photo Richard J. Spontak

Seminario di Richard J. Spontak

Lunedì, 27 Febbraio, 2023

Iolanda Francolini è lieta di annunciare il seminario

Anionic block polymers as next-generation broad-spectrum, self-sterilizing antimicrobial surfaces

di Richard J. Spontak

Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering. North Carolina State University


Il seminario si terrà in Sala Parravano, piano I edificio S. Cannizzaro CU014, martedì 7 marzo p.v. alle ore 15.00.

É possibile seguire il seminario da remoto su piattaforma Google meet: smc-oewe-ooe.


Some of the challenges currently facing the global community are becoming increasingly life-threatening and chronic. For instance, infectious microbes such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) constitute major healthcare concerns as invisible predators primarily, but not restricted to, stalking the elderly and immune-compromised. In addition, the acute outbreak involving SARS-CoV2 has resulted in a lingering pandemic that continues to ravage the world’s population. While some pathogens spread by dispersed water droplets or aerosols during coughs or sneezes, many survive on surfaces for several days or weeks, in which case transmission can alternatively occur upon contact with contaminated surfaces. In response, various surface-disinfecting methods involving nanoparticles or chemical functionalization have been proposed to combat this menace, but many target specific chemical moieties on specific microbes or promote environmental contamination. In this work, we discuss a novel and promising antimicrobial strategy wherein charged thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are capable of promoting a dramatic pH jump near the polymer/water interface, resulting in a highly acidic surface environment that rapidly causes microbial inactivation. In the presence of water, this system inactivates at least 99.9999% of several Gram-positive/negative bacterial strains and three viral strains in less than 5 minutes at ambient temperature. It is also highly effective against SARS-CoV-2  and another coronavirus and is currently being used in high-touch areas in several domestic airports. This method provides an effective and unexplored pathway to broad-spectrum anti-infective materials that are recyclable and eco-friendly. Since the properties of these TPEs are tied to their structure, their morphological characteristics will also be briefly discussed.

Richard J. Spontak

Dr. Richard J. Spontak is a Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at NC State University. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University in 1983 and from UC Berkeley in 1988. He then pursued post-doctoral research in Materials Science & Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge (U.K.) and Condensed Matter Physics at the Institute for Energy Technology (Norway) before joining the Corporate Research Division of the Procter & Gamble Company in 1990. In 1992, he accepted a faculty position at NC State University, where he supervises the Macromolecular Materials & Morphology Group. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal papers and over 35 scholarly works as book chapters and invited monographs, and his work has been featured on 31 journal covers and cited over 15,000 times according to Google Scholar. His primary research interests relate to the phase behavior and morphology/property development of nanostructured polymers, polymer nanocomposites and coatings, electron microscopy, and stimuli-responsive soft materials. In recognition of his research endeavors at NC State University, he is the recipient of the university-level Alexander Q. Holladay Medal for Excellence, the R.J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research & Extension, the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award, and the Alumni Outstanding Research Award. In addition, he has received the IChemE Underwood Medal and Global Research Project Award, the ACS (PMSE Division) Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings and the Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science & Engineering, the SPSJ International Award, the German Society for Electron Microscopy Ernst Ruska Prize, the ACS (Rubber Division) Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award, the IOM3 Colwyn Medal, the SPE International Award, the 2022 Waterloo Filtration Institute Idea of the Year Award, and the 2021 IAAM Researcher of the Year Award. An elected fellow of the American Physical Society, IOM3, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the ACS (PMSE Division), he was named the Lars Onsager Professor at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology, and is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences and the NC State University Research Leadership, Global Engagement and Outstanding Teaching Academies.

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