Marya Lieberman


210 Stepan Chemistry
Notre Dame, IN 46556
+1 574-631-4665


Research Areas

  • Physical/Analytical Chemistry

Research Specialties

  • Materials
  • Measurement
  • Medicine

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Year Title
2016-present Professor, University of Notre Dame
2002-2016 Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
1996-2002 Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
1994-1996 Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology
1994 Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Washington
1989 B.S. in Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Selected Awards

2022   J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education

2022   James A. Burns, C.S.C., Award

2020   Reinhold Niebuhr Award

2019   Eminent Scientist Lecturer, American Chemical Society

2015   Partners for Progress Prosperity (P3) Award, ACS Joint Great Lakes/Central Region

2010   Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

2010-2011   Kaneb Faculty Fellow

2001-present   Reilly Fellow

1998   NSF Career Award

1994-1996   NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship

Research Interests

Paper Analytical Devices

My lab designs paper analytical devices (PADs) to solve a host of analytical problems in low resource settings. We create millifluidic structures such as solution channels, reagent storage areas, and mixing zones on paper or nitrocellulose, and we develop chemical color reactions that work in mild conditions. This enables us to automate operations that would normally be carried out with glassware in a lab setting. Some ongoing technical goals are improving quantification of the target analytes, broadening the targets to include “biological” drugs, integrating PADs with vibrational spectroscopy and LCMS, and manufacturability/commercialization. User-centered design and field testing are integral to our projects, and researchers in my group currently do part of their work in community settings in the US and in Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, or Cameroon. Tracking and analysis of large sample sets is also a common feature of these projects, and most researchers in the group learn to use R, Matlab, or Python to analyze spectra, sample metadata, or PAD images. Our PADs have been trialed in Bangladesh, Britain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Malawi, Palestine, the Philippines, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the US, and by organizations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres, SIDAI, and the US Pharmacopia.

Two current areas of focus are chemotherapy drug quality and opioid harm reduction.

1) In many low- and middle-income countries, chemotherapy drugs are becoming more available, but the outcomes for patients are much worse than in high-income countries. There are increasing concerns that poor quality chemo drugs are responsible for many of these bad outcomes. My group developed chemoPADs to screen the quality of chemo drugs at the point of care, before they are administered to patients; this project involves collaborators from UND and four countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

2) In the US, the unregulated supply of illicit street drugs is associated with over 100,000 overdose deaths per year. My lab is DEA registered to conduct research on controlled substances such as fentanyl, xylazine, and other overdose hazards. We work with harm reduction organizations in multiple states to monitor the components of street drugs, detect emerging highly potent opioids, and check the quality of immunoassay test strips used to detect overdose hazards.

Selected Publications

  • Swartz, J. A.; Lieberman, M.; Jimenez, A. D.; Mackesy-Amiti, M. E.; Whitehead, H. D.; Hayes, K. L.; Taylor, L. and Prete, E. "Current Attitudes Toward Drug Checking Services and a Comparison of Expected with Actual Drugs Present in Street Drug Samples Collected from Opioid Users" 2023 Harm Reduction Journal, 20 (1), 87. DOI: 10.1186/s12954-023-00821-x.
  • Joseph, O.; Eberle, M. and Lieberman, M. "Metabolites in Urine that Interfere with the Sandell-Kolthoff Assay for Urinary Iodine" 2023 Biological Trace Element Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-023-03710-3.
  • Oliver, A. G.; Lockwood, T.; Zinna, J. and Lieberman, M. "Bis(N,N-Diethyl-4-Methyl-4-Piperazine-1-Carboxamide) Tetrakis(Isothiocyanato-Kappa N)Cobalt(II), a Model Compound for the Blue Color Developed in the Scott Test" 2023 Acta Crystallographica Section E-Crystallographic Communications, 79 pp.163-166. DOI: 10.1107/S2056989023000981.
  • Roller, R. M.; Rea, A. and Lieberman, M. "The Air-Gap PAD: A Roll-to-Roll-Compatible Fabrication Method for Paper Microfluidics" 2023 Lab on a Chip, 23 (7), pp.1918-1925. DOI: 10.1039/d2lc01164f.
  • Whitehead, H. D.; Hayes, K. L.; Swartz, J. A.; Prete, E.; Robison-Taylor, L.; Mackesy-Amiti, M. E.; Jimenez, A. D. and Lieberman, M. "Validated Method for the Analysis of 22 Illicit Drugs and their Metabolites Via Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in Illicit Drug Samples Collected in Chicago, IL" 2023 Forensic Chemistry, 33, 100475. DOI: 10.1016/j.forc.2023.100475.
  • Hayes, K. L. and Lieberman, M. "Considerations for the Design and Implementation of Point-of-Care Technology for use in Low- and Middle-Income Countries" 2023 Nature Reviews Methods Primers, 3 (1), 8. DOI: 10.1038/s43586-023-00197-z.