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UCAM recruits two of the world's best researchers in sensor chemistry

Recipients of prestigious international awards and projects as a result of their scientific work carried out mainly at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden, where they come from, María Cuartero (Espinardo, Murcia) and Gastón Crespo (Buenos Aires) will lead UCAM-SENS, the first sensor chemistry centre in Europe, created by the UCAM president at HiTech.

UCAM is heavily investing in its research work with the addition to its faculty, as extraordinary

professors, of the Argentinian-Spanish Gastón Crespo and the Murcian María Cuartero
, who is

returning to her homeland with a top-level European project, ERC Starting Grant of 1.6 million

euros. Both researchers have just obtained numbers 1 and 2, respectively, in the last Ramón y

Cajal call for applications in the area of Chemical Sciences
. In recognition of her scientific

career, María has just been admitted as a full member of the Spanish Global Young Academy

for the next five years and has also been appointed associate editor of the prestigious scientific

journal Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

This week, once José Luis Mendoza, UCAM President, personally closed the deal for the two

new researchers, they travelled from Sweden to settle in at the UCAM HiTech, the high-tech

incubator in health, sport, and nutrition at the Universidad Católica de Murcia

Their first tasks will include setting up the laboratories, managing the acquisition of new

equipment and selecting fifteen pre- and post-doctoral researchers who will work under their

supervision, thereby creating the UCAM-SENS team of scientists. UCAM-SENS is born with the

intention of becoming a world-leading centre for sensor chemistry, the first in Europe. The

main objectives will be to develop top quality research, offer excellent training at master's and

doctoral level, promote innovation and scientific entrepreneurship, and transfer knowledge to

society as a whole, especially to the productive fabric.

‘We are going to continue with the lines of research we have been developing in Sweden:

carrying out a detailed study of the chemical process of the sensors in the laboratory, and then

transferring their application to sport, health, food and the environment
’, explained María

Cuartero, for whom ‘UCAM has made a great commitment, with the Region of Murcia being a

unique environment in which to carry out these studies’. To this end, they will rely on

researchers who were already part of their team in Sweden and recruit young people from

Murcia to do their doctorate.

In this sense, Gastón Crespo explained that the goal, set by the president of the University, ‘is

to create UCAM-SENS and make it an international reference research centre on sensors,

where the basic research-industrial fabric relationship is going to be key
’. ‘By making chemical

sensors, we are committed to the digital transformation in the fields of sport, health, food, and

the environment’.

According to the Vice-Rector for Research, Estrella Núñez, ‘the fact that these two scientists

have set their sights on UCAM to return to Spain is a privilege for us and a consequence of our

president's commitment, José Luis Mendoza, to develop quality science, promoting and

financing the return of young scientists, as we are using the University's funds to finance these

new recruits’. With them ‘we are taking the first step towards creating UCAM-SENS, an

international reference centre in sensor chemistry, reinforcing UCAM's commitment to

increasing quality science in the Region of Murcia

María Cuartero:

PhD in chemistry and expert in electroanalysis, especially applied to health and the

environment. Best PhD thesis of the Royal Spanish Society of Analytical Chemistry,

postdoctoral researcher of the European Marie Curie Programme, Early Career Analytical

Electrochemistry Prize by the International Society of Electrochemistry. She has set up two

technology-based companies. She is 2nd researcher Ramón y Cajal in the 2021 call in Chemical

Sciences, professor and lecturer at The Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, holder of a

European ERC Starting Grant project of 1.6 million euros, and she has published 96 scientific

papers mainly in the areas of analytical chemistry, electrochemistry and general chemistry (h-

index of 29).

Gastón Crespo:

PhD in nanoscience and nanotechnology, expert in chemical sensors based on electrochemical

and optical principles, specially applied to sports and occupational wellbeing. He is the

inventor of solid contact ion sensors using carbon nanotubes. He worked for 6 years at the

University of Geneva with Professor Eric Bakker, an icon in electrochemistry. Young Researcher

Award from Sensors magazine, 1st researcher of the Ramón y Cajal 2021 call in Chemical

Sciences, professor at The Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden since 2017 and founder of

the research group Chemical Sensing. He has raised 5 million euros for research, set up three

technology-based companies, published more than 120 scientific articles and trained and

supervised a significant number of PhDs and researchers (h-index of 42).