Maria Santore Research Group

Santore Research Group

Phone: 413-577-1417

Meet the Santore Group!

Degree Information:

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 1985
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1989

Mailing Address:

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Room: A411, Conte Research Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

Research Interests

  • Discovering mechanisms for adhesion, lubrication, assembly, response, and reconfiguration in soft material systems, focusing on the dynamic interactions of polymers, biomolecules, nanoparticles, colloids, and cells
  • Coupling material interactions with flow and deformation to control structures and dynamics  
  • Translating new interfacial mechanisms to the application-specific design of responsive / active interfacial materials

Application Areas: 

Biomaterials:  biomembrane mimics, targeted delivery packages, mammalian cell sorting and harvesting, functional particles, polymer hydrogel and nanoparticulate coatings, protein and mucosa interactions, bacteriocidal and antimicrobial surfaces, nonfouling surfaces, biofilm formation, microfluidic and diagnostic surfaces

Energy:  sensors, reconfigurable membrane materials for energy harvesting and storage.

Traditional: inks, paints, coatings, separations media, adhesive formulations, colloidal stabilization, nanoparticlate purification, food colloids especially milk

Current Research

Nano-patterned microparticles for cell mimics, delivery applications, separations media. We create micron-scale spheres and rods with nanoscale patterns and interactive chemical features that produce
Stress- and curvature- responsive patterned membranes for energy applications.  We direct phase transitions, morphology, and patterns of fluid and solid phases in nanometrically-thin biomimetic membranes by imposing mechanical stress and membrane curvature.
Bacteria on soft and nano-patterned surfaces. We manipulate the interactions between bacteria and engineered materials by tuning the modulus of the substrate and arranging nanoscale interactive surface features.  Using these strategies we have created catch-and-release surfaces, which selectively capture different classes of bacteria, and surfaces which rapidly kill and release bacteria.  We are currently examining the impact of flow, and surface stiffness / patterns on bacterial behavior and biofilm initiation.
Non adhesive polyzwitterion and polyethylene glycol coatings.  We optimize interfacial molecular architectures to produce easily-processed, patternable, non-fouling coatings. These find use in cell capture and sensor applications.

Aqueous phase interactions with graphene for sensor applications.  We have probed colloidal- and molecular-scale features of the aqueous supported graphene interface and its interactions with blood proteins.  We find that charge on the underlying support and/or ion adsorption on the graphene produces substantial electrostatic interactions on the solution side of the graphene. 

Patents and Applications

M. M. Santore, S. Kalasin, and K. Arcaro, “Sensors and Methods for Capturing Targeted Cells.”  Provisional Filing, August 2014. Full Application, August 2015.

M. M. Santore and B. Fang, “Method for Capture, Killing, and Release of Bacteria ”US Patent 9,920,353 B2 March 20, 2018.   Continuation filed February 1, 2018.

M.M. Santore, J. Zhang, and V.M. Rotello, “Nanoparticle Textured Surfaces and Related Methods for Selective Adhesion, Sensing and Separation.” U.S. Patent 8,652,640 B2 February 18, 2014.

M.M. Santore, J. Zhang, and V.M. Rotello, “Nanoparticle Textured Surfaces and Related Methods for Selective Adhesion, Sensing and Separation.” U.S. Patent 8,382,858 B2 February 26, 2013.

M.M. Santore and S. Kalasin. “Nanopatterned Surfaces and Related Methods for Selective Adhesion, Sensing and Separation.” U.S. Patent 8,117,902 B2 February 21, 2012 

M.M. Santore and N. Kozlova, “Nanopatterned Surfaces and Related Methods for Selective Adhesion, Sensing and Separation.” U.S. 7,752,931 B2 July 13, 2010

Honors and Distinctions:

  • Milestone Award for 5 patents issued, University of Massachusetts, 2019
  • Editors Choice Award, American Chemical Society, 2019
  • Chancellors Medal, University of Massachusetts, 2018
  • Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, University of Massachusetts, 2017-2018
  • Grace Hopper Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania, 2015
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2012
  • Fellow, American Chemical Society, 2010
  • Senior Editor, Langmuir, 2006-2019
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 2005
  • American Chemical Society, Colloid and Surface Chemistry Division, Chair, 2004-2005
  • Co-Organizer, International Polyelectrolyte Meeting, 2004
  • Class of '61 Chaired Associate Professorship, Lehigh University, 1998-2001
  • Co-Organizer, Annual ACS Colloids Division Meeting, Lehigh University, 2000
  • Visiting Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1999-2000
  • Advisor to Outstanding Student Chapter, AICHE National Award, 1999
  • Alfred Noble Robinson Award, to an outstanding assistant professor, Lehigh University, 1996
  • Editorial Advisory Boards - Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Langmuir, Macromolecules