Thermoresponsive Polymer Colloids for Drug Delivery and Cancer Therapy. Macromolecular Bioscience, 11(12), 1722-1734.
- The binding of polyvalent galactosides to the lectin Ricinus communis agglutinin 120 (RCA120): an ITC and SPR study. Polymer Chemistry, 2(7), 1552-1552.
- Inhibition of Ice Crystal Growth by Synthetic Glycopolymers: Implications for the Rational Design of Antifreeze Glycoprotein Mimics. Biomacromolecules, 10(2), 328-333.
- Synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers and some studies of their aqueous solution behaviour. Faraday Discussions, 139, 359-359.
- Recent advances in the synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 45(11), 2059-2072.
- Facile in situ preparation of biologically active multivalent glyconanoparticles. Chemical Communications(40), 4198-4198.
- Quantitative study on the antifreeze protein mimetic ice growth inhibition properties of poly(ampholytes) derived from vinyl-based polymers. Biomater. Sci., 2(12), 1787-1795.
- Synthesis and characterization of variable conformation pH responsive block co-polymers for nucleic acid delivery and targeted cell entry. Polym. Chem., 5(5), 1626-1636.
- Programmable polymer-DNA hydrogels with dual input and multiscale responses. Biomater. Sci., 2(2), 203-211.
- A spoonful of sugar: the application of glycopolymers in therapeutics. Polym. Chem., 2(1), 60-68.
Conference proceedings papers
- Engineering polymers to respond to biorelevant stimuli: New materials and opportunities. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 245
- Glycopolymer-functionalized gold nanoparticles: A new strategy toward synthetic anticancer vaccines. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 238
- Well defined bioactive polymers by RAFT polymerization. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 230 (pp U4302-U4302)
- Teaching interests
Polymer Chemistry, Radical Chemistry
- Teaching activities
Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules
- Chemistry of Radical Polymerisation (Level 4)
This module introduces ways to synthesis polymers with useful functionality and introduces the basic concepts involved in carrying out these reactions.
- Fundamental Polymer Chemistry (Postgraduate Level)
- Design and Synthesis of Polymers and Controlled Structure (Postgraduate Level)
- Tutorials: Level 2 Organic Chemistry.
- Level 3 Literature Review
- Level 3 Research Project
- Level 4 Research Project
- Polymer MSc Laboratories
- Chemistry of Radical Polymerisation (Level 4)