Personal profile


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Maria is a Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry in the School of Chemistry since October 2017. During her PhD and subsequent post-doctoral positions at the University of East Anglia (and in collaboration with the John Innes Centre) and as a Development Scientist for Iceni Glycosience Ltd., Maria gained extensive experience in analytical bionanotechnology and since joining UEA, her main research focus is on the use of nanomaterials for biosensing and diagnosis applications, and for the delivery of therapeutics.

Maria graduated in Chemistry from the University Jaume I (Spain) in 2007 having spent a year as an Erasmus student at Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland. She then moved to the School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia (UEA) where she obtained her PhD in Analytical Bionanotechnology (2012) under the supervision of Prof David A. Russell. Her PhD thesis involved interdisciplinary work on intracellular detection and quantification of pH and nitric oxide (NO) using nanoparticles and molecular probes. Her research focused mainly on the synthesis, characterisation, and biological application of functionalised nanoparticles which act as sensors and ratiometric sensors of pH, and on the chemical and biological evaluation of fluorescent molecules which act as markers of NO. Her PhD thesis was complemented with a European Society for Photobiology (ESP) supplement to the PhD Degree awarded in 2015.

From September 2012 to April 2017, Maria was a Postdoctoral Researcher at UEA under the supervision of Prof David A. Russell and Prof Rob A. Field (John Innes Centre). During this period, she worked on several multidisciplinary projects including: 1) the development of simple bioassays based on gold glyconanoparticles for the diagnosis of influenza virus and for the specific detection of Siglecs; 2) the use of double stranded DNA functionalised gold nanoparticles to rapidly determine the crosslinking of DNA duplexes by bisintercator ligands (with Prof M. Searcey, School of Chemistry, UEA); 3) the intracellular evaluation of fluorescent macrocyclic probes as markers of acidic organelles (with Dr F. Galindo, University Jaume I, Spain) and nanosensors for the imaging of compartmentalised NO (with Dr J. Gravilovic and Dr P. Thomas, School of Biological Science, UEA); and 4) the use of nanomaterials (gold, magnetic and upconversion nanoparticles) as drug delivery systems, especially for targeted photodynamic therapy (PDT) of cancer (with Dr Ll. Pérez, University of Barcelona (Spain) and University of Nottingham; and Dr T. Hirsch, University of Regensburg, Germany). Maria has also worked in the field of Forensic Sciences, performing research on the use of antibody functionalised nanoparticles for the detection of drugs and drug metabolites in latent fingerprints.

During her career, Maria has also gained experience in industry. She was an Analyst at Iproma S. L. (Castellón, Spain, from July to September 2006) and I worked as part of the Quality Control and Assurance teams at Johnson Matthey Pharmaceutical Materials (Cork, Ireland, from April to December 2007). During the final year of her PhD, she worked as an Analyst in the Anti-doping Laboratory for the London 2012 Olympic Games under the leadership of GlaxoSmithKline and the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London. From April to October 2017, Maria was a Development Scientist at Iceni Diagnostics (Norwich Research Park Innovation Centre), a company specialised on the development of carbohydrate based diagnostics with who she maintains strong links.

Maria was awarded the Roscoe Gold Medal for Chemistry and the Westminster Medal for the overall winner during the 2014 SET for Britain.

Selected Publications

“A highly photostable and versatile two-photon fluorescent probe for the detection of a wide range of intracellular nitric oxide concentrations in macrophages and endothelial cells” C. Arnau del Valle, L. Williams, P. Thomas, R. Johnson, S. Raveenthiraraj, D. Warren, A. Sobolewski, M. P. Muñoz, F. Galindo and M. J. Marín*. J. Photochem. Photobiol. B, Biol., 234, 112512 (2022).

“Recent advances in nanoparticle‑based targeting tactics for antibacterial photodynamic therapy” B. A. Thomas-Moore*, C. Arnau del Valle, R. A. Field and M. J. Marín*. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 21, 1111 (2022)

“Recent advances in near infrared upconverting nanomaterials for targeted photodynamic therapy of cancer” C. Arnau del Valle, T. Hirsch and M. J. Marín*. Methods Appl. Fluoresc. 10, 034003 (2022)

“Aptamer-modified gold nanoparticles for rapid aggregation-based detection of inflammation: an optical assay for interleukin-6” S. Giorgi-Coll*, M. J. Marín*, O. Sule, P. J. Hutchinson and K. L. H. Carpenter. Microchimica Acta 187, 13 (2020)

“Photosensitiser functionalised luminescent upconverting nanoparticles for efficient photodynamic therapy of breast cancer cells” M. Buchner, P. García Calavia, V. Muhr, A. Baeumner, T. Hirsch*, D. A. Russell and M. J. Marín*. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 18, 1, 98-109 (2019)

“Water soluble multifunctional antibody-porphyrin-functionalised gold nanoparticles for targeted photodynamic therapy” O. Penon, M. J. Marín,* D. A. Russell and Ll. Pérez-García*. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 496, 100-110 (2017)

“Glyconanoparticles for the plasmonic detection and discrimination between human and avian influenza virus” M. J. Marín, A. Rashid, M. Rejzek, S. R. Martin, J. W. McCauley, T. Wileman, R. A. Field and D. A. Russell. Org. Biomol. Chem., 11, 41, 7101-7107 (2013)

“Localized intracellular pH measurement using a ratiometric photoinduced electron-transfer-based nanosensor” M. J. Marín, F. Galindo, P. Thomas and D. A. Russell. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 51, 38, 9657-9661 (2012)

Key Research Interests

Research in the Marín group focuses on the application of nanoscience to address biological challenges. The main interests are in the synthesis and the use of nanomaterials as colorimetric sensors, intracellular sensors and as drug delivery systems for cancer treatment.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or