We are pleased to announce our 2nd talk for the CRES Webinar Series 2021. 

This event will take place online. Please sign-up through Eventbrite to participate.
A link will be sent to you to join the ZOOM meeting 2 hours before the event is due to start.

“Plastics: Friend or Foe? Polymers for Monitoring of Environmental Contaminants”

Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) are porous materials that enable specific binding of their respective target molecules; while they mimic the affinity of natural recognition elements, they are low-cost, robust (can withstand extremes of pH and T), and can be used for templates as small as ions to large macromolecules. Furthermore, MIPs are produced using animal-free technology, an important aspect considering still 1 million animals are used in the EU per year and there is a current ban on use of animal-derived antibodies.  

In this talk, I will show how we can integrate MIPs into modified screen-printed electrodes (MIP-modified SPEs) and use them for sensing of environmental contaminants [1]. Specifically, I will talk about aspects of reusability and use of paper as substrate material to promote sustainability. The sensors are used to measure caffeine, an anthropogenic marker of water contamination, a range of antibiotics [2], and microorganisms to provide information about water quality. I will demonstrate both our standalone thermal sensor platform that is used for rapid screening of samples [3] to more common techniques involving electrochemical detection.  Our sensors can be used for fast and low-cost detection performed on-site considering the enhanced stability of the MIPs, which holds great potential for the determination of contaminants in environmental samples. Moreover, this is a platform technology and can be adapted to an array format containing a range of markers.

[1] K. Betlem, I. Mahmood, R.D. Seixas, I. Sadiki, R.L.D. Raimbault, C.W. Foster, R.D. Crapnell, S. Tedesco, C.E. Banks, J. Gruber, M.Peeters, Chem. Eng. J. 2019, 359, 505-517
[2] https://youtu.be/A0HVHX5D5T4
[3] E. SteenRedeker, K. Eersels, O. Akkermans, J. Royakkers, S. Dyson, K. Nurekeyeva, B. Ferrando, P. Cornelis, M. Peeters, P. Wagner, H. Dilien, B. van Grinsven, T. J. Cleij,  ACS Infect. Dis., 2017, 3, 388-397.

About the speaker

Dr Marloes Peeters (Marloes) graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands) with a degree in Chemistry & Chemical Engineering. For her PhD, she moved to research institute IMO/IMOMEC in Belgium where she was part of the BIOSensors group of Prof Wagner. There, together with Maastricht University, she developed polymer-based sensing platforms that were used for the electrochemical and thermal detection of neurotransmitters. After finishing her PhD, she continued as a postdoctoral researcher within the same group to focus on aptamers as recognition elements.

In 2014, she started working in the organic chemistry group of Prof Kilburn at Queen Mary University of London. Instead of biomimetic receptors, Marloes focused on enzymes (“natural” receptors) and studying enzyme catalysis with electrochemical methods. Her independent research started at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015 where she was promoted to senior lecturer in Chemical Biology in 2018. Since March 2019, Marloes’s group has moved to Newcastle University where she is a senior lecturer in the School of Engineering (Advanced Materials group). Her group focuses on developing novel polymer-based sensing platforms that can be used for environmental monitoring and sustainable healthcare. In this talk, Marloes will focus on how polymers can be used for trace detection of antibiotics.

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