Don Brooks

Contact Information
Life Sciences Centre
#4409 – 2350 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z3
Tel: 1-604-822-7081
Tel: 1-604-822-7081
Fax: 1-604-822-7742

Current Positions

  • Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Medicine.
  • Professor, Chemistry, Science.
  • Associate Vice-President Research & International, UBC.

Research Interests

Our laboratory is utilizing polymer science in the development of synthetic biocompatible materials for application in blood contacting and other biomedical applications. For instance, it is known that grafted polymer chains have a strong effect on the interaction of surfaces with blood and biological fluids. Our approach to developing biocompatible materials is to grow dense polymer brushes from surfaces, characterize them very thoroughly with respect to molecular weight, thickness and chain separation and to challenge them in a variety of biological settings to assay their effects on biological reactions such as protein and cell adsorption, blood clotting, complement activation and platelet activation. A current project is to develop an improved container for platelet storage by growing neutral polymer brushes from the inside surfaces of PVC bags, a project that is showing great promise. A second type of polymer we are working with is based on hyperbranched materials that dissolve as almost protein-like nanospheres in water and can be easily derivatized with a huge range of chemical entities to allow their application as synthetic protein substitutes (e.g. a Human Serum Albumin substitute), drug delivery vehicles and many others. These have proven to be extremely well tolerated in vivo with circulation half lives that are under synthetic control and have been extended to over 60 hr to date. We are applying these to areas as diverse as plasma expansion, cancer chemotherapy, blood pool imaging and cardiac metabolism stabilization in myocardial infarction models.


  1. Yu X, Yang X, Horte S, Kizhakkedathu JN, Brooks DE. A pH and thermosensitive choline phosphate-based delivery platform targeted to the acidic tumor microenvironment. Biomaterials. 2014 Jan;35(1):278-86.
  2. Yu X, Yang X, Horte S, Kizhakkedathu JN, Brooks DE. A Thermoreversible Poly(Choline Phosphate) Based Universal Biomembrane Adhesive. Macromol Biosci. 2013 Nov 11.
  3. Yu X, Zou Y, Horte S, Janzen J, Kizhakkedathu JN, Brooks DE. Thermal reversal of polyvalent choline phosphate, a multivalent universal biomembrane adhesive. Biomacromolecules. 2013 Aug 12;14(8):2611-21.
  4. Chapanian R, Constantinescu I, Medvedev N, Scott MD, Brooks DE, Kizhakkedathu JN. Therapeutic cells via functional modification: influence of molecular properties of polymer grafts on in vivo circulation, clearance, immunogenicity, and antigen protection. Biomacromolecules. 2013 Jun 10;14(6):2052-62.
  5. Shenoi RA, Lai BF, Imran ul-haq M, Brooks DE, Kizhakkedathu JN. Biodegradable polyglycerols with randomly distributed ketal groups as multi-functional drug delivery systems. Biomaterials. 2013 Aug;34(25):6068-81.
  6. Yu X, Yang X, Horte S, Kizhakkedathu JN, Brooks DE. ATRP synthesis of poly(2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl choline phosphate): a multivalent universal biomembrane adhesive. Chem Commun (Camb). 2013 Aug 7;49(61):6831-3.
  7. Chapanian R, Constantinescu I, Brooks DE, Scott MD, Kizhakkedathu J. Antigens protected functional red blood cells by the membrane grafting of compact hyperbranched polyglycerols. J Vis Exp. 2013 Jan 2;(71).
  8. Chapanian R, Constantinescu I, Rossi NA, Medvedev N, Brooks DE, Scott MD, Kizhakkedathu JN. Influence of polymer architecture on antigens camouflage, CD47 protection and complement mediated lysis of surface grafted red blood cells. Biomaterials. 2012 Nov;33(31):7871-83.
  9. Yu X, Liu Z, Janzen J, Chafeeva I, Horte S, Chen W, Kainthan RK, Kizhakkedathu JN, Brooks DE. Polyvalent choline phosphate as a universal biomembrane adhesive. Nat Mater. 2012 Mar 18;11(5):468-76.
  10. Saatchi K, Soema P, Gelder N, Misri R, McPhee K, Baker JH, Reinsberg S, Brooks DE, Hafeli UO. Hyperbranched Polyglycerols As Trimodal Imaging Agents: Design, Biocompatibility and Tumor Uptake. Bioconjug Chem. 2012 Feb 6. [Epub ahead of print].
  11. Chapanian R, Constantinescu I, Brooks DE, Scott MD, Kizhakkedathu JN. In vivo circulation, clearance, and biodistribution of polyglycerol grafted functional red blood cells. Biomaterials. 2012 Apr;33(10):3047-57.
  12. Saatchi K, Gelder N, Gershkovich P, Sivak O, Wasan KM, Kainthan RK, Brooks DE, Häfeli UO. Long-circulating non-toxic blood pool imaging agent based on hyperbranched polyglycerols. Int J Pharm. 2012 Jan 17;422(1-2):418-27.
  13. Mugabe C, Raven PA, Fazli L, Baker JH, Jackson JK, Liggins RT, So AI, Gleave ME, Minchinton AI, Brooks DE, Burt HM Tissue uptake of docetaxel loaded hydrophobically derivatized hyperbranched polyglycerols and their effects on the morphology of the bladder urothelium. Biomaterials. 2012 Jan;33(2):692-703.
  14. Gao G, Yu K, Kindrachuk J, Brooks DE, Hancock RE, Kizhakkedathu JN. Antibacterial surfaces based on polymer brushes: investigation on the influence of brush properties on antimicrobial peptide immobilization and antimicrobial activity. Biomacromolecules. 2011 Oct 10;12(10):3715-27.
  15. Weinhart M, Gröger D, Enders S, Riese SB, Dernedde J, Kainthan RK, Brooks DE, Haag R. The role of dimension in multivalent binding events: structure-activity relationship of dendritic polyglycerol sulfate binding to L-selectin in correlation with size and surface charge density. Macromol Biosci. 2011 Aug 11;11(8):1088-98.
  16. Zou Y, Lam A, Brooks DE, Phani AS, Kizhakkedathu JN. Bending and stretching actuation of soft materials through surface-initiated polymerization. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2011 May 23;50(22):5116-9.
  17. Gao G, Lange D, Hilpert K, Kindrachuk J, Zou Y, Cheng JT, Kazemzadeh-Narbat M, Yu K, Wang R, Straus SK, Brooks DE, Chew BH, Hancock RE, Kizhakkedathu JN. The biocompatibility and biofilm resistance of implant coatings based on hydrophilic polymer brushes conjugated with antimicrobial peptides. Biomaterials. 2011 Jun;32(16):3899-909.
  18. Mugabe C, Matsui Y, So AI, Gleave ME, Baker JH, Minchinton AI, Manisali I, Liggins R, Brooks DE, Burt HM. In vivo evaluation of mucoadhesive nanoparticulate docetaxel for intravesical treatment of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2011 May 1;17(9):2788-98.
  19. Mugabe C, Matsui Y, So AI, Gleave ME, Heller M, Zeisser-Labouèbe M, Heller L, Chafeeva I, Brooks DE, Burt HM. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of intravesical docetaxel loaded hydrophobically derivatized hyperbranched polyglycerols in an orthotopic model of bladder cancer. Biomacromolecules. 2011 Apr 11;12(4):949-60.
  20. Reichert S, Welker P, Calderón M, Khandare J, Mangoldt D, Licha K, Kainthan RK, Brooks DE, Haag R. Size-dependant cellular uptake of dendritic polyglycerol. Small. 2011 Mar 21;7(6):820-9.
  21. Ye L, Letchford K, Heller M, Liggins R, Guan D, Kizhakkedathu JN, Brooks DE, Jackson JK, Burt HM. Synthesis and characterization of carboxylic acid conjugated, hydrophobically derivatized, hyperbranched polyglycerols as nanoparticulate drug carriers for cisplatin. Biomacromolecules. 2011 Jan 10;12(1):145-55. Epub 2010 Dec 3.


  • Post doctoral, Cambridge (D.A. Haydon, 1972-74).
  • Post doctoral, Weizmann Institute (A. Silberberg, 1971-72).
  • Ph.D. (Biochemistry), University of Oregon, 1971.
  • M.Sc. (Physics), University of British Columbia, 1967.
  • B.Sc. (Physics), University of British Columbia, 1964.