Tomoko Fujiwara

Tomoko Fujiwara

Associate Professor, Chemistry

SM 409
Office Hours
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Research Interest

Smart polymers

Research Overview

Chain Exchange

Fujiwara group develops polymeric materials that possess "smart" properties and functions. We design and synthesize stimuli-responsive polymers for use as biomaterials, sensors, and other application materials. Also a variety of polymer "nano-architectures" such as nanoparticles, micelles, nanofibers, and nano-porous membranes are prepared and the structure-property relationship is studied.

Stimuli-responsive biodegradable hydrogels: The aim of this project is to understand the gelation mechanism of the thermo-responsive hydrogels and to apply for injectable drug/gene delivery systems. We have developed novel 'hybrid' injectable hydrogel systems from micelle

End-functional polymer
Functional nano-porous membrane preparation.

blends of enantiomeric polylactide-poly(ethylene glycol) block copolymers, PLLA-block-PEG and PDLA-block-PEG. We use various techniques such as liquid/solid state NMR, Rheology, atomic force microscopy (AFM), light scattering (DLS/SLS), and synchrotron SANS and SAXS, to study the mechanism and nanostructures. The nanoparticles encapsulating gene in the core have shown promising performance, and their hydrogel system has also been applied.

Functional nano-porous polymeric membranes: This project controls nanoscale morphologies using block copolymers and different functional groups. We prepare nano-phase separated membranes from block copolymers including degradable polymer block(s). Degradation of one phase of the membranes results in controlled nanoporous membrane template. These membrane templates are ready for further functionalization to create various types of pore properties that serve for separation applications and specific ion channels.


Current Funding

NSF-EPSCoR, Millhorn (PI), 9/10-7/15, Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education (TNSCORE), Role: subcontract co-PI

FedEx Institute Technology, Haggard (PI), 1/13-12/15, Smart Multiple Stimuli-Responsive Biomaterials For Local Drug Delivery, Role: Co-PI

ZAF-University of Tennessee Knoxville, Zawodzinski (PI), 7/2013-6/2015, Anion Exchange Membrane Development for Zinc-Air Batteries, Role: Co-PI

FedEx Institute Technology, Bumgardner (PI), 4/2014-3/2015, In vivo Evaluation of Chitosan Guided Bone Regeneration Membranes, Role: Co-PI

Publications since 2014-2015 (out of 48)

1. Watkins DL, Fujiwara T. Bis-spironaphthooxazine based photochromic polymer materials. Journal of Materials Chemistry C. 2013;1(3):506-14. doi: 10.1039/c2tc00098a.

2. Ajiro H, Takahashi Y, Akashi M, Fujiwara T. Surface control of hydrophilicity and degradability with block copolymers composed of lactide and cyclic carbonate bearing methoxyethoxyl groups. Polymer. 2014;55(16):3591-8. doi: 10.1016/j.polymer.2014.06.011.

3. Akagi T, Fujiwara T, Akashi M. Inkjet Printing of Layer-by-Layer Assembled Poly(lactide) Stereocomplex with Encapsulated Proteins. Langmuir. 2014;30(6):1669-76. doi: 10.1021/la404162h. PubMed PMID: 24460124.

4. Nakajima M, Nakajima H, Fujiwara T, Kimura Y, Sasaki S. Nano-Ordered Surface Morphologies by Stereocomplexation of the Enantiomeric Polylactide Chains: Specific Interactions of Surface-Immobilized Poly(D-lactide) and Poly(ethylene glycol)-Poly(L-lactide) Block Copolymers. Langmuir. 2014;30(46):14030-8. doi: 10.1021/la503294v. PubMed PMID: 25365934.

5. Takemura K, Ajiro H, Fujiwara T, Akashi M. Oil gels with a chemically cross-linked copolymer of a trimethylene carbonate derivative and L-lactide: preparation and stereocomplex formation within gels. Rsc Advances. 2014;4(63):33462-5. doi: 10.1039/c4ra05341a.

6. Abebe DG, Kandil R, Kraus T, Elsayed M, Merkel OM, Fujiwara T. Three-Layered Biodegradable Micelles Prepared by Two-Step Self-Assembly of PLA-PEI-PLA and PLA-PEG-PLA Triblock Copolymers as Efficient Gene Delivery System. Macromol Biosci. 2015; online published. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201400488.

7. Takemura K, Ajiro H, Fujiwara T, Akashi M. A Novel Substrate for Testosterone: Biodegradable and Biocompatible Oil Gel. Polymer Journal. 2015; in press.

8. Kogame C, Kida T, Fujiwara T, Akashi M. Unique Cation Binding Capability of Cyclic Oligo(L-lactic acid) (L-COLA). Tetrahedron Letters. 2015; online published. doi: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2015.02.037.