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Prof. Kenneth J. Shea of UCI Visits HZAU

Kenneth J. Shea, a distinguished professor of University of California, Irvine (UCI), visited HZAU for academic exchanges from April 23 to 30 at the invitation of Prof. Liu Mingming of College of Resources and Environment. He made two academic lectures including “Plastic antibodies: adaptable synthetic polymers as protein and peptide affinity ligands. An alternative to the lock and key paradigm” and “Abiotic synthetic polymers: functional alternatives to antibodies? Applications for protein stabilization, inhibition of signal transduction and as broad-spectrum antivenom” to the teachers and students of the College. The lectures were presided over by Liu Mingming, and attracted a number of professors of HZAU, including Tan Wenfeng, Feng Xionghan, Qiu Guohong, Li Shengqing, and teachers and postgraduates from other colleges. During his lecture, Prof. Shea introduced “plastic antibody”, an artificially synthetic polymer nanoparticle hydrogel with functional groups complementary to target biomacromolecule on its surface. These hydrogels are characterized by its changeable affinity under external stimuli including temperature, pH values and ionic strength, so as to “capture or release” the specific target proteins, polypeptides and carbohydrates, etc.

In addition, he introduced the synthesis and screening of “plastic antibody” and had an in-depth discussion with participants on its potential application in protein separation, detection, stability and in chelation therapy & disease-treating as an alternative antibody drug. Two types of polymer nanoparticle hydrogels were mentioned in the lectures. One has chelating effect on toxic proteins in different kinds of snake venom and can be used as broad-spectrum antivenom to rescue patients bitten by venomous snakes without effective treatment of antivenomous serum. The other can suppress tumor growth by inhibiting the growth of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which has the similar effect to that of Avastin, an anti-tumor drug. If combined with Dox, another anti-cancer drug, these hydrogels could achieve better curative efficacy.

On the afternoons of April 25 and 29, Prof. Shea listened to the work reports given by Prof. Liu and her postgraduates. They touched on many issues including directional synthesis and evolution of biomimetic affinity ligands for polymers, their applications in Bt protein, microcystin, Endotoxin, and reported their research progress on Pir ABVp protein separation & purification, sample pretreatment, analysis & detection and toxin adsorption & removal as well as the achieved results and existing problems. Prof. Shea highly appraised their achievements in the field of environment and biological analysis, analysed experimental problems arising from experiments in details and proposed advices on their future research. Both sides look forward to closer cooperation in the next few years to achieve more results.

Profile: Kenneth J. Shea is a distinguished professor of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at University of California, Irvine. He specializes in biomimetic affinity materials for polymers (plastics antibodies), organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, materials science and nanoscience. He received the American Chemical Society’s Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. He is a member of American Chemical Society, American Materials Research Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science, the president of International Society for Molecular Imprinting, a NIH Senior International Fellow, a Member of International Advisory Board on Polymer and Organic Chemistry, a editorial board member of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Visiting Professor of State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering (College of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Zhejiang University) and an adjunct professor Beijing University of Chemical Technology. He has published more than 300 SCI papers in internationally renowned journals such as Chem Soc Rev, Nat Chem, Accounts Chem Res, Nat Protoc, JACS, ACS Nano, Angew Chem, Adv Drug Deliver Rev, Nano Lett, PNAS, etc. with the citation frequency of 10798 and H-index of 57. He has made more than 300 presentations at different international seminars and academic conferences and obtained 9 invention patents.


Translated by Zhang Qin

Supervised by Zeng Wenhua