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Hélène Van Den Berghe

Hélène Van Den Berghe

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montpellier

Hélène graduated in Organic Chemistry at the Universtiy of Montpellier (France). She completed her PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Pr J. Coudane in the Artificial Biopolymers Department of IBMM in Montpellier, working on the synthesis of biodegradable polymers for tissue engineering and sustained drug release applications. She then joined the group of Pr Rachel Auzély in the CERMAV (Grenoble, France) as a post-doc to work on the chemical modifications of polysaccharides. Hélène moved to England in 2010 in the Dove group at the Warwick University before moving at the University of Lille (France) to work as a post-doctoral fellow with Pr Bernard Martel developing multi-drug stents based on polysaccharide layer-by-layer assemblies. In 2011, she became Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy of Montpellier in the Artificial Biopolymers Department of IBMM. Her research is dedicated to the synthesis and chemical modification of synthetic and natural biodegradable polymers for biomedical applications including : nano-systems for anti-cancer drug release, anti-adhesive polymeric membranes for orthopedic surgery, synthesis of amphiphilic copolymers for environnemental applications.   

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5 recent publications:

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Poly(Lactic Acid)-Based Graft Copolymers: Syntheses Strategies and Improvement of Properties for Biomedical and Environmentally Friendly Applications – A Review

Molecules 27, 4135 (2022)

 Jean Coudane , Hélène Van Den Berghe, Julia Mouton, Xavier Garric, Benjamin Nottelet

ABSTRACT

As a potential replacement for petroleum-based plastics, biodegradable bio-based polymers such as poly(lactic acid) (PLA) have received much attention in recent years. PLA is a biodegradable polymer with major applications in packaging and medicine. Unfortunately, PLA is less flexible and has less impact resistance than petroleum-based plastics. To improve the mechanical properties of PLA, PLA-based blends are very often used, but the outcome does not meet expectations because of the non-compatibility of the polymer blends. From a chemical point of view, the use of graft copolymers as a compatibilizer with a PLA backbone bearing side chains is an interesting option for improving the compatibility of these blends, which remains challenging. This review article reports on the various graft copolymers based on a PLA backbone and their syntheses following two chemical strategies: the synthesis and polymerization of modified lactide or direct chemical post-polymerization modification of PLA. The main applications of these PLA graft copolymers in the environmental and biomedical fields are presented.

Tuning the properties of porous chitosan: Aerogels and cryogels

Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 202, 215–223 (2022)

Coraline Chartier, Sytze Buwalda, Hélène Van Den Berghe, Benjamin Nottelet, Tatiana Budtova

ABSTRACT

Highly porous chitosan-based materials were prepared via dissolution, non-solvent induced phase separation and drying using different methods. The goal was to tune the morphology and properties of chitosan porous materials by varying process parameters. Chitosan concentration, concentration of sodium hydroxide in the coagulation bath and aging time were varied. Drying was performed via freeze-drying leading to “cryogels” or via drying with supercritical CO2 leading to “aerogels”. Cryogels were of lower density than aerogels (0.03–0.12 g/cm3 vs 0.07–0.26 g/cm3, respectively) and had a lower specific surface area (50–70 vs 200–270 m2/g, respectively). The absorption of simulated wound exudate by chitosan aerogels and cryogels was studied in view of their potential applications as wound dressing. Higher absorption was obtained for cryogels (530–1500%) as compared to aerogels (200–610%).

Performances and behavior of a water-soluble and pH-sensitive polycarboxybetaine used for metal ion recovery

Materials Today Communications 20, 100575, 2019

 

Mouton, J., Kirkelund, G.M., Hassen, Y., Chastagnol, S., Van den Berghe, H., Coudane, J., Turmine, M

 

ABSTRACT

Zwiterionic functional groups give polycarboxybetaines a great ability to chelate copper and their use for metal ions recovery was suggested in previous studies. The use of a water-soluble and pH-sensitive polymer (polycarboxy-ethyl-3-aminocrotonate – PCEAC) was investigated for the removal of copper from aqueous solution. The equilibrium adsorption level was determined as a function of temperature, pH and initial adsorbate concentration. The good fit to the Langmuir model offered various information about copper uptake mechanisms. The maximal adsorption capacities were found to reach 253 ± 11 mg of copper per g of PCEAC at pH=6. The thermodynamic parameters such as free energy, enthalpy and entropy changes for the adsorption of copper were computed to predict the nature of adsorption process. The removal of copper was varying from 2% to 97% depending on pH and initial copper concentration. A particular behavior of PCEAC at pH=4 is discussed and explained by viscosity measurements as a particular conformation of the polymer. The effect of cadmium on copper adsorption was also tested. Some co-adsorption phenomena were observed at low cadmium concentrations ([Cd]/[Cu]≤1), while copper desorption in favor of cadmium adsorption were quantified at higher cadmium concentrations ([Cd]/[Cu]>1).

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Sol-gel synthesis of collagen-inspired peptide hydrogel

Mater. Today 20, 59–66 (2017)

Echalier, C., Jebors, S., Laconde, G., Brunel, L., Verdie, P., Causse, L., Bethry, A., Legrand, B., Van Den Berghe, H., Garric, X., Noel, D., Martinez, J., Mehdi, A. & Subra, G.

 

ABSTRACT

Conceiving biomaterials able to mimic the specific environments of extracellular matrices are a prerequisite for tissue engineering applications. Numerous types of polymers (PEG, PLA, etc.) have been used for the design of biocompatible scaffolds, but they are still less efficient than natural biopolymers such as collagen extracts. Chemically modified and loaded with different bioactive factors, biopolymers afford an environment favourable to cell proliferation and differentiation. Unfortunately, they present several drawbacks, such as weak batch-to-batch reproducibility, potential immunogenicity and high cost of production. Herein we propose a fully synthetic covalent hydrogel obtained by sol–gel polymerization of a silylated peptide. We selected a short and low molecular building-block derived from the consensus collagen sequence [Pro-Hyp-Gly]. Interestingly, the sol–gel process occurs in physiological buffer, enabling the embedment of stem cells. This collagen-inspired hydrogel provides a cell-friendly environment comparable to natural collagen substrates, demonstrating its potency as a biomimetic scaffold.

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