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Synthetic antibacterial copolymers: a promising strategy to fight bacterial infections, Dr Catherine Lefay

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Location: C5.21 Chemistry

“Synthetic antibacterial copolymers: a promising strategy to fight bacterial infections"

Dr Catherine Lefay, Aix-Marseille Université (AMU), Institut de Chimie Radicalaire (ICR, UMR 7273)


Bacterial infections and the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics have become major public health problems. The aim of this presentation is to show that antibacterial synthetic copolymers are a possible solution for preventing bacterial contamination of surfaces through antibacterial materials, or for fighting infections via degradable antibacterial copolymers. After a brief presentation of the main characteristics, properties and advantages of antibacterial synthetic copolymers as described in the literature, the second part of this presentation will be dedicated to antibacterial polymethacrylic copolymers developed at the Institut de Chimie Radicalaire (ICR) of Marseille (France). In particular, their antibacterial properties against different strains of bacteria and their lack of toxicity will be presented. Finally, after demonstrating the value of these synthetic antibacterial copolymers in solution for fighting infections, this presentation will show how antibacterial copolymers can easily and durably transform a common plastic into an antibacterial material, in a sustainable and non-toxic way.1,2,3 The last part of the seminar will focus on radical ring-opening polymerization (rROP) as a method of choice for developing degradable antibacterial copolymers that could be a viable alternative to antibiotics.

1-Hadiouch, S.; Maresca, M.; Gigmes, D.; Machado, G.; Maurel-Pantel, A.; Frik, S.; Saunier, J.; Deniset-Besseau, A.; Yagoubi, N.; Michalek, L.; Barner-Kowollik, C.; Guillaneuf, Y.; Lefay, C. Polym. Chem. 2021, 13 (1), 69

2-Benkhaled, B. T.; Hadiouch, S.; Olleik, H.; Perrier, J.; Ysacco, C.; Guillaneuf, Y.; Gigmes, D.; Maresca, M.; Lefay, C., Polym. Chem. 2018, 9 (22), 3127-3141.

3- Gigmes, D.; Guillaneuf, Y.; Guillaneuf (Lefay), C.; Maresca, M.; Ysacco, C. Materiau solide organique antibacterien FR1756390 (2017) / WO2019/008176 A1 (2018).


Dr. Catherine Lefay completed her PhD in polymer chemistry in 2006 under the supervision of Pr. Bernadette Charleux at the University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris, France).

She then joined the group of Pr. Christopher Barner-Kowollik (CAMD, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) as a postdoctoral researcher.

In 2007, she returned to France and started working as lecturer in Aix-Marseille University (AMU, Marseilles, France) at the “Institut de Chimie Radicalaire” (ICR, UMR 7273). Her research currently focuses on the synthesis of (bio)degradable and/or antimicrobial copolymers, antimicrobial materials, controlled-radical polymerization and radical-Ring Opening Polymerization (rROP).

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