The Golder Research Team utilizes fundamental principles of molecular structure to control synthetic polymer function. Many of society’s greatest advancements spanning health, sanitation, construction, electronics, and transportation have been enabled by the invention and application of plastics. Simultaneously, these materials have created significant concerns about global sustainability, climate impact, and environmental pollution. My laboratory aims to discover new materials and methods that unveil unexpected phenomena on the macroscopic scale; this overarching strategy will produce next-generation designer plastics and reform how commodity plastics are utilized. In this talk, the team’s efforts towards these common goals will be outlined in the context of recent work centered on: (1) synthetic transformations fueled by initiator and methodology development, and (2) molecular design of new soft materials.