(6hv) Functional Designer Polymers for Integrating Advanced Synthetic and Biological Materials | AIChE

(6hv) Functional Designer Polymers for Integrating Advanced Synthetic and Biological Materials


Ting, J. M. - Presenter, University of Chicago

Research Interests: Polymers have
entered into virtually every aspect of modern society, from familiar commodity
items such as disposable plastic bags to high-value technological applications
in electronics, energy, and medicine. As the vibrant field of polymer science progresses
to new frontiers, the incorporation of more advanced macromolecules into
emerging health applications presents several longstanding challenges. Two of
the most prominent issues include (1) how to rationally compartmentalize
sensitive biomolecules into polymeric domains and (2) how to predictively
translate such strategies to harsh physiological environments, which are often
complex, dynamic, and responsive.

My long-term
goal is to apply my expertise in polymer
, molecular engineering,
and precision drug formulation to
develop multifunctional materials with prescribed chemical attributes to
address these unfulfilled needs in the biomedical landscape. To achieve this, I
will employ synthetic tools and ingredients to construct customized
materials and elucidate the contributions of structure to function
across hierarchical length and time scales. As an independent
investigator, my research will focus on designer storage and delivery, a
convergence science approach to develop nanocarriers with controlled
functionality and programmable performance. This idea combines multimonomer
selection, architecture assembly, and structure-property evaluation from a
formulation standpoint to enhance the translation of pipeline therapeutics into
accessible medicines for treating chronic, infectious, and inheritable disease.

The theme of
my future research builds on my interdisciplinary training in polymer
chemistry, engineering, and both physical/life sciences to formulate ideal assemblies
around drugs, DNA, peptides, and proteins. These well-defined, responsive
systems can enable direct investigations into resultant spatiotemporal behavior
in solid- and solution-states. Such motifs are also broadly applicable to
enabling analogous encapsulation/release strategies in energy management,
agricultural/food production, and personal care. Moving forward, I anticipate that
my laboratory infrastructure can be readily adapted to host such avenues.

For initial
investigations, I will leverage my broad skillset into three main aims:

(1) Accelerating
Soft Materials Discovery, Development, and Deployment

(2) Surmounting
Biological Barriers to New Therapeutics and Genome Editing

(3) Orchestrating
Multi-Responsivity in Biocompatible, Artificial-Living Soft Matter

PhD Dissertation: Tunable Polymers as Specialized Excipients for Oral
Drug Delivery
, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials
Science, University of Minnesota (Advisors: Professor Frank S. Bates and
Professor Theresa M. Reineke)

Postdoctoral Project: Static and Dynamic Properties of
Polyelectrolyte Complexes
, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University
of Chicago (Advisor: Professor Matthew V. Tirrell)

Funding, Successful Proposals,
: As potential funding sources, the scientific
challenges in these projects align with the major initiatives of national
funding agencies, including NSF (NSF-DMR, NSF-DEMS), NIH (NIGMS, NIH
Director's New Innovator Award, NIBIB), DOE (DOE-MSE), DOD
(CDMRP, ARO), and private foundations (Camille and Henry Dreyfus
Foundation, Baxter International Foundation, HHMI, Pew Charitable Trusts). My
previous record of successful proposals and select distinctions are chronologically

Proposals: Oakridge
National Laboratory Center for Nanophase Materials Science Research
Proposal “SANS based molecular exchange kinetics in polyelectrolyte complex
micelles” (2017); Argonne National Laboratory APS User Proposal “Microstructural
Characterization of Polyelectrolyte Complexes and Polyelectrolyte Complex Based
Micelles & Hydrogels” (2016).

PMSE Future Faculty Scholar (2018); NIST-CHiMaD Postdoctoral Fellowship
(2016); 1st AIChE Pharmaceutical Discovery, Development and
Manufacturing Student Award (2015); Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
(2015); NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2011).

Research Background: My research
has relied on not only my technical training in chemical engineering, but also
overarching aspects of chemistry, biomedical engineering, and materials
science. I have led multidisciplinary projects supported by both industry and
national laboratories, which I believe positions me to initiate new basic and
applied research partnerships. Because of this, my perspective on translating
advanced polymeric materials into end-use technologies also can facilitate
ideal collaborations with existing research endeavors in Centers.

My graduate
research involved the (1) controlled synthesis of polymer systems that were
judiciously tailored to drugs, (2) preparation of amorphous solid dispersions,
and (3) in vitro / in vivo dissolution experiments to
assess the oral solubility advantage. This enabled the advancement of
multicomponent copolymerization1 and practical guidelines for solid
dispersion formulation.2-5, 8 Macromolecular systems were engineered
from the molecular level up to impart favorable non-covalent interactions for
stabilizing otherwise-intractable anti-cholesterol, anti-seizure, and
anti-cancer drugs. In one example, I led high-throughput synthesis and
screening campaigns and identified a promising system that ultimately exhibited
excellent correlation to animal studies in rat models,4 which is now
under scale up and production by Dow Chemical.

postdoctoral work aims to accelerate the pace of next-generation materials
discovery into industrially-relevant products. Polyelectrolyte complexes,
mixtures of oppositely-charged polymers in water, have highly tunable materials
properties that are appealing for numerous bioapplications. However, harnessing
these materials for clinical applications remains an enduring challenge. To
this end, I am using carefully-selected building blocks to explore chemical,
ionic, and architectural effects in well-defined polymer libraries. In this
rich state space, monomer constituents are being systematically combined in
micelle/hydrogel platforms,10 with time-resolved scattering,
spectroscopy, and fluorescent imaging investigations underway.

Teaching Interests: My
interests include courses related to polymers (e.g., Polymer Chemistry, Polymer
Physics), including topical courses I have taken like Rheology
(under Prof. Chris Macosko), Scattering (under Prof. Timothy Lodge), Colloids/Interfaces
(under Prof. Chris Macosko), or Biomaterials (under Prof. Chun Wang). I
am also confident in teaching core courses in chemical engineering, such as Transport
Phenomena or Thermodynamics.

My teaching philosophy
focuses on mentoring students to become independent leaders, equipped with
critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills for successful careers.
In this manner, I strive to be cognizant of different ways to guide their
overall education while supporting each student’s individuality and valuing
their diversity. At the University of Minnesota, I was a Teaching
Assistant in Thermodynamics and Polymer Chemistry. Each course
involved grading for ~120 undergraduate students. I also held review sessions
and met with students to review unclear topics. I was awarded a faculty-nominated
Chemical Engineering Outstanding TA Award and a student-nominated Council of
Graduate Students Award for Graduate Teaching. I was also a Recitation Teaching
Assistant in Transport Phenomena. Here, I led supplementary lectures in
weekly recitation classes to ~40 students. Seeing mentored students
succeed gives me immense gratification and strengthens my commitment to higher

I led a collaborative effort in an open-access Journal of Chemical Education article,6
outlining the motivation, methodology, and measured outcomes of Polymer Day to spark outreach ideas for
not only other universities, but also for high school teachers. This positive
experience taught me to tailor my science and teaching directions toward
broader impacts, which I believe will help me develop junior faculty
application packages like the NSF CAREER award.

Outreach and Diversity: Public outreach and commitment to
diversity will be hallmarks of my research group, with a central goal of
inspiring students and their families from diverse backgrounds to proactively
engage with science and engineering. This is particularly important to me
because I believe that the key to solving pressing global challenges ahead is
investment in inclusion of an increasingly diverse workforce, especially for under-represented
groups such as women, people of color, LGBTQ+, or persons with disabilities. In
my career, I want to be known for training the next generation of academic and
industrial leaders to develop curiosity-driven scientific solutions for grand
challenges in biotechnology, human health, and welfare.

Select Publications:

1.       Ting, J. M.; Navale, T.
S.; Bates, F. S.; Reineke, T. M. “Precise Compositional Control and Systematic
Preparation of Multimonomeric Statistical Copolymers” ACS Macro Lett. 2013, 2,

2.       Ting, J. M.; Navale, T.
S.; Bates, F. S.; Reineke, T. M. “Design of Tunable Multicomponent Polymers as
Modular Vehicles to Deliver Highly Lipophilic Drugs” Macromolecules 2014, 47,

3.       Ting, J. M.; Navale, T.
S.; Jones, S. D.; Bates, F. S.; Reineke, T. M. “Deconstructing HPMCAS: Excipient
Design to Tailor Polymer–drug Interactions for Oral Drug Delivery” ACS Biomat. Sci. Eng. 2015, 1, 978–990. (ACS Editors’ Choice:

4.       Ting, J. M.; Tale, S.;
Purchel, A. A.; Jones, S. D.; Widanapathirana, L.; Tolstyka, Z. P.; Li, G.;
Guillaudeu, S. J.; Bates, F. S.; Reineke, T. M. “High–throughput Excipient
Discovery Enables Oral Delivery of Poorly Soluble Pharmaceuticals” ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 748–755. (ACS Author Choice:

5.       Ricarte, R.
G.; Li, Z.; Johnson, L.; Ting, J. M.; Reineke, T. M.; Bates, F. S.;
Hillmyer, M. A.; Lodge, T. P. “Direct Observation of Nanostructures during
Aqueous Dissolution of Polymer/Drug Particles” Macromolecules 2017, 50,

6.       Ting, J. M.; Ricarte, R.
G.; Schneiderman, D. K.; Jiang, Y.; Saba, S. A.; Hillmyer, M. A.; Bates, F. S.;
Reineke, T. M.; Macosko, C. W.; Lodge, T. P. “Polymer Day: Outreach Experiments
for High School Students” J. Chem. Educ.
2017, 94, 1629–1638. (ACS
Author Choice: Open-Access

7.       Acar, H.; Ting,
J. M.; Srivastava, S.; LaBelle, J. L.; Tirrell, M. V. “Molecular
Engineering Solutions for Therapeutic Peptide Delivery” Chem. Soc. Rev. 2017, 46,

8.       Ting, J. M.; Porter III,
W. W.; Mecca, J. M.; Bates, F. S.; Reineke, T. M. “Advances in Polymer Design
for Enhancing Oral Drug Solubility and Delivery” Bioconjugate Chem. 2018, 29,

9.       Schneiderman,
D. K.; Ting, J. M.; Purchel, A. A.; Miranda, R. Jr.; Tirrell, M. V.;
Reineke, T. M.; Rowan, S. J. “RAFT Polymerization in Complex Solvents: from
Whisky to Fermentation Broth” ACS Macro
2018, 7, 406–411.

Ting, J. M.; Wu, H.;
Herzog-Arbeitman, A.; Srivastava, S.; Tirrell, M. V. “Synthesis and Assembly of
Designer Styrenic Diblock Polyelectrolytes” ACS
Macro Lett.
2018, 7,