Since Barry Sharpless introduced its concept in 2001, click chemistry has led to a paradigm shift in the construction of functional (macro)molecules. Although all the formerly enunciated criteria are not always met, it remains that modular ligation methods have become a new toolbox for synthetic chemists in fields as various as medicinal, bio-organic, and macromolecular chemistry. Thanks to these modular approaches, which are often based on earlier established protocols, not only easier and more efficient routes to common materials have been developed but also the generation of very advanced materials is now possible. Combined with long-known techniques such as polycondensation or peptide synthesis as well as with younger methods, e.g., macromolecular engineering, protein engineering, and DNA modification, new materials exhibiting complex design and able to perform enhanced function are being developed.
These advances would not have been possible without the dedicated work of generations of doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers, who are the research backbone of our community. It is for this reason that we put the "on-the-bench" researchers into the focus of our conference. The Belgian-German (macro)molecular meeting – held at the beautiful conference site of Houffalize in Belgium – provides ample opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to showcase their work in oral as well as poster presentations, flanked by keynote lectures from some of the leading polymer and bio-organic chemists.
The research themes that will be part of this symposium include synthesis of complex polymeric architectures by combination of controlled/living polymerization protocols with several types of modular ligation, functionalization of polymeric nanoparticles, modification of inorganic nano-objects with macromolecules, construction of biohybrid materials such as polymer-peptide/protein conjugates, engineered proteins and DNA as well as emerging industrial applications.
We envisage and sincerely hope that the conference will pose as a platform to closely connect the German and Belgian macromolecular and bio-organic communities and stimulate research collaborations from bench-to-bench for the benefit of the involved groups.
Christopher Barner-Kowollik (Karlsruhe)