AbstractCationic amphiphilic polymers were prepared from PEI and functional ethylene carbonates bearing cationic, hydrophobic or amphiphilic groups. The polymers are designed to exhibit antimicrobial properties. In a one-step addition, different functional ethylene carbonates were added to react with the primary amine groups of PEI. The water soluble polymers were studied regarding their ability to form soluble aggregates. Their hydrodynamic radii, their inhibition potential against proliferation of E. coli and their hemolytic potential were determined. A structure-property relationship was established by analyzing the antimicrobial activity as a function of the ratio of alkyl to cationic groups, length of the alkyl chains, and molecular weight of the PEI.