Mavis Montero

HAP-Pickering Emulsion
Modified from Wikimedia Commons: Phospholipids_aqueous_solution_structures.svg

A Pickering emulsion is an emulsion that is stabilized by solid particles which adsorb onto the interface between the two phases.

Materials Chemistry, Self-Assembling Materials, Biomaterials

Lic. University of Costa Rica 1990 (C. Murillo)
Dr. rer. nat. University of Göttingen 1996 (H. W. Roesky)
Postdoctorate University of Göttingen 1997 (G. Sheldrick)

I’m looking for life-like inorganic assemblies…

I have been lucky to participate in a large number of research projects involving people from many different fields, not only from the basic and applied sciences but also from the social and archaeological sciences. Inorganic Chemistry has been not only a tool but a source of ideas to carry on to other interesting areas of knowledge.

Costa Rica is a small country. Resources for science are limited and because of this there has been traditionally a collaboration spirit within the basic Sciences community. Through our multidisciplinary projects involving people from the fine arts, and archeology we thought about creating a national network of scientific facilities that would contribute to these other disciplines that desperately try to salvage our cultural heritage.

One of our projects involves investigating the possible cultural relation between material choice and motif design of stone ornaments from ancient indigenous people. We collaborate with the Museum of Jade and Pre Columbian Culture and their extensive collection of green-stone hanging ornaments using non-destructive techniques such as Infrared and Raman Spectroscopies as well as F-Ray Fluorescence.

The year 2020 marks the 200th Anniversary of the Independence of Costa Rica and we have been contacted by the National Archive to help in validating methods for the restoration of the Costa Rican Act of Independence and related unique historical documents. We are developing non invasive techniques to determine the stability of the paper, ink, seals and pigments during the restoration.

We have become fascinated lately with the idea of organizing fluid media reactions in tridimensional space in a matter analogous to the organization of living cells. For this we use nanohydroxyapatite as colloidal particles.

In order to create compartments for sequential reactions that resemble metabolic pathways we are exploring Pickering emulsions. These oil in water emulsions substitute the surfactants of conventional oil in water emulsions for nanoparticles. We have found that the nanoparticulate layer of Pickering emulsions is a laterally mobile and shape adapting system with potential for delivery of antibodies or pharmaceuticals to cell receptors.

The idea of creating a new type of aqueous compartments has resulted in a collaboration with our colleague Ricardo Hidalgo. We are trying to see how the metabolism changes when trapping cells inside colloidosomes (the inorganic analogue of liposome vesicles). We also use Pickering emulsions for the transformation of light into chemical energy by TiO2 nanoparticles.

Relevant Publications

F.A. Cotton, L.M. Daniels, M.L. Montero and C. A. Murillo. Polyhedron, 1992, 11, 2767.

M.L. Montero, H.W. Roesky, I. Usón, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1994, 33, 2103. 

R. Urcuyo, E. Cortés, A.A. Ruberto, G. Benitez, M. L. Montero, M.E. Vela and R.C. Salvarezza. J. Phys. Chem. C, 2011, 115 (50), 24707

R. Montalberth-Smith, Mavis L. Montero  J. Materials    Science  2013, 48, 15, 5253.

 M. Alejandra Sánchez, Sergio A. Paniagua, Ignacio Borge, Christian Viales, Mavis

L. Montero. Applied Surface Science. 317, 2014, 1160.

Rojas L., Olmedo H., García-Piñeres A., Silveira C., Tasic L., Fraga F., Montero M.L Biomed. Mater., 2015, 10, 055015.

Diego González-Flores, Irene Sánchez, Ivelina Zaharieva, Katharina Klingan, Jonathan Heidkamp, Petko Chernev, Prashanth W. Menezes, Matthias Driess, Holger Dau, Mavis L. Montero. Communication Angew. Chem. 2015,127, 2502.

K Rodríguez, M Villalta, E Marín, M Briceño, G León, ML Montero. Materials Science and Engineering: C 2019. 100, 23-29.

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