Queen Mary University of London: Queen Mary scientist wins UKRI fellowship to develop membranes that will advance medicines and vaccines

Membrane scientist Dr. Zhiwei Jiang has been selected as one of eighty-four of the most promising science and research leaders to win a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships scheme.

He will be working in collaboration with Exactmer – a fast-growing company based in East London – to develop a technology platform to break through the barriers to making exact polymers such as oligonucleotides and ADC linkers. Oligonucleotide medicines (including mRNA vaccines) work by interfering with how genes are expressed to limit the production of detrimental proteins. They have shown success in the treatment of rare diseases and are now being explored to treat chronic diseases that affect much larger populations. ADC linkers are now established as one of the main therapies in clinical cancer treatment.

Lasting for 4 years, Dr. Jiang’s Future Leaders Fellowships will focus on improving the molecular separation membrane that is used in manufacturing these medicines. The membrane is used to separate a growing polymer from residual monomer building blocks. Dr. Jiang aims to fabricate membranes with well-defined and controlled pore size, that can withstand the harsh chemical environments required for polymer synthesis. This will lead to the development of an entirely new membrane class known as isoporous organic solvent nanofiltration membranes (iOSN),

iOSNs will bring considerable advances in the synthesis of exact polymers at Exactmer, allowing the manufacturing of products that will subsequently help millions of patients around the world.

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