The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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S. Thai Thayumanavan


We are interested in the design and syntheses of macromolecules that are inspired by specific applications that our group is interested in or by the sheer beauty of the structures that one can generate using novel supramolecular design principles as a tool box. The structures that we imagine are often inspired by the intricacies of the nature’s supramolecular assemblies involving proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.

Current Research
Nanoassemblies that predictably respond to an external stimulus or a combination of stimuli are of great interest, because of their implications in a rather broad range of applications. The primary design challenge concerns two factors: input (stimulus or stimuli) and output (response). For example, one could design materials that are responsive to pH changes, yielding a response in the form of a molecular release. The ability to tailor the molecular design to achieve materials that respond to a broad range of inputs, yielding a broad range of outputs has significant implications in a variety of areas. When focusing on an application, although our primary design will provide the fundamental structure-property relationship handles, secondary design challenges emerge. In drug delivery, for example, the molecular design needs to account for factors such as encapsulation stability, drug loading capacity, and biocompatibility. Within drug delivery, there are tertiary design challenges, dictated by the specific disease targeted. In our group, we are focused on developing generalized principles that underlie responsive molecular assemblies and the resultant materials. By addressing the primary design challenge, we have developed and are developing capabilities to tackle a broad range of challenges including drug delivery, diagnostics, and sensing. Prominent examples of materials developed in our group for this purpose include a novel self-crosslinking polymeric nanogel for drug delivery and kinetically-trapped amphiphilic homopolymers for sensing in complex milieu.

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Academic Background

  • BSc The American College, India, 1987
  • MSc The American College, India, 1989
  • PhD University of Illinois, 1996
  • Postdoctoral training: Caltech, 1996-99
Li, L.; Raghupathi, K.; Yuan, C.; Thayumanavan, S. “Surface Charge Generation in Nanogels for Activated Cellular Uptake at Tumor-Relevant pH” Chem. Sci. 2013, 4, 3654-3660. (DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50899D)
Wang, F.; Gomez-Escudero, A.; Ramireddy, R. R.; Murage, G.; Thayumanavan, S.; Vachet, R. W. “Electrostatic Control of Peptide Side-Chain Reactivity using Amphiphilic Homopolymer-based Supramolecular Assemblies” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 14179-14188. (DOI: 10.1021/ja404940s)
Fuller, J.; Raghupathi, K.; Ramireddy, R. R.; Subrahmanyam, A.; Yesilyurt, V.; Thayumanavan, S. “Temperature-Sensitive Transitions Below LCST in Amphiphilic Dendritic Assemblies – Host-Guest Implications" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 8947-8954. (DOI: 10.1021/ja402019c)
Guo, J.; Zhuang, J.; Wang, F.; Raghupathi, K.; Thayumanavan, S. "Protein AND Enzyme Gated Supramolecular Disassembly" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 2220-2223 (DOI: 10.1021/ja4108676).
Contact Info

Department of Chemistry
1540 LGRT Tower C
710 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003

(413) 545-1313