3 November 2020

Metal-Organic Frameworks for Bioapplications and as Biosensors

Metal-Organic Frameworks for Bioapplications and as Biosensors

Researchers from CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials, belonging to the Department of Chemistry (Filipe A. Almeida Paz, Ricardo F. Mendes and Flávio Figueira), in close collaboration with colleagues from Abel Salazar Biomedical Sciences Institute, IBMC - Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular and I3S - Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Universidade do Porto (Luís Gales and José P. Leite), reviewed the most important applications of Metal-Organic Frameworks in the biological area and their usage as effective biosensors for a myriad of analytes. The work was accepted for publication in Chemical Society Reviews, a journal from Royal Society of Chemistry, being one of the most prestigious review-type based journals in the world.


A New Vision for Research on Metal-Organic Frameworks

Filipe A. Almeida Paz has been working for several years on the synthesis, characterization and application of Metal-Organic Framework-type materials. Many of these compounds have shown to be excellent heterogeneous catalysts over the years, embodying also other properties such as photoluminescence and, more recently, as proton conductors (see the News at UAonline at However, in recent years Filipe and his research group has focused in the possible bioapplications of these materials.

“Metal-Organic Frameworks, mainly because of their intrinsic organic component which may be functionalised, may easily shine in the near future as components for bioapplications” stressed Filipe A. Almeida Paz. “Very likely these compounds will never surpass zeolites in heterogeneous catalysis or activated carbons in adsorption, mostly due to their production costs. However, in medical applications which are inherently expensive, their specificity and simple fine-tune of the properties, can really make the difference. In this context a couple of years ago, in collaboration with Luis Gales, we challenged our students to start reviewing the subject, and very quickly found amazing research papers in the literature which helped to construct such an interesting review.”


Being a writer in times of personal confinement

“From the very beginning that we had Chemical Society Reviews in mind for such an interesting work. However, we knew it was not easy to compile such a long review in a way that would be appealing to a wide scientific community. The confinement we had in March / April provided the perfect timing to polish every corner of the manuscript which was very well accepted by the various reviewers”.

“We very much hope that this literature survey work can be envisaged as a catalyst for many research groups and starting Ph.D. students around the world to explore these ideas and take the application of Metal-Organic Frameworks to new levels, potentially important to human health” adds Filipe A. Almeida Paz. “Moreover, this review is also a true testimony to our ability to explore new research areas as a team belonging to very distinct Associated Laboratories in the country: only a true teamwork could result in such an interesting review.”


Article Reference

Metal–organic frameworks: a future toolbox for biomedicine?

Ricardo F. Mendes, Flávio Figueira, José P. Leite, Luís Gales, Filipe A. Almeida Paz

Chemical Society Reviews, 2020, In Press

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