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Josh Worch

Assistant Professor
313A Davidson Hall

Research Interests

Synthetic polymers have revolutionized all aspects of modern life from the routine (packaging or textiles) to high-tech (transportation or medicine). However, lowering their ecological impact is a grand challenge of the 21st century. This requires a step change in how we design new polymers where they should be scrutinized holistically: from synthesis and application to end-of-life. Most polymers are built from unsustainable feedstock and treated as static materials with a linear lifecycle.  Our group will challenge this dogma by creating intrinsically recyclable polymers from renewable sources that feature programmable functionality and lifetime. Several key concepts will underpin our research in sustainable polymers: (1) dynamic bonding, (2) control of polymer structure/function, (3) green chemistry/processes, and (4) additive manufacturing technologies. Through a lens of sustainability, group members should expect to gain a comprehensive skill-set in polymers that covers molecular design, synthesis, materials fabrication/characterization, recycling, and degradation.

  1. Stubbs, C. J.; Worch, J. C.; Prydderch, H.; Wang, Z.; Mathers, R. T.; Dobrynin, A. V.; Becker, M. L.; Dove, A. P. Sugar-based Polymers with Stereochemistry Dependent Degradability and Mechanical properties. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 1243-1250.
  2. Alraddadi, M. A.; Chiaradia, V.; Stubbs, C. J.; Worch, J. C.; Dove, A. P. Renewable and Recyclable Covalent Adaptable Networks Based on Bio-derived Lipoic Acid. Polym. Chem. 2021, 12, 5796-5802.
  3. Worch, J. C.; Dove, A. P. 100th Anniversary of Macromolecular Science Viewpoint: Towards Catalytic Chemical Recycling of Waste (and Future) Plastics. ACS Macro Lett. 2020, 9, 1494-1506.
  4. Worch, J. C.; Weems, A. C.; Yu, J.; Arno, M. C.; Wilks, T. R.; Huckstepp, R. T. R.; O’Reilly, R. K.; Becker, M. L.; Dove, A. P. Elastomeric Polyamide Biomaterials with Stereochemically Tuneable Mechanical Properties and Shape Memory. Nat. Commun. 2020, 11, 3250.
  5. Worch, J. C.; Prydderch, H.; Jimaja, S.; Bexis, P.; Becker, M. L.; Dove, A. P. Stereochemical Enhancement of Polymer Properties. Nat. Rev. Chem. 2019, 3, 514-535.
  6. Qiu, Y.; Worch, J. C.; Fortney, A.; Gayathri, C.; Gil, R. R.; Noonan, K. J. T. Nickel-Catalyzed Suzuki Polycondensation for Controlled Synthesis of Ester-Functionalized Conjugated Polymers. Macromolecules 2016, 49, 4757-4762
  7. Worch, J. C.; Chirdon, D. N.; Maurer, A. B.; Qiu, Y.; Geib, S. J.; Bernhard, S.; Noonan, K. J. T. Synthetic Tuning of Electronic and Photophysical Properties of 2-Aryl-1,3-Benzothiaphospholes. J. Org. Chem. 2013, 78, 7462-7469.
  • M. Zouhair Atassi Research Paper Prize, 2021
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Grant, 2019
  • School of Chemistry Public Engagement Award, 2019
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017
  • Department of Chemistry Graduate TA Award, 2014
  • Group Leader, University of Birmingham (UK), 2020-2022
  • Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Warwick/Birmingham (UK), 2017-2019
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, 2016
  • B.A. in Chemistry & Physics, Manchester University, 2011