Collaboration with others
Projects tend to dictate their own needs. When we need information to support a project, we like to collaborate with others who provide their expertise along with their equipment. We have for years collaborated with my colleagues Professor P. Macdonald on pulsed-gradient NMR experiments, and with Professor David James (Mechanical Engineering) on rheology. We have carried out freeze-fracture TEM measurements with Professor R. Shivers at the University of Western Ontario. We collaborate on a number of topics (e.g., light scattering from self assembled gold nanorods) with my colleague Eugenia Kumacheva. We have had a close and rich collaboration over the past 10 years with Professor Ian Manners on micelle formation by polyferrocenylsilane block copolymers. This collaboration has continued after Ian Manners moved from Toronto to the University of Bristol in 2006, and is being broadened to encompass other examples of crystallization-driven self assembly of block copolymers in solution.

In 2005 we were invited to join a team of researchers to develop multiplexed immunoassays based upon inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) detection. Our role was to synthesize metal-chelating polymers that could be attached to antibodies and carry multiple copies of a particular metal isotope, particularly lanthanide isotopes. Details of this ongoing project are described here. The collaboration includes my colleague Mark Nitz, as well as the scientists and engineers (Dmitry Bandura, Scott Tanner, Vladimir Baranov, Olga Ornatsky) who founded DVS Sciences. Polymers created in this project are now sold by DVS Sciences as MaxparTM reagents.

An outgrowth of our work with DVS Sciences, we began a collaboration with Professor Ray Reilly (Pharmacy) to develop metal-chelating polymers that could be used as radioimmuno-therapy agents in the treatment of breast cancer. (here)

Interactions with Industry
Over the years, we have interacted with a large number of industries involving a broad range of topics. Our most intense activity since 1990 involved collaboration with the coatings industry, which was obliged to change its technology to meet ever more stringent environmental regulations, particularly to reduce the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paints. We provided fundamental knowledge, particularly about polymer diffusion in latex films, essential for companies in this field to develop high performance environmentally compliant latex paints at reasonable cost. Consolidation in the industry between 2005 2010 meant that many of the individual companies, or divisions of the companies, with whom we interacted with no longer exist.

Current interactions

  • Applied Biosystems/Life Technologies (1991-present). Consulting on polymers related to DNA sequencing.
  • DVS Sciences (2005-present). Research on metal chelating polymers and on metal-encoded polymer beads, both for highly multiplexed immunoassays.

Former interactions

  • Xerox (1981-1991). Research on non-aqueous dispersions.
  • IBM (1983-1989). Research on the dissolution of thin polymer films and on polymer melt diffusion.
  • Avery-Dennison (1993). Consulting on fluorescence monitoring of polymer cure.
  • Eastman Chemical Company (1985-1996). Consulting on the fluorescence of polyesters, and on coalescing solvents for water-borne dispersions.
  • 3M. Domain composition and interface characterization in urethane-acrylate interpenetrating networks.
  • Clariant Corp. Reactive dyes for covalent attachment to polymers.
  • Cytec + Air Products. Polymer diffusion vs. crosslinking in films formed from isobutoxymethyl acrylamide-containing latex.
  • De Havilland. Phosphorescence barometry for measuring air-pressure profiles in wind tunnels.
  • Dow. Polymer diffusion vs. crosslinking in films formed from epoxy-functional latex.
  • DuPont Canada. Models for waterborne automotive basecoat.
  • Eastman Kodak Co. Consulting in the area of polymer solutions and colloidal dispersions.
  • Ethyl Corp. Photoinduced flocculation of colloids as model precursors for sludge formation in motor oil.
  • Ford (Visteon). Characterizing morphology and interfaces in impact-modified polypropylene (TPO).
  • ICI. Latex film formation, and film formation over oil droplets adhering to a surface. Interaction of micelles with model greases and oils.
  • Applied Biosystems/Life Technologies. Consulting on polymers related to DNA sequencing.
  • Union Carbide. Associative polymers in aqueous solution.