Group News

July 2022: We said farewell to Erasmus Masters student Callum McWilliams who is leaving to complete his degree at the University of Glasgow and Dr. Elena Atrian-Blasco who is leaving to take up her position as project manager of a E.U. doctoral training network. Thanks for all you’ve brought to the group and best of luck for this next stage in your careers!

June 2022: Some new publications from the group with some excellent cover art to go with them. Hybrid antimicrobial films in collaboration with Carsten Streb and POMlymer nanoassemblies in collaboration with Rafael Martín.

July 2021: Elena & Isa have been working all year on Bacterfield, a board game they designed to educate about the fascinating world of microbes. Check out the Bacterfield website and @bacterfield_game for up-to-date information & events, on how to support their initiative, and on how you can pick up a copy for yourself or a friend 😉

Elena & Isa’s Bacterfield : an educational, inspiring, and highly addictive board game all about microbes!

July 2021: Andrés & Scott organised a University of Zaragoza summer course on New perspectives on the use of nanomateriales in the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage for 40 students in Albarracín in the province of Teruel. Albarracín is a reference in heritage conservation in Spain and one of its most beautiful villages. The course was held in the installations of the Fundación de Santa María de Albarracín, which was the ideal setting for a multidisciplinary group of teachers and pupils from across Spain. There was plenty of activities and debate and we’re looking forward to organising again next year 😉

April 2021: Andrés & Elena launched their scientific outreach project “Nanorural” in Huesca. Nanorural aims to take Nano research to underpopulated areas of Aragón, in particular villages with less than 500 residents. Children in such sparsely populated areas don’t benefit from the wealth of outreach activities that in the city and surrounding urban areas. Thanks to Fundación General CSIC for the financing the project!

Elena & Andrés at the launch of Nanorural

Radio Huesca

Diario de Alto Aragón

February 2021: Andrés & Isabel’s review Perspectives for antimicrobial nanomaterials in cultural heritage conservation has been published in Chem. We’d been planning this since 2018 and writing since 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic gave us time to do justice to the excellent work out there using nanomaterials to prevent microbial colonisation of heritage objects and architectures.

February 2021: The first results from our Proyecto Plan Nacional have been published as a Hot Paper in Angew Chemie Int. Ed. and highlighted on the Back Cover. Congratulations, Héctor and Isabel for great work!

On-POM polymerisation = POMlymers

“On‐POM ringopening polymerisation of NCarboxyanhydrides” Soria-Carrera, I. Franco-Castillo, P. Romero, S. Martín, J. M. de la Fuente, S. G. Mitchell*, R. Martín-Rapún*, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60(7), 3449-3453

July 2020: Despite the current COVID pandemic, Andrés, Elena & Zsuzsa brought some physically distanced science to the little town of Nueno, the gateway to the Pyrenees in Aragón. NanoNueno was a microcelebration of some of the awesome science going on in Zaragoza including lots of interesting demonstrations. All of our planned hands-on outreach activities will have to wait!

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Zsuzsa_NanoNueno Elena_NanoNueno.JPG


March 2020: Álvaro’s research on “Inkjet‐Based Technology for Microencapsulation of Gold Nanoparticles within Biocompatible Hydrogels” is out in Particle & Particle Systems Characterization. This inkjet methodology is a great way for scalable and controlled encapsulation of nanoparticles for biomedical applications – check it out!


Isabel won one of the prizes for best oral presentation at the V Reunión de Jovenes Investigadores de Coloides e Interfaces (JICI). Well done, Isa!

December 2019: Nanopartículas magnéticas con líquidos iónicos para la purificación del agua: Suministro de agua potable y limpia

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Desde hace varios años hemos estado trabajando con Carsten Streb y Robert Güttel sobre nuevos materiales para la purificación del agua y nuestro ultimo trabajo ha sido publicado en Anegwandte Chemie Int. Ed.

Los resultados de la publicación han sido destacados en Advanced Science News y (entre otros sitios).

November 2019: Doctoral researcher Isabel Franco’s Agar Art entry – a 3D fungal sculpture entitled “Fu(n)ji-san” – won 3rd place in the Professional Category.



Read more about Isa’s entry and the other winners from some of the links below.

Well done, Isa!


American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Agar Art


National Geographic

November 2019: Scott, Belen y Susana (de la Escuela de Conservación y Restauración de Bienes Culturales de Aragón) participarón en los encuentros de Divulgación Innovadora D+I en Zaragoza. Las Jornadas D+i son foros profesionales donde reflexionar sobre los más novedosos caminos, enfoques y formatos para contar la ciencia. Participamos con un talleres de divulgación en directo a la que el público estaba invitado.


November 2019: For three days in November, Dr. Teresa Palomar of the Instituto de Ceramica y Vidrio (ICV) and Scott had the pleasure of inviting some of the most relevant Heritage Science researchers from around Spain to Zaragoza to provide in depth expert talks on the “Latest technologies applied to the conservation of cultural heritage: problems and solutions.”

These three days we filled with fantastic talks and debate between the participants and the invited course lecturers and the evenings were marked with great food and drink in Zaragoza.

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Many thanks to the 40 or so people who atended and participated so actively in the course: we hope to repeat again in the future!

Últimas tecnologías aplicadas a la conservación del patrimonio cultural: problemática y soluciones

February 2019: Coming Soon to a high school, patio or pub near you … “Queremos ConCienciaArte!” A Scientific Outreach project aimed at high school students and the general public has received a generous amount of funding from the Fundación General CSIC. The ICMA and Escuela de Conservación y Restauración de Bienes Culturales de Aragón (ESCYRA) will be working on this project throughout 2019.


We’re very pleased that Dr. Elena Atrian-Blasco’s MCSA-IF-2018 was funded (2019-2021, €172,932). Elena will be researching “Peptide functionalized POMs as biofilm disruption agents: searching for synergy in bactericidal materials” (PePiPOM) and will  join us in June from Dr. Christelle Hureau’s group at the LCC Touloue.


January 2019: Congratulations to Álvaro who had his review on the use of gold nanoparticles as siRNA delivery vectors for gene therapy applications published in JMaterChemB. It took us quite a long time to pull this one together but we’re pretty pleased with the overview. Some nice research results to follow in the near future!

Figure TOC

October 2018: Great overview of our heritage conservation research in El Heraldo de Aragón.

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September 2018: Isabel publishes two papers on the conservation of cultural heritage objects.

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(1) A joint 1st author paper in Angew. Chemie. Int. Ed. with Archismita Misra from Carsten Streb’s Group (Ulm University) & Dr. Stéphanie Eyssautier from Université de Reims on preventing corrosion and biofilm formation of limestone from Champagne-Ardenne region in northern France (featured on the cover).

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(2) 1st author paper in International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation collaboration with Dr. Laura De Matteis (INA-UNIZAR) on the use of nano-MgO to prevent microbial growth on paper from the Archives of the Spanish Royal Botanic Garden (Madrid).

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June 2018: Álvaro’s new paper on cell-adhesive gold nanorod containers (with a special POM twist) for phtothermal therapy is out and fully open access in Frontiers in Chemistry. Well done, Álvaro!


May 2018: XIV jornadas técnicas en conservación y restauración de bienes culturales

At the start of May, Isabel, Juan & Scott participated in the XIV jornadas técnicas en conservación y restauración de bienes culturales organised by La Escuela Superior de Restauración y Conservación de Bienes Culturales de Aragón, in collaboration with Fundación Ibercaja and the Gobierno de Aragón. The topic of this years Workshop was NANOMATERIALES APLICADOS EN CONSERVACIÓN Y RESTAURACION DE BIENES CULTURALES. Scott gave a plenary talk on “Nanomateriales antimicrobianos para prevenir el biodeterio en objetos del patrimonio cultural.”  Top notch organisation by Dr Nuria Miguel & colleagues and a great opportunity to meet renowned researchers, restorers and conservation experts working at the coal face!


March 2018: “De Copas Con Ciencia”

It was great to do De Copas Con Ciencia again in El Sótano Mágico in Zaragoza at the end of March. This time sharing the stage with the prolific (and multiple award winningDr. Conchita Gimeno. We sang some songs, had a laugh and learned about some amazing science and the scientific process too.


De copas con ciencia” es una iniciativa de los institutos de investigación, ISQCH (Instituto de Síntesis Química y Catálisis Homogénea) e ICMA (Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Aragón) ambos centros mixtos CSIC – Universidad de Zaragoza, que pretende saciar la curiosidad científica de la población en general de un modo distendido, ameno y divertido en el tiempo de ocio acercándola a los bares. La actividad está dirigida a toda la población con curiosidad científica sin necesidad de contar con formación específica en ciencias y pretende ser un punto de encuentro de amantes de la ciencia y facilitar el contacto entre los expertos y la población general.

Isabel won a prize for “Most participative scientist” at the recent Jornada de Jóvenes Investigadores de Cerámica y Vidrio en el ICMA. Organised by Alodia Orera Utrilla. Well done Isa!


January 2018: Ciencia y Arte VI published 

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Since 2006, El Instituto de Patrimonio Cultural de España (IPCE) has been celebrating the technical workshop CIENCIA Y ARTE Ciencias y tecnologías aplicadas a la conservación del patrimonio. This event has become a regular forum among professionals responsible for the study, protection, conservation, restoration and management of cultural heritage from an interdisciplinary and innovative perspective. The sixth edition was held at the School of Telecommunications Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid from 19th – 20th October 2016.

The IPCE prepare digital publication from the event summarising the talks:

This publication aims to display, in an open and accessible way, the possibilities that science offers in the improvement of research and conservation of cultural assets.

July 2017: University of Zaragoza Summer CourseA Toolbox of Skills for 21st Century Scientists

Laura de Matteis (Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón) and I organised a Summer Course at The University of Zaragoza aimed at Masters and Doctoral students.

The main objective of this course was to focus the attention of young (or future) researchers on some essential tools for the optimal personal and professional development that is required of the contemporary researcher. This focussed on how to chose a research problem, how to effectively disseminate results, the importance of quality and ethics in research, the connection between research and the business world and how to effectively frame your research as part of a story.

We had a great time organizing and giving this first edition of the course together with friends and colleagues from our respective institutes. We’re already making plans to make the next one more comprehensive, interesting, and enjoyable.


April 2017: POM framework materials

After some years, our research on POM framework materials (“POMzites”) as part of The Cronin Group has been published.

  • The first of these reports massive single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformations to switch and cycle between different crystal states. The first transformation of the framework solid is a dehydration/desorption mediated crystal-to-crystal transformation that sets a new precedent, where the crystal contracts 31% of its original volume. On a relative scale this percentage transformation is comparable to MIL-53 (41%) and zeolite RHO (21%). We were incredibly excited about this research at the time and it’s great to finally see it published.

Read more about it in Nature Communications!


  • The second is a detailed analysis of >30 coordination polymers incorporating the same cyclic {P8W48} polyoxometalate ligand that was used to form the previous framework material. Our analysis provides a better understanding of the coordination of the ring-shaped metal-oxide and provides insight into the nature of the building block connectivity within each framework, with the grand aim of facilitating comparisons between related structures, and to fundamentally unite this family of compounds. We tentatively named this class of materials as “POMzites” to reflect the POM-based composition and zeolitic nature of each family member, although crucially, POMzites differ from zeolites in the modular and controlled manner of their preparation.

You can explore the 1-, 2- and 3-D connectivity of POMzites in JACS!


January 2017: new results published in Angewandte Chemie Int Ed

Some of our collaborative work with Prof. Carsten Streb and his group at the University of Ulm has been published in one of the top chemistry journals. The research concerns the purification of water using a multifunctional supported ionic liquid phase to remove various toxic and/or hazardous components, e.g. microbes, radionuclei, transition metals and organic dyes (see Angewandte Press release).


Autumn 2016: conferences, papers, prizes and other gubbins

This autumn has been a great and incredibly productive period. I thought it was about time I went to a few conferences to talk about some of the work over the last year or so. So I spoke decided to speak on a few different projects at:

I was also delighted to be invited to speak at La Ciencia y Arte VI in Madrid.


I’ve met some incredible researchers at these events and we’re already laying the foundations for some collaborative projects.

PAPER: Well done to Alvaro and Gabi on great work that has given them their first research paper!


We are delighted to publish this research paper in Nanomedicine. The investigation was part of Álvaro Artiga and Gabriel Alfranca’s Masters research projects and we’re quite delighted to finally let go of it; especially to a journal that really do we respect and enjoy reading so much.

PRIZE: I was thrilled to be nominated as one of three finalists in the Young Researcher category for the Premios Tercer Milenio here in Aragón. In the end we only received a special mention but it was fantastic to have the support of an initiative such as this, particularly given the current research climate here in Spain. Tercer Milenio does a great job of bringing science loser to society each week in El Heraldo and it was a pleasure for me to be nominated in that category.


January 2016: Three new papers in Royal Society of Chemistry journals!

The first full week back in the lab has been a bumper week with three new publications:

November 2015: ComFuturo Fellowship ceremony (Madrid)

The 1st edition of the ComFuturo awards ceremony took place in Madrid on 12th November 2015. Among the attendees was the president of the CSIC, Emilio Lora-Tamayo, the Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, Carmen Vela, and José Antonio Villasante Cerro, the Vice President of Santander Bank.


September 2015: ComFuturo Fellowship begins

Scott officially began his ComFuturo Fellowship from the Fundación General CSIC on 1st September 2015. On 17th September all 14 fellows from the 2015 call met for an introductory meeting and lunch at the headquarters of the Fundación General CSIC in Madrid.


July 2015: COST Action CM1203 ‘PoCheMoN’ Workshop (Ulm)

Scott attended the PoCheMoN Work Group 1 workshop on water splitting, CO2 reduction and polyoxometalate-metal nanoparticle catalysis organised by Carsten Streb at The University of Ulm (Germany). He gave a short talk on current trends in polyoxometalate-stabilised nanoparticles. The meeting was an ideal opportunity to discuss recent discoveries, potential collaborations and possibilities for joint funding proposals with colleagues both old and new.

July 2015: 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

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The MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE ACTIONS and THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION selected Scott to be part of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting in Lindau (Germany) from 28th June – 3rd July 2015.

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings (2015 Interdisciplinary) provides a unique opportunity for an open exchange of scientific expertise. Its mission is to inspire cross-cultural and inter-generational encounters among scientists from all over the world. In 2015 65 Nobel Laureates and 620 highly talented young scientists from all over the world from the fields of Chemistry, Physics and Medicine will participate in this meeting. For every meeting, many thousands of candidates are nominated and Scott feels privileged to have been selected for this event.

In addition, Scott obtained a small grant from the Material Chemistry Division Council of The Royal Society of Chemistry, which enabled him to cover the associated travel expenses to attend the meeting. He is extremely grateful for their support.

Lindau Website:

There’s a wealth of information on the Lindau Mediatheque website, which includes abstracts, many videos of the Laureates’ talks, a tonne of photos taken throughout the meeting and resumés of all of the attendees – laureates and young scientists alike. Many hours worth of entertainment!!