Molecular Playground/Poly(ethylene glycol)

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One of the CBI Molecules being studied in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Chemistry-Biology Interface Program at UMass Amherst and on display at the Molecular Playground.

Poly(ethylene glycol) (400 MW), PDB files obtained from HIC-UP, http://xray.bmc.uu.se/hicup/


Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), also referred to as poly(ethylene oxide)(PEO), is a synthetic, hydrophilic polymer. Due to its unique physical and chemical properties, it has found use in a wide range of applications from industrial manufacturing processes to pharmaceutical formulations. In recent year, PEG has been investigated for use as tissue engineering scaffolds, biocompatible hydrogels, and as drug delivery vehicles.

PEG is formed from several repeating units of its , ethylene glycol (C2H6O2). During polymerization, the ethylene glycol monomers chemically link together to form a long chain, referred to as a . The polymerization process can be controlled, allowing for the formation of a wide range of molecular weights. PEG is biocompatible at low molecular weights. When these polymers are end functionalized, they can crosslink with one another and form a network. Due to the hydrophilic nature of PEG, when this network is in the presence of water it will swell to form a hydrogel. The physical properties of these hydrogels make them excellent candidates for use as tissue engineering scaffolds and in other biomaterial applications.

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