Maryanne Collinson, Ph.D.

Department Chair
John B. Fenn Professor in Chemistry
(804) 828-7509
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. 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
  2. Flexible Nanoporous Gold Electrodes for Electroanalysis in Complex Matrices Maryanne M Collinson, Rezaul K. Khan, Vamsi K Yadavalli. ChemElectroChem, 2019, 6 (17) 4660-4665
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Biofouling-Resistant Platinum Bimetallic Alloys, AA Farghaly, RK Khan, MM Collinson, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2018, 10 (25), pp 21103–21112
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Micropatterned Flexible and Conformable Biofunctional Devices Using Silk Proteins.  RK Pal, AA Farghaly, MM Collinson, SC Kundu, VK Yadavalli; MRS Advances, 2016,  pp. 3539-3544; DOI:
  13. Electroassisted Codeposition of Sol-Gel Derived Silica Nanocomposite Directs the Fabrication of Coral-like Nanostructured Porous Gold.  Ahmed A. Farghaly and Maryanne M. Collinson, Langmuir, 30, 2014, 5276-5286; DOI: 10.1021/la500614g
  14. Electrochemical Properties of Nanostructured Porous Gold Electrodes in Biofouling Solutions.  Patel, Jay; Radhakrishnan, Logudurai; Zhao, Bo; Uppalapati, Badharinadh; Daniels, Rodney; Ward, Kevin; Collinson, Maryanne; Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 85 (23), pp 11610–11618; DOI: 10.1021/ac403013r.
  15. Nanoporous Gold Electrodes and their Applications in Analytical Chemistry.  Maryanne Collinson, ISRN Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 692484, 21 pages, Invited Review;  DOI: 10.1155/2013/692484
  16. Hierarchical porous gold electrodes: preparation, characterization, and electrochemical behavior. Bo Zhao and Maryanne M. Collinson. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2012, 684, 53-59. DOI: 10.1016/j.jelechem.2012.08.025
  17. Electroassisted fabrication of free-standing silica structures of micrometer size.  Fernando Luna-Vera, Dong Dong, Rasha Hamze, Shantang Liu, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Chemistry of Materials, 2012, 24, 2265–2273.  doi: 10.1021/cm203714n

Gradient materials

  1. On the importance of silane infusion order on the microscopic and marcoscopic properties of multifunctional charge gradients.; Ashraf, Kayesh; Roy, Kallol; Higgins, Daniel; Collinson, Maryanne, ACS Omega2020, 5. 34. 21897-21905
  2. Vapor Phase Plotting of Organosilane Chemical Gradients.  Bautista, Judith; Forzano, Anna; Austin, Joshua; Collinson, Maryanne; Higgins, Daniel; Langmuir, 2018, 9665-9672.
  3. 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
  4. pH and Surface Charge Switchability on Bifunctional Charge Gradients Kayesh M. Ashraf
  5. Md Rezaul K. KhanDaniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Langmuir, 2018, 34 (2), 663-672DOI:  10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b02334
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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;
  9. Mesoporous Hybrid Polypyrrole-Silica Nanocomposite Films with a Strata-like Structure.  Ahmed A. Farghaly and Maryanne M. Collinson, Langmuir, 2016; 32 (23), 5925-5936;
  10. 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
  11. Molecule Perspective on Mass Transport in Condensed Water Layers over Gradient Self-Assembled Monolayers, D. Giri, K.M Ashraf, M.M Collinson, D.A. Higgins. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2015, 119, 9418. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b01958
  12. Single Molecule Perspective on Mass Transport in Condensed Water Layers over Gradient Self-assembled Monolayers. Dipak Giri, Kayesh Ashraf, Maryanne M. Collinson, and Daniel A. Higgins. J. Phys Chem C., 2015, 119 (17); 9418-9428; DOI:
  13. Organosilane Chemical Gradients: Progress, Properties, and Promise, MM Collinson, DA Higgins, Langmuir 2017, 33 (48), 13719-13732
  14. Chelation Gradients for Investigation of Metal Ion binding at Silica Surfaces. Kannan, Balamurali; Higgins, Daniel A.; Collinson, Maryanne M. Langmuir 2014, 30 (33) pp 10019-10027. DOI: 10.1021/la502088k
  15. Single Molecule Spectroscopic Imaging Studies of Polarity Gradients Prepared by Infusion-Withdrawal Dip-Coating.  Dipak Giri, Chelsea N. Hanks, Maryanne M. Collinson* and Daniel A. Higgins, Journal of Physical Chemistry, 2014, 118, 6423-6432;
  16. Fabrication of surface charge gradients in open-tubular capillaries and their characterization by spatially resolved pulsed streaming potential measurements.  Balamurali Kannan, Kenji Nokura,  Julio C. Alvarez, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson. Langmuir, 2013, 29 (49), pp 15260–15265. DOI: 10.1021/la402934m
  17. Aminoalkoxysilane Reactivity in Surface Amine Gradients Prepared by Controlled-Rate Infusion.  Balamurali Kannan, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson. Langmuir, 2012, 28 (46), pp 16091–16098;  DOI: 10.1021/la303580c
  18. Profile Control in Surface Amine Gradients Prepared by Controlled-Rate Infusion.  Balamurali Kannan, Dong Dong, Daniel A Higgins, Maryanne M. Collinson. Langmuir, 2011, 27 (5), pp 1867–1873.   
  19. Spatiotemporal Evolution of Fixed and Mobile Dopant Populations in Silica Thin-Film Gradients as Revealed by Single Molecule Tracking.  Chenchen Cui, Alec Kirkeminde, Chenchen Cui, Alec Kirkeminde, Balamurali Kannan, Maryanne M. Collinson, and Daniel A. Higgins J. Phys. Chem. C, 2011, 115 (3), pp 728–735.


  1. 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, 2021, in press.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b00895
  8. 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
  9. Amine-Phenyl Multi-Component Gradient Stationary Phases.  Veeren C. Dewoolkar, Balamurali Kannan, Kayesh M Ashraf, Daniel A. Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson.  J. Chromatography A, 2015, 1410, 190-199. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2015.07.089
  10. Continuous Stationary Phase Gradients for Planar Chromatographic Media.  Balamurali Kannan, Michael A. Marin, Kushal Shrestha, Daniel A Higgins, and Maryanne M. Collinson, Journal of Chromatography A, 2011, 1218 (52), 9406-9413.  


  1. 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;
  2. Self-supporting hybrid silica membranes with 3D large-scale highly ordered interconnected pore architectures; Chang Han, Meng-Ya Li, Ying-Ning Li, Han-Lan Liu, Ping Wang, Maryanne M.Collinson, and Zhe-Xue Lu, RSC Advances, 2015, 5, 19182;
  3. Bio-inspired chemical reactors for growing aligned gold nanoparticle-like wires, Zhe-Xue Lu, L. Wood, D. Ohman, and M.M. Collinson. Chem. Commun., 2009, 4200 - 4202.
  4. Hierarchical porous gold electrodes: preparation, characterization, and electrochemical behavior. Bo Zhao and Maryanne M. Collinson. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2012, 684, 53-59.

Select reviews (Sol-Gel Chemistry)

  1. Imprinted Functionalized Silica.  Maryanne M. Collinson, for “The Supramolecular Chemistry of Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Materials”, Knut Rurack and Ramón Martínez-Máñez, Editors, Wiley:  New York 2010.  ISBN: 978-0-470-37621-854.  
  2. Analytical Chemistry with Silica Sol Gels: Traditional Routes to New Materials for Chemical Analysis.  Alain Walcarius and Maryanne M. Collinson. Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, Volume 2, 2009, 121-143.
  3. What Can Be Learned from Single Molecule Spectroscopy?  Applications to Sol-Gel-Derived Silica Materials. Fangmao Ye, Maryanne M. Collinson and Daniel A. Higgins.  Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2009, 11, 66–82.  
  4. Electrochemistry:  An Important Tool to Study and Create New Sol-Gel Derived Materials.  Collinson, M.M. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2007, 40, 777-783.
  5. Exciting New Directions in the Intersection of Functionalized Sol-Gel Materials with Electrochemistry.  Walcarius, A., Mandler, D., Cox, J., Collinson, M.M., Lev, O. J. Materials Chemistry, 2005, 15, 3663-3689.
  6. Gaining Insight into the Nanoscale Properties of Sol-Gel Derived Silicate Thin Films by Single Molecule Spectroscopy.  Higgins, D.A., Collinson, M.M. Langmuir, 2005, 21, 9023-31.
  7. Recent Trends in Analytical Applications of Organically Modified Silicate Materials.  Collinson, M.M. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 2002, 21, 30-38
  8. Sol-Gel Strategies for the Preparation of Selective Materials for Chemical Analysis.  Collinson, M.M. Critical Reviews in Analytical Chemistry, 1999, 29, 289-311.
  9. Recent Trends in Analytical Applications of Organically Modified Silicate Materials.  Collinson, M.M. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 2002, 21, 30-38.
  10. Review:  “Sol-Gel Derived Chemical Sensors,” Maryanne M. Collinson, McGraw-Hill 2002 Yearbook of Science & Technology, 2002.  
  11. “Structure, Chemistry, and Applications of Sol-Gel Derived Materials”.  Collinson, M.M. Book Chapter in “Handbook of Advanced Electronic and Photonic Materials”, Vol. 5, 2001.