Pascale Champagne: Research

Bioproducts from Renewables - Hybrid Copolymers

Project Description:

Modification of natural polymers (cellulose, lignin, other polysaccharides) with synthetic materials has shown promise as an effective route to renewable, eco-friendly, biocompatible, biodegradable, and affordable alternatives to petroleum-derived analogs. One route to confer new chemical and physical properties to natural polymers involves grafting synthetic polymer chains onto natural polymers. A powerful, new type of chemistry called “Controlled/Living Radical Polymerization” (C/LRP), developed for synthetic polymers, has remarkable potential to prepare a wide array of functional materials through precise control of the polymer microstructure. This novel research was initiated in 2010 in collaboration with Dr. Michael Cunningham (ORC in Green Chemistry and Engineering) and Dr. Ron Neufeld in the Department of Chemical Engineering, as well as Dr. Ralph Whitney in the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University. The project was sponsored by a 2011 MOE Best in Science Award to explore the feasibility of polymerizing renewables for the production of functional polymers. Cellulose could be modified to yield paper-based membrane filters for desalinization, cellulose-based adsorbents for metals or oil recovery, or thermally-, pH- or concentration-responsive “smart” hybrid copolymers for a range of environmental applications. Synthesis of hybrid polymers based on alginate may enable well-defined microstructures, and the ability to form monodisperse micro/nanospheres on a large scale. Applications in controlled delivery of drugs and cell encapsulation are anticipated.




Krasznai, D., P. Champagne, M. Cunningham, T. McKenna and N. Smeets (2012) Core Cross-linked Micelles with Polysaccharide Shell Via Catalytic Chain Transfer Polymerization, Thiol-Michael Addition and Reductive Amination. Polymer Chemistry 3:992-1001 (Online Publication February 3 2012) (IF = 5.32)


Conference Abstracts & Presentations:


Garcia-Valdez, O., E. Saldivar-Guerra, M. Cunningham and P. Champagne (2013) Modification of Chitosan with Graft Polymers via Nitroxide-Mediated Radical Polymerization 96th Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference. May 26-30. Quebec City, Quebec.


Smeets, N, D. Krasznai, M. Cunningham, P. Champagne and T. McKenna (2013) Controlled Architectures, from Block to Dendritic Polymers 96th Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference. May 26-30. Quebec City, Quebec.


Zaskoka, O. J. Donaldson, M. Cunningham and P. Champagne (2013) Graft Copolymerization of Cellulose Using a “Grafting To” Approach. ACS 245th National Meeting. April 7-11, New Orleans, Louisiana.


Donaldson, J. P. Champagne and M. Cunningham (2012) Graft Co-Polymers of Cellulose Modified Using Living Radical Polymerization 95th Canadian Chemistry Conference. May 26-30. Calgary, Alberta.


Donaldson, J., P. Champagne and M. Cunningham (2012) Graft Modification of Cellulose in Ionic Liquids Via Living Radical Polymerization. Polymer Reaction Engineering VIII
: An ECI Conference Series. May 6-10, Cancun, Mexico. (invited speaker)


Donaldson, J., P. Champagne and M. Cunningham (2012) Graft Copolymers of Cellulose Prepared Using Living/Controlled Radical Polymerization. ACS 243nd National Meeting. March 25-29, San Diego, California.


Donaldson, J., V. Kapishon, P. Champagne, M. Cunningham, R. Neufeld and R. Whitney (2012) Modifying the Properties of Natural Polymers for Environmental and Drug Delivery Applications. 1st Annual MOE Best in Science Symposium. May 30-31. Toronto, Ontario.

Champagne, P. (2012) Synthesis of Biomass-Derived Hybrid Co-Polymers. National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT). Seminar Series. February 24. Edmonton, Alberta (invited speaker) 


Krasznai, D., P. Champagne and M. Cunningham (2012) Linear Amphiphilic Copolymers Containing a Synthetic Block and a Polysaccharide Block Via Cu(0)-Mediated Living Radical Polymerization. ACS 243nd National Meeting. March 25-29, San Diego, California


Krasznai, D., P. Champagne and M.F. Cunningham (2011) Linear Amphiphilic Copolymers Comprising a Synthetic Block and a Renewable Block via Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization 61th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference. October 23-26. London, Ontario.


Funding Sources


  • Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) – Best in Science Program (2011 -2012)