Chemist — Office of Scientific Coordination
Sandra Pena-Luengas, Ph.D.
Dr. Sandra Pena-Luengas obtained a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. While obtaining her master’s, she developed and validated a method for the Department of Defense to detect nitroaromatic explosives and their degradation products from surface soil samples using Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) coupled with liquid chromatography (HPLC). Her Ph.D. thesis research work focused on the promotion of novel cytotoxic-specific effects on resistance to conventional treatments for B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) and other lymphoma cells using different types of zinc (Zn) nanoparticles. The synthesized materials (zinc oxide [ZnO], zinc sulfide [ZnS], ZnO/ZnS core-shell quantum dots, and manganese-doped ZnO and ZnS nanoparticles) would be for the treatment of B-CLL and other indolent lymphomas in combination with photodynamic therapy on other types of tumors. This work was supported by The National Science Foundation. During this time, she was also a teaching assistant of organic chemistry and general chemistry laboratories at the University of Puerto Rico. Later, she participated in an internship at the Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapies Laboratory, CUCAIBA Center, and the School of Medical Sciences at the National University of La Plata, Argentina where she focused on living cell testing with Zn nanoparticles on B-CLL cells and normal lymphocytes.
Following this she worked at the Kansas Health & Environmental Laboratories in Topeka as a technical supervisor of the Chemical Terrorism Unit. During this time, she was prepared to provide patient testing in case of biological and/or chemical terrorist events. She performed and validated multiple proficiency tests on different determinations of toxic substances in biological fluids like blood, urine and serum by using GC/MS, LC/MS/MS, UHPLC, ICP/OES and ICPMS.
Dr. Pena-Luengas has experience in the fields of analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, nanotechnology, materials science, materials chemistry, photochemistry, medicinal chemistry, laboratory techniques, wet chemistry, research and development, and analytical instrumentation. She has more than ten years of experience working in research laboratories at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez; the Departmental Health Laboratory in Bucaramanga Colombia; the Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapies Laboratory, CUCAIBA Center; the School of Medical Sciences National University of La Plata, Argentina; and the Kansas Health & Environmental Laboratories, Topeka, Kansas. In 2020, she joined the Analytical Chemistry Group within the Office of Scientific Coordination at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), where she has developed different methods using GC/MS/MS and LC/MS/MS to detect and quantify natural terpenes from cannabis, nicotine and its metabolites, rifaximin, and cannabidiol and its metabolites.
Throughout her career, Dr. Pena-Luengas has focused on developing and validating novel methods to be applied in different fields of science, such as organic chemistry, nanotechnology, materials science, materials chemistry, photochemistry and medicinal chemistry and has experience with the following analytical instrumentation:
- Solid Phase Micro Extraction Gas Chromatography with Mass Selective Detection (SPME/GC/MS) and GC/MS/MS.
- Headspace Gas Chromatography with Mass Selective Detection (HS/GC/MS).
- Solid Phase Extraction Gas Chromatography with Mass Selective Detection (SPE/GC/MS).
- Solid Phase Extraction Liquid Chromatography with Tandem Mass Selective Detection (SPE/LC/MS/MS).
- Solid Phase Extraction Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) QSight 225 Triple Quadrupole (3QMS).
- Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP/MS)
- UV-vis spectrophotometry
- Photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy
- Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR)
- X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)
- Confocal Microscopy
- Fluorescence Microscopy
- Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
- Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
Dr. Pena-Luengas is very interested in the use of analytical methodology for the selective detection and analysis of natural and synthetic compounds and/or their derivatives, not only in plasma, urine, and tissues, but also in natural matrices such as water, plants, and animals. Applications of such analytical methods, especially for cancer, toxicological studies and nanomedicine, have been key areas of study.
Professional Societies/National and International Groups
American Chemical Society
2005 – 2010
Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles and Photodynamic Therapy for the Treatment of B-Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Peña-Luengas S.L., Marin G.H., Rivera L., Tarditti A., Roque G., and Mansilla E.
"Leukemias. Updates and New Insights." Intech. 2015, 11(11). ISBN 978-953-51-2202-9.
Enhanced Singlet Oxygen Production by Photodynamic Therapy and a Novel Method for its Intracellular Measurement.
Pena-Luengas S.L., Rivera-Montalvo L., Marin G., and Mansilla E.
Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals. 2014, 29(10):435-43.
B-Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Autophagyc Cell Death by the Use of Manganese-Doped Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles and Photodynamic Therapy.
Pena-Luengas S.L., Rivera-Montalvo L., Marin G., and Mansilla E..
International Journal of Drug Delivery Technology. 2014, 5(1):15-25.
Synthesis of Fe3O4/ZnO Core-Shell Nanoparticles and Their Applications in Photodynamic Therapy.
Beltran J.C., Singh S.P., Tomar M.S., Pena S.L., Rivera L., Perales O.J.
Cambridge University Press. 2011, 1(2).
Multifunctional Fe3O4/ZnO Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Photodynamic Therapy.
Beltran J.C., Singh S.P., Tomar M.S., Pena S.L., Rivera L., and Perales O.J.
TechConnect Briefs. 2010, ( 3): 405-408.
Development of SPME-HPLC Methodology for Detection of Nitro-Explosives.
Pena-Luengas S.L., Jerez-Rozo J.I., and Hernandez-Rivera S.P.
Proceedings of SPIE. 2007, 6553, 65531W.1-65531W.12, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Mine like Targets XII; Rusell S. Harmon, J. Thomas Broach, John H. Holloway, Jr., Editors (SPIE, Bellingham, W.A.).
Enhanced Raman Scattering of TNT on Nanoparticle Susbstrates: Ag Colloides Prepared by Reduction with Hydroxylamine Hydrochloride and Sodium Citrate.
Jeréz , J.I., Chamoun A.M., Pena S.L., and Hernandez-Rivera S.P.
Proceedings of SPIE. 2007, 6538, 653824.1-653824.12, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense V; Edward M. Carapezza; Ed., (SPIE, Bellingham, WA.).
Contact information for all lab members:
Matthew Bryant, Ph.D.
Mani Chidambaram, Ph.D.
Xiaobo He, Ph.D.
Florence McLellen, M.S.
Jasyl Nichols, B.S.
Raul Trbojevich, Ph.D.
- Contact Information
- Sandra Pena-Luengas
- (870) 543-7121
ExpertiseApproachDomainTechnology & DisciplineToxicology