We use compartmentalised polymer-based structures with catalysts attached. These nanoparticles act as hydrophobic reaction sites and accelerate reactions in water and in complex cellular environments. We investigate a range of organocatalytic, photocatalytic and transition-metal-based reactions in water. In addition, we select catalysts capable of bio-orthogonal chemistry. Our ultimate goals are to use non-natural catalytic reactions in concert with enzymes to achieve cascade catalytic reactions and to activate prodrugs in the vicinity of diseased tissue.
In addition, properly designed SCPNs can target different cell compartments such as lysosomes, mitochondria and even the cell nucleus.