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News U12

News U12


Dr. Ramon Eritja, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS unit 29 of Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP) and Dr. Santiago Grijalvo researcher at NANBIOSIS unit 12 of Nanostructured liquid characterization, from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, together with Dr. Andreia F. Jorge, from Coimbra Chemistry Centre (CQC), acting as guest editors of journal Pharmaceutics, of MDPI Publisher, welcome authors to submit their articles on special issues on Recent Trends in Oligonucleotide Based Therapies.

In the past few decades, significant efforts have been made towards the clinical application of oligonucleotides. However, the potential of the therapeutic applications of RNA-based strategies have recently been spotlighted after the first approval of mRNA vaccines in response to COVID-19 pandemic. These molecules have the power to tackle targets that are usually considered to be “undruggable” by blocking the translation or transcription of a specific gene by stimulating the degradation of a particular messenger RNA.

This Special Issue aims to collect reviews, original research articles, and short communications covering innovative strategies in the design, synthesis, and characterization of therapeutic oligonucleotides as well as advances in their delivery based on nanotechnologies. Research concerning the study of sequence-specific protein–DNA/RNA interactions will be also considered.

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form.

For all the informations and instructions about the Special Issue, please visit this MDPI page

Deadline for submissions: 31 December 2022

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Wide representation of NANBIOSIS research in NALS 2022 and best Oral Presentation to Eloi Parladé

During the last 27-29 April, the 3rd International Conference on Nanomaterials Applied to Life Sciences 2022 (NALS 2022) has taken place in the Excellence Campus of Universidad de Cantabria in Santander (Spain), organized by the University of Cantabria and Institute Valdecilla-IDIVAL.

NALS 2022 has been a multidisciplinary conference series sharing new results and ideas in the fields of biosensors, lab on a chip, drug delivery nanopharmacy. nanobiotechnology, intelligent nanomaterials, magnetic materials, nanotoxicity, antimicrobials, novel applications of 3d bioprinting and nanoimaging.

NANBIOSIS has been represented at this edition by members of several of its units, among them we must highlight the set of four oral communication presented by members of the Nanobiotechnology group-Unit 1 of NANBIOSIS “Protein Production Platform (PPP)”, from CIBER-BBN and IIB-UAB the talks were delivered by:

Eloi Parladé: “Development of ion-dependent microscale secretory granules for nanomedical applications

Carlos Martínez-Torró: “Design of a human GFP-like protein scaffold for targeted nanomedicines

Eric Voltá Durán: “Antitumoral nanoparticles with multiple activities, a close reality

Jan Atienza-Garriga: “Characterization of protein-only NPs containing amps and analysis of their protection with liposomes and micelles

They summarized a wide area of the team activities on the design of protein-based protein materials for clinical uses, produced by means of diverse types of cell factories. In particular, antimicrobial peptides, cytotoxic proteins with antitumoral targeting and drug-carrying scaffold proteins are engineered to confer self-assembling properties as either microparticles or nanoparticles, that can be further functionalized with chemical drugs through covalent binding. Microparticles are of special interest as they can be used as slow drug delivery systems for nanostructured drugs upon subcutaneous administration. Alternatively, nanoparticles can be also presented as embedded in liposomes or other micellar structures that stabilize them for enhanced performance.

Three NANBIOSIS units, namely U1 (Protein Production Platform), U18 (Nanotoxicology) and U29 (Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform), have supported the presented research, which has been executed in a highly cooperative way.

Among all the excellent contributions by the team, it is worthy to stress that the prize for the best Oral Presentation was granted to Dr Eloi Parladé.

Other talk by researchers from NANBIOSIS were “Antioxidant-loaded polymeric NPs prepared by nano-emulsion templating for the management of neurological diseases” by Santiago Grijalvo, from NANBIOSIS U12 and  “Exploiting GSH oxidation with nanocatalysts to promote cancer cell death” by Javier Bonet-Aletá from NANBIOSIS U9

On the other hand, Jesús Santamaría,  Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U9 was a Keynote Speaker in the Conference with the talk: “A change of paradigm in cancer therapy? Using catalysts to make drugs inside the tumor, rather than trying systemic chemotherapy”

NALS 2022 has been an excellent conference, with presentations covering a wide range of topics in nanomaterials for health, and a great opportunity for our researchers, especially for young’s, to let know their collaborative work, as well as make new connections on common research interests, thanks to the good socializing opportunities afforded by the scheduling of the organization conference.

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Colloidal phenomena in COVID-19

Transmission electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases https://www.niaid.nih.gov)

The special volume (No. 55) of the journal Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science reviews the implications of colloidal science in the phenomenology of COVID-19, for which the techniques available in NANBIOSIS U12, “Nanostructured liquid characterization unit” , are relevant.

Two articles to highlight in this special volume:

  • Airborne transmission of the virus through droplets, and the effect of evaporation and sedimentation. Airborne transmission is determined by the settling time, that is, the time it takes for droplets to be in the air before settling. Evaporation increases the settling time by reducing the mass of the droplets. In fact, the small droplets can, depending on their solute content, evaporate almost completely and remain in the air for a long time. Considering that viruses possibly remain infectious for hours in the form of aerosols, the formation of droplet nuclei can substantially increase the infectious viral airborne load. The article reviews the physical-chemical factors that control the evaporation and sedimentation times of droplets and play an important role in determining the risk of airborne infection. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359029421000558)

  • The interactions between surfactants and viruses, which act on different components such as the lipid envelope, the membrane proteins (envelope) and the nucleocapsid proteins. Surfactants play very important roles, either directly, as in disinfection, or as carrier components of drug delivery systems for prophylaxis or treatment. By designing tailor-made surfactants and consequently advanced formulations, an increasingly effective use of surfactants can be expected, either directly as antiviral compounds or as part of more complex formulations. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359029421000637)

In summary, colloid science can contribute in a multidisciplinary strategy to fight pandemics.

By Carlos Rodriguez Abreu, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U12

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ISO 9001-2015 Quallity Management Certification for NANBIOSIS U12

NANBIOSIS U12 “Nanostructured liquid characterization unit” of IQAC-CSIC and CIBER-BBN, led by Dr. Carlos Rodriguez Abreu and D. Jordi Esquena, has implemented a Quality Management System for the scope of Technological service for characterization of colloidal dispersions, which fulfills the requirements of the standard ISO 9001:2015. An IQNet recognized certificate has been issued by AENOR last week.

This certification will expand and consolidate the service  that Unit 12 of NANBIOSIS is giving to companies and public sector researchers and facilitate their integration in cooperative international projects.

The ISO 9001 Standard is the most widespread Quality Management tool worldwide, with over one million certificates in 175 countries. The main objective of the standard is to increase customer satisfaction through continuous improvement processes. It is designed so that the organizations that apply it can guarantee their ability to offer services that meet the requirements of their customers. This international standard promotes the adoption of a process-based approach when the effectiveness of a quality management system is developed, implemented and improved, based in turn on the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) continuous improvement cycle.

The main benefits derived from ISO 9001 certification for organizations are: systematization of operations, improvement of internal organization, generation of a higher level of confidence in the internal and external environment, increased competitiveness, guarantee of compliance with legislation and regulations related to products and services, among others

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The European Researcher’s Night with NANBIOSIS’ scientists.

The European Researchers’s Nigth is a public event dedicated to the dissemination of science that is held every year in more than 300 cities in 30 countries of Europe at the same time, organized on the last Friday and Saturday of September.

This year face-to-face activities are progrmmed in different locations of Catalonian cities and also the “Nit de la Recerca” YouTube channel offers more than 20 noves microxerrades led by researchers from Catalonia.

Two NANBIOSIS’ researchers have joined this event to explain their research:

Julian GuercettiNb4D Group – NANBIOSIS U2 CAbS, from IQAC-CSIC and CIBER-BBN, will give two Face-to-face micro-talks entitled “Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you … what antibodies you have!” and “Small solutions for a big pandemic

Jordi EsquenaNANBIOSIS U12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit from IQAC-CSIC and CIBER-BBN with “Play as you know? How “kill” the virus

The European Researchers’s Nigth is a project founded by the European Commission (Horizon 2020 project EuNightCat-954506) with the aim of familiarizing the public with the research developed in Europe.

Further information:



MSCA and Citizens page


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Practical Sessions in the Master of Cosmetic and Dermopharmacy by NANBIOSIS U12

The researchers of NANBIOSIS U12, Nanostructured liquid characterization unit of CIBR-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, will participate in teaching and training students of the Master en Cosmética y Dermofarmacia, organized by Centro de Estudios Superiores de la Industria Farmacéutica (CESIF), from 17 May to 16 June 2021.

Cosmetic manufacturing companies are committed to innovation, both in technological development and in the use of components in their formulations, adapting to new trends and user needs. Determination of colloidal stability, surface tension, particle size and rheological behaviour, among many others properties, is essential for the proper characterization and understanding the performance of cosmetic products. Attendees participate in practical sessions in which they can learn advanced experimental techniques and methodologies of great interest in the cosmetic industry

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Gels formed from the interaction of lipid vesicles: Influence of charge in their structural and rheological properties

Susana Vilchez, researcher at NANBIOSIS U12. Nanostructured liquid characterization unit  of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, is coauthor of an article recently published in the Journal of Molecular Liquids.

“This work – explains Susana Vilchez – shows how structural and viscoelastic properties of a lipid colloidal gel can be altered by varying the ratio of charged lipids in the dispersion. These findings corroborate that the eventual formation of the gel and the morphology of its network is governed by the repulsive potential of the particles instead of the molecular composition of their membranes. Thus, the right control of charge balance in the system may allow finding specific applications for such material, especially in the biomedical field due to its lipid composition”.

Rheological measurements have been performed by the Nanostructured Liquids Unit (U12) of the ICTS NANBIOSIS.

Article of reference:

Kirian Talló, Susana Vílchez, Ramon Pons, Olga López. Gels formed from the interaction of lipid vesicles: Influence of charge in their structural and rheological properties. Journal of Molecular Liquids Volume 322, 15 January 2021, 114957 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molliq.2020.114957

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Encapsulation of BSA/alginate water–in–water emulsions by polyelectrolyte complexation

Researchers of NANBIOSIS U12. Nanostructured liquid characterization unit from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC have recently published an article entitled Encapsulation of BSA/alginate water–in–water emulsions by polyelectrolyte complexation in the scientific journal Food Hydrocolloids

The research which results are published involves the encapsulation of drops of water-in-water emulsions, which could be used as vehicles for the administration of active principles.

Characterization of emulsions and capsules was performed in the Unit 12 of NANBIOSIS Nanostructured Liquid Characterization Unit.

Water-in-Water (W/W) emulsions were prepared in aqueous mixtures of an anionic polyelectrolyte (sodium alginate, NaAlg), with a globular protein (bovine serum albumin, BSA). This combination showed phase separation at two different intervals of pH, and their phase behavior was studied. BSA-in-alginate emulsions were obtained and dropped into Ca2+, Fe3+ or chitosan solutions, forming capsules with diameters around 2–4 mm, by ionic complexation of sodium alginate, located in the continuous phase of the emulsions. The results showed a strong dependence on the cation or polycation. Capsules prepared with Ca2+ were not robust and collapsed during freeze-drying, while Fe3+ induced the gelation of the interior of capsules, even at short (5 min) contact time. Better results were obtained when encapsulating with chitosan and applying longer immersion times. In these capsules, the liquid interior contained well-preserved BSA-in-alginate emulsions droplets, identical to the initial emulsions before encapsulating. Freeze-dried spherical capsules prepared with alginate/Fe3+ or alginate/ chitosan shells had smooth surfaces, and a highly porous interior, templated by the presence of W/W emulsion droplets.


M. Michaux, N. Salinas, J. Miras, S. Vílchez, C. González-Azón, J. Esquena,
Encapsulation of BSA/alginate water–in–water emulsions by polyelectrolyte complexation, Food Hydrocolloids, Volume 113, 2021, 106406,

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New Scanning Electron Microscope and on line Seminar to explain it for internal and external accesses on NANBIOSIS U12

A new Scanning Electron Microscope (Hitachi TM-4000 Plus II) has been installed at the Nanostructured liquid characterization unit of NANBIOSIS ICTS (Unit 12) of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC.

An online seminar will be given by Susana Vilchez on January 14th at 12h to explain the various features, functions and capabilities of this new instrument, Tabletop Scanning Electron Microscope Hitachi TM-4000 Plus II, that is open for both internal and external users.

Those interested in attending the seminar can contact unit 12 of NANBIOSIS:

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NANBIOSIS U12 expands its capabilities with a new SEM for morphological and dimensional characterization of solid samples

The U12 of NANBIOSIS (Nanostructured liquid characterization unit) has expanded its capabilities with a new equipment U12-E22. SEM Hitachi TM4000Plus II for morphological and dimensional characterization of solid samples

Low vacuum Scanning Electron Microscopy with two electron detectors (secondary, SE, and backscattered, BSE). SE imaging provides a detailed information of the morphology of the sample and BSE gives information about the different components of the sample, based on the different atomic number (the higher the atomic number, the brighter the surface).

The equipment can apply different vacuum levels (using a turbo molecular pump) with accelerating voltages between 5 and 20 kV and magnifications from 10x to 100,000x. Specimens with size up to 80 mm diameter and/or 50 mm thickness can be characterized and samples.

Conductive and non-conductive samples can be characterized with little or no previous preparation. The software enables image processing of micrographs, for instance, measuring the size of solid particles after the acquisition of images.

SEM analysis is very useful in several fields:

  • Life sciences, for the topographical and morphological characterization of tissues, hairs, fibers, etc.
  • Materials science, for quality control and failure analysis. Morphological properties are quite important in the research of innovative materials. In addition, the characterization of the surface is a key factor in porous materials used for delivery systems.
  • Semiconductor inspection and microchip assembly, to analyse the topography and to investigate the effectiveness of production methods.

The equipment has been financed by CSIC and with funds of the research group coordinanting the unit from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, led by Carlos Rodriguez-Abreu

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