National Science Foundation Award’s Dr. Matthew Eddy

The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded Dr. Matthew Eddy at the University of Florida with a prestigious CAREER award from the Division of Materials Research (DMR).  DMR invests in discovering, designing, and explaining new materials, supporting both fundamental research and the next generation of scientists.  

The award will fund research from the Eddy lab that investigates the structures, dynamics, and functions of protein–polymer conjugates. The CAREER program supports promising early-career faculty across disciplines by fostering excellence in both teaching and research and aims to cultivate future leaders who will integrate these aspects and advance their field.

Protein-based materials hold great potential for industrial and medical applications. However, the ability to precisely tailor their functions also makes them susceptible to rapid degradation.  An effective strategy for enhancing protein durability is to chemically attach a polymer to them, effectively creating a molecular shield.  This approach has yielded numerous important drugs for treating inflammation, cancer, and other diseases. 

The goal of this NSF-funded research is to advance our understanding of factors that contribute to the robustness of certain protein-polymer conjugates over others.  By doing so, The Eddy lab aims to establish criteria for intentionally designing conjugates with advantageous and predictable properties.

This proposed research is complemented by an educational program designed to provide scientific training in techniques for visualizing proteins at the microscopic scale targeted at K-12, undergraduate, and PhD educational levels.