Purdue University Graduate School
Thesis of Edwin Alzate.pdf (6.71 MB)


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posted on 2019-08-12, 18:41 authored by Edwin Jhovany Alzate RodriguezEdwin Jhovany Alzate Rodriguez
Polymer brushes are extremely versatile materials, as monomer choice allows the user to design a material with the desired physiochemical properties. Given the wide variety in monomer functionality, polymers can be fine-tuned for a specific application. In this work, polymer brushes bound to a silica support are designed and utilized to enhance performance of protein extraction and chromatographic separations.
The effectiveness of an analytical method is strongly affected by matrix composition, however, the presence of species other than the target analyte is usually unavoidable. An excellent technique will be able to identify and/or quantify the analyte even when its concentration is low compared with interfering molecules. Protein analysis is particularly challenging, since many proteins of clinical and scientific significance are present in complicated matrices such as plasma or cell lysates.
A common method to specifically separate a protein from a complicated matrix is solid phase extraction. In this method, a species (such as an antibody) with high specificity towards the target is immobilized onto a solid substrate (commonly beads or small particles for greater surface area). Next, the target is collected onto the surface, bound by the species. The solid substrate is rinsed of the liquid matrix, before elution of the target. Only the active species should interact with the analyte, and the surface should be otherwise inactive. However, nonspecific interactions lead to binding/adsorption of undesirable compounds. Therefore, an optimal substrate for protein extraction must be 1) easily and completely removable from the liquid phase, 2) have a high concentration of active sites for specific binding, and 3) exhibit low nonspecific binding. As part of this work, commercial magnetic particles were coated with a nonporous silica layer that tolerates the acid bath and silane coating necessary to attach a polymer layer. On the silane coating, a polymer layer was covalently bound; this layer contains epoxide active groups for immobilizing antibodies. These antibodies bind to the target molecule with high specificity, and low nonspecific binding. Obtained particles were evaluated for protein extraction, where antibodies as well as specifically engineered drug compounds were successfully bound to the particle surface.
Glycosylation influences several physiopathological processes in proteins. Glycans can act as receptors, modify protein solubility, and participate in folding conformation. Altered glycosylation is a common feature in tumorous cells. As such, many modifications in glycoproteins have been related to cancer, including increased branching of N-glycans or augmented units of sialic acid. Therefore, characterization of glycoproteins is important not only as a diagnostic tool, but also to monitor patients’ response to treatment. Furthermore, it is important in the growing field of monoclonal antibodies as drug carriers.
Among different methods used for glycosylation analysis, Hydrophilic Interaction Liquid Chromatography (HILIC) has showed important advantages over time-consuming digestion-MS based techniques. An adequate HILIC stationary phase can be used to rapidly differentiate glycoforms present in a sample. In the second part of this work, a polymer brush based bonded phase was developed as a HILIC stationary phase. The new polymer improved the separation of a model glycoprotein compared with a commercial HILIC column, while also exhibiting enhanced stability over a previous bonded phase synthetized in our group.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Chemistry

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Mary Wirth

Additional Committee Member 2

Garth Simpson

Additional Committee Member 3

Chittaranjan Das

Additional Committee Member 4

Jonathan Wilker