Marya Lieberman

Marya Lieberman

Surface Chemistry


Professor, University of Notre Dame
Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology
Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Washington
B.S. in Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Selected Awards

Partners for Progress Prosperity (P3) Award, ACS Joint Great Lakes/Central Region
Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
Kaneb Faculty Fellow
Reilly Fellow
NSF Career Award
NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship

Research Interests

Paper Analytical Devices

In the early 2000's, researchers discovered that nearly half of the antimalarial medications in some developing countries were fake. These products caused over 120,000 deaths per year. IR, NMR, and HPLC can easily measure the quality of essential medicines, so why are bad quality products killing people in the developing world? The problem is that these technologies are designed for countries with abundant resources. But expensive instruments, trained operators, and high purity supplies are just unavailable in many places in the world. The development of new technologies that are scalable and implementable in low resource settings is a compelling research problem that can impact people's lives all over the world. 

My lab is designing paper analytical devices (PADs) to solve a host of analytical problems in low resource settings. Paper is printed with hydrophobic ink to create millifluidic structures such as solution channels, reagent storage areas, and mixing zones. This enables us to automate operations that would normally be carried out with glassware in a lab setting. Many reactions and assay methods used before the age of spectroscopy can be adapted to the paper platform and done in a field setting rather than a laboratory. Current work focuses on synthetic biology for creating biosensors to embed in the paper and on techniques for trace (ppm, ppb) analysis in paper-based systems. 

Paper test cards made in our group have been trialed in Britain, the US, Israel, Tanzania, the Philippines, India, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Liberia, and Ghana, and by non-governmental organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, SIDAI, and MITI Health. Design and prototyping is an integral part of the projects, and researchers in my group travel for field tests in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, or Nepal.

DNA Nanostructures

We are studying fundamental materials issues for the integration of self-assembling DNA nanostructures (DNA lattices, tiles, or origami) with top-down CMOS fabrication methods. Students with an interest in synthetic chemistry tackle the integration of non-DNA components with DNA nanostructures, while students with more interest in physical or analytic chemistry address more fundamental questions about the yields, error types, and ultimate utility of self-assembly. They also explore ways to attach DNA origami to unusual substrates.

Recent Papers

  • Myers, N.M.; Strydom, E.E.; Sweet, J.; Spohrer, R.; Dhansay, M.A.; Lieberman, M. "saltPAD: A New Analytical Tool for Monitoring Salt Iodization in Low Resource Settings." Nanobiomedicine 2016, 3, 5.
  • Myers, N.M.; Kernisan, E.; Lieberman, M. "Part per million quantification of iodate in fortified salt using a paper device." Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 3764-3770.
  • Weaver, A.A.; Lieberman, M. "Paper Test Cards for Presumptive Testing of Very Low Quality Antimalarial Medications." Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2015, 92(6), 17-23.
  • Weaver, A.; Halweg, S.; Joyce, M.; Lieberman, M.; Goodson, H.V. "Incorporating yeast biosensors into paper-based analytical tools for pharmaceutical analysis." Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2015, 407(2), 615-619.
  • Pillers, M.A.; Shute, R.; Farchone, A.; Linder, K.P.; Doerfler, R.; Gavin, C.; Goss, V.; Lieberman, M. "Preparation of Mica and Silicon Substrates for DNA Origami Analysis and Experimentation." J. Vis. Exp. 2015, 101, e52972.
  • Pillers, M.; Lieberman, M. "Thermal stability of DNA origami on mica." J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 2014, 32, 040602.




Contact Information

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