SA06: Photoactive supramolecular polymers with photo-switchable hydrogen-bonding motifs: towards ocular drug delivery and self-healing materials


Dr Daniel Keddie, School of Biology, Chemistry and Forensic Science

Project Description

Hydrogen bonding is critical for self-organisation within biological systems, playing pivotal roles in the three- dimensional assembly of protein structures and complementary nucleoside base pairs.  The utility of hydrogen bonding interactions is not solely limited to nature however, playing an important role in the materials properties of many polymers of industrial relevance including polyamides, polyureas and polyurethanes. 

Photo-actuation represents an attractive stimulus for reorganization of hydrogen-bonding within supramolecular systems. A light-driven “switch” requires no addition (or removal) of reagents and can offer exquisite spatiotemporal resolution providing a means for rapid modulation; an obvious advantage over thermal or chemical modes of switching. 

This project will focus upon the design and synthesis of functional polymers systems where supramolecular hydrogen-bonding interactions may be tailored via photo-modulation. Investigations of the bulk and solution phase of these polymer systems will be undertaken with a view to determining their suitability in a range of potential applications where a light-triggered activation is advantageous, including ocular drug delivery or self-healing materials.  

The successful candidate will be trained in a range of advanced synthetic techniques used in the preparation of functional small molecules and precision polymers. Laboratory work and characterization will be undertaken within the University of Wolverhampton’s new Science Centre, the Rosalind Franklin building, which houses a broad range of state-of-the-art research facilities suitable for undertaking this synthetic project. 


We welcome applications at any time from self-funded students that are well qualified and highly motivated. Applicants should have a recognized Honours or Masters degree with a 2.1 or equivalent in Chemistry, Engineering or Materials (or a related field).

Applicants whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speaker of English shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent. 

How to apply

Complete the Research Project Application Form (Word doc 679k) and email to

See Guidance for the Completion of the Research Project Application Form (Word doc 23k) for details.

For more information

For an informal discussion please contact Dr Keddie via email