Complex coacervates have emerged as effective stabilizers for the encapsulation of enzymes and other proteins, forming micelles that can protect the proteins in solution for applications from biocatalysis to drug delivery. We have recently shown that these coacervate materials may also be coated onto surfaces, producing complex coacervate films that contain protein immobilized in block copolymer nanodomains. While protein-polymer coacervation is broadly applicable to most proteins, the design principles governing coacervate formation and protein stability and activity in the coacervate phase are poorly understood. We are working to understand these design principles such that any protein of interest, in particular enzymes, can be encapsulated and stabilized in the coacervate phase for applications in biocatalysis and sensing.
- Nanopatterned Protein Films Directed by Ionic Complexation with Water Soluble Diblock Copolymers. B. Kim, C.N. Lam, and B.D. Olsen. Macromolecules 2012, 45, 4572-4580.
- Protonation-Induced Microphase Separation in Thin Films of a Polyelectrolyte-Hydrophilic Diblock Copolymer. C.R. Stewart-Sloan and B.D. Olsen. ACS Macro Letters 2014, 3, 410-414.