Interview with Prof. Kirk Schanze (UTSA, USA), editor-in-chief of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Kirk Schanze
Kirk Schanze

In the research group of Professor Kirk Schanze, conjugated polyelectrolytes (CPEs) have been the subject of both fundamental studies and applications. The group has already explore CPEs as fluorescent sensors, in solar cells and as biocidal materials.

On September 13, in Gramado, Kirk Schanze, who is a Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and editor-in-chief of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, will take some time out of his busy schedule to deliver a plenary lecture on CPEs in the XVI B-MRS Meeting.

Schanze graduated in Chemistry from Florida State University in 1979. Four years later, he earned his Ph.D., also in Chemistry, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Soon after, he was appointed a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1986, he joined the University of Florida (UF) as a professor of the Department of Chemistry. There, he chaired the Division of Organic Chemistry, held the Prominski Chair of Chemistry, and founded the Schanze Group, which today continues its research activities at UTSA. In 2016, Schanze left UF to hold the Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry at UTSA.

Between 2000 and 2008, Schanze served as senior editor of the prestigious journal Langmuir. Shortly thereafter, he became the first editor-in-chief of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, which had just been released.

Prof. Schanze has authored about 300 papers and 20 patents. According to Google Scholar, his scientific production has more than 16,000 citations and his h index is 71. He is fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS). He was a visiting professor at the Harbin Institute of Technology (China) and the Tokyo Metropolitan University (Japan) in 2011, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan (France) in 2008 and at the Chemical Research Promotion Center (Taiwan) in 2007. He has received distinctions from the American Chemical Society, National Science Foundation, University of Florida, Japan Society for Promotion of Science, and Japanese Photochemical Association, among other entities.

Here follows an interview with the scientist.

B-MRS newsletter: – In your opinion, what are your main scientific and/ or technological contributions to the field of conjugated polyelectrolytes? Describe them briefly and feel free to share a few references of your papers, patents or books.

Kirk Schanze: – We were among the first groups to study conjugated polyelectrolytes, which are water soluble conjugated polymers.  Following are some of the key contributions from our group to this field:

a) Our lab was the first to report the synthesis of a water soluble, fluorescent poly(phenylene ethynylene) sulfonate (PPE-SO3) and describe the application to fluorescence sensing of ions in water at ultralow concentration.[1]

b) We were the first to report the use of a fluorescent conjugated polyelectrolyte as a sensor for enzyme activity, which is an important biosensing application.[2]

c) Our lab has developed the applications of cationic conjugated polyelectrolytes to sensing phosphatase enzyme activity. These enzymes are important in a number of biologically significant processes. [3,4]

d) Working in collaboration with Prof. David Whitten of the University of New Mexico, we have developed cationic conjugated polyelectrolytes as a novel class of antibacterial agents.[5,6]


[1] C. Tan, M. R. Pinto and K. S. Schanze, “Photophysics, Aggregation and Amplified Quenching of a Water-Soluble poly(Phenylene ethynylene)”, Chem. Commun. 2002, 446-447, 10.1039/B109630C.

[2] M. R. Pinto and K. S. Schanze, “Amplified Fluorescence Sensing of Protease Activity with Conjugated Polyelectrolytes”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 2004, 101, 7505, 10.1073/pnas.0402280101.

[3] Zhao, X.; Liu, Y.; Schanze, K. S., “A Conjugated Polyelectrolyte Based Fluorescence Sensor for Pyrophosphate”, Chem. Commun. 2007, 2914-2916, 10.1039/b706629e.

[4] Zhao, X. Y.; Schanze, K. S., “Fluorescent Ratiometric Sensing of Pyrophosphate via Induced Aggregation of a Conjugated Polyelectrolyte”, Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 6075-6077, 10.1039/c0cc01332c.

[5] Ji, E.; Corbitt, T. S.; Parthasarathy, A.; Schanze, K. S.; Whitten, D. G., “Light and Dark-Activated Biocidal Activity of Conjugated Polyelectrolytes”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2011, 3, 2820-2829, 10.1021/am200644g.

[6] 299. Huang, Y.; Pappas, H. C.; Zhang, L.; Wang, S.; Cai, R.; Tan, W.; Wang, S.; Whitten, D. G.; Schanze, K. S., “Selective Imaging and Inactivation of Bacteria over Mammalian Cells by Imidazolium Substituted Polythiophene”, Chem. Mater. 2017, 2017, 29, 6389–6395, 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b01796.

B-MRS Newsletter: – You have been the Editor-in-Chief of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces since its release, haven´t you? In less than 10 years, the journal hit an impact factor of 7,504. To what factors do you attribute this good result?

Kirk Schanze: – ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (AMI) publishes papers that come from a currently very active area of materials research, specifically applied materials/interfaces.  There is a large community of scientists and engineers around the globe who are working in this field.  AMI has a global community of editors and editorial board members who represent their regions.  Indeed, the newest editor who has joined our editorial board is Prof. Osvaldo Oliveira Jr. of the University of Sao Paulo!

B-MRS Newsletter: – We often see papers from the Brazilian Materials Community at ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Could you share with our readers some numbers about the participation of Brazilian authors in the journal?

Kirk Schanze: – ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces has published more than 100 papers with authors or co-authors from Brazil.  Many of these papers have been highly cited in the field of materials science.   Examples of highly cited papers are:

  • K. Poznyak†, J. Tedim†, L. M. Rodrigues†‡, A. N. Salak†, M. L. Zheludkevich*†, L. F. P. Dick‡ and M. G. S. Ferreira†§ Novel Inorganic Host Layered Double Hydroxides Intercalated with Guest Organic Inhibitors for Anticorrosion Applications, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2009, 1 (10), pp 2353–2362, DOI: 10.1021/am900495r (co-author from Rio Grande do Sul Federal University in Porto Alegre)
  • Heberton Wender*†, Adriano F. Feil†, Leonardo B. Diaz†, Camila S. Ribeiro‡, Guilherme J. Machado†, Pedro Migowski§, Daniel E. Weibel‡, Jairton Dupont§, and Sérgio R. Teixeira*† Self-Organized TiO2 Nanotube Arrays: Synthesis by Anodization in an Ionic Liquid and Assessment of Photocatalytic Properties, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2011, 3 (4), pp 1359–1365, DOI: 10.1021/am200156d

B-MRS Newsletter: – Please, leave an invitation to your plenary talk.

Kirk Schanze: – Everyone is invited to attend my talk which will highlight our work of conjugated polyelectrolyte as applied in the field of energy- and bio- materials chemistry.

More information

On XVI B-MRS Meeting website, click on the photo of Kirk Schanze and see his mini CV and the abstract of his plenary lecture:


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