Women in STEM who use LVEM

The United Nations has declared February 11 each year as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Yet women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are making a difference every day of the year. Recently Delong America published three LVEM user profiles highlighting the great science that some of these ladies have conducted.

Dr. Francesca Baldelli Bombelli

Getting medicines to be absorbed and delivered to their intended location in the body can be challenging for molecules that don’t play nicely in water. Dr. Bombelli’s solution to the problem is nanoencapsulation: nanoparticle size polymers that encapsulate the hydrophobic drug molecules and allow them to be absorbed into and carried through the body’s aqueous bloodstream (Neri, 2020). Dr. Bombelli doesn’t stop there, looking at ways to also use these materials as 19F-MRI contrast agents to further increase their functionality.

 LVEM User Profile Francesca Baldelli Bombelli lkdn


Dr. Betty Galarreta

Keeping the food we eat safe from contamination is important work that we often take for granted when we go to the grocery store or order takeout. Dr. Galarreta’s solution: a low cost sensor that uses nanoparticles to amplify the signal of toxic molecules, and handheld SERS detectors to fingerprint the culprits (Hernández, 2020). And with the LVEM5’s capabilities to image carbon-based molecular material with high contrast, Dr. Galarreta’s team can visually confirm the correct assembly of nanoparticle sensors and target molecules needed to enhance the detection to the required trace levels, giving confidence that a new approach can be developed to keep our food safe.

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Dr. Kate Plass

Creating solar energy from earth’s abundant materials would dramatically lower our consumption footprint as humans. Dr. Plass’s solution: rational nanoparticle synthesis using copper sulfide nanorods and cation exchange chemistry to allow tunable optical properties and materials phases for developing improved solar cell materials (Le, 2020). Being able to confirm the size and shape of the nanorods during each step in the cation exchange reactions is critical to understanding the mechanisms. As Dr. Plass said, “this project just wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have ready access to TEM, in a way that students could do it and we can afford it.”

LVEM User Profile Kate Plass lkdn



Pursuing our passion for curiosity about the world around us, relentlessly asking why, and using creativity and imagination of what’s possible, leads the world to be a better place. All while mentoring and training the next generation of scientists who will continue solving big challenges. These three women have demonstrated these traits while using some of the most advanced scientific instrumentation in the world to solve these grand challenges, including the LVEM5 and LVEM25 electron microscopes



Hernández Y, Lagos LK, Galarreta BC. Development of a label-free-SERS gold nanoaptasensor for the accessible determination of ochratoxin A. Sensing and Bio-Sensing Research. 2020 Jun 1;28:100331.

Le HK, Xiong H, Page BA, Garcia-Herrera LF, McAllister HP, Li BC, Wang H, Plass KE. Effects of I2 on Cu2–x S Nanoparticles: Enabling Cation Exchange but Complicating Plasmonics. ACS Materials Letters. 2020 Jan 2;2(2):140-6.

Neri G, Mion G, Pizzi A, Celentano W, Chaabane L, Chierotti M, Gobetto R, Li M, Messa P, De Campo F, Cellesi F. Fluorinated-PLGA Nanoparticles for Enhanced Drug Encapsulation and 19F-NMR Detection. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany). 2020 Jun 9.


About the author:

Robert I. MacCuspie, Ph.D., has over twenty years of experience working at the interface of business and science, at national laboratories, academia and corporations, and is the founder of MacCuspie Innovations which helps companies responsibly commercialize new technologies.