Conjugated polymers and oligomers are typically thought of being relevant within the context of emerging optoelectronic technologies. This presentation will highlight how a subset of these materials, namely conjugated oligoelectrolytes (COEs) can be designed for the perturbation and modulation of microbial processes. The first section of the talk will focus on the self-assembly and intercalation of COEs with lipid bilayer membranes. In the case of microbial systems, one finds that it is possible to modulate important membrane properties. A continuum of effects is achievable that directly relates to the molecular connectivity of the COE. One can increase or decrease permeability by tuning the number of the repeat units in the conjugated backbone. These features translate to applications in biocatalysis and biofuel production that is challenged by the environmental stress provided by the product of the reaction. Redox functionalities can also be incorporated within the COE framework that allow one to tune the potential for electron injection or extraction in electrogenic bacteria. Most recently, we have discovered that certain select COEs are highly efficacious antibiotics with minimal toxic side effects to mammalian cells. Indeed, some of these COEs are capable of curing mice infected with multidrug resistant (MDR) infections that could not be treated with the current arsenal of antibiotics. We are encouraged to continue focusing our attention on these developments given that the anticipated rise of untreatable infections by MDR bacteria is one of the most important current threats to public health.
Professor Guillermo (Gui) Bazan received his B.Sc. (summa cum laude) from the University of Ottawa. His Ph.D. studies were carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the guidance of Nobel Laurate Richard R. Schrock. He was a postdoctoral associate at the California Institute of Technology with Professor John E. Bercaw.
Professor Bazan began his independent academic career at the University of Rochester in 1992. He was recruited by the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998, and currently holds appointments in the Departments of Materials and in Chemistry & Biochemistry. Relevant awards and recognitions include: Thomson Reuter “Most Influential Scientific Minds”, 2015; Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2014; Top 50 Material Scientists by Citation and Impact, Thompson Reuters, 2011; Macromolecules Advisory Board, 2009; Professor of the Chang Jiang Scholars Professor, 2009; Advanced Materials Editorial Advisory Board, 2008; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2007; American Chemical Society Cope Scholar Award, 2006; Bessel Award, Humboldt Foundation, 2005; NSF Special Creativity Award, 2003; Union Carbide Innovation Award, 1999; Union Carbide Innovation Award, 1998; Closs Lecturer, University of Chicago, 1997; Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 1996-1998; Sloan Research Fellow Award, 1996-1998; NSF CAREER Award, 1995-1998; Dreyfus New Faculty Award, 1992-1993; NSERCC Postdoctoral Fellowship, November 1990-May 1992 and the NSERCC 1967 Science and Engineering Scholarship, September 1986-June 1990.
Three spin-off companies are associated with his laboratories and the sudents in his group. They include Sirigen (purchased by Becton Dickinson), NEXT Energy, and Apeel Technologies. Prof. Bazan holds approximately thirty patents. Thirty of his previous students and postdoctoral associates now lead successful academic positions.