Dr Sebastian Spain
Lecturer in Polymer Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 9362
|Spain Group Website|
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.
Professional Qualifications & Memberships
Polymer Synthesis, Polymer Characterisation, Controlled Radical Polymerisation, Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Pharmaceutics, Responsive Materials, DNA assembly, Immunological Materials, Glycopolymers, Bioconjugation, Gene Delivery, Virotherapy
Polymer Chemistry, Radical Chemistry
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.
Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules
- Francini N, Cochrane D, Illingworth S, Purdie L, Mantovani G, Fisher K, Seymour L, Spain S & Alexander C (2019) 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
- Neal TJ, Beattie DL, Byard SJ, Smith GN, Murray MW, Williams NSJ, Emmett SN, Armes SP, Spain SG & Mykhaylyk OO (2018) Self-Assembly of Amphiphilic Statistical Copolymers and Their Aqueous Rheological Properties. Macromolecules, 51(4), 1474-1487. View this article in WRRO
- Purdie L, Alexander C, Spain SG & Magnusson JP (2018) Alkyl-Modified Oligonucleotides as Intercalating Vehicles for Doxorubicin Uptake via Albumin Binding. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 15(2), 427-446. View this article in WRRO
- Foralosso R, Moir L, Mastrotto F, Sasso L, Tchoryk A, Selo A, Grabowska A, Ashford MB, Aylott J, Gellert PR , Spain SG et al (2017) Control of aggregation temperatures in mixed and blended cytocompatible thermoresponsive block co-polymer nanoparticles. Soft Matter, 13, 7441-7452. View this article in WRRO
- Shallcross L, Roche K, Wilcock CJ, Stanton KT, Swift T, Rimmer S, Hatton PV & Spain SG (2017) 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
- Purdie L, Alexander C, Spain SG & Magnusson JP (2016) 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
- Goncalves AD, Alexander C, Roberts CJ, Spain SG, Uddin S & Allen S (2016) 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
- Sicilia G, Davis AL, Spain SG, Magnusson JP, Boase N, Thurecht KJ & Alexander C (2016) Synthesis of 19F nucleic acid–polymer conjugates as real-time MRI probes of biorecognition. Polymer Chemistry, 7, 2180-2191. View this article in WRRO
- Magennis EP, Fernandez-Trillo F, Sui C, Spain SG, Bradshaw DJ, Churchley D, Mantovani G, Winzer K & Alexander C (2016) Corrigendum: Bacteria-instructed synthesis of polymers for self-selective microbial binding and labelling. Nature Materials, 15(2), 243-243.
- Loczenski Rose V, Shubber S, Sajeesh S, Spain SG, Puri S, Allen S, Lee D-K, Winkler GS & Mantovani G (2015) 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.
- Francini N, Purdie L, Alexander C, Mantovani G & Spain SG (2015) Multifunctional Poly[ N -(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide] Copolymers via Postpolymerization Modification and Sequential Thiol–Ene Chemistry. Macromolecules, 48(9), 2857-2863.
- Mitchell DE, Lilliman M, Spain SG & Gibson MI (2014) Quantitative study on the antifreeze protein mimetic ice growth inhibition properties of poly(ampholytes) derived from vinyl-based polymers. Biomaterials Science, 2(12), 1787-1795.
- Magennis EP, Fernandez-Trillo F, Sui C, Spain SG, Bradshaw DJ, Churchley D, Mantovani G, Winzer K & Alexander C (2014) Bacteria-instructed synthesis of polymers for self-selective microbial binding and labelling. Nature Materials, 13(7), 748-755.
- Matini T, Francini N, Battocchio A, Spain SG, Mantovani G, Vicent MJ, Sanchis J, Gallon E, Mastrotto F, Salmaso S , Caliceti P et al (2014) Synthesis and characterization of variable conformation pH responsive block co-polymers for nucleic acid delivery and targeted cell entry. Polymer Chemistry, 5(5), 1626-1636.
- Magnusson JP, Fernández-Trillo F, Sicilia G, Spain SG & Alexander C (2014) 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
- Sicilia G, Grainger-Boultby C, Francini N, Magnusson JP, Saeed AO, Fernández-Trillo F, Spain SG & Alexander C (2014) Programmable polymer-DNA hydrogels with dual input and multiscale responses. Biomaterials Science, 2(2), 203-211.
- Yaşayan G, Magnusson JP, Sicilia G, Spain SG, Allen S, Davies MC & Alexander C (2013) Multi-modal switching in responsive DNA block co-polymer conjugates. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 15(38), 16263-16274.
- Abulateefeh SR, Spain SG, Thurecht KJ, Aylott JW, Chan WC, Garnett MC & Alexander C (2013) Enhanced uptake of nanoparticle drug carriers via a thermoresponsive shell enhances cytotoxicity in a cancer cell line. Biomaterials Science, 1(4), 434-442.
- Yaşayan G, Redhead M, Magnusson JP, Spain SG, Allen S, Davies M, Alexander C & Fernández-Trillo F (2012) Well-defined polymeric vesicles with high stability and modulation of cell uptake by a simple coating protocol. Polymer Chemistry, 3(9), 2596-2604.
- Abulateefeh SR, Spain SG, Aylott JW, Chan WC, Garnett MC & Alexander C (2011) Thermoresponsive Polymer Colloids for Drug Delivery and Cancer Therapy. Macromolecular Bioscience, 11(12), 1722-1734.
- Spain SG & Cameron NR (2011) The binding of polyvalent galactosides to the lectin Ricinus communis agglutinin 120 (RCA 120 ): an ITC and SPR study. Polymer Chemistry, 2(7), 1552-1560.
- Spain SG & Cameron NR (2011) A spoonful of sugar: the application of glycopolymers in therapeutics. Polymer Chemistry, 2(1), 60-68.
- Gibson MI, Barker CA, Spain SG, Albertin L & Cameron NR (2009) Inhibition of ice crystal growth by synthetic glycopolymers: implications for the rational design of antifreeze glycoprotein mimics.. Biomacromolecules, 10(2), 328-333.
- Cameron NR, Spain SG, Kingham JA, Weck S, Albertin L, Barker CA, Battaglia G, Smart T & Blanazs A (2008) Synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers and some studies of their aqueous solution behaviour. Faraday Discussions, 139(0), 359-368.
- Spain SG, Gibson MI & Cameron NR (2007) Recent advances in the synthesis of well‐defined glycopolymers. Journal of Polymer Science Part A Polymer Chemistry, 45(11), 2059-2072.
- Spain SG, Albertin L & Cameron NR (2006) Facile in situ preparation of biologically active multivalent glyconanoparticles. Chemical Communications, 0(40), 4198-4200.
- Spain SG, Yaşayan G, Soliman M, Heath F, Saeed AO & Alexander C (2011) Nanoparticles for nucleic acid delivery, Comprehensive Biomaterials (pp. 389-410).
Conference proceedings papers
- Alexander C, Saeed A, Magnusson J, Fernandez-Trillo F & Spain SG (2013) Engineering polymers to respond to biorelevant stimuli: New materials and opportunities. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 245
- Parry AL, Spain SG, Ellis J, Davis BD & Cameron NR (2009) Glycopolymer-functionalized gold nanoparticles: A new strategy toward synthetic anticancer vaccines. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 238
- Cameron NR, Spain SG, Bayley JPM, Watson H, Dureault A, Sanderson JM, Thies JC, Ayres L & van Hest JCM (2005) Well defined bioactive polymers by RAFT polymerization. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, Vol. 230 (pp U4302-U4302)