Research in Molecular Imprinting
MOLECULAR IMPRINTING- PROFESSOR ANDRES ÖPIK
The research of the scientists working on chemistry and materials technology in the Tallinn University of Technology and studying current conducting polymers have on one hand resulted in novel materials used in the production of solar panels, and on the other hand the creation of molecularly imprinted polymers has opened absolutely novel applications in medicine and environmental technology.
The potential of molecular imprinting
Professor Andres Öpik, the Dean of the Faculty of Chemical and Materials Technology, has asserted that synthetic polymers with the ability to capture specific molecules developed in the Tallinn University of Technology have great potential in cancer treatment, but also possibly applications in sewage treatment – in principle, everywhere there is a need to eliminate certain molecules from the environment. Unlike natural compounds, the molecularly imprinted synthetic polymers could be constructed as polymer net with highly specific parameters, so that the polymer net interact only with highly specific molecules, such as biomarkers characteristic to cancer cells.
The same principle could be used in separating specific substances from our drinking water and sewage. The scientists working on materials research have designed a real model for using this method in an environmental program, which is waiting for commercialisation at present.
Unique competence of the Tallinn University of Technology
Strong biochemical synthesis is needed for preparation of specific polymer nets for capturing many specific proteins and molecules, and a very few scientific institutions in the world have both the interdisciplinary competency and technological basis for synthesis and investigation of the effectiveness of these molecularly imprinted polymers. The Tallinn University of Technology is ahead of other scientific institutions in the specific technology of piezoelectric measurements, which enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of such molecularly imprinted polymers in many different environments.