(6ic) Specialized Polymers for Integrating Advanced Synthetic and Biological Materials | AIChE

(6ic) Specialized 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 faces challenging engineering obstacles. Two prominent issues include controlling compartmentalization into polymer domains and predicting transport strategies into harsh physiological environments, which are often complex, dynamic, and responsive.

My long-term goal is to apply my expertise in polymer science/engineering, molecular engineering, and precision drug formulation to develop multifunctional materials with prescribed chemical attributes to address these unfulfilled needs. To achieve this, I will employ synthetic tools and ingredients to construct custom-built materials and elucidate the contributions of structure to function across hierarchical length and time scales. As an independent investigator, my research will focus on motifs of storage and delivery, extending from a convergence science approach to develop nanocarriers with controlled functionality and programmable performance. This is ultimately in pursuit of translating fundamental science into tangible applications with design principles.

The theme of my future research builds on my interdisciplinary training in chemical engineering, polymer chemistry, materials science, and the physical/life sciences. This can enable direct investigations of the spatiotemporal behavior for polymer carriers in solid- and solution-states. The core of this research enterprise will be broadly amenable to enabling analogous encapsulation/release strategies in energy management, agricultural/food production, and personal care. Moving forward, I anticipate that my laboratory infrastructure can readily host such avenues and collaborate with diverse groups in academia, industry, and national labs.

For initial projects in my group, I will leverage my broad skillset into three main aims:

(1) Accelerating Discovery and Data Science of Complex Macromolecular Architectures

(2) Surmounting Biological Barriers of Genome Editing Therapeutics Delivery

(3) Orchestrating Reconfigurable Structures in Soft Matter Assemblies

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

Postdoctoral Project: Static and Dynamic Properties of Polyelectrolyte Complexes, Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago (Advisor: Prof. Matthew V. Tirrell)

Funding, Successful Proposals, Achievements, Service: As potential funding sources, the scientific challenges in these projects align with the major initiatives of national funding agencies, including NSF (NSF-DMR, including NSF’s 10 Big Ideas), NIH (NIGMS, NIH Director's New Innovator Award, NIBIB), DOE (DOE-MSE), DOD (CDMRP, ARO), ACS (ACS PRF), and private foundations (Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Baxter International Foundation, HHMI, Pew Charitable Trusts). My previous record of select proposals, distinctions, and professional service are summarized:

Proposals: Oakridge National Laboratory Center for Nanophase Materials Science Research (2017); Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Photon Source (2016).

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

Service: AIChE 08A Inhomogeneous Polymers Session Chair (2019); ACS POLY Community Engagement Team (2019); Future Faculty Workshop Attendee (2018); Joint Research Safety Initiative Founding Vice President (2018); 31 Reviewer Contributions (8 Macromolecules, 7 ACS Macro Letters; 4 Molecular Pharmaceutics)

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.

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.2-4 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.

My postdoctoral work aims to better understand the fundamentals of ion-containing polymers. 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 across multiple project platforms,5-8 with time-resolved X-ray and neutron scattering, spectroscopy, and imaging investigations.

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 education.

Furthermore, I have led informal science education efforts described in the Journal of Chemical Education and ACS Omega.9-10 These positive experiences taught me to tailor my science and teaching directions toward broader impacts, which I believe will help me develop competitive junior faculty application packages like the NSF CAREER award.

Outreach, Mentorship, and Diversity: Public outreach, mentorship, 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 (10/15 total, 1 under revision, 4 submitted):

  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, 770–774.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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, 939–952.
  5. 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, 726–733.
  6. Wu, H.; Ting, J. M.; Werba, O.; Tirrell, M. V. “Non-equilibrium Assembly and Kinetic Pathways in Polyelectrolyte Complexes” Chem. Phys. 2018, 149, 163330.
  7. Acar, H.; Ting, J. M.; Srivastava, S.; LaBelle, J. L.; Tirrell, M. V. “Molecular Engineering Solutions for Therapeutic Peptide Delivery” Soc. Rev. 2017, 46, 6553–6569.
  8. Marras, A. E.; Vieregg, J. R.; Ting, J. M.; Rubien, J. D.; Tirrell, M. V. “Polyelectrolyte complexation of oligonucleotides by charged hydrophobic – neutral hydrophilic block copolymers” Polymers 2019, 11, 83.
  9. 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” Chem. Educ. 2017, 94, 1629–1638.
  10. DeWilde, J. F.; Rangnekar, E.; Ting, J. M.; Franek, J. E.; Bates, F. S.; Hillmyer, M. A.; Blank, D. A. “Evaluating Large-Scale STEM Outreach Efficacy with a Consistent Theme: Thermodynamics for Elementary School Students” ACS Omega 2019, 4, 2661–2668.