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Research 1: R1-101


We are studying new applications of layered zirconium phosphate (ZrP) inorganic nanomaterials. The θ phase of ZrP can be directly ion-exchanged with metal complexes and catalysts, producing intercalated phases useful for artificial photosynthesis schemes for water splitting, amperometric biosensors, and drug delivery applications. Recently, we have demonstrated improved electrocatalytic activity of ZrP nanomaterials loaded with metal ions suitable for the oxygen evolution reaction of water splitting.  In addition, anticancer drugs such as cisplatin and doxorubicin can be intercalated in ZrP. Results of in-vitro drug release as well as cytotoxicity studies with breast cancer and prostate cancer cell lines for both anticancer agents indicate that the use of these materials for cancer treatment could represent a new strategy for nanotherapeutics. We are modifying the surface of these nanocarriers for improved biocompatibility and bioactivity.

Biography: Jorge Colón, a native of Puerto Rico, received his B.S. from the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico and his Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University. After postdoctoral positions at Texas A&M University and Caltech, he joined the Department of Chemistry of the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras in 1992, where he is currently a full professor and PI of the NSF-PREM Center for Interfacial Electrochemistry for Energy Materials (CIE2M), a collaborative project with the Universidad Ana G. Méndez and Cornell University’s synchrotron facility, CHESS. His research interests are in the area of layered materials with applications in electrocatalysis, biosensors, and drug delivery. He has won the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship (1990), NSF Young Investigator Award (1993), Igaravidez Award (2008), and Education Award of the ACS-Puerto Rico Section (2009), as well as the Osvaldo Ramírez Torres Award of the Puerto Rico’s Chemists Association (2015). He served as President of the ACS-Puerto Rico Section (1997) and of the Caribbean Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009-2012), and Treasurer of both (ACS 1995 and 2004-present, AAAS 2014-present).  He was elected Fellow of the AAAS in 2016, Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) Fellow in 2019, and Fellow of the ACS in 2020.  He his member of the ACS International Activities Committee and of Division II (Inorganic Chemistry) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.  He is co-editor and co-author of the book Tailored Organic-Inorganic Materials published in May 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, as well as co-author of the book on Puerto Rican environmental history: El proyecto de explotación minera en Puerto Rico 1962-1968: Nacimiento de la conciencia ambiental moderna (Ediciones Huracán, 2014).


Jorge L. Colón, Ph.D.

University of Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico