Carmen Scholz, Ph.D

Professor, Chemistry


301 Sparkman Drive
Materials Science Building
Room 221
Huntsville, AL 35899
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Research concentrates on the synthesis of biocompatible and biodegradable polymers. We synthesize block copolymers consisting of poly(ethylene) glycol and various poly(amino acid)s and investigate them for biomedically relevant applications. PEGylated poly(amino acid)s with poly(L-Lysine) repeat units are currently under investigation for gene delivery systems and PEGylated poly(amino acid)s with poly(L-Cysteine) repeat units are investigated for the surface modification of (electrically active) implants.

We synthesize poly(hydroxyalkanoate)s, PHAs, with terminal side chain functional groups by bacterial fermentation and perform polymer-analogous reactions on these functionalized PHAs. PHAs are used for various biomedical applications; decorating them with bioactive moieties broadens their versatility and may unseal new usages.

Our most recent research endeavor concentrates on the bacterial fermentation of crude, i.e. as received from the biodiesel industry, glycerol to yield butanol, a potential fuel additive, which has many advantages over the current, more hydrophilic ethanol additive.

Research Assistant at the University of Dresden, Germany 1987-92 Postdoc in Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 1992-94 Research Scientist at the International Center for Biomaterials Sciences, Noda, Japan, 1994-96 Research Associate in Chemistry, Univ. of Massachusetts, 1996-98 Assistant Professor, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 1998-2004 Associate Professor, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2004-2009 Professor, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2009

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Technology, Dresden, Germany, 1991
  • M.S., Polymer Chemistry, University of Technology, Dresden, Germany, 1987

Honors & Awards

  • 2021 POLY Fellows Award
  • 2014 College of Science Service Award
  • 2000 Student-Government Association Outstanding Faculty Award
  • 1994 Fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Research on Cardiovascular Diseases
  • 1994 Humboldt Foundation Alumni
  • 1992 Feodor-Lynen Fellowship of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, Germany
  • 1991 graduated Dr. rer.nat. (Ph.D.) magna cum laude
  • 1987 graduated Dipl.-chem. (M.S.) cum laude


  • Biodegradable Polymers

Recent Publications

  • Johnson, L.C., Akinmola, A.T., Scholz, C. “Poly(glutamic acid): from natto to drug delivery systems” Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology2022, 40, 102292,

  • Thompson, M., Scholz, C. “Highly Branched Polymers Based on Poly(amino acid)s for Biomedical Applications” Nanomaterials2021, 11, 1119,

  • Sanchez Santiago, J., Cerro, R., Scholz, C. “A Robust Affinity Chromatography System Based on Ceramic Monoliths Coated with Poly(amino acid)-based Polymeric Constructs” Polymer International2021, 70(1), 41-50

  • Vert, M., Chen, J., Hellwich, K.-H., Hodge, P., Nakano, T., Scholz, C., Slomkowski, S., Vohlidal, J. “Nomenclature and terminology for linear lactic acid-based polymers (IUPAC Recommendation 2019)  Pure Appl. Chem. 2020,  92 (1), 193-211,

  • Slomkowski, S., Fellows, C.M., Hiorns, R.C., Jones, R.G., Kubisa, P., Luscombe, C.K., Nakano, T., Russel, G.T., dos Santos, C.G., Scholz, C., Stingelin, N., Walter, M.  “List of keywords for polymer science”  Pure Appl. Chem. 2019,  91 (6), 997-1027,

  • Nkrumah-Agyeefi, S., Pella, B.J., Singh, N., Mukherjee, A., Scholz, C.  “Modification of polyhydroxyalkanoates: evaluation of the effectiveness of novel copper (II) catalysts in click chemistry”  Internat. J. Biolog. Macromolec2019, 128, 376-384,

  • Ulkoski, D., Scholz, C. “Impact of Cationic Charge Density and PEGylated Poly(amino acid) Tercopolymer Architecture on their use as Gene Delivery Vehicles.  Part 2: DNA protection, Stability, Cytotoxicity, and Transfection Efficiency." Macromolecular Bioscience, 2018, 18,  1800109

  • Ulkoski, D., Scholz, C. “Impact of Cationic Charge Density and PEGylated Poly(amino acid) Tercopolymer Architecture on their use as Gene Delivery Vehicles.  Part 1: Synthesis, Self-Assembly, and DNA complexation” Macromolecular Bioscience, 2018, 18, 1800109  

  • Ulkoski, D., Scholz, C. “Synthesis and Application of Aurophilic Poly(Cysteine) and Poly(Cysteine)-Containing Copolymers” Polymers, 2017, 9, 500,

  • Nkrumah-Agyeefi, S., Scholz, C. “Chemical modification of functionalized polyhydroxyalkanoates via “click” chemistry: A proof of concept” International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 2017, 95, 796-808,