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Professor Malcolm Chisholm
Professor Malcolm Chisholm

Internal News - 06 November 2007

Leverhulme Symposium: Biocompatible Polymers for Biomedical Applications

Professor Malcolm Chisholm FRS has been awarded a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship which he is holding in the Department of Chemistry. To mark the occasion, a Leverhulme Symposium will be held tomorrow (2pm, 7 November in 8W 1.1).

The symposium will highlight recent advances in the well-controlled synthesis of biodegradable polymers and their use in biomedical applications.

Polymers such as poly(lactic acid) (PLA) are an important new class of sustainable plastic. Unlike current oil-based plastics such as polyethylene, they are made from renewable resources, for example, PLA is produced from corn. Also, because they are biodegradable, they pose less of a problem than oil-based plastics on disposal. A further feature of PLA and related polymers is that they are biocompatible and resorbable by the body, which makes them an important class of material for developing biomedical technologies such as targeted drug delivery and tissue engineering.

As well as Professor Chisholm, whose research group at Ohio State University is at the forefront of developing well-defined catalysts for polymerization in this area, speakers include Professor Jan Feijen, who heads a renowned research group working on polymer synthesis and engineering, tissue engineering and drug delivery at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Other speakers are Dr Matthew Jones (Department of Chemistry, Bath) and Dr Andrew Dove (Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick) who will present new aspects of benign catalyst design and Dr Hongyun Tai (School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham) and Dr Marianne Ellis (Department of Chemical Engineering, Bath) who will discuss developments in the use of biodegradable polymers for biomedical applications.

Professor Matthew Davidson, who has organised the symposium, says: “The visit of Professor Chisholm to Bath has been a hugely stimulating experience for my research group and everyone else in the department. The symposium that his visit has inspired will highlight the importance of a ‘bottom up’ multidisciplinary approach to the design of functional biomedical materials, which requires expertise in chemistry, polymer science and biomedical engineering."

Professor Paul Raithby, who has organised Professor Chisholm’s visit to Bath, says: “We are most grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for awarding Professor Chisholm with a Visiting Professorship, at Bath. It is a great pleasure to host Malcolm for his four month stay and we are delighted that Malcolm has participated so actively in many aspects of life within the department. In addition to the special Leverhulme Symposium, Malcolm has given several postgraduate and a series of undergraduate lectures this semester. He is an inspirational teacher and has been a great motivational influence on us all.”

All are welcome to attend the symposium. For further information see contact details above.