Maryanne Collinson, Ph.D.

Department Chair
John B. Fenn Professor in Chemistry
(804) 828-7509 - Lab Office (804) 828-2753 - Chair Office
Temple 4429


B.S., University of Central Florida, Chemistry, 1987
B.S., University of Central Florida, Forensic Science, 1987
Ph.D., North Carolina State University, Analytical Chemistry, 1992
Postdoctoral, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Analytical Chemistry, 1992-1994

Honors and awards

  • NSF CAREER Award recipient, 1996
  • College of Humanities and Sciences (VCU) Distinguished Scholar Award, 2010
  • Distinguished Research Award of the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society, 2017
  • University Distinguished Scholarship Award, VCU, 2020

Research interests

Materials Chemistry, Sol-Gel Materials, Surface Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Chromatography

Research in the Collinson group spans the traditional disciplines of analytical, inorganic, and materials chemistry and incorporates various aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology. During the past few years, our research has been directed toward the design, fabrication, and characterization of two classes of materials: (1) High surface area nanostructured materials for electrochemical analysis and biomedical applications; (2) Surface chemical gradients for chemical analysis, chromatography, and directed transport applications.

We fabricate these materials using a wide variety of techniques that include sol-gel chemistry, templating (imprinting), electrodeposition, hierarchical nanostructuring, dealloying, and silane chemistry.  Common instrumental methods we use to characterize these materials include: atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), FTIR microspectroscopy, Raman microscopy, X-ray photoelectron microscopy (XPS), fluorescence spectroscopy, electrochemistry (potentiometry, cyclic voltammetry), thermogravimetric analysis, ellipsometry, and surface profilometry.

High Surface Area Nanoporous Materials for Electrochemistry

High surface area nanoporous materials have many uses in analytical chemistry and material science that include supports for catalysis, adsorbents, chemical sensing, energy storage platforms, super-hydrophobic surfaces, and nanosized reactors and vessels. As a result, there has been a large demand to design and create materials with specific pore sizes, pore volumes, surface area, surface chemistry, and stability for these applications. In our work, we create high surface area materials (mostly films) using one or more of the following processes: sol-gel synthesis, co-electrodeposition, dealloying, and/or templating.  Such materials include metal-silica alloys, binary and ternary metal alloys, and semiconducting materials. Applications in the area of biomedical science and chemical sensing are currently being pursued.

Stationary Phase Gradients for Chromotography

Strategically functionalized surfaces have received considerable interest in recent years due to the desire to spatially and temporally control the morphology, chemical composition, and properties of composite materials on multiple length scales.  As a result, there has been a large demand to spatially organize functional groups on surfaces in a controlled fashion and utilize them to direct and control transport and influence the growth and adhesion of proteins and cells on surfaces. In these collaborative projects, we have developed several approaches to creating surface chemical gradients using silane chemistry for applications in directed transport, surface catalysis, and separation science.  The primary objective of our work is to develop strategies for the fabrication and characterization of new classes of surface chemical gradients and use them in analytical applications. In conjunction with the Higgins group at Kansas State University, we have developed two methods to make materials whose surface exhibits a continuous, gradually varying chemical (polarity) or physical property (porosity) along a 10-20 mm length scale: Controlled Rate Infusion and Infusion-Withdrawal Dip Coating.  In conjunction with the Rutan group, we are applying this technology to the field of column chromatography.

Select publications

1.    Improved Sensitivity and Selectivity for the Redox Potentiometric Measurement of Biological Redox Molecules Using Nafion-Coated Platinum Decorated Nanoporous Gold Electrodes.  Md. Shafiul Islam and Maryanne. M. Collinson, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2022, 169 057503. (special issue devoted to women electrochemists)

2.    The Measurement of Mixed Potentials Using Platinum Decorated Nanoporous Gold Electrodes.  Md Shafiul Islam, AJ Branigan, B Ullah, CJ Freeman, MM Collinson, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 169 (1), 2022, 016503. DOI: 10.1149/1945-7111/ac41f2. (Special issue for SEAC members).

3.    Nanoporous Pt(Au) Alloys for the Enhanced, Non‐enzymatic Detection of Hydrogen Peroxide under Biofouling Conditions.  Rezaul K. Khan, Tiago A. Silva, Orlando Fatibello‐Filho, Maryanne M. Collinson,*  Ahmed A. Farghaly,  Electroanalysis, 2022, DOI: 10.1002/elan.202100568

4.    Stationary Phase Gradients in Liquid Chromatography. Shelby L. Weatherbee and Maryanne M. Collinson.  Book Chapter for Advances in Chromatography; Nelu Grinberg and Peter W Carr, editors, CRC Press, 2021, p. 75-120.

5.    Single Molecule Spectroscopy Studies of Acid–Base Chemical Gradients Using Nile Red as a Probe of Local Surface Acidity. A Usman, SL Weatherbee, MM Collinson, KL Hohn, DA Higgins, Langmuir 37 (41), 2021, 12138-12147. DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.1c02059

6.    Potentiometric Biosensing of Ascorbic Acid, Uric Acid, and Cysteine in Microliter Volumes Using Miniaturized Nanoporous Gold Electrodes. Christopher J Freeman, Borkat Ullah, Md Shafiul Islam, Maryanne M Collinson. Biosensors, 2021, 11 (1), 10 pages;

7.    On the importance of silane infusion order on the microscopic and macroscopic properties of multifunctional charge gradients; Ashraf, Kayesh; Roy, Kallol; Higgins, Daniel; Collinson, Maryanne, ACS Omega, 2020, 5, 34, 21897–21905.

8.    Simulation of elution profiles in liquid chromatography – IV: Experimental characterization and modeling of solute injection profiles from a modulation valve used in two-dimensional liquid chromatography.  Shelby L.Weatherbee, Tyler Brau, Dwight R. Stoll, Sarah C. Rutan, Maryanne M. Collinson. Journal of Chromatography A, 2020, Volume 1626, 461373,

9.    Fabrication and Characterization of a Reversed-Phase/Strong Cation Exchange Stationary Phase Gradient.  Caitlin N. Cain, Shelby L. Weatherbee, Anna V. Forzano, Sarah C. Rutan, Maryanne M. Collinson.  Journal of Chromatography A, 2020, Volume 1623, 461177,

10.    In-Situ silanization for the fabrication of continuous stationary phase gradients on particle packed columns.  Anna Forzano, Caitlin Cain, Sarah Rutan, Maryanne M. Collinson, Analytical Methods, 2019, 11, 3648-3656, doi: 10.1039/C9AY00960D

11.    Flexible Nanoporous Gold Electrodes for Electroanalysis in Complex Matrices Maryanne M Collinson, Rezaul K. Khan, Vamsi K Yadavalli.  ChemElectroChem, 2019, 6 (17) 4660-4665;

12.    Simultaneous electrochemical sensing of ascorbic acid and uric acid under biofouling conditions using nanoporous gold electrodes. Tiago Almeida Silvaa, Md Rezaul Karim Khan, Orlando Fatibello-Filho, Maryanne M. Collinson, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2019; 846, 113160;

13.    Experimental- and Simulation-Based Investigations of Coupling a Mobile Phase Gradient with a Continuous Stationary Phase Gradient. Caitlin N Cain; Anna V Forzano; Sarah C Rutan; Maryanne M Collinson, Journal of Chromatography A, 2019, 1602, 237-245;

14.    Gold-Nanoparticle-Decorated Titanium Nitride Electrodes Prepared by Glancing-Angle Deposition for Sensing Applications.  Rezaul K. Khan, Ahmed A. Farghaly, Tiago A. Silva, Dexian Ye, and Maryanne M. Collinson, ACS Appl. Nano Mater., 2019, 23, 1562-1569; DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.8b02354

15.    Redox Potential Measurements in Red Blood Cell Packets using Nanoporous Gold Electrodes.  Khan, Md Rezaul; Gadiraju, Shanmuka; Kumar, Megh; Hatmaker, Grace; Fisher, Bernard; Natarajan, Ramesh; Reiner, Joseph; Collinson, Maryanne; ACS Sensors, 2018, 3 (8), pp 1601–1608; DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.8b00498

16.    Vapor Phase Plotting of Organosilane Chemical Gradients.  Bautista, Judith; Forzano, Anna; Austin, Joshua; Collinson, Maryanne; Higgins, Daniel; Langmuir, 2018, 9665-9672.

17.    Destructive Stationary Phase Gradients for Reversed-Phase/Hydrophilic Interaction Liquid. Chromatography, Caitlin N Cain; Anna V Forzano; Sarah C Rutan; Maryanne M Collinson, Journal of Chromatography A, 2018, 1570, 82-90;

18.    Biofouling-Resistant Platinum Bimetallic Alloys, AA Farghaly, RK Khan, MM Collinson, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2018, 10 (25), pp 21103–21112

19.    Probing the Local Dielectric Constant of Plasmid DNA in Solution and Adsorbed on Chemically Graded Aminosilane Surfaces. Z Li, R Kumarasinghe, MM Collinson, DA Higgins, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2018, 122 (8), 2307-2313

20.    pH and Surface Charge Switchability on Bifunctional Charge Gradients Kayesh M. Ashraf, Md Rezaul K. Khan, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson. Langmuir, 2018, 34 (2), 663-672DOI:  10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b02334

21.    Bacteria assisted protein imprinting in sol-gel derived films Wei Cai, Hui-Hui Li, Zhe-Xue Lu, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Analyst, 2018, 143, 555-563; DOI: 10.1039/C7AN01509G

22.    Organosilane Chemical Gradients: Progress, Properties, and Promise, MM Collinson, DA Higgins, Langmuir 2017, 33 (48), 13719-13732

23.    Whole Blood Redox Potential Correlates with Progressive Accumulation of Oxygen Debt and Acts as a Marker of Resuscitation in a Swine Hemorrhagic Shock Model. Daniels Rodney C.; Jun, Hyesun; Tiba, M. Hakam; McCracken, Brendan; Herrera-Fierro, Pilar; Collinson, Maryanne; Ward, Kevin R. Shock: 2017; 49(3), 345-351. DOI: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000933

24.    Single Molecule Catch and Release: Potential-Dependent Plasmid DNA Adsorption along Chemically Graded Electrode Surfaces.  Zi Li, Kayesh M. Ashraf, Maryanne M. Collinson,  and Daniel A. Higgins.  Langmuir, 2017, 33 (35), pp 8651–8662.

25.    Base Layer Influence on Protonated Aminosilane Gradient Wettability.  Kayesh M Ashraf, Chenyu Wang, Sithara S. Nair, Kenneth J. Wynne, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson.  Langmuir, 2017, 33, 4207-4215.

26.    Molecular Combing of λ-DNA using Self-Propelled Water Droplets on Wettability Gradient Surfaces; Dipak Giri, Zi Li, Kayesh M. Ashraf, Maryanne M. Collinson, and Daniel A. Higgins; ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2016, 8 (36), 24265-24272; DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b08607

27.    Amine Gradient Stationary Phases on In-House Built Monolithic Columns for Liquid Chromatography. Veeren C. Dewoolkar, Lena N. Jeong, Daniel W. Cook, Kayesh M. Ashraf, Sarah C. Rutan and Maryanne M. Collinson. Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88, 11, 5941-5949; 

28.    Mesoporous Hybrid Polypyrrole-Silica Nanocomposite Films with a Strata-like Structure.  Ahmed A. Farghaly and Maryanne M. Collinson, Langmuir, 2016; 32 (23), 5925-5936; DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b00872

29.    Separation of Transition and Heavy Metals Using Gradient Thin Layer Chromatography.  Stacy L. Stegall, Kayesh M. Ashraf, Julie R. Moye, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Journal of Chromatography A, 2016, 1446, 141-148; DOI:10.1016/j.chroma.2016.04.005

30.    Cooperative Effects in Aligned and Opposed Multi-Component Charge Gradients Containing Strongly Acidic, Weakly Acidic and Basic Functional Groups, Kayesh M. Ashraf,  Dipak Giri, Kenneth J. Wynne, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Langmuir, 2016, 32, 16, 3836-3847 DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b00638

31.    Microdroplet‐based potentiometric redox measurements on gold nanoporous electrodes.  Christopher J. Freeman, Ahmed A. Farghaly, Hajira Choudhary, Amy E. Chavis, Kyle T. Brady, Joseph E. Reiner, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88, 3768-3774; DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b04668

32.    Potentiometric Measurements in Biofouling Solutions: Comparison of Nanoporous Gold to Planar Gold; AA Farghaly, M Lam, CJ Freeman, B Uppalapati, MM Collinson; Journal of the Electrochemical Society 2016 163 (4), H3083-H3087; DOI: 10.1149/2.0101604jes

33.    Conducting polymer-silk biocomposites for flexible and biodegradable electrochemical sensors.  Ramendra K. Pal, Ahmed A. Farghaly, Congzhou Wang, Maryanne M. Collinson, Subhas C. Kundu, Vamsi K. Yadavalli, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2016, 81, 294-302; DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2016.03.010

34.    Photolithographic Micropatterning of Conducting Polymers on Flexible Silk Matrices.  RK Pal, AA Farghaly, MM Collinson, SC Kundu, VK Yadavalli; Advanced Materials, 2016, 28, 1406-1412, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201504736

35.    Micropatterned Flexible and Conformable Biofunctional Devices Using Silk Proteins.  RK Pal, AA Farghaly, MM Collinson, SC Kundu, VK Yadavalli; MRS Advances, 3539-3544; 2016, DOI: