Macro Awards 2018

Our journals regularly sponsor prizes for the best poster or oral presentations at select international conferences. The prizes recognize excellence in the field, with an emphasis on young and aspiring scientists.

 A) Macromolecular Colloquium, Freiburg, Germany (February 21-23, 2018)

The Macromolecular Journals sponsored prizes for the best poster presentations. The prizes were awarded to:

a1) Better to Bend than to Break – Water as Driving Force for Self-Healing and Mouldability of Thermosetting Materials

Anastassija Wittmer,1,2 Tobias Urbaniak,1,2 Andreas Hartwig,1,2 Katharina Koschek* 1

1 Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) Adhesive Bonding Technology and Surfaces Wiener Str. 12, 28359 Bremen, Germany;

2 University of Bremen Department of Biology/Chemistry (FB2) Leobener Strasse NW2C, 28359 Bremen, Germany

Poster prize winners Anastassija Wittmer and Tobias Urbaniak

Polymers bearing stimuli-induced reversible chemical bonds and physical interactions have drawn increasing interest for smart materials with application in different fields of material science addressing daily life applications, i.e., fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) and coatings. Our goal is to establish two synthetic concepts facilitating the access to stimuli responsive materials based on reversible noncovalent interaction and covalent bonds, respectively. Among the possible stimuli for responsive materials such as temperature, water in the form of moisture or steam is attractive as it is nontoxic and offers an environment-appropriate functionality. In case of polymer networks based on covalently crosslinked polyesterpolyol polymers, steam is mediating the de-crosslinking by participating in the reaction with triketones and competing with the polyols. In contrast, the physical network density consisting of hydrogen bonds of the polyurethane urea polymer can be adjusted by moisture content. Both, the covalent and noncovalent approach give access to crosslinked polymers allowing for events such as self-healing, moulding and recovery processes.

a2) Catalytic Living ROMP and One Pot Heterotelechelic Polymer Synthesis

Mohammad Yasir,* Peng Liu, Subhajit Pal, Andreas F.M. Kilbinger

University of Fribourg, Department of Chemistry, Chemin du Musée 9, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland; Email:

Mohammad Yasir and the winning poster on living ROMP

In a conventional living ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), stoichiometric amounts of the transition metal carbene complexes are required with respect to the number of polymer chains making them non-catalytic in nature. Thus relatively high loadings of transition metal complex are required to synthesize well-defined low molecular weight polymers which hamper the utilization of these polymers in biomedical or optical fields. Our work focuses mainly on polymerizations using Grubbs-type ruthenium carbene initiators. Recently, our group reported a catalytic living ROMP that uses a degenerative reversible chain-transfer polymerization mechanism requiring only catalytic amounts of the ruthenium carbene complex G3/G2.


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B) American Physical Society March Meeting, Los Angeles, USA (March 5-9, 2018)

The Journal of Polymer Science Poster Prize was awarded to three exceptional young polymer scientists. Further details on the winners and their work can be found here:


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C) Polymer Reaction Engineering X, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (May 20-25, 2018)

The Macromolecular Journals sponsored prizes for the best poster presentations. The prizes were awarded to:

c1) High-Pressure Calorimetry: Thermophysical Properties of Gases and Polymers

Jonas Nowottny,* Jana Sartorius, Markus Busch

Ernst-Berl-Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie, TU Darmstadt, Germany; Email:

Jonas Nowottny and the winning poster on high-pressure calorimetry

The importance of advanced polymer materials is still increasing and by that, the necessity for energy efficient processes as well. To optimize the low-density polyethylene (LDPE) process, simulation-models have been used more frequently during the last years. Beside kinetics, simulation-models are based on thermophysical properties such as heat capacities. Although a temperature dependence has been described already, a pressure dependence is mainly achieved by extrapolating fragmentary datasets. Consequently, for an improvement of simulation-models exact substance data at the respective process conditions are required. A calorimetric device, which can withstand elevated pressures of up to 4000 bar without a decrease in precision is the transitiometer. During a measurement one parameter (temperature, pressure or volume) is kept constant, the second one is varied with time and the third is measured as a function of the first two.[1] Applying a pressure program in the transitiometer, expansion coefficients and heat capacities of different gases and polymers were calculated with the measured difference heat fluxes. Next step will be to investigate not only pure substances, but excess- and solubility effects of two component systems.

[1] S.L. Randzio, J. Chem. Thermodynamics 1988, 20, 937-948.


c2) General Model for Step-Growth Polymerization of Hyperbranched AfiBgi-type Polymers

Verena Schamboeck,* Ivan Kryven, Piet Iedema

University of Amsterdam, Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, Science Park 904, 1098XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Email:

Handing over of the certificate at the conference dinner of the PRE X, Punta Cana. From left to right: F. Joseph Schork, price winner Verena Schamboeck, John Tsavalas, Jay Reimers.

In the search for innovative materials, the design of new polymeric materials is of immense importance. Step-growth polymerization covers major groups of polymers as e.g. polyesters, polyamides, polyurethanes, as well as many more. Hence, there is high demand for models that can predict properties of new materials in an efficient and economic manner, avoiding (or at least reducing) the necessity of expensive and time consuming experiments and computational simulation. We propose a generic and in many parts analytic model for AfiBgi step-growth polymerization using directed random graph modeling.[1,2] We predict properties as the gelation point, gel fractions, molecular weight distributions and radii of gyration.

[1] Schamboeck, V., Kryven, I., Iedema, P. D., Macromol. Theory Simul. 2017, 26, 1700047.

[2] Kryven, I., Phys. Rev. E 2016, 94, 012315.


c3) [To be added when details available]


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D) 12th International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics, Valencia, Spain (May 28-30, 2018)

The Macromolecular Journals sponsored a prize for the best poster presentations. The prize was awarded to:

PeptoMicelles in Tuberculosis Therapy

Kerstin Johann,*1 Alexander Birke,1 Nils-Jørgen Knudsen Dal,2 Federico Fenaroli,2 David Russell,3 Gareth Griffiths,2 Rudolf Zentel,1 Matthias Barz1

1 Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Institute of Organic Chemistry, 55128 Mainz, Germany; Email:

2 University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences, 0371 Oslo, Norway

3 Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, C5 109 VMC, Ithaca, NY 14853, United Stated of America

Kerstin Johann and the winning poster on PeptoMicelles

Tuberculosis, the infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is still a major threat to global health with more than 1.6 million deaths in 2016.[1] The current treatments can cause severe side effects and have a low patient compliance and therefore, there is an urgent need for new therapeutic strategies against tuberculosis. Drug formulations based on biocompatible block copolymers can enhance the bioavailability of hydrophobic and thus poorly water-soluble drugs.

In this work, amphiphilic block copolypept(o)ides[2,3] with the polypeptoid polysarcosine as the hydrophilic and poly(g-benzyl-l-glutamate) as the hydrophobic block have been synthesized and used to formulate hydrophobic derivatives of the anti-tuberculosis drug PA-824. The therapeutic efficacy of these drug formulations was evaluated in zebrafish model.[4] Zebrafish embryos, which were infected with M. marinum, were treated with three different drug formulations. These treatments significantly reduced their bacterial burden and thus increased their survival as compared to embryos treated with only the free drugs.

[1] WHO Global tuberculosis report 2017;

[2] Klinker, K.; Barz, M. Polypept(o)ides: Hybrid Systems Based on Polypeptides and Polypeptoids. Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2015, 36 (22), 1943–1957. DOI: 10.1002/marc.201500403.

[3] Birke, A.; Huesmann, D.; Kelsch, A.; Weilbächer, M.; Xie, J.; Bros, M.; Bopp, T.; Becker, C.; Landfester, K.; Barz, M. Polypeptoid- block -polypeptide Copolymers: Synthesis, Characterization, and Application of Amphiphilic Block Copolypept(o)ides in Drug Formulations and Miniemulsion Techniques. Biomacromolecules 2014, 15 (2), 548–557. DOI: 10.1021/bm401542z.

[4] Fenaroli, F.; Westmoreland, D.; Benjaminsen, J.; Kolstad, T.; Skjeldal, F. M.; Meijer, A. H.; van der Vaart, Michiel; Ulanova, L.; Roos, N.; Nyström, B. et al. Nanoparticles as Drug Delivery System against Tuberculosis in Zebrafish Embryos: Direct Visualization and Treatment. ACS Nano 2014, 8, 7014–7026.


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E) EFCE Working Party on Polymer Reaction Engineering, Prague, Czech Republic (August 31-September 2, 2018)

The Macromolecular Journals sponsored a prize for the best oral or poster contribution. The prize was awarded to:

Design and Characterization of a Gas-Solid Reaction Calorimeter

T. Meller,* H.-U. Moritz, W. Pauer

University of Hamburg, Institute for Macromolecular and Technical Chemistry, Bundesstraße 45, 20146 Hamburg; Email:

Prize winner Tobias Meller at his laboratory

Despite the wide variety of applications in the technology of calorimetry, it is extremely challenging to investigate reactions between solids/ highly viscous reagents and gases. To address this problem, a gas-solid reaction calorimeter has been designed and realized. Essentially, it is a modified and insulated semi batch rotary pipe reactor. By means of the design, heat can be measured via heat balance, solids can be continuously mixed and gas can be simultaneously dosed. The flow regime of the tempering medium, the motion behavior of solids inside of the reaction chamber and the calorimeter constant have been investigated. Experiments showed that the calorimeter delivers results with high accuracy and reproducibility. The next step is to investigate reactions with industrial importance concerning their thermal safety.


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F) ERC Grantees Conference, Tel Aviv, Israel (November 27-30, 2018)

The Macromolecular Journals sponsored a prize for the best oral or poster contribution. The prize was awarded to:

Chemical Consequences of the Mechanical Bond: A Tandem Active Template Rearrangement Reaction

Florian Modicom, Ellen M. G. Jamieson,* Elise Rochette, Stephen M. Goldup

University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton. SO17 1BJ; Email:

Ellen Jamieson and her winning poster on a novel rearrangement reactionWhile using the active template[1] Cu-mediated alkyne-azide cycloaddition (AT-CuAAC) methodology,[2] a novel rearrangement of the triazole motif was observed, yielding a series of new acrylamide functionalized rotaxanes.[3] Completely selective synthetic routes were optimized for either the triazole or acrylamide functionalized rotaxane. Further work showed that this new rotaxane was the product of the rearrangement of the CuI-triazolide intermediate, promoted by the unique steric environment provided by mechanical bond.

Further mechanistic studies have been performed on a sample a triazolide, generated in situ, suggesting the formation of a cumulated ketenimine intermediate. This was shown to be relatively stable to aqueous environments prior to the removal of copper.


[1] M. Denis, S. M. Goldup, Nat. Rev. Chem. 2017, 61.

[2] V. Aucagne, K. D. Hänni, D. A. Leigh, P. J. Lusby, D. B. Walker, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 2186.

[3] F. Modicom, E. M. G. Jamieson, E. Rochette, S. M. Goldup, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201813950.


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