With their outstanding range of structures, structural and biological activities, peptides are highly attractive molecules to give a tailored function to an existing material but also to design innovative materials with unprecedented properties. Existing approaches to functionalise materials with biomolecules mostly relies on post-modification using conjugation chemistry (e.g. click reactions, activated esters). On the contrary, we envisioned innovative bottom-up approaches based on peptide building-blocks bearing functions for polymerisation or condensation. We investigated organic polymerisation using peptides bearing N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) moieties or lactame rings but also inorganic polymerisation methods, using sol-gel process relying on hydroxysilane-derivatized peptides.
Applications are numerous and some of them are currently investigated thought founded programs and collaborations :
• The functionalization of medical devices and dressing with wound-healing and/or antibacterial peptides and the design of smart ‘communicant’ dressings using RFID technology.
• The synthesis of multi-ligands nanoparticles for cancer treatment and imaging.
• The synthesis of polymers for cell targeting and vectorization.
• The design of biomimetic hydrogels for cell-based therapies that can be printed as 3D scaffolds.
From a fundamental point of view, the self-assembly of hybrid peptides is also studied for the design of new nanostructured materials.