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News U12

News U12

Happy Day of Chemistry! The role of Chemistry in a sustainable research in health

Today, November 15 is a day of celebration for us, the Day of the Chemistry in Spain!

Chemistry is the science that studies matter, how it is composed, its properties and how its structures are transformed and, as matter is everything, including living beings and ourselves, we can say that chemistry is omnipresent and transversal in all areas surrounding us. Chemistry is everywhere, we ourselves are chemistry and our health and our life is chemistry.

Everything around us is chemistry in the environment, foods, what we use and what we touch every day. Our own body is a sophisticated complex factory with an infinite number of chemical processes taking place on a perfect and synchronized manner”- points Pilar Marco, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) from CIBER-BBN at IQAC-CSIC.

The crucial role of chemistry in everyday life is also evidence in the development of current technology and the economy. According the VCI Prognos Study, the Global growth forecast for Industrial Sectors, places the chemical industry in the fist position. As far as national picture, the INE Statistics on R+D Activities 2020 -last publish report-, chemical and pharmaceutical industry employs the 22,2 % of research staff recruited and the investment and expenditure on the chemical and pharmaceutical industry represents the 23,6% R+D and Innovation -above the motor vehicles industry.

Thanks to chemical and pharmaceutical research,

medicines, vaccines and health products have made great strides in fighting diseases and improving quality of life. Thanks to chemical and pharmaceutical medicine research, in few years, it will be possible, for example, to count on smart implants delivering personalised drugs only where cancer or infections are detected or biosensors circulating in our body to find diseases only one week after infection.

At the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, four NANBIOSIS units of CIBER-BBN use chemistry to deliver new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches that improve the quality of life of the society.

One of the research lines of the Nb4D group-U2 CabS at IQAC-CSIC (led by Pilar Marco and Nuria Pascual) focuses on the chemical signals that bacteria emit to communicate with each other and thus develop virulence mechanisms. Their knowledge will allow the development of new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies to mitigate the serious problem of antimicrobial resistance.

NANBIOSIS U3 Synthesis of Peptides UnitMS4N group, led by Miriam Royo, explores the use of diverse types of chemical multivalent platforms (oligomers, dendrimers, polymers, micelles and lipid nanovesicles) for the development of drug delivery systems for cancer treatment, protein delivery systems for the treatment of lysosomal diseases and macromolecular compounds that have intrinsically therapeutic properties with application to central nervous system diseases.

Chemistry plays an essential role in helping society achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2015 the United Nations created a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. This framework, comprising 17 aspirational goals known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Chemistry is key to achieve the SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being with the development of new technologies that will provide a deeper understaunding of human health, making posible better, cheeper and faster medical diagnosis and treatmens.

In this sense, Carlos Rodriguez Abreu, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit for the characterization of nanostructured liquids (U12) explains: “The goals of sustainable development are producing a shift towards surfactants not based on petroleum derivatives, but derived from other raw materials that are more biocompatible and that allow a circular economy that is less aggressive with the environment. Quality control is necessary with regard to the properties of the products that contain surfactants, such as the droplet size in emulsions, the particle size in suspensions, their colloidal stability over time, among others. Additionally, products must be precisely formulated to optimize the use of raw materials and obtain the desired properties. In this context, the NANBIOSIS U12, acredited with ISO 9001:2015 by AENOR, offers a wide range of advanced analysis techniques for the determination of different colloidal properties such as droplet size and particle size, colloidal stability, viscosity, surface tension, pore size distribution, and determination of phase behavior and structure for the tailor-made formulation of surfactant and colloid systems for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications.

The Nucleic Acid Chemistry group at IQAC-CSIC – NANBIOSIS U29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP) is developing new compounds based in DNA and RNA to detect and treat diseases participating in several projects with several research and industrial partners such as La Marato de TV3 (Covid), Oligofastx, Caminan2, Osteoatx. These new drugs use the natural mechanisms for gene regulation to treat undruggable diseases such Muscular dystrophy and others. Importantly special attention is made to design novel synthetic protocols to produce less organic waste what contributes to the sustainable development. 

We wish to all the family of chemistry professionals new projects and inspiration to achive humans Good Health & Well-Being and keep the world moving!

And Happy Chemistry Day, too, for all the chemistry enthusiasts!

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1st Nanomedicine Forum of CIBER-BBN/NANBIOSIS and CSIC Nanomed Conection

During the days 30 of June and 1st of July took place in Barcelona, in the auditorium of the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC), the 1st Forum on Nanomedicine gathering scientists from the CSIC net Nanomed Conection and from the CIBER-BBN and its ICTS NANBIOSIS.

This forum brought toguether researchers from the most eminent national research centers in nanomedicine, that during the two days meeting presented their works and findings and discussed the impact of nanomedicine in the fields of drug delivery, diagnosis and therapy.

The workshop was open by the Director of IQAC-CSIC,  Jesús Joglar, the  Scientific Coordinator of Nanomed Conection, Fernando Herranz, and the Scientific Director of CIBER-BBN, Ramón Martínez Máñez.

18 research groups gave their talks distributed in four sessions:

  • Nanobiotechnological solutions for diagnosis and therapy
  • Drug delivery nanosystems
  • Applications for oncology 
  • Nanomedicine & other frontier applications

The presentations aroused great interest and futher debate among the attendees present in the auditorium (around 50) and the on line participants (The event was also broadcast online previous registration with more than 125 registrations received).

The videos of the presentations will be soon available in the NANBIOSIS youtube channel.

Here we highlight the eight talks by researchers from NANBIOSIS units:

The first session of Nanobiotechnological solutions for diagnosis and therapy,  started  with the talk by Montserrat Rodríguez from Nb4D group NANBIOSIS U2 CAbS, from CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, entitled “Targeting aromatic amino acid metabolism for the early diagnosis of neurological diseases”, presenting their results on in vitro samples, on thermal power characterization experiments to study the thermal efficiency of non-sinusoidal stimulation and on efficiency characterization experiments in cell cultures with cancer cell liness.

Also in this session chaired by Miriam Royo, Scientific Coordinator of NANBIOSIS U3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit of  CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC,  took place an interesting and passionate talk by Ramón Eritja, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP)

In the last years, interest in therapeutic applications of oligonucleotides has increased enormously, especially after the development of messenger RNA vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this way, metabolic diseases such as dyslipidemia and hereditary diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy have been successfully addressed. The NANBIOSIS  Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP) focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of modified oligonucleotides, in order to enhance the therapeutic properties of the oligonucleotides and to improve the control of gene expression. Ramon Eritja presented their most recent results in the development of new conjugates with antiproliferative activity and in the design of DNA probes for the detection of viral genomes.


In the session of “Nanomedicine and other frontiers applications”, chaired by María del Puerto Morales Herrero (ICMM-CSIC), Elena Martínez Fraiz,  from the Nanobioengineering group of CIBER-BBN and IBEC running NANBIOSIS Unit 7 of Nanotechnology, presented  a nanostructured surface able to produce multivalent effects of surface-bound ephrinB1 ligands on the dynamics of oligomerization of EphB2 receptors  whic can benefit applications such as the design of new bioactive materials and drug-delivery systems.

The session of Drug delivery nanosystems, chaired by Ramón Martínez Máñez, began with the talk by Vanessa Díaz Riascos, presesnting the in vivo efficacy, biodistribution and toxicity testing of nanomedicines at NANBIOSIS U20 FVPR, of CIBER-BBN and VHIR, explaining how their texting expertise and their in vivo and ex vivo fluorescence imaging techniques facilitate a rapid and efficient preclinical development of candidates, reducing considerably the time and costs of conventional developments.

Santiago Grijalvo Torrijo, from NANBIOSIS U12 Nanostructured liquid characterization unit expoke about Nano-emulsion-derived polymeric carriers for biomedical applications also discussing the impact of the protein corona on colloidal stability, antioxidant activities, cytotoxicity and cellular uptake of drug-loaded nanoparticles.

Antoni Llopis Lorente, (NANBIOSIS U26 NMR: Biomedical Applications II), expoke about Gated silica nanoparticles for controlled release. Chemical communication, based on the exchange of molecules as messengers, allows different entities to share information, cooperate and orchestrate collective behaviors. Communication using chemical messengers (such as neurotransmitters, hormones and pheromones) is the main way of communication across the natural world; yet engineering chemical communication between micro/nanosystems is a key emergent topic in micro/nanotechnology, biomimicry and related areas. Santiago explainined recent progress by their group in the development of engineered particles for chemical communication and nanomedicine applications.

And closing the session, Mariana Köber (Nanomol Group –NANBIOSIS U6 of Biomaterial Processing and Nanostructuring Unit  from CIBER-BBN and ICMAB-CSIC) gave a talk on Quatsomes as versatile nanovesicles for biomedical applications.

In the session of Applications for Oncology, Pilar Martín Duque from NFP group – NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit of CIBER-BBN and INMA-CSIC, gave a very interesting talk explained their approach and recent progress on the search of trojan horses for an improved theragnosis of cancer.

Here we want to thank the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) for hosting this event and for the help in its preparation and development.

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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 supported the presented research, which has been executed in a highly cooperative way: namely U1 (Protein Production Platform), led by Tony Villaverde U18 (Nanotoxicology), led by Ramón Mangues and U29 (Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform), led by Ramón Eritja.

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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