A major focus of our work on the precision macromolecules is devoted to the structure-property relations of polymeric ligands. Therefore, it is not enough to just look at the resulting properties e.g. of structurally different glycomacromolecules, but we want to understand which effects and processes result possible differences in biological activity. Thus we need to go from looking at the single ligand/receptor interaction to multiple ligand/receptor interactions at biomimetic interfaces to the interactions in the biological system (cells and in vivo). Here we use bottom-up approaches to go from the single macromolecules to more complex assemblies and functional surfaces. Again, these materials comprise a level of control in terms of their chemical composition and arrangement of functional motifs that is not accessible via classical polymer synthesis. This high definition allows us to develop new assays looking at ligand/receptor interactions at biologically relevant interfaces such as soft or cell surfaces as well as to investigate their potential in different applications e.g. as sensors, drug delivery systems or functional coatings.
Figure: Bottom-up approach to build functional materials with high control from precision macromolecules (structures are not to scale).