Meet The Board: Questions And Answers With Dr. Marangoni

Dr. Gerrard Marangoni is a tenured professor of chemistry at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. With 25 years experience in surfactant and colloidal chemistry, he is named author on 75 research papers and 6 patents and applications. Dr. Marangoni is a co-founder of Sona and a key member of our scientific advisory board.

What is your current role/position?

Scientific Advisory Board Member

What are your current areas of interest/research?

Surfactants, synthesis of new surfactants, properties of mixed surfactant systems, polymer-surfactant interactions, thermodynamic properties of self-assembled systems, surface adsorption.

How did you first become involved with Sona?

Along with Mike and Kulbir, I am one of the original founders of Sona Nanotech. I had been interested in gold nanorods (GNRs) for several years and was fascinated by the diversity of applications being contemplated. However, despite their enormous potential, it was clear that a significant barrier to their adoption for in-vivo applications was the presence of the cytotoxic surfactant CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide). My background in colloid chemistry made me realize the methods that other makers of gold nanorods were used to mitigate the CTAB issue were flawed. So we (myself, Kulbir, and Mike) said that if you can make them reliably with CTAB, then you should also be able to prepare them with other surfactants. The development of these new methodologies is the raison d’etre behind Sona Nanotech.

What makes Sona different from other companies operating in this market?

Removing the CTAB obviously means that Sona’s CTAB free GNRs should be the GNR of choice for any in-vivo GNR applications. However, our technology allows the production of GNRs in a host of wavelength ranges – from just above the range for spherical GNRs to long thin nanowires having exceptionally long wavelengths. Tunable wavelength ranges mean different GNR colour profiles and different conjugation possibilities.

What do you think of the potential of Sona’s technology?

Sona’s GNRs have a bright future in a wide range of divergent applications, including lateral flow diagnostics, drug delivery systems, gene delivery systems, cancer treatment and even proof of concept testing regimes for major human health diseases such as Zika virus.

What developments involving gold nanoparticles/nanorods can we expect to see in the future?

We have collaborators working on using our GNRs in the development of advanced catalysts, sensors, and photo-reactors. There have been significant advances in the use of GNRs in vaccines, broad-spectrum anti-virals. I also see significant potential for GNRs in solar cells and data storage systems.

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