Helmut Schlaad received his chemistry diploma from the University of Mainz, Germany, in 1993. He continued his studies in Mainz and completed his Ph.D. in 1997 on anionic polymerization of (meth)acrylates under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Axel H. E. Müller. His work focused on mechanistic and kinetic studies, the synthesis and characterization of polymers, and the design of novel polymerization systems. He developed a procedure which allows a living and controlled anionic polymerization of methacrylates in non-polar solvents near ambient temperature using tetraalkylammonium halide-trialkyl aluminium complexes as additives.
In 1998, he went to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, USA, to work with Prof. Dr. Rudolf Faust in the field of cationic polymerization of vinyl monomers, in particular on the end-capping of living polymers with 1,1-diphenylethylene derivatives and on the determination of absolute rate constants.
In 1999, he joined the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, shortly before the institute moved from Teltow to its new location in Golm, Germany, to lead the project "Amphiphilic Block Copolymers" (works for habilitation, finished in 2004) in the group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Markus Antonietti. His research is devoted to (i) the development of new controlled polymerization techniques, modular synthetic pathways, and "thio-click" chemistry (ii) advanced characterization of functional polymers, and (iii) study of complex structure formation of bioinspired (co-)polymers through specific non-covalent interactions.