Director of IRICA – Full Professor – Organic Chemistry
E-mail: ester.vazquez(at)uclm.es Telephone: +34 926295300 Ext. 3513
Ester Vázquez obtained her Ph.D. degree from the University of Castilla-la Mancha (UCLM) in 2000. She performed her doctoral research mainly in the Microwave and Sustainable Chemistry group of UCLM, working on microwave-assisted organic reactions in dry media. She also spent a few months at the University of Zaragoza, studying silica-supported Lewis acids for catalysis and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, working on microwave applications in radiolabelling tracers for positron emission tomography (PET). After finishing her Ph.D., she carried out her postdoctoral training in Trieste, Italy, working on biological applications of fullerenes and new fullerene derivatives in the group of Professor Maurizio Prato, in the frame of a European Research Training Network. She then joined the Faculty of Chemistry at UCLM in 2001, completing other short stays in Trieste in 2002 and 2003. In 2007 she received the “Ibn Wafid de Toledo” Price for young researchers of Castilla-La Mancha. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010, and to Full Professor in 2019. She became director of the Instituto de Investigación Científica Aplicada (IRICA) in 2017 and she is co-founder of the spin- off Biograph Solutions.
Over the past 20 years, Professor Vázquez has focused her research efforts on the functionalization and purification of carbon nanostructures using non-conventional methodologies, demonstrating how scaling-up of the modified carbon nanostructures is possible using green protocols. Her group uses microwave radiations for the activation of carbon nanostructures in solvent-free conditions, preparing multifunctional derivatives that can serve as versatile synthons in materials science and biological applications. She has also applied ball milling methodologies in dry media to shorten and functionalize carbon nanotubes, and for the preparation of graphene and other 2D materials. The ball milling approach allows the production of highly dispersed graphene in organic solvents, and it is one of the best ways of producing graphene suspensions in water, which enables, for instance, the study of interactions of graphene with living bodies and the incorporation of graphene in smart gels with applications on controlled drug delivery, tissue engineering and soft robotics. This work has permitted the collaboration with industrial partners, such as Antolin group and numerous European groups within the framework of the Graphene Flagship project.