Chemistry Graduate and Undergraduate Assistant Professor
Lab Location: Facundo Bueso 123
Office Location: Facundo Bueso 132
Office Phone: 787-764-0000 ext. 88554
- Hydrogen fuel cells
- Water electrolysis
Dr. Cunci’s research laboratory is mainly focused on electrochemical biosensors and nanomaterials electrocatalysts for energy research.
Different neurological diseases such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) and Alzheimer’s, are related to how neurotransmitters are released in neurons. Neuropeptides, a specific type of neurotransmitters, produce responses correlated to stress factors, appetite, and pain. Neuropeptide Y (NPY), with stress-relieving properties, its presence or absence in the body, is related to learning and memory, obesity, and blood pressure. Measurement of NPY is important to study, but similarity between structures with other peptides makes them difficult to detect using conventional techniques. The development of a biosensor with higher selectivity and high temporal and spatial resolution is necessary for this molecule. For that, we are developing selective aptamer-modified electrodes to detect changes in the concentration of NPY. The use of the aptamers allows us to take advantage of the binding with NPY molecules that produces structural changes in response and can be monitored using electrochemical techniques.
Electrocatalysts for energy research:
One key research area for Dr. Cunci’s lab is the development of non-platinum group metal and non-metal catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER), which are essential for the mass production and use of alkaline membrane fuel cell and green hydrogen production. These reactions are currently limited by sluggish kinetics and catalyst degradation, and platinum group-based catalysts are the most active but also the most expensive and scarce. By gaining a deeper understanding of how electrochemical reactions affect the atom-atom distances in catalysts under in situ and operando conditions, our lab hopes to improve the activity and durability of non-platinum group catalysts and reduce the reliance on expensive and scarce materials.
Espinosa, A., Diaz, J., Vazquez, E., Acosta, L., Santiago, A., Cunci, L., Fabrication of Paper-Based Microfluidic Devices Using a 3D printer and a Commercially-Available Wax Filament. Talanta Open 2022, 6 (2022) 100142, DOI: 10.1016/j.talo.2022.100142
Díaz-Ayala, R., López-Nieves, M., Colón-Berlingeri, E. S., Cabrera, C. R., Cunci, L., González, C. I., Escobar, P. F., Test Strip Platform Spin-Off for Telomerase Activity Detection: Development of an Electrochemical Biosensor. ACS Omega 2022, 7 (11) 9964, DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.2c00713
Xu, H., Jia, Y., Cunci, L., Design and characterization of a passive wireless DNA sensor. Proc. 2021, 10 (1) 39, DOI: 10.3390/ecsa-8-11261
Lopez, L., Hernández, N., Reyes, J., Cruz J., Flores, K., Gonzalez, J., Rivera, V., Cunci, L., Measurement of Neuropeptide Y using Aptamer-Modified Microelectrodes by Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. Chem. 2021, 93 (2) 973, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c03719
Cunci, L., González, V., Vargas-Pérez, B., Ortiz-Santiago, J., Carrión, P., Cruz, J., Molina Ontoria, A., Martínez, N., Silva, W., Echegoyen, L. A., Cabrera, C. R., Multicolor Fluorescent Graphene Oxide Quantum Dots for Sensing Cancer Cell Biomarkers. ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2021, 4 (2) 211, DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.0c02526
Del Valle-Perez, A., Rivera-Rivera, L., Gonzalez-Sanchez, O. E., Cunci, L., Paraffin Removal in the Synthesis of Novel Janus Carbon Nano-Onions. ECS Trans. 2020, 98 (9), 631
Vargas, B. L., Sanchez, F. N., Gonzalez-Aponte, K. M., Cunci, L., Electrochemical Synthesis of Polyaniline on Onion-like Carbon Nanoparticles using the RoDSE Technique. ECS Trans. 2020, 98 (9), 595
Díaz-Cartagena, D.C., Hernández-Cancel, G, Bracho-Rincón, D.P., González-Feliciano J.A., Cunci, L., González, C.I., Cabrera, C.R. Label-Free Telomerase Activity Detection via Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. ACS Omega 2019, 4 (16), 16724-16732. PubMed PMID: 31646217; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6796945
Rivera-Serrano, N., Pagan, M., Colón-Rodríguez, J., Fuster, C., Vélez, R., Almodovar-Faria, J., Jiménez-Rivera, C., Cunci, L. Static and Dynamic Measurement of Dopamine Adsorption in Carbon Fiber Microelectrodes Using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy. Anal Chem. 2018, 90 (3), 2293-2301. PubMed PMID: 29260558; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5957755