Erik Berda

Erik Berda

Associate Professor

Education and Achievements

  • B.S. 2003, Penn State University
  • Ph.D. 2008, University of Florida
  • Visiting Researcher, 2007, Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2010, Eindhoven University of Technology (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

Erik Berda joined the Materials Science Program and Department of Chemistry in 2010 after 2 years in the Netherlands as a postdoctoral research with Bert Meijer at Eindhoven University of Technology. Erik's research focuses on the synthesis of nanostructured polymer building blocks from single polymer chains and methods to tailor these materials towards real world applications.

Teaching Interests

My main teaching interest is the chemistry of polymers. I teach our graduate Polymer synthesis course (MS905), as well as an upper lever undergraduate polymer chemistry course. I also enjoy teaching organic chemistry and am currently teaching the one semester course for life science majors as well as the second semester OChem laboratory course for chemistry and biochemistry majors.

Research Areas

  • Design and synthesis of well-defined, shape persistent polymeric nanostructures from single polymer chains.
  • Hierarchical self-assembly of polymeric nanoparticle building blocks into nano, meso, and micro scale architectures and devices.
  • Functional polymeric materials for advanced applications (e.g. molecular machinery, catalysis, energy, and medicine).

Efficient means for producing nano scale building blocks and controlling their hierarchical self-assembly into useful structures on multiple length scales will become crucial in maturing synthetic nanotechnology from infancy into adolescence. Inspiration from Nature is only the beginning; we must learn to effectively utilize the same strategies adopted by Nature in our own designs. Nature's elegant efficiency on the submicron size regime is based largely on two principles: well-defined polymeric systems and supramolecular self-assembly.

Our group is interested in applying these two concepts to create interesting and useful materials that mimic both the beauty and complexity observed in "natural nanotechnology." Shape persistent polymeric nano-objects comprised of single, linear polymer chains are at the heart of Nature's design (i.e. proteins and nucleic acids). Nature assembles her versatile building blocks using powerful, orthogonal non-covalent synthetic methods. We look to borrow these strategies, applying our expertise in the areas of well-defined macromolecular architectures and supramolecular self-assembly to engineer complex arrays that approach the efficacy of natural systems in both form and function.

Our methods rely on the design and synthesis of polymer architectures that can undergo a controlled collapse or folding process to afford well-defined 3-dimensional objects. Based on their design, these systems can be functionalized to operate as individual entities to accomplish a certain task (similar to the way an enzyme catalyzes a reaction), or act a building block in the assembly of structures on multiple hierarchical levels (similar to way actin proteins form microfilaments or tubulin proteins form microtubules).

Select Publications

  • Lyon, C.K.; Hill, E.O.; Berda, E.B.* Zipping Polymers into Nanoparticles via Intra-chain Alternating Radical Copolymerization. Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 2016217 (3).
    DOI: 10.1002/macp.201500355

  • Hanlon, A.; Lyon, C.K.; and Berda, E.B.* What Is Next in Single-Chain Nanoparticles? Macromolecules 2016,49 (1), 2-14. (Front Cover) 
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.5b01456

  • Prasher, A.; Loynd, C.M.; Tuten, B.T.; Frank, P.G.; Berda, E.B.* Efficient Fabrication of Polymer Nanoparticles via Sonogashira Cross-linking of Linear Chains in Dilute Solution. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry 201654 (1), 209-217.
    DOI: 10.1002/pola.27942

  • Chao, D.*; Wang, S.; Tuten, B.T.; Cole, J.P.; Berda, E.B.*, Densely functionalized Pendant Oligoaniline Bearing Polynorbornenes: Synthesis and Electronic Properties. Macromolecules 201548 (14), 5054-5057.
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.5b01446

  • Cole, J.P.; Lessard, J.J.; Lyon, C.K.; Tuten, B.T.; Berda, E.B.*, Intra-chain radical chemistry as a route to poly(norbornene imide) single-chain nanoparticles: structural considerations and the role of adventitious oxygen. Polymer Chemistry 20156, 5555-5559.
    DOI: 10.1039/C5PY00265F

Image of Erik Berda
Parsons N227
23 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824