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Special Issue "Smart and Functional Polymers"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Jianxun Ding

Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 5625 Renmin Street, Changchun 130022, China
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +86 431 8526 2116
Interests: polymer chemistry; self-assembly; nanoparticle; hydrogel; scaffold; biomaterial; controlled drug delivery; immunotherapy; regenerative medicine
Guest Editor
Dr. Yang Li

Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA 02115, United States
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 857-218-3001
Interests: polymer chemistry; supramolecular self-assembly; nanomedicine; biomaterials; molecular imaging; drug delivery; immunotherapy; cancer surgery
Guest Editor
Dr. Mingqiang Li

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, 116th and Broadway, New York, NY 10027, United States
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 917-855-8769
Interests: polymer chemistry; polymeric nanomedicine; biomaterials; microfluidics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymerization offers a powerful and modular strategy in generating macromolecules and structures with high complexity and versatile functionality. Smart and functional polymers, to which functional groups are chemically attached, have drawn growing interest as they hold considerable promise for a variety of applications. Smart polymers can be constructed via polymerization of functional monomers or post-polymerization modifications. These polymers possess the combination of the physical properties of nanoscale or microscale architectures and physiochemical reactivities of the attached functional groups. Moreover, their ability to form microscopic and macroscopic assemblies in response to external targets or signals renders unique physiochemical properties (e.g., large surface-to-volume ratio, variable composition and size, dynamic association, and reversible phase separation) and tailored functionalities (e.g., enhanced sensitivity and specificity, extraordinary target binding affinity, and tunable surface chemistry) that are absent in small molecules.

Smart and functional polymeric material is an interdisciplinary field that integrates physics, chemistry, material science, engineering, and biology. Over the past decade, the field has experienced rapid progress as a result of the push by unmet needs in various areas. This Special Issue aims to provide a comprehensive collection of the latest advances in the development of synthetic approaches, mechanism underlying structure-property correlations, and current and emerging applications of smart and functional polymers. The issue will cover smart and functional polymers for a diverse range of applications, involving but not limited in synthetic chemistry, analytical chemistry, materials science, environmental science, industrial fabrication, electronics, renewable energy, food science, agriculture, biomedical technology, and healthcare.

Considering your prominent contribution in this very active field of research, we would like to cordially invite you to submit an article to this Special Issue. Short communications, full research articles, and timely reviews are all welcome.

Dr. Jianxun Ding
Dr. Yang Li
Dr. Mingqiang Li
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Polymerization or post-polymerization modification methods
  • Polymer-based supramolecular chemistry
  • Stimuli-responsive polymers
  • Shape memory polymers
  • Self-healing polymers
  • Polymers for industrial catalysis
  • Polymers for water or effluent treatment
  • Polymers for sensing, separation, and purification
  • Polymers for fabrication
  • Renewable polymeric materials used for agriculture
  • Functional polymers used in food science
  • Polymers for information storage, electronics, and energy conversion
  • Functional polymer for diagnosis, imaging, drug delivery, and tissue engineering
  • Polymer with biological activity (e.g., anti-tumor, anti-diabetic or anti-microbial activity)
  • Polymer-based medical device

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Effect of Hydrophobic Polypeptide Length on Performances of Thermo-Sensitive Hydrogels
Molecules 2018, 23(5), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23051017
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 21 April 2018 / Published: 26 April 2018
PDF Full-text (1997 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Thermosensitive gels are commonly used as drug carriers in medical fields, mainly due to their convenient processing and easy functionalization. However, their overall performance has been severely affected by their unsatisfying biocompatibility and biodegradability. To this end, we synthesized poly(l-alanine) (PLAla)-based
[...] Read more.
Thermosensitive gels are commonly used as drug carriers in medical fields, mainly due to their convenient processing and easy functionalization. However, their overall performance has been severely affected by their unsatisfying biocompatibility and biodegradability. To this end, we synthesized poly(l-alanine) (PLAla)-based thermosensitive hydrogels with different degrees of polymerization by ring-opening polymerization. The obtained mPEG45−PLAla copolymers showed distinct transition temperatures and degradation abilities. It was found that slight changes in the length of hydrophobic side groups had a decisive effect on the gelation behavior of the polypeptide hydrogel. Longer hydrophobic ends led to a lower gelation temperature of gel at the same concentration, which implied better gelation capability. The hydrogels showed rapid gelling, enhanced biocompatibility, and better degradability. Therefore, this thermosensitive hydrogel is a promising material for biomedical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart and Functional Polymers)

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