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Facile synthesis for PPF

Research Achievements

Facile synthesis for PPF

IGERT Fellow Angela DiCiccio has developed a method for the facile synthesis of the biocompatible polyester, poly(propylene fumarate) or PPF. In collaboration with Antonios Mikos at Rice Univ., these polyesters are being characterized and tested as biomedical scaffolds. The current synthesis of PPF via step-growth copolymerization limits the accessible molecular weight, thus requiring more additives to create scaffolds with sufficient mechanical integrity. DiCiccio uses anhydrides and cyclic epoxides to perform ring-opening copolymerizations to obtain higher molecular weight PPF. This adaptation to the biomedical polyester formation enables the use of inexpensive starting materials, an improvement of the polymer properties, as well as a much less energy-intensive synthesis. DiCiccio's synthesis performs these reactions at low temperatures, without the use of high vacuum, and in an atom-economical fashion, making this a sustainable alternative to polymers of this class.