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News U9

News U9

New cathalitic therapy for destroying key molecules within tumor cells

The prestigious journal Nano Letters published the work led by NANBIOSIS researchers, affiliated with Unizar, INMA (CSIC-UNIZAR), CIBER–BBN, and IIS Aragón.

The successful development of this innovative treatment approach was possible through the efforts of our Unit 9, led by Prof. Santamaría and Dr. Hueso, both corresponding authors of the publication.

As recently announced by Universidad de Zaragoza (Unizar), a team led by NANBIOSIS researchers at the Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón (INMA, a joint institute of CSIC and UNIZAR) has discovered a way to artificially conduct a new chemical reaction, called transamination. This approach can act within cancer cells to destroy molecules vital for the development and growth of tumor cells. The prestigious journal Nano Letters have recently published this work, led by Unizar professors and researchers Javier Bonet–Aletá, José Luis Hueso, and Jesús Santamaría, also affiliated with NANBIOSIS, INMA (CSIC-UNIZAR), CIBER–BBN, and IIS Aragon.

The technique aims to replace current chemotherapy, carrying catalysts that either generate toxic molecules inside the tumor or eliminate molecules it needs to keep growing.

Catalytic therapy constitutes a new strategy in the fight against cancer, aiming to trigger harmful chemical reactions for the tumor. Ultimately, the goal is to replace current chemotherapy by carrying catalysts that either generate toxic molecules inside the tumor or eliminate molecules necessary for its proliferation.

Regarding eliminating key molecules, first published in 2015, catalysts targeted either glucose, an important energy source for cancer cells; or glutathione, an antioxidant that protects tumor cells from highly reactive radical species. The later is partly responsible for these cells’ resistance to chemotherapy treatments. Both glucose and glutathione can be eliminated through oxidation reactions. However, this is especially challenging to apply due to the scarcity of oxygen in the hypoxic tumor environment.

The publication:

This study holds special importance not only because it opens the field to new reactions of interest in oncology, but also because it does so in a process – transamination – that does not require oxygen to occur. This eliminates the main restriction of catalytic therapies. The reaction operates on amino acids, essential components that cells use to produce proteins, and also pyruvate, a small and abundant molecule involved in the main energy acquisition pathway in the cell. The reaction between them reduces the levels of amino acids and pyruvate in cancer cells, leading them to a critical state and halting their expansion and growth.

Graphical abstract of the publication. Read the full article in: Nano Lett. 2024, XXXX, XXX, XXX-XXX

During transamination, an amino group is exchanged between an amino acid and pyruvate, generating a substance that the cell cannot easily utilize. Our researchers demonstrated this by reacting pyruvate with various amino acids, such as glutamine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, or glutathione itself. However, transamination has one drawback: it is catalyzed by copper atoms, whose flow through the cell membrane under normal conditions is highly restricted. To overcome this limitation, researchers designed nanoparticles containing this metal, enhancing internalization into tumor cells. Once internalized, the nanoparticle dissolves, releasing copper atoms that act as catalysts in the transamination reaction.

In addition of Dr. José Luis Hueso, and Dr. Jesús Santamaría, other members of Unizar also participated, such as Dr. Javier Martin–Martin from the Department of Organic Chemistry and INMA, and Dr. Miguel Encinas–Giménez, Dr. Ana Martín–Pardillos, and Dr. Pilar Martín–Duque, who are also members of the Aragon Health Research Institute (IIS), as well as Dr. Juan Vicente Alegre Requena, a CSIC scientist at the Institute of Chemical Synthesis and Homogeneous Catalysis, ISQCH, a joint CSIC-UNIZAR institute.


[1] Nanoparticle-Catalyzed Transamination under Tumor Microenvironment Conditions: A Novel Tool to Disrupt the Pool of Amino Acids and GSSG in Cancer Cells. Javier Bonet-Aleta, Juan Vicente Alegre-Requena, Javier Martin-Martin, Miguel Encinas-Gimenez, Ana Martín-Pardillos, Pilar Martín-Duque, Jose L. Hueso, and Jesús Santamaria
Nano Letters, 2024 doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.3c04947


The goal of NANBIOSIS is to provide comprehensive and integrated advanced solutions for companies and research institutions in biomedical applications. All of this is done through a single-entry point, involving the design and production of biomaterials, nanomaterials, and their nanoconjugates. This includes their characterization from physical-chemical, functional, toxicological, and biological perspectives (preclinical validation).

In order to access our Cutting-Edge Biomedical Solutions, place your request here.

NANBIOSIS has worked with pharmaceutical companies of all sizes in the areas of drug delivery, biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Here are a few of them:

Read More

The revolutionary path of research in NANBIOSIS and advice on Woman’s Day 2024

Our interview series delve into the journeys of 7 female researchers, their challenges, and the call for gender equality in science, inspiring the next generation.

March 8th 2024, NANBIOSIS (Spain)

Kicking off on 11F “International Day of Women and Girls in Science” 2024, and spanning all the way until Woman’s Day 2024, our interview series has aimed to highlight the life, career and opinions of some of the brilliant minds within our network. Today is time to wrap it up, and for this reason we present you a summary of each of them and a chance to take a deeper look.

In these series we delved into the remarkable journeys, research endeavors, and challenges faced by these exceptional women in their pursuit of scientific excellence. From unraveling the mysteries of nanotechnology to pioneering advancements in biosciences, each researcher’s story resonates with perseverance, resilience, and a fervent commitment to breaking barriers. With no doubt their collective message resonates loudly: a call to inspire and empower the next generation of aspiring researchers, regardless of gender, to embark on their own transformative journeys in the world of science and innovation, as well as speaking out on the issues that female researchers still encounter today.

Anna Aviñó speaks about her journey as a researcher and her captivating oligonucleotides.

“Oligonucleotides (…) are recently being approved as new advanced gene therapies for many diseases, including rare and cardiovascular diseases.”

—Dr. Anna Aviñó, scientific coordinator of Unit 29.

Our leading chemist, specialized in nucleic acid chemistry, was the first interview published in these series. She offered us insights into her current projects focused on synthetic and structural studies of oligonucleotides. With a deep understanding of their applications in gene therapies and biosensors, Dr. Aviñó highlighted her contributions to the field and addressed challenges faced as a woman scientist.

Through her expertise and dedication, she advocates for gender equality in science, emphasizing the importance of unbiased education and empowering young women to pursue careers in research.

You can read the full interview here.

Dr. Martín tells us about her innovations in cancer treatment with nanoparticles.

“There are challenging moments during a scientific career (…), but in the end, persistence pays off.”

—Dr. Ana Martín, collaborator scientist in Unit 9.

Ana has a multifaceted background spanning Veterinary Medicine, Biochemistry, and a Ph.D. And in this second part of our series she welcomed us into a world of scientific inquiry and innovation. In this interview, Ana shared her pioneering work in cancer research, utilizing nanoparticles for anti-tumor treatments. Ana also reflected on gender equality in science, the challenges of balancing motherhood with a scientific career, and her aspirations for a more inclusive scientific community.

You can read the full interview here.

Prof. Peña gave us her insightful point of view in overcoming challenges, embracing passion, and cultivating collaborative success towards career estabilization.

“The most important thing in your professional career is to dedicate yourself to something you love (…) that’s incredibly important from a professional point of view.”

—Prof. Estefanía Peña, Scientific Coordinator of Unit 13.

In a captivating interview, Professor Estefanía Peña shared her insights on overcoming challenges, nurturing passion, and fostering collaborative success in achieving career stability. Amidst the bustling R&D environment, Professor Peña’s laboratory serves as a beacon of innovation and determination. With enthusiasm and warmth, she discussed her journey in computational modeling and biomedical engineering, highlighting her experiences, hurdles, and victories. Professor Peña’s story resonates as a testament to perseverance and dedication, offering valuable advice to aspiring researchers on following their passions.

You can read the full interview here.

Our expert in nanocarriers talks about her journey from biotechnology to cancer therapy, an example of passion and perseverance in science.

“I am fortunate to be able to devote myself to something I am passionate about. Research is something I enjoy every day.”

—Dr. María Sancho, Researcher at Unit 9.

Dr. Sancho, our expert in nanocarriers and cancer therapy, shared with us her inspiring journey from biotechnology to groundbreaking research. Set in Zaragoza, Spain, the interview highlighted Maria’s passion and perseverance in pursuing scientific excellence. With warmth and enthusiasm, she discussed her innovative work in developing nanocarriers for targeted drug delivery in cancer treatment. Maria’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring scientists, showcasing the transformative power of dedication and curiosity in the pursuit of scientific advancement.

You can read the full interview here.

Dr. Vílchez, our esteemed colloidal chemistry researcher, discusses her focus on water-in-water emulsions and microcoacervates. She highlights gender biases in science and advocates for inclusivity and recognition of women’s contributions.

“I would advise (young women) to pursue their dreams, to show others what they are capable of, and not to let themselves be underestimated.”

—Dr. Susana Vílchez, technical and quality manager of Unit 12.

Dr. Vílchez offered a profound insight into her research endeavors and career trajectory. Specializing in the characterization of colloidal systems such as micelles, vesicles, emulsions, and more, her current focus lies on the intriguing realm of water-in-water emulsions and the formation of microcoacervates, serving as a model for membraneless organelles (MLO) by introducing DNA into these emulsions. During the interview, Dr. Vílchez also shed light on the gender biases prevalent in her field and offered invaluable perspectives on fostering gender equality in science. Through her experiences and unwavering dedication, she inspires young women to pursue their scientific aspirations while advocating for broader inclusivity and recognition of women’s contributions in shaping the scientific landscape.

You can read the full interview here.

Dr. Mincholé discusses cardiac risk assessment, gender challenges in science, and the transformative potential of Digital Twins in healthcare research.

“(I) design and work on a research line that combines computational models with cardiac signals and images. This was done with the aim of stratifying arrhythmic risk and understanding its mechanisms.”

—Dr. Ana Mincholé, researcher at Unit 27.

In this part 6 of our interview series, Dr. Ana Mincholé discussed her groundbreaking work in cardiac risk assessment, gender challenges in science, and the transformative potential of Digital Twins in healthcare research. Dr. Mincholé’s insights offered a glimpse into her innovative approach to integrating computational models with clinical data to advance cardiac care. Her passion for science and dedication to promoting diversity in STEM shine through, underscoring the invaluable contributions of women in the field.

You can read the full interview here.

As a bosus, we have recently published the last of our interviews in our YouTube channel.

In this part VII, we had the pleasure to interview Dr. Eli Prats, a brilliant researches from Unit 8 and a fantastic science communicator. Watch it full here:


The goal of NANBIOSIS is to provide comprehensive and integrated advanced solutions for companies and research institutions in biomedical applications. All of this is done through a single-entry point, involving the design and production of biomaterials, nanomaterials, and their nanoconjugates. This includes their characterization from physical-chemical, functional, toxicological, and biological perspectives (preclinical validation).

In order to access our Cutting-Edge Biomedical Solutions, place your request here.

NANBIOSIS has worked with pharmaceutical companies of all sizes in the areas of drug delivery, biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Here are a few of them:

Read More

Women in NANBIOSIS part 4: María Sancho’s journey from nanomaterials to cancer therapy

Our expert in nanocarriers talks about her journey from biotechnology to cancer therapy, an example of passion and perseverance in science.

February 2024, I3A/CIBER-BBN, Zaragoza (Spain)

The silence of the meeting room is only broken by the constant purring of the heating system. A large square table made of dark wood fills the entire room almost completely. Its dimensions are too extensive for anyone to reach its center. One may wonder, how many passionate conversations about the next step to take in countless research projects have been witnessed by these four walls?

The door swings open briskly, and a familiar face crosses the threshold with a smile. We have shared lab bench in the past, and María, with her memory honed by years of dedication to her craft, remembers that brief period of our lives surprisingly well. We greet each other warmly. She radiates energy and passion for what she does.

The interview begins.

Hello María, tell us a little about yourself.

“My name is María Sancho, I studied a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology at the University of Zaragoza, just the second generation after its implementation. I did my bachelor’s thesis at the Institute of Nanoscience and Materials of Aragon (INMA), and this contact with nanotechnology made me decide to continue expanding my training in this field and try to dedicate myself to science and research. Then I did the Master’s in Nanomaterials, the ‘NanoMat’, at INMA, as it complemented my biochemistry-oriented training very well with the materials aspect of the Master’s.

After I finished both my bachelor’s and master’s thesis at INMA, I had the opportunity to apply for (and obtain) a prestigious State doctoral scholarship with Jesús Santamaría as Principal Investigator. This allowed me to do my thesis here in Zaragoza, which I defended in December 2020. For the past three years, I have been in Milan, at the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research, with Luisa De Cola. Her outstanding work focuses mainly on nanomaterials, different from those I worked on during my thesis, allowing me to train in a highly complementary area.”

So, you’re currently doing your postdoc in… Italy?

“No, no. I just returned last October, once again, to Jesús Santamaría’s group, with the goal of establishing here in Zaragoza as a researcher… if possible (laughs).”

“I am fortunate to be able to devote myself to something I am passionate about. Research is something I enjoy every day.”

—Dr. María Sancho, Researcher at Unit 9.

What motivated you to choose a career as a researcher?

“Ever since I was very young, I’ve been an inquisitive, curious, and creative person. I got into research spontaneously, although it’s true that in my family we always talked about scientific research, my father was a teacher and a geologist himself. Over time I’ve realized that science has a vocational component, it requires a lot of dedication, but it excites me. During my high school studies, I was clear about choosing the scientific path. After finishing high school, I pursued a degree in Biotechnology, which had been implemented in Zaragoza just a year before. During my studies, I witnessed the significant advances of the great nanotechnological revolution of recent years. My interest grew only stronger and I decided to do my doctoral studies.

In 2016, I obtained a prestigious and competitive contract for the so-called University Professor Training State program ‘FPU’ from the Ministry of Education. This allowed me to carry out my doctoral thesis at the University of Zaragoza, in a leading and excellent research institute like INMA. So, I could say that I didn’t hesitate to start my career as a scientist. During this period, I was fortunate to have thesis supervisors who transmitted their passion and enthusiasm for research to me. This undoubtedly encouraged me to continue developing my scientific career. Today, I can say that I am fortunate to be able to devote myself to something I am passionate about. Research is something I enjoy every day.

Could you share with us a bit about your area of research and the projects you are currently working on?

“In general terms, my research focuses on developing small containers, which we call nanoparticles, with nanometric dimensions. This means that they are much smaller than human cells. Specifically, my project is based on developing nano-containers capable of directing and transporting drugs and anti-tumor molecules in the body. This way, we load these nanoparticles, which have therapeutic properties, inside vesicles produced by our own body, so that they can kill and act against tumor cells. We hope that these nano-containers with therapeutic properties, once injected into the bloodstream, can reach their target cell and then release the drugs loaded inside them. When we take a painkiller for example, only a small part of the drug acts to relieve that headache. In this project, what we aim for is the possibility of using less therapy and directing it selectively to the tumor. In this way, the maximum possible amount of the supplied active compound reaches the cancer cells. Furthermore, by being encapsulated in these nano-containers and selectively reaching tumor cells, it would ensure avoiding side effects and not affecting other organs.”

What have been the greatest challenges you have faced as a woman in your research field?

“From my experience, to this day, I have not faced challenges attributed to gender. I believe the greatest challenges I have encountered have been common to those of my male colleagues, and are linked to being ‘young researchers’. I associate these challenges with the fact that research is not only an occupation of nearly irrelevant importance in Spain, but also one of great uncertainty, and it is not sufficiently recognized. It requires great dedication, many hours of work, sometimes yielding good results, and other times not. Furthermore, there are few and highly competitive State grants in Spain that allow you to dedicate oneself to research continuously and steadily. As you progress in your research career, you spend more time on bureaucracy, seeking funding and more projects. And the truth is that in the vast majority of cases you won’t get them. This derives in less hours in the lab doing the experiments. I believe there are not enough resources available today.”

Have you ever experienced any type of gender bias or added difficulty in your scientific career? How have you addressed this situation?

“From my experience, up to this day, I have not encountered any additional difficulties compared to men. Nor have I experienced any situations of inequality. However, I do believe that all young researchers, in general, both women and men, face significant challenges in advancing and developing their professional careers. In fact, many of the colleagues I encountered while doing my doctoral thesis have been forced to abandon their scientific careers.”

Could you tell us more about your challenges as a young researcher?

“One of the biggest challenges has been having to go abroad to continue my scientific career. This requires great effort and dedication. Already during my doctoral thesis, I undertook two stays abroad. One of them was for three months at ETH Zurich. The other one lasted for two months at Politecnico di Milano. After completing my doctoral thesis in 2020, I followed the advice of my supervisor to go abroad for at least two more years to continue my postdoctoral career. It was not an easy decision, as I embarked on my journey amid the COVID pandemic, but I had the opportunity to get a job interview with Luisa De Cola, the leader of a globally renowned group.

Although it has been a path full of changes and uncertainty, I don’t feel like I have had to give up anything I wanted in order to pursue my work. However, it’s true that research has taken my time away from other activities. I have probably missed out on doing some things. I have spent two and a half years away from my family and friends in order to continue my education. All this with the goal of returning to Spain as a researcher, which wasn’t even guaranteed. In my case, a few months ago, I managed to secure a postdoctoral grant to develop a research project for four years in Zaragoza, so it has been worth it. Specifically, I have returned to INMA to join the group led by Jesús Santamaría (who was also my thesis supervisor), one of the top scientists in Aragon. He has been involved and supported me throughout my journey as a researcher, even while I was abroad, and he advocated for my return to INMA.”

What advice would you give to young women who are considering pursuing a career in science?

“Firstly, if you’re considering it, I believe that research, like other professions or activities, often reveals its fascination only once you experience it from within. Additionally, it’s a profession that greatly nurtures the mind, fills you with stimuli… and it’s very enriching to formulate a hypothesis and be able to test it in the laboratory. I think it’s something rewarding not only professionally but also personally. In addition, it is a profession that allows you to travel to other countries, get to know other cultures, people who started as colleagues and then became friends. On the other hand, all the teamwork it requires is very satisfying. The individual work you do in the laboratory is later contrasted with others. And yes, it is true that there are bad days when things don’t go your way, but when something works out, it more than makes up for it.”

This is great timing for my next question. Have you had any ‘Eureka’ moments? What do you consider your greatest achievement, or something you feel particularly proud of?

“In 2019, there was a moment when there was a cocktail of people who were working exceptionally well and enthusiastically, of the results we were obtaining, and of the project… All of this allowed us to publish my first paper in Nature, which was highly cited afterwards. This was a really cool moment for me.”

Your very own first-author scientific publication… in Nature. And you were still doing your thesis!

“Yes, I was still working on my thesis. But of course, this achievement is not mine alone. It’s very much intertwined with all the teamwork behind it. It’s a publication that goes hand in hand with projects that Jesús Santamaría had at that time, which allowed us to test all the ideas we had. And of course, thanks to the work of many people, like Santamaría himself, Víctor Sebastián, Pilar Martín, and international collaborators we had in Edinburgh… In short, it was a cocktail that allowed us to do something that didn’t exist in the field. No one had tried vesicles with this type of nanoparticles to make catalysts before! It was a group effort, and very satisfying for all of us.”

If someone in your family, who is not a researcher, asked you about your publication in Nature, how would you explain it to them?

“Well, from a scientific point of view, we managed, for the first time, to encapsulate palladium nanosheets in lung cancer exosomes. These nanosheets are harmless to our body, but they can catalyze a reaction that halts the growth of cancer cells.”

And, as you well said, it was a group effort. What was your contribution to that publication?

“What I did was isolate the vesicles and develop a system to produce the nanosheets inside the vesicles without altering their properties. The thing is, up until that point, when attempts were made to attach these nanosheets to the vesicles, the vesicles ceased to be selective to the cancer they were targeted to. This was because the methods used were too aggressive, causing significant damage to the vesicles. What we did was to develop a very gentle method to achieve high encapsulation efficiency and maintain their ability to selectively reach the tumor. On the other hand, our collaborators in Edinburgh studied all the catalysis and reaction dynamics. So, when we administer a systemic prodrug, it’s harmless throughout the body. But as soon as it reaches the tissue where the cancer is located, this prodrug is catalyzed by the nanosheets into its toxic derivative, acting only on the tumor cells.”

That’s brilliant. Plus, you won’t have the biocompatibility issues seen in other drugs.

“Exactly, because the exosomes you use are naturally produced by the cells themselves. That’s the difference compared to other forms of encapsulation. We only tested it at the in vitro level with cells. But imagine being able to use the patient’s own exosomes to encapsulate the nanosheets. This is a starting point to explore this novel therapy further.”

And indeed, it ended up being published in Nature.

(laughs) “Yes, when such a crazy and bold idea gives you such a good result, it kind of gives you the motivation you need to keep going. And that curiosity we were talking about earlier, which I believe every scientist has, produces a very satisfying and inspiring feeling.”

What changes would you like to see in the scientific world to promote gender equality?

“I believe that calls and projects are being adapted more and more to consider maternity leave periods, etc. This allows individuals of all genders to compete on equal terms. However, it’s true that in higher-level positions, certain roles are still more commonly occupied by men. Although, it’s also true that there are more and more female principal investigators (PIs) leading research groups. I think in the future, we’ll see more and more women leading research groups as PIs.”

How do you think we can encourage more women and girls to participate in science?

“There are many science outreach activities highlighting the role of women in science or showcasing prominent female scientists. Activities like this one, promoted by CIBER-BBN, or by other institutions, are important. In my own Institute (INMA), numerous such activities are conducted, which are part of the objectives included in its Strategic Plan. From the scientific community, we are very interested in promoting interest in science, communicating the importance of scientific advances in different research areas, and conveying the daily work carried out at a prestigious research center. At my institute, we strive to make women and girls visible, inspire them, and promote their participation in science. This includes talks, exhibitions, roundtable discussions, competitions, scavenger hunts, activities in pubs, and a series of scientific talks aimed at schools, as well as in-person workshops.

I don’t think we’re doing it wrong. What is more, I think since COVID people have become more aware of the importance of scientific development. A few years ago, few people knew what a PCR was or the effort behind vaccine development. I believe it is important that society as a whole understands what these careers entail.”

That’s all. Thank you very much, María. It’s been very interesting.

“I’m glad!” (laughs)

This is part of a series of interviews to several female researchers within the context of International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024 and Woman’s Day 2024. For more interviews, visit our news section here.

Additional information:

The goal of NANBIOSIS is to provide comprehensive and integrated advanced solutions for companies and research institutions in biomedical applications. All of this is done through a single-entry point, involving the design and production of biomaterials, nanomaterials, and their nanoconjugates. This includes their characterization from physical-chemical, functional, toxicological, and biological perspectives (preclinical validation).

In order to access our biomedical Solutions, apply here.

NANBIOSIS has worked with pharmaceutical companies of all sizes in the areas of drug delivery, biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Here are a few of them:

Read More

Women in NANBIOSIS part 2: Ana Martín, and her Multi-degree Journey

We ask Dr. Martín about her innovations in cancer treatment with nanoparticles, in the context of her collaborations with NANBIOSIS.

This is part of a series of interviews to several female researchers within the context of International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024 and Woman’s Day 2024. For more interviews, visit our news section here.

February 2024, INMA-CSIC/CIBER-BBN, Zaragoza (Spain)

We are walking through the tall corridors that connect the numerous blocks of the large R&D Building, located near the Río Ebro Campus of Unizar. This building is a conglomerate of institutes, laboratories, and research groups. In its dead center, open to the outdoors, a Zen Garden welcomes us, like an oasis of peace in the midst of this whirlwind of information, advancements, and scientific progress.

We enter the meeting room. The lights are flooding a large dark table surrounded by chairs. After a few minutes, Ana arrives. We greet each other warmly. It has been a long time since we last saw each other, perhaps since college? With a nervous laugh, she confesses, “Having a microphone in front of you is quite intimidating…”. She laughs again.

I consider making a joke right after the first question, in an attempt to reassure her. But I quickly change my mind as soon as she starts talking. Her nerves have completely dissipated, and her words, once shaky, now fill the recording with a confidence I didn’t expect. The confidence of someone who carries behind them a career as varied as it is fascinating.

The interview begins.

Well, Ana, tell us a little about yourself.

“My name is Ana. I have a degree in Veterinary Medicine, a degree in Biochemistry, and a Ph.D. from the University of Zaragoza. Currently, I work in the NFP group. My chemist colleagues synthesize nanoparticles, and I use them for anti-cancer treatments.”

What motivated you to choose a career in science?

“Since I was little, I’ve always been very interested in natural sciences. I’ve always been intrigued by how biological systems work, and over time, I became interested in pathology, the cause of diseases, and their treatment. That’s why when I had to choose a career, I chose Veterinary Medicine and, later, Biochemistry.”

Could you share with us a bit about your research area and the projects you are currently working on?

“Since I started working in research, I have been involved in the field of biomedicine, but the areas have been progressively changing. My career began in the field of aging and vascular diseases. Later on, I applied this knowledge to cancer research, which is the field I am currently working in, using nanoparticles as an anti-tumor treatment.”

What nanoparticles do you use?

“We use nanoparticles that, through catalysis, consume glucose and produce toxic species, inducing cell death specifically in tumor cells. We have many types of nanoparticles, especially by combining different types of metals. We introduce them into extracellular vesicles, which have tropism towards tumors, significantly improving the treatment compared to free nanoparticles.”

And what types of cancer do you treat?

“We use different cell lines from lung cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, brain cancer… We aim to create a treatment that is not specific to one type of cancer but can be applicable to many types of tumors. And high glucose consumption is something that tumors have in common.”

What have been the greatest challenges you have faced as a woman in the field of research?

“I believe the most difficult challenge has been balancing a scientific career with personal life, specifically with motherhood. When you work as a scientific researcher, there is never a perfect time to have children. You know that your career will be put on hold for a while, and research never stops, so there is a constant fear of falling behind. But as a scientist and a mother, I think one should never give up on motherhood because of it. In the end, everything is achievable, and personal life should never be sacrificed for professional life.”

Have you experienced any gender bias or added difficulty in your scientific career? How have you addressed this situation?

“In my case, I have been fortunate and I don’t believe I have experienced any gender bias. However, I do know of cases involving female colleagues who have encountered it.”

“There are challenging moments during a scientific career (…), but in the end, persistence pays off.

—Dr. Ana Martín, collaborator scientist in Unit 9.

What advice would you give to young women considering pursuing a career in science?

“My advice would be to enjoy the work in research. We have to remember that it is one of the best jobs out there; we are doing something for society, to improve it, whether working in biomedicine or other areas like technology. There are challenging moments during a scientific career, times when it’s difficult (due to lack of funding, opportunities, etc.), but in the end, persistence pays off. And if for some reason it doesn’t work out, all the knowledge gained will still be very useful in other areas.”

And what advice would you give to those who are unsure?

“Well, if they’re not sure… before diving into a doctoral thesis, they should visit laboratories, see how things work here, and choose something they enjoy. Because you’re going to spend a lot of time working on it, and the environment you’re in is very important.”

How do you think gender stereotypes can be overcome in your research field?

“I don’t believe there are gender stereotypes. However, it is true that currently, positions of greater responsibility are often held by men. In my opinion, equal opportunities should be given to men and women, and the time taken by women for their careers due to motherhood should not be penalized. This way, we can finally break the ‘glass ceiling’, and young people can also have female role models.”

And what about being a mother?

“In other countries, I’ve seen people having children during their doctoral thesis, and that’s unthinkable here. I believe the measures taken so far are just a patch and don’t fully compensate.”

What do you consider your greatest achievement or contribution in your field of study?

“Personally, my greatest achievement was obtaining a project on breast cancer in which I was Principal Investigator. As for my greatest contribution, I couldn’t say for sure. I believe everything I have done has contributed a little bit to research on vascular calcification, aging, and cancer. Perhaps it may seem somewhat insignificant, but it could be very important in aiding future research.”

What support have you received throughout your career that has been particularly helpful?

“The support of my family and my partner has been indispensable throughout my career. I also appreciate the support of the Government of Aragon and the European Union for the funding I received during my predoctoral and postdoctoral stages.”

What changes would you like to see in the scientific world to promote gender equality?

“I would like to see women not have to postpone or give up their personal lives for their work. I believe that, with the support of institutions, anything is achievable, as is the case in other European countries.”

How do you think we can encourage more women and girls to participate in science?

“I truly believe that there are more women in science than men. The problem is that leadership positions are almost never held by women, perhaps because many women end up sacrificing their careers for their personal lives, and that shouldn’t happen. We should break the glass ceiling and allow women to access leadership positions so that girls have examples of female scientists to follow and don’t think that science is only for men.”

It’s been a pleasure to see you again and chat with you, Ana. And thank you for your time.

“Thanks to you too.”

For more interviews like this, visit our news section here.

Additional information:

The goal of NANBIOSIS is to provide comprehensive and integrated advanced solutions for companies and research institutions in biomedical applications. All of this is done through a single-entry point, involving the design and production of biomaterials, nanomaterials, and their nanoconjugates. This includes their characterization from physical-chemical, functional, toxicological, and biological perspectives (preclinical validation).

In order to access our biomedical Solutions, apply here.

NANBIOSIS has worked with pharmaceutical companies of all sizes in the areas of drug delivery, biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Here are a few of them:

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Bringing Hope to Cancer Treatment: New Pioneering Advances in Nanotechnology

NANBIOSIS Researchers Lead the Way in Innovative Nanomedicine Approaches

Cancer remains a formidable challenge globally, with 19.1 million cases diagnosed in 2020, resulting in nearly 10 million deaths. However, amidst these alarming statistics, a beacon of hope emerges from the field of nanomedicine.

Spearheaded by Professor Jesus Santamaria and his team at the NFP group, part of the NANBIOSIS ICTS Unit 9, groundbreaking advancements in nanotechnology are revolutionizing cancer treatment. Funded by the European Research Council, their efforts mark a significant stride towards more effective and targeted therapies.

“The potential adverse effects (of antineoplastic agents) on healthy cells is the main limitation, in addition to the development of drug resistance by cancer cells.”

—Dr. Jose L. Hueso, Scientific Coordinator of Unit 9

Traditional cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy (CT), and radiotherapy (RT) have long been the mainstays of clinical intervention. While effective, their indiscriminate nature often leads to debilitating side effects and the development of dreaded drug resistances in cancer cells. Chemotherapy, in particular, poses significant challenges due to its adverse effects on healthy cells.

This is where nanoscience and nanotechnology come to play. These cutting-edge disciplines offer promising avenues for the development of selective and precise cancer therapies. The work of Prof. Santamaria’s team focuses on leveraging nanoparticles to deliver tailored treatments directly to cancerous tissues while minimizing collateral damage to healthy cells.

Their innovative approach involves the synthesis of inorganic and carbon-based nanoparticles with enzyme-mimicking capabilities. These nanoparticles exhibit a multifaceted response within the tumor microenvironment, from consuming glucose to generating reactive oxidative species. Moreover, they disrupt the antioxidant defense mechanisms of cancer cells, rendering them more susceptible to treatment.

Collaborative efforts with esteemed researchers like Pilar Martin Duque, Luisa de Cola, and Asier Unciti-Broceta further enhance the potential of these nanotherapeutic strategies. Together, they strive to refine nanoparticle delivery systems, protect the catalytic activity in the tumor microenvironment, and engineer anticancer prodrugs using bioorthogonal chemistry.

The implications of these advancements are profound. By harnessing the power of nanotechnology, researchers have the tools to revolutionize cancer treatments. With greater specificity and reduced toxicity, nanotherapies offer renewed hope for patients battling this relentless disease.

As the field of nanotechnology continues to evolve, the potential for personalized, precision medicine approaches tailored to individual patients becomes increasingly tangible. With the expertise of NANBIOSIS ICST researchers at the forefront of this revolution, the future of cancer treatment shines brighter than ever before.

NFP group: Members currently working on the development of novel strategies of synthesis, encapsulation and delivery of active catalysts against cancer include: Dr. Víctor Sebastián, Dr. Ana Martín, Dr. María Sancho, Dr. Jose L. Hueso, Dr. Javier Bonet and PhD students: Andrea Mosseri, Ángeles Valls, Miguel Encinas, Jose Ignacio Garcia Peiro, Leticia Sanchez, Estefanía Chico.

Additional information

The goal of NANBIOSIS is to provide comprehensive and integrated advanced solutions for companies and research institutions in biomedical applications. All of this is done through a single-entry point, involving the design and production of biomaterials, nanomaterials, and their nanoconjugates, along with their characterization from physical-chemical, functional, toxicological, and biological perspectives (preclinical validation).

In order to access our biomedical Solutions, apply here.

NANBIOSIS has worked with pharmaceutical companies of all sizes in the areas of drug delivery, biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Here are a few of them:

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Impactful research with NANBIOSIS participation in the Poster Tour of CIBER-BBN & CIBEREHD Annual Conference.

2023 CIBER-BBN Annual meeting has taken place at Santemar Hotel, in Santander during November 6-7. This year the format of our annual conferences has been changed towards a collective event scheme between the CIBER-BBN and CIBEREHD thematic areas.

  • On Monday 6 the scientific sessions werecommon for EHD and BBN, with appealing contents for the mixed audience.
  • On Tuesday 7 EHD and BBN sessions will specific for each area in separate rooms (with common coffee break).

Posters of both areas were on display in the exhibit hall throughout the entirety of the Annual Meeting.

Moreover, at the “Posters & beers” session (Monday 6th: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) poster tours were organized where attendees could cast their vote for the best poster and use this one-on-one time with presenters to learn more, ask juicy questions and discuss their work. At 8:00 p.m., the awards ceremony took place for the best oral communication and best poster by young authors – for each area.

It was an impactful information sessions on research carried out by the groups of CIBER-BBN and CIBEREHD thematic areas.

The poster session is always a popular feature at CIBER-BBN Annual Meeting for acknowledgment NANBIOSIS units’ participation in the research carried out during the year. These are the works presented in 2023:

Targeted nanotoxin for the selective depletion of CXCR4+ cancer cells and immune cell recruitment in a colorectal cancer mouse model. Luis Miguel Carrasco-Díaz, Naroa Serna, Eric Voltà-Durán, Ugutz Unzueta, Esther Vázquez, Antonio Villaverde, Patricia Álamo, Lorena Alba-Castellón, Ramón Mangues. With participation of NANBIOSIS Units U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP) and U18 Nanotoxicology Unit . (Contact:

Improvement of the biodistribution of GLA enzyme by RGD-functionalized nanoGLA in a Fabry mouse model.
Zamira Vanessa Diaz Riascos, Marc Moltó Abad, Daniel Marijuan, Belen García Prats, Judit Tomsen Melero, Elisabet González Mira, Jose Luis Corchero, Andreu Soldevila, Miriam Royo, Alba Córdoba, Nora Ventosa, Guillem Pintos Morell, Simo Schwartz , Ibane Abasolo. With participation of the NANBIOSIS units U20 FVPR-In Vivo Experimental Platform, U3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit and U6 Biomaterial Processing and Nanostructuring Unit. (Contact:

An auristatin-based nanoconjugate induces apoptosis and inhibits the bone marrow leukemia burden in an acute myeloid leukemia mouse model. Annabel Garcia-León, Julián I. Mendoza, Ariana Rueda, Luis Carlos Navas, Vanessa Huaca, Ugutz Unzueta, Jorge Sierra, Esther Vázquez, Antonio Villaverde, Ramon Mangues, Isolda Casanova. With participation of NANBIOSIS Units U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP) and U18 Nanotoxicology Unit. (Contact: agarciale@santpau.cat)

FVPR/U20-NANBIOSIS Service Platform: from the Synthesis and Characterization of Nanotechnology-based Therapies, to the in vitro and in vivo Preclinical Validation. Diana Rafael, Zamira V. Diaz Riascos, Belén García, Alejandra Palacios, Sandra Mancilla, Laura Garcia, Ibane Abasolo. Description of NANBIOSIS Unit 20 FVPR-In Vivo Experimental Platform. (Contact: diana.fernandes_de_so@vhir.org)

Non-Viral Vector Development for Gene Therapy in the Treatment of Congenital Liver Metabolic Diseases Lucía Enríquez Rodríguez, Isabel Carbonell Simón, Idoia Gallego Garrido, Virginia Nieto Romero, Iván Maldonado Pérez, Aida Garcia Torralba, Gustavo Puras Ochoa, Miruna Giurgiu, Jose Carlos Segovia Sanz, María García Bravo, Oscar Quintana Bustamante, José Luis Pedraz Muñoz. With participation of NANBIOSIS U10 Drug Formulation unit. (Contact: lucia.enriquez@ehu.eus)

X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Analysis of Nitrogen Environment in Small Extracellular Vesicle Membranes: A Potential Novel Technique with Application for Cancer Screening.
Ana Martín-Pardillos, María Sancho-Albero , Silvia Irusta , Víctor Sebastián , Vicente Luis Cebolla , Roberto Pazo-Cid , Pilar Martín-Duque , Jesús Santamaría. With participation of NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit. (Contact: a.martin_pardillos@unizar.es)

Nanoparticle-based approach for blood-brain-barrier crossing and glioblastoma treatment. Júlia German-Cortés, Raquel Herrero, Diana Rafael, Ibane Abasolo, Fernanda Andrade. With participation of NANBIOSIS Unit 20 FVPR-In Vivo Experimental Platform. (Contact: fernanda.silva@vhir.org)

Exploiting mammalian cells for recombinant protein production: an improved protocol for transient gene expression. Aida Carreño Fibla, Roger Fernández Palomeras, José Luis Barra, Rosa Mendoza Moreno, Mercedes Márquez Martínez, Neus Ferrer-Miralles, Antonio Villaverde Corrales, José Luis Corchero Nieto. With participation of NANBIOSIS Units U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP). (Contact:jlcorchero@ciber-bbn.es)

Surface characterization of a PLA/Qr/Mg biocomposite after in vitro degradation in m-SBF. Juan Manuel Casares-López, Margarita Hierro-Oliva, Verónica Luque-Agudo, Amparo M. Gallardo-Moreno, María Luisa González-Martín. With participation of Unit 16 Surface Characterization and Calorimetry Unit (Contact: mlglez@unex.es)

The poster session was an effective forum for the exchange of information and a means to communicate ideas

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Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 9, elected foreign member of the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Science et Lettere

Jesús Santamaría, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Zaragoza, has been elected a foreign member of the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Science et Lettere, in its division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Chemistry section.

This institution was originally founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797, as the National Institute of the Cisalpine Republic, in charge of collecting discoveries and perfecting the arts and sciences, following the model of the Institut de France. Napoleon himself appointed the first members of the Institute and its first president, Alesssandro Volta, Italian chemist and physicist, famous primarily for the discovery of methane in 1776 and the invention and development of the electric battery in 1799 .

Today the Istituto Lombardo depends on the Italian Ministry of Culture with headquarters in the Brera Palace, and has maintained its founding task of contributing to “issues related to education and public welfare. It currently develops a wide program of activities, including support for research in the fields of action of the institution, numerous events and public conferences, as well as its publications and the management of its famous archives and library.

Among the members who have belonged to the Istituto Lombardo are, in addition to Napoleon himself and Volta, the poet Vincenzo Monti, the writer and politician Alessandro Manzoni, the philosopher Carlo Cattaneo and the cleric Achille Ratti, future Pope Pius XI, as well as several Nobel Prize winners. : Camillo Golgi (Medicine), Giosuè Carducci (Literature), Giulio Natta (Chemistry) and Eugenio Montale (Literature).

Professor Santamaría has a long and profuse career in the academic and scientific field, with 370 published articles, 35 doctoral theses supervised, 26 patents and participation in 18 European projects, including two of the prestigious Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC),. Jesús Santamaría is the Principal Investigator of the NFP (Nanostructured Films and Particles) research group, that belongs to the Aragon Institute of Materials and Nanoscience (INMA), CSIC-UNIZAR joint center, the Aragon Health Research Institute (IIS Aragon), and the Biomedical Research Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN). He is also the Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U9 “Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit” since its creatrion in 2007 by UNIZAR and CIBER-BBN, recognized by the Spanish Governmen as “Unique Scientific and Technical Infraestructure” (ICTS in Spanish) .

Santamaría has been director of the Samca Chair of Nanotechnology, deputy director of the Unizar Nanoscience Institute of Aragon and editor of the Chemical Engineering Journal. He has carried out postdoctoral research stays at the University of Notre Dame and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both in the United States.

His current research topics include the development of new methods for the synthesis of nanomaterials, and applications of the synthesized materials in medicine, photo-assisted catalysis, microwave catalysis, molecular recognition sensing, and nanosafety.

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Researchers of two NANBIOSIS units success in the Third Millennium Awards

Researchers of two NANBIOSIS units success in the Third Millennium Awards: the Young Research Talent award to Julia Ramirez (NANBIOSIS U27) and the Research and Future Award to the NFP group (NANBIOSIS U9)

Last November 8, four initiatives received the highest award in the eighth edition of the HERALDO contest Third Millennium Awards which represent the recognition of the Aragonese community from the youngest to the most consolidated trajectories in knowledge transfer, innovation, and scientific dissemination.

The Paraninfo of the University of Zaragoza hosted this event in which researchers CIBER-BBN – NANBIOSIS were recognised this year:

The Films and Nanostructured Particles (NFP) group of INMA and CIBER-BBN, directed by Jesús Santamaría and coordinating NANBIOSIS U9 “Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit“, was recognised with the Research and Future Award: Manufacturing drugs inside tumors.

Julia Ramírez, from the BSiCoS group of the I3A and CIBER-BBN, coordinator of unit 27 “High Performance Computing Unit” of NANBIOSIS, received the “Young Research Talent” award for her work in the biomedical signal processing.

The Third Millennium Awards’ objective is to recognize the work of people, research centers and groups, institutions and companies in Aragon in three main axes:

Innovation:  Technological Innovation Award

Divulgation:  Best Science and Technology Dissemination Initiative


– Young Research Talent Awards

– Transfer of Science and University to Business Award

– Research and future award

Julia Ramirez

During her doctorate at Unizar (2017), she developed a methodology to quantify morphological variations in the electrocardiogram (ECG). This quantification led to the T-wave morphology restoration (TMR) index, which was shown to be a stronger predictor of sudden cardiac death than standard clinical indices.

After her doctorate, she moved to work at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in London. This was a key point in her research career because she broadened her knowledge in engineering, gaining experience in genetics and bioinformatics. During those years, she obtained two highly competitive European Postdoctoral Fellowships: a WHRI-Academy Cofund (2017) and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie (2018). In recognition of her work, in April 2020, QMUL promoted her to Lecturer in Genetics and Cardiovascular Data Science.

Since January of this year, Julia Ramírez has been back in Zaragoza thanks to a María Zambrano International Talent Attraction Scholarship, giving up the highly competitive Category 2 Talent Attraction of the Community of Madrid, which she had also been awarded. In total, the researcher from Zaragoza has contributed to her field of research with 32 peer-reviewed publications in different disciplines, including bioengineering, cardiology and genetics (13 of her as first author).

In her speech recognized “being in a happy moment”, for being back in Zaragoza, “being away is not always easy” and also for collecting an award for her work that always motivates her to continue forward in a career as the researcher, long and complicated.

The Films and Nanostructured Particles (NFP) group:

«This initiative is the work of many people. It has been a fantastic trip”, said Jesús Santamaría, Principal researcher of the NFP Group

The NFP of the Group was created in 2007 by researchers from different backgrounds, with the aim of concentrating efforts in the development and application of nanostructured materials with an emphasis on nanoparticles, nanoporous interfaces and hybrid systems. Its members have made pioneering developments in the synthesis of nanomaterials and their application in fields ranging from medicine to energy and the environment.

The award recognised the group’s work in the cancer research throughout the project CADENCE (Catalytic Dual-Function Devices Against Cancer), that aims to find a new way to fight this disease, avoiding the problems associated with conventional chemotherapy and its devastating side effects. Three fundamental problems had to be solved. First, developing suitable catalysts (catalytic nanoparticles) capable of operating inside a tumour and manufacturing toxic molecules there. Alternatively, nanoparticles can operate in other ways (by heating remotely) and also produce tumour death. It is also necessary to selectively deliver these catalysts to the tumour, avoiding their accumulation in other organs. Finally, these catalysts must be selectively activated inside the tumour. The answers obtained to each of these problems have opened new paths in the fight against cancer: Catalysts capable of manufacturing toxic substances from within the tumour are used, minimising their diffusion through the body.

This research was funded for five years through an ERC Advanced Grant project endowed with 2.5 million euros. The ERC Advanced Grants are the most prestigious European projects, awarded by the European Research Council in a highly competitive international competition.

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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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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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