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News U4

News U4

Label-free DNA-methylation detection by direct ds-DNA fragment screening using poly-purine hairpins

Prof Laura Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit, has led the research whose results have been published by Biosensors and Bioelectronics  with the title  “Label-free DNA-methylation detection by direct ds-DNA fragment screening using poly-purine hairpins

Cancer diagnosis continuously evolves due to the better understanding of tumorigenic processes. DNA-methylation is consolidated as an effective biomarker for cancer prognosis and diagnostic even in tumors of unknown origin. The reversibility of this epigenetic mechanism also places it as a high-profile tool for the development of more sophisticated and personalized therapies. Current methodologies, such as bisulfite conversion or PCR amplification, rely on complex procedures that make difficult the standardization of epigenetics analyses. Here we present an optical biosensor methodology based on Surface Plasmon Resonance that employs poly-purine reverse-Hoogsten hairpin probes capable of interacting directly with ds-DNA fragments by triple helix formation. The direct interaction with the material of interest can greatly enhance the reliability of the analysis providing a more accurate and precise diagnosis. We have demonstrated the capabilities of our methodology for the direct capture of ds-DNA fragments and specific methyl-cytosine quantification. Our poly-purine hairpin probe demonstrated the specific capture of ds-DNA fragments while the standard duplex-forming probes failed to do so. In addition, the biosensor methodology showed a strong correlation with the different DNA methylation status
between the sequences with a low signal variation (≤8%CV) along 35 hybridization/regeneration cycles. Through its straightforward procedure and versatility of detecting different DNA  modifications related to the DNA methylation process, we anticipate that our strategy will enable a greater level of accuracy and precision in cancer diagnostics making a strong impact on the development of personalized therapies

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Nanoplasmonic biosensor device for the monitoring of acenocoumarol therapeutic drug in plasma

As a result of the collaboration carried aout by two units of NANBIOSIS, U4. Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit and U2. Custom Antibody Service (CAbS), it has been developed a compact and simple nanoplasmonic sensing device based on gold nanodisks for the rapid monitoring of acenocoumarol, using highly specific polyclonal antibodies produced against the drug Acenocoumarol (Sintrom®) which implies:

  • A label-free nanoplasmonic device for the rapid monitoring of acenocoumarol in plasmaD.
  • Direct quantification in real time requiring low sample volume is achieved.
  • Non-specific interferences from plasma are minimized using the developed methodology.
  • Excellent accuracy has been observed measuring blind plasma samples.
  • Potential to be implemented as a POC device in decentralized settings.


The research details have been published in the article authored by E. CristinaPeláezM.-CarmenEstevezAlejandroPortelaJ.-PabloSalvadorM.-PilarMarco and Laura M.Lechuga, “Nanoplasmonic biosensor device for the monitoring of acenocoumarol therapeutic drug in plasma, Biosensors and Bioelectronic, 119, 2018, 149-155 – DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2018.08.011


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Interferometric nanoimmunosensor for label-free and real-time monitoring of Irgarol 1051 in seawater

As a result of a collaboration in the context of the EC-FP7 program OCEAN 2013, NANBIOSIS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) and  Unit 4. Biodeposition and Biodetection,  the research groups coordinating this NANBIOSIS Units have recently published an article titled “Interferometric nanoimmunosensor for label-free and real-time monitoring of Irgarol 1051 in seawater” in the scientific magzine  iosensors and Bioelectronics.

The CIBER-BBN-ICN2 group  Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications, led by Prof. Laura Lechuga has developed the immunosensor that is described in the article using immunoreactive, produced in the group of  Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics Group (Nb4D), led by Prof. Pilar Marco, with the collaboration of CAbS, for Irgarol 1051. This compound is an alguicide used as an additive in the paintings of ships. Over time, the compose is being released  into the marine environment causing a risk to the ecosystem and to the health of the population.

In the article, an interferometric nanobiosensor for the specific and label-free detection of the pollutant Irgarol 1051 directly in seawater has been settled. Due to the low molecular weight of Irgarol pollutant and its expected low concentration in seawater, the sensor is based on a competitive inhibition immunoassay. Parameters as surface biofunctionalization, concentration of the selective antibody and regeneration conditions have been carefully evaluated. The optimized immunosensor shows a limit of detection of only 3 ng/L, well below the 16 ng/L set by the EU as the maximum allowable concentration in seawater. It can properly operate during 30 assay-regeneration cycles using the same sensor biosurface and with a time-to-result of only 20 min for each cycle. Moreover, the interferometric nanosensor is able to directly detect low concentrations of Irgarol 1051 in seawater without requiring sample pre-treatments and without showing any background signal due to sea matrix effect.

Article of referencehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2018.05.044

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Gold/Silver/Gold Trilayer Films On Nanostructured Polycarbonate Substrates For Direct And Label‐Free Nanoplasmonic Biosensing

Laura Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U4. Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit is coathor of the article “Gold/Silver/Gold Trilayer Films On Nanostructured Polycarbonate Substrates For Direct And Label‐Free Nanoplasmonic Biosensing” published by

Ultrasmooth gold/silver/gold trilayer nanostructured plasmonic sensors were obtained using commercial Blu-ray optical discs as nanoslits-based flexible polymer substrates. A thin gold film was used as an adhesion and nucleation layer to improve the chemical stability and reduce the surface roughness of the overlying silver film, without increasing ohmic plasmon losses. The structures were physically and optically characterized and compared with nanostructures of single gold layer. Ultrasmooth and chemically stable trilayer nanostructures with a surface roughness <0.5 nm were obtained following a simple and reproducible fabrication process. They showed a Figure of Merit (FOM) value up to 69.2 RIU-1 which is significantly higher (more than 95%) than the gold monolayer  ounterpart.
Their potential for biosensing was demonstrated by employing the trilayer sensor for the direct and refractometric (label-free) detection of CRP protein biomarker in undiluted urine achieving a LOD in the pM order.

Article: DOI: 10.1002/jbio.201800043


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Prof. Laura Lehuga, new Associate Editor at Analyst Editorial Board

Laura Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit, at Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology,  has joined the Analyst Editorial Board as an Associate Editor from today.

Analyst publishes analytical and bioanalytical research that reports premier fundamental discoveries and inventions and the applications of those discoveries, unconfined by traditional discipline barriers

Laura Lechuga is the CSIC Research Professor at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Spain. She is the leader of the CIBER-BBN-ICN2 Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group, which focusses on the technological development of nanophotonic biosensors, their integration into portable lab-on-a-chip platforms and their application in clinical and environmental diagnostics. Professor Lechuga gained her PhD in chemistry in 1992 from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Between 2012 and 2015 she was an adjunct professor at the University of Norway within their department of Physics and Technology at the Artic. She has also been a distinguished visiting professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Sciences of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil) since 2013.

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A CO2 optical sensor based on self-assembled metal–organic framework nanoparticles

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a known pollutant that affects the performance of humans in workplaces, schools and other indoor areas. Thus, the development of devices for sensing and monitoring CO2 levels is crucial for many fields such as food packaging and for human safety indoors. Researchers of NANBIOSIS U4. Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit, led by Prof. Laura M. Lechuga, are co-authors of the article “A CO2 optical sensor based on self-assembled metal–organic framework nanoparticles published  by Journal of Materials Chemistry A., wich  shows  an optical CO2 sensor fabricated by integration of a metal–organic framework (MOF) onto bimodal optical waveguides.

The sensor showed a broad linear response, with limit of detections of 3130 ppm at room temperature and 774 ppm at 278 K; values that are below the threshold for CO2 monitoring in food packaging and for human safety indoors. Furthermore, it is robust, selective, fast and reusable, and can be stored under humid conditions with no loss in performance. The results should enable the development of fully integrated MOF-based sensors for in situ gas sensing and other in situ practical applications.

Article reference:

Blanca Chocarro-Ruiz, Javier Pérez-Carvajal, Civan Avci, Olalla Calvo-Lozano, Maria Isabel Alonso, Daniel Maspoch and Laura M. Lechuga. A CO2 optical sensor based on self-assembled metal–organic framework nanoparticles. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C8TA02767F

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Update and improvement of unit 4 of NANBIOSIS

NANBIOSIS U4-Biodeposition and biosensing, led by Prof Laura Lechuga, has been recently updated and improved as a result of its participation in the project FICTS-1420-27 , selected by the MINECO for co-financing by the FEDER Program in ICTS 2014-2020.

The Biodeposition has been updated with the ozone generation system with a new system (UV / Ozone Cleaner-Procleaner ™), with a lamp with improved power. In the case of the Biodetection unit,  the current device has been to updated in order to make it more competitive. Optical components that improve the performance of the instrument in reference to sensitivity have been changed, the fluidic components has been updated (the flow cell that currently consists of 2 independent channels, peristaltic pumps and injection valves) to increase the automation of the current design and make it more competitive.

European Regional Development Fund

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Photonic Label-Free Biosensors for Real-Time Analysis of Untreated Clinical and Environmental Samples

The biannual Conference on Bioanalytical Sensors will take place in June 24 – 29 in Newport,  US, with the theme “State-of-the-Art Bioanalytical Sensing Approaches for Healthcare and Therapeutics, Forensics, and Visualization of Living Systems”.

Prof. Laura M. LechugaScientific Director of NANBIOSIS  U4. Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit: is giving a Conference on “Photonic label-free biosensors for real-time analysis of untreated clinical and environmental samples

The focus of this meeting is on the development of new bioanalytical tools that provide highly specific and quantitative molecular data of biological systems leading to real applications to the clinic. Specific topics will include micro- and nanofluidics systems, nanomaterials, in vitro and in vivo sensing and imaging, while also covering instrumental techniques, and real world detection/diagnosis.

Further information and PROGRAM

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Agreements signed with MINECO for the allocation of FEDER funds for NANBIOSIS ICTS

In the framework of the FEDER Program in ICTS 2014-2020, several projects related to the ICTS NANBIOSIS have been selected by the MINECO for co-financing with FEDER funds of the European Regional Development Funds program.

An agreement has been signed between MINECO and CIBER (partner of NANBIOSIS for the co-financing of the Project: “Purchase, installation and set-up of production and characterization equipment to complement the Units: U3-Synthesis of Peptides Unit, U18-Nanotoxicology and U20- In Vivo Experimental Platform”. The total budget of the project amounts to € 307,566.16, with 50% financing with FEDER Funds.

Also CSIC (The State Agency Superior Council of Scientific Investigations), institution that houses some of the NANBIOSIS units,  as distributed ICTS,  has signed an agreement with MINECO for the co-financing of the Project: “Purchase and installation and set-up of equipment and production and characterization laboratories to complement the units U2-Production of antibodies, U4-Biodeposition and biosensing, U6-Processing of biomaterials and U8-Micro, nanotechnology. The total budget of the project amounts to € 312.800,00 €, with 50% financing with FEDER Funds.

These two projects aim to increase the quantity and quality of the services offered by th implied units, with the objetive of positioning them as national and international benchmark in their respective fields of application. As a consequence, an increase in the performance (number of services and number of users) of each unit is expected, especially from companies (pharmaceutical and small biotechnology).

CSIC and CIBER are processing the necessary contracting procedures for the execution of these projects.

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Nanotechnology, gene therapy, omics therapies and ‘big data’

Nanotechnology, gene therapy, omics therapies and ‘big data’ were the topics discussed in the Forum on Emerging Technologies oganized on May 8 by nanotechnology, gene therapy, omics therapies and ‘big data’ were the topics discussed in the I Forum on Emerging Technologies held on May 8, organized by the CIBER Internationalization Platform, of which the CIBERER, the CIBER-BBN and the CIBERES.

The objective of this event, structured in sessions of presentations and scientific debates about the types of technologies addressed, was to promote the exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge with the aim of generating new collaborations among the CIBER research groups  such as participation in transversal projects or the development of cutting-edge technologies.

NANBIOSIS was represented by Pablo Laguna (Unit 27, High Performance Computing), Laura Lechuga (Unit 4, Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit), José Luis Pedraz (Unit 10, Drug Formulation) and Rosa Villa (Unit8, Micro – Nano Technology Unit)

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