Over the last decade, foldamers – artificial molecular architectures possessing well-defined folded conformations – have shifted our knowledge of biopolymer folding in showing that molecular backbones chemically remote from those that nature uses are also able to adopt secondary and tertiary structures. Our group has developed several families of aromatic oligoamides which fold into exceptionally stable, predictable, and tunable conformations. Single, double, triple and quadruple helices have been developed as well as tertiary-like folded conformations.
Our current efforts aim at exploring how these aromatic oligoamides may mimic and go beyond protein and nucleic acids structures and functions and at investigating their potential applications in supramolecular chemistry, material science, and in biology. For example, we develop new artificial folded structures such as sheets and helix bundles, and we investigate the potential of aromatic oligoamide foldamers to serve as molecular capsules for selective recognition and sensing, as artificial molecular motors, as components for molecular electronics, as cell-penetrating agents, as G-quadruplex DNA ligands, or as protein-protein interaction inhibitors.