Elizabeth GilliesElizabeth Gillies
Associate Professor
B.Sc., Queen’s University
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellow
University of Bordeaux , France
Office: MSA 3202; Lab: MSA 3246, 3248, 3250
Phone (Office): (519) 661-2111 ext 80223


Research Group Homepage

Organic, polymer, and biomaterials Chemistry


   Early Researcher Award
   Tier 2 Canada Research Chair
   John Charles Polanyi Prize

Current Research Programs:

Our research involves the design, synthesis and application of functional molecules. The molecules of interest can range from well-defined oligomers and dendrimers to higher molecular weight polymers. In particular, we are interested in the interactions of these molecules and their supramolecular assemblies with biological systems to serve as new biomaterials and therapeutics. For example, molecules designed to interact with cell membranes can serve as new antibiotics or vehicles for the delivery of molecules into cells. Polymeric assemblies may be used to encapsulate or display biologically active molecules, thereby serving as drug carriers or tissue engineering scaffolds. Furthermore, macromolecules are of increasing interest in the development of biological imaging contrast agents that are capable of targeting and responding to specific disease states. Some key features that we will focus on in the design of our systems are the control of molecular and supramolecular architecture (eg. the shape and conformation) and the use of chemical synthesis to engineer specific biological properties.

Students in our group will have the opportunity to gain experience in the synthesis of small molecules and polymers and in their characterization using a wide range of techniques such as NMR, IR, and mass spectroscopies, HPLC, GPC/SEC, light scattering, and imaging methods such as AFM and TEM. To test the utility of our new systems, students will also be encouraged to participate in some biological experiments.

For more information about the group please visit our research group homepage.

Selected Publications:

Bonduelle, C. V.; Karamdoust, S.; Gillies, E. R.* "Synthesis and Assembly of Butyl Rubber-Poly(ethylene oxide) Graft Copolymers: From Surface Patterning to Resistance to Protein Adsorption." Macromolecules, 2011, 44, 6405-6415.

Knight, D. K.; Gillies, E. R.; Mequanint, K.* “Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Interactions on Biodegradable Poly(ester amide)s.” Biomacromolecules, 2011, 12, 1275-1287.

DeWit, M. A.; Beaton, A.; Gillies, E. R. "A Reduction Sensitive Cascade Biodegradable Linear Polymer." J. Polym. Sci. A: Polym. Chem. 2010, 48, 3977-3985.

DeWit, M. A.; Gillies E. R.* “A Cascade Biodegradable Polymer Based on Alternating Cyclization and Elimination Reactions.“ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 18327-18334.

Martin, A. L.; Li, B.; Gillies, E. R.* “Surface Functionalization of Nanomaterials with Dendritic Groups: Towards Enhanced Binding to Biological Targets.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 734-741.

Western provides the best student experience among Canada's leading research-intensive universities.