Nanoprobes and nanoswitches

Fausto Sanz Carrasco | Group Leader
Pau Gorostiza Langa | Group Leader / ICREA Research Professor
Ismael Díez Pérez | Senior Researcher
Marina Inés Giannotti | Senior Researcher
Mireia Oliva Herrera | Senior Researcher
Miquel Bosch Pita | Postdoctoral Researcher
Rossella Castagna | Postdoctoral Researcher
Carlo Matera | Postdoctoral Researcher
Núria Camarero Palao | Senior Technician
Aida Garrido Charles | PhD Student
Alexandre Gomila Juanela | PhD Student
Berta Gumí Audenis | PhD Student
Hyojung Lee | PhD Student
Montserrat López Martínez | PhD Student
Alejandro Martín Rodríguez | PhD Student
Marta Pozuelo Ruiz | PhD Student
Davia Prischich | PhD Student
Fabio Riefolo | PhD Student
Rosalba Sortino | PhD Student
Manuel López Ortiz | Research Assistant
Maria Elena Antinori | Masters Student
Pablo Calvé Pérez | Masters Student
Francesco Calzaferri | Masters Student
Adrián Crespo Villanueva | Masters Student
Jose Antonio Durán Mota | Masters Student


gorostiza2014_1The group’s research focuses on developing nanoscale tools to study biological systems. These tools include instrumentation based on proximity probes, such as electrochemical tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, that we apply to investigate electron transfer in metal oxides and individual redox proteins.

Above: Crystal structure of redox protein azurin (Protein Data Bank entry: 1AZU) displaying its solvent accessible surface (gold) superimposed on the tertiary structure (rainbow) and a red sphere indicating the copper ion. When an atomically flat gold electrode is coated with azurin, the protein can be imaged under potentiostatic control by electrochemical tunneling microscopy (3D rendering of a 100x100nm2 area shown in blue), and its electron transfer properties can be investigated by current-distance spectroscopy (Juan Manuel Artés et al., 2011, ACS Nano).

These studies are relevant to the development of biosensors and molecular electronics devices. In particular, based on our development of nanoscale field-effect transistors using individual redox protein, we have recently published a method to measure conductance switching in single redox proteins “wired” between two electrodes.


Right: Schematic representation of a light-regulated drug bound to a 7-transmembrane receptor. Under violet illumination, the drug is inactivated and the receptor produces normal intracellular signaling. In the dark or under green light, the drug inhibits the receptor and interferes with signaling in a reversible way. (Pittolo, S. et al, 2014).

Another set of nanotools that we are developing is based on molecular actuators that can be switched with light, such as azobenzene, which can be chemically attached to biomolecules in order to optically control their activity. We have demonstrated for the first time two-photon stimulation of neurons and astrocytes with azobenzene-based photoswitches. We have also developed several bioactive compounds that have been engineered to be regulated by light. These “optopharmacological” compounds include peptide inhibitors of protein-protein interactions involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and two ligands of G protein-coupled receptors (adenosine and metabotropic glutamate receptors), which are important therapeutic targets.


EU-funded projects
FOCUS Single Molecule Activation and Computing ICT Pau Gorostiza
THERALIGHT Therapeutic Applications of Light-Regulated Drugs ERC-PoC Pau Gorostiza
Single-BioET Single-molecule junction capabilities to map the electron pathways in redox bio-molecular architectures (2012-2016) MARIE CURIE – RG Ismael Díez
WaveScalES Human Brain Project Specific Grant Agreement 1 (2016-2018) European Commission, FET FLAGSHIPS Pau Gorostiza
OPTOFRAX Optopharmacological brain mapping of autism mouse (2015-2017) MARIE CURIE – IF Miquel Bosch
National projects
NANOPROSTHETICS Prótesis moleculares para restablecer la visión basadas en fotoconmutadores covalentes dirigidos (2016-2019) MINECO, Retos investigación: Proyectos I+D Pau Gorostiza
Optogenetic pacemaking to rewire neural circuits La Marató TV3 Pau Gorostiza
OPTOPHARMACOLOGY Aplicaciones terapéuticas de la optofarmacología MINECO (CTQ2013-43892-R) Pau Gorostiza
MODULIGHTOR Moduladores fotoconmutables sintéticos para manipular remotamente proteínas endógenas: fotocontrol in vivo de canales iónicos pentaméricos (2015-2018) MINECO Nacional /Acciones de Programación Conjunta Internacional Pau Gorostiza
nanoET-leukemia Nanoconductance of electron transfer proteins of the respiratory chain. Direct measurement at the single molecular level and therapeutic regulation in cancer stem cells (2015-2018) MINECO, Proyectos RETOS 2015 / CIBER Marina Inés Giannotti
Privately funded projects
Inhibición fotoselectiva de interacciones proteína-proteína para el estudio de redes interactómicas y el desarrollo de nuevas terapias (2015-2018) Pau Gorostiza Fundación Ramon Areces
Milk fat globule membrane and periphera proteins: lipid-protein interactions (2016-2017) Fausto Sanz INRA


Gómez-Santacana, Xavier, Pittolo, Silvia, Rovira, Xavier, Lopez, Marc, Zussy, Charleine, Dalton, James A. R., Faucherre, Adèle, Jopling, Chris, Pin, Jean-Philippe, Ciruela, Francisco, Goudet, Cyril, Giraldo, Jesús, Gorostiza, Pau, Llebaria, Amadeu, (2017). Illuminating phenylazopyridines to photoswitch metabotropic glutamate receptors: From the flask to the animals ACS Central Science 3, 1, 81-91 [Open Access]

Aragonès, A. C., Darwish, N., Ciampi, S., Sanz, F., Gooding, J. J., Díez-Pérez, I., (2017). Single-molecule electrical contacts on silicon electrodes under ambient conditions Nature Communications 8, 15056

Aragonès, Albert C., Medina, Ernesto, Ferrer-Huerta, Miriam, Gimeno, Nuria, Teixidó, Meritxell, Palma, Julio L., Tao, Nongjian, Ugalde, Jesus M., Giralt, Ernest, Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Mujica, Vladimiro, (2017). Measuring the spin-polarization power of a single chiral molecule Small 13, 2, 1602519

Gómez-Santacana, Xavier, Dalton, James A. R., Rovira, Xavier, Pin, Jean Philippe, Goudet, Cyril, Gorostiza, Pau, Giraldo, Jesús, Llebaria, Amadeu, (2017). Positional isomers of bispyridine benzene derivatives induce efficacy changes on mGlu5 negative allosteric modulation European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 127, 567-576

Rovira, Xavier, Trapero, Ana, Pittolo, Silvia, Zussy, Charleine, Faucherre, Adèle, Jopling, Chris, Giraldo, Jesús, Pin, Jean-Philippe, Gorostiza, Pau, Goudet, Cyril, Llebaria, Amadeu, (2016). OptoGluNAM4.1, a Photoswitchable allosteric antagonist for real-time control of mGlu4 receptor activity Cell Chemical Biology 23, 8, 929-934

Gumí-Audenis, Berta, Costa, Luca, Carlá, Francesco, Comin, Fabio, Sanz, Fausto, Giannotti, Marina, (2016). Structure and nanomechanics of model membranes by atomic force microscopy and spectroscopy: Insights into the role of cholesterol and sphingolipids Membranes 6, 4, 58

Aragonès, Albert C., Haworth, Naomi L., Darwish, Nadim, Ciampi, Simone, Bloomfield, Nathaniel J., Wallace, Gordon G., Diez-Perez, Ismael, Coote, Michelle L., (2016). Electrostatic catalysis of a Diels–Alder reaction Nature 531, 7592, 88-91

Aragonès, A. C., Aravena, D., Cerdá, J. I., Acís-Castillo, Z., Li, H., Real, J. A., Sanz, F., Hihath, J., Ruiz, E., Díez-Pérez, I., (2016). Large conductance switching in a single-molecule device through room temperature spin-dependent transport Nano Letters 16, 1, 218-226

Izquierdo-Serra, M., Bautista-Barrufet, A., Trapero, A., Garrido-Charles, A., Diaz-Tahoces, A., Camarero, N., Pittolo, S., Valbuena, S., Perez-Jimenez, A., Gay, M., Garcia-Moll, A., Rodriguez-Escrich, C., Lerma, J., De La Villa, P., Fernandez, E., Pericas, M. A., Llebaria, A., Gorostiza, P., (2016). Optical control of endogenous receptors and cellular excitability using targeted covalent photoswitches Nature Communications 7, 12221

Giannotti, Marina I., Abasolo, Ibane, Oliva, Mireia, Andrade, Fernanda, García-Aranda, Natalia, Melgarejo, Marta, Pulido, Daniel, Corchero, José Luis, Fernández, Yolanda, Villaverde, Antonio, Royo, Miriam, Garcia-Parajo, Maria F., Sanz, Fausto, Schwartz Jr, Simó, (2016). Highly versatile polyelectrolyte complexes for improving the enzyme replacement therapy of lysosomal storage disorders ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 8, 39, 25741–25752

Noori, M., Aragonès, A. C., Di Palma, G., Darwish, N., Bailey, S. W. D., Al-Galiby, Q., Grace, I., Amabilino, D. B., González-Campo, A., Díez-Pérez, I., Lambert, C. J., (2016). Tuning the electrical conductance of metalloporphyrin supramolecular wires Scientific Reports 6, 37352

A. R. Dalton, J., Lans, I., Rovira, X., Malhaire, F., Gómez-Santacana, X., Pittolo, S., Gorostiza, P., Llebaria, A., Goudet, C., Pin, J-P., Giraldo, J., (2016). Shining light on an mGlu5 photoswitchable NAM: A theoretical perspective Current Neuropharmacology 14, 5, 441-454

Martín-Quirós, Andrés, Nevola, Laura, Eckelt, Kay, Madurga, Sergio, Gorostiza, Pau, Giralt, Ernest, (2015). Absence of a stable secondary structure is not a limitation for photoswitchable inhibitors of Chemistry & Biology 22, 1, 31-37

Aragonès, Albert C., Darwish, Nadim, Im, JongOne, Lim, Boram, Choi, Jeongae, Koo, Sangho, Díez-Pérez, Ismael, (2015). Fine-tuning of single-molecule conductance by tweaking both electronic structure and conformation of side substituents Chemistry – A European Journal 21, 21, 7716-7720

Andrade, F., Neves, J. D., Gener, P., Schwartz, S., Ferreira, D., Oliva, M., Sarmento, B., (2015). Biological assessment of self-assembled polymeric micelles for pulmonary administration of insulin Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine 11, 7, 1621-1631

Ponce, I., Aragonès, A. C., Darwish, Nadrim, Pla-Vilanova, P., Oñate, R., Rezende, M. C., Zagal, J. H., Sanz, F., Pavez, J., Díez-Pérez, I., (2015). Building nanoscale molecular wires exploiting electrocatalytic interactions Electrochimica Acta 179, 611-167

Gascón-Moya, Marta, Pejoan, Arnau, Izquierdo-Serra, M., Pittolo, Silvia, Cabrè, Gisela, Hernando, Jordi, Alibés, Ramon, Gorostiza, Pau, Busque, Felix, (2015). An optimized glutamate receptor photoswitch with sensitized azobenzene isomerization Journal of Organic Chemistry 80, 20, 9915-9925

Andrade, F., Fonte, P., Oliva, M., Videira, M., Ferreira, D., Sarmento, B., (2015). Solid state formulations composed by amphiphilic polymers for delivery of proteins: Characterization and stability International Journal of Pharmaceutics 486, 1-2, 195-206

Abadías, Clara, Serés, Carme, Torrent-Burgués, J., (2015). AFM in peak force mode applied to worn siloxane-hydrogel contact lenses Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 128, 61-66

Gumi-Audenis, B., Sanz, F., Giannotti, M. I., (2015). Impact of galactosylceramides on the nanomechanical properties of lipid bilayer models: an AFM-force spectroscopy study Soft Matter 11, 27, 5447-5454

Hoyo, J., Guaus, E., Torrent-Burgués, J., Sanz, F., (2015). Biomimetic monolayer films of digalactosyldiacylglycerol incorporating plastoquinone Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes 1848, 6, 1341-1351

Pla-Vilanova, P., Aragonès, A. C., Ciampi, S., Sanz, F., Darwish, N., Diez-Perez, I., (2015). The spontaneous formation of single-molecule junctions via terminal alkynes Nanotechnology 26, 381001

Hoyo, J., Guaus, E., Torrent-Burgués, J., Sanz, F., (2015). Electrochemistry of LB films of mixed MGDG: UQ on ITO Bioelectrochemistry 104, 26-34

Hoyo, J., Guaus, E., Torrent-Burgués, J., Sanz, F., (2015). Biomimetic monolayer films of monogalactosyldiacylglycerol incorporating plastoquinone Journal of Physical Chemistry B 119, 20, 6170-6178

Giannotti, Marina I., Cabeza de Vaca, Israel, Artés, Juan Manuel, Sanz, Fausto, Guallar, Victor, Gorostiza, Pau, (2015). Direct measurement of the nanomechanical stability of a redox protein active site and its dependence upon metal binding Journal of Physical Chemistry B 119, 36, 12050-12058

Gumí-Audenis, B., Carlà, F., Vitorino, M. V., Panzarella, A., Porcar, L., Boilot, M., Guerber, S., Bernard, P., Rodrigues, M. S., Sanz, F., Giannotti, M. I., Costa, L., (2015). Custom AFM for X-ray beamlines: in situ biological investigations under physiological conditions Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 22, 1364-1371

Arvizu-Rodríguez, L. E., Palacios-Padrós, A., Chalé-Lara, F., Fernández-Muñoz, J. L., Díez-Pérez, I., Sanz, F., Espinosa-Faller, F. J., Sandoval, J., Caballero-Briones, F., (2015). Phase and surface modification by electrochemical post deposition treatments in ultrasonic-assisted CuInSe2/Cu electrodeposited films Chalcogenide Letters 12, 10, 537-545

Brazil, R., (2015). Drugs on demand Chemistry & Industry 79, 2, 36-39

Artés, Juan Manuel, Hihath, J., Diéz-Pérez, I., (2015). Biomolecular electronics Pan Stanford Publishing 325, 281-324

Eckelt, Kay, Masanas, Helena, Llobet, Artur, Gorostiza, P., (2014). Automated high-throughput measurement of body movements and cardiac activity of Xenopus tropicalis tadpoles Journal of Biological Methods 1, 2, e9

Aragonès, Albert C., Darwish, Nadim, Saletra, Wojciech J., Pérez-García, Ll., Sanz, Fausto, Puigmartí-Luis, Josep, Amabilino, David B., Díez-Pérez, Ismael, (2014). Highly conductive single-molecule wires with controlled orientation by coordination of metalloporphyrins Nano Letters 14, 8, 4751-4756

Darwish, Nadim., Aragonès, A. C., Darwish, T., Ciampi, S., Díez-Pérez, I., (2014). Multi-responsive photo- and chemo-electrical single-molecule switches Nano Letters 14, 12, 7064-7070

Pittolo, Silvia, Gómez-Santacana, Xavier, Eckelt, Kay, Rovira, Xavier, Dalton, James, Goudet, Cyril, Pin, Jean-Philippe, Llobet, Artur, Giraldo, Jesús, Llebaria, Amadeu, Gorostiza, Pau, (2014). An allosteric modulator to control endogenous G protein-coupled receptors with light Nature Chemical Biology 10, 10, 813-815

Izquierdo-Serra, M., Gascón-Moya, Marta, Hirtz, Jan J., Pittolo, Silvia, Poskanzer, Kira E., Ferrer, Eric, Alibés, Ramon, Busque, Felix, Yuste, Rafael, Hernando, Jordi, Gorostiza, Pau, (2014). Two-photon neuronal and astrocytic stimulation of azobenzene-based photoswitches Journal of the American Chemical Society American Chemical Society 136, 24, 8693-8701

Bautista-Barrufet, A., López-Gallego, F., Rojas-Cervellera, V., Rovira, C., Pericàs, M. A., Guisán, J. M., Gorostiza, P., (2014). Optical control of enzyme enantioselectivity in solid phase ACS Catalysis 4, 3, 1004-1009

Artés, Juan M., López-Martínez, Montserrat, Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Sanz, Fausto, Gorostiza, Pau, (2014). Conductance switching in single wired redox proteins Small 10, 13, 2537-2541

Palacios-Padrós, A., Altomare, M., Tighineanu, A., Kirchgeorg, R., Shrestha, N. K., Díez-Pérez, I., Caballero-Briones, F., Sanz, F., Schmuki, P., (2014). Growth of ordered anodic SnO2 nanochannel layers and their use for H2 gas sensing Journal of Materials Chemistry A 2, 4, 915-920

Lagunas, A., Garcia, A., Artés, J. M., Vida, Y., Collado, D., Pérez-Inestrosa, E., Gorostiza, P., Claros, S., Andrades, J. A., Samitier, J., (2014). Large-scale dendrimer-based uneven nanopatterns for the study of local arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) density effects on cell adhesion Nano Research 7, 3, 399-409

Pérez-Madrigal, M. M., Giannotti, M. I., Del Valle, L. J., Franco, L., Armelin, E., Puiggalí, J., Sanz, F., Alemán, C., (2014). Thermoplastic polyurethane:polythiophene nanomembranes for biomedical and biotechnological applications ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 6, 12, 9719-9732

Pérez-Madrigal, M. M., Giannotti, M. I., Armelin, E., Sanz, F., Alemán, C., (2014). Electronic, electric and electrochemical properties of bioactive nanomembranes made of polythiophene:thermoplastic polyurethane Polymer Chemistry 5, 4, 1248-1257

Bahamonde, María Isabel, Taura, Jaume, Paoletta, Silvia, Gakh, Andrei Alexandrovich, Chakraborty, Saibal, Hernando, Jordi, Fernández-Dueñas, Víctor, Jacobson, Kenneth A., Gorostiza, Pau, Ciruela, Francisco, (2014). Photomodulation of G protein-coupled adenosine receptors by a novel light-switchable ligand Bioconjugate Chemistry American Chemical Society 25, 10, 1847-1854

Artés, J. M., López-Martínez, M., Díez-Pérez, I., Sanz, F., Gorostiza, P., (2014). Nanoscale charge transfer in redox proteins and DNA: Towards biomolecular electronics Electrochimica Acta 140, 83-95

Gomez-Santacana, X., Rovira, X., Dalton, J. A., Goudet, C., Pin, J. P., Gorostiza, P., Giraldo, J., Llebaria, A., (2014). A double effect molecular switch leads to a novel potent negative allosteric modulator of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 MedChemComm 5, 10, 1548-1554

Torrent-Burgués, J., Cea, P., Giner, I., Guaus, E., (2014). Characterization of Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett films of an octasubstituted zinc phthalocyanine Thin Solid Films 556, 485-494

Redondo-Morata, L., Giannotti, M. I., Sanz, F., (2014). Structural impact of cations on lipid bilayer models: Nanomechanical properties by AFM-force spectroscopy Molecular Membrane Biology 31, 1, 17-28

Eyleen, Araya, Marcelo J, Kogan, Aleix G, Guell, Carlos A, Escobar, Fausto, Sanz, (2014). Sensing immobilized molecules of streptavidin on a silicon surface by MALDI-TOF mass espectrometry and fluorescence microscopy Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society 59, 2, 2458-2463

Redondo-Morata, L., Giannotti, M. I., Sanz, F., (2013). AFM-based force-clamp indentation: Force-clamp monitors the lipid bilayer failure kinetics Imaging & Microscopy 15, 4, 25-27

Hines, T., Díez-Pérez, I., Nakamura, H., Shimazaki, T., Asai, Y., Tao, N., (2013). Controlling formation of single-molecule junctions by electrochemical reduction of diazonium terminal groups Journal of the American Chemical Society 135, 9, 3319-3322

Nevola, L., Martín-Quirós, A., Eckelt, K., Camarero, N., Tosi, S., Llobet, A., Giralt, E., Gorostiza, P., (2013). Light-regulated stapled peptides to inhibit protein-protein interactions involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 52, 30, 7704-7708

Punet, X., Mauchauffé, R., Giannotti, M. I., Rodríguez-Cabello, J. C., Sanz, F., Engel, E., Mateos-Timoneda, M. A., Planell, J. A., (2013). Enhanced cell-material interactions through the biofunctionalization of polymeric surfaces with engineered peptides Biomacromolecules 14, 8, 2690-2702

Perez Madrigal, M. M., Giannotti, M. I., Oncins, G., Franco, L., Armelin, E., Puiggali, J., Sanz, F., del Valle, L. J., Aleman, C., (2013). Bioactive nanomembranes of semiconductor polythiophene and thermoplastic polyurethane: thermal, nanostructural and nanomechanical properties Polymer Chemistry 4, 3, 568-583

Lima, Lia M. C., Giannotti, M. I., Redondo-Morata, L., Vale, M. L. C., Marques, E. F., Sanz, F., (2013). Morphological and nanomechanical behavior of supported lipid bilayers on addition of cationic surfactants Langmuir 29, 30, 9352-9361

Aragonès, A. C., Palacios-Padrós, A., Caballero-Briones, F., Sanz, F., (2013). Study and improvement of aluminium doped ZnO thin films: Limits and advantages Electrochimica Acta 109, 117-124

Palacios-Padrós, A., Caballero-Briones, F., Díez-Pérez, I., Sanz, F., (2013). Tin passivation in alkaline media: Formation of SnO microcrystals as hydroxyl etching product Electrochimica Acta 111, 837-845

Izquierdo-Serra, Mercè, Trauner, Dirk, Llobet, Artur, Gorostiza, Pau, (2013). Optical control of calcium-regulated exocytosis Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects 1830, 3, 2853-2860

Hoyo, J., Guaus, E., Oncins, G., Torrent-Burgués, J., Sanz, F., (2013). Incorporation of Ubiquinone in supported lipid bilayers on ITO Journal of Physical Chemistry B 117, 25, 7498-7506

Raster, P., Späth, A., Bultakova, S., Gorostiza, P., König, B., Bregestovski, P., (2013). New GABA amides activating GABAA-receptors Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 9, 406-410

Stocchi, A., Lauke, B., Giannotti, M. I., Vázquez, A., Bernal, C., (2013). Tensile response and fracture and failure behavior of jute fabrics-flyash-vinylester hybrid composites Fibers and Polymers 14, 2, 285-291

Guo, S., Artés, J. M., Díez-Pérez, I., (2013). Electrochemically-gated single-molecule electrical devices Electrochimica Acta Elsevier 110, 741-753

Oncins, G., Roa, J. J., Rayón, E., Díaz, J., Morales, M., Segarra, M., Sanz, F., (2013). Friction, hardness and elastic modulus determined by AFM-FS and nanoindentation techniques for advanced ceramics materials Nova Science Publishers Materials Science and Technologies, 215-249

Gorostiza, Pau, (2012). Control celular mediante luz Investigación y Ciencia 433, 11-12

Artés, Juan M., Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Gorostiza, Pau, (2012). Transistor-like behavior of single metalloprotein junctions Nano Letters 12, 6, 2679-2684

Díez-Pérez, I., Li, Z., Guo, S., Madden, C., Huang, H., Che, Y., Yang, X., Zang, L., Tao, N., (2012). Ambipolar transport in an electrochemically gated single-molecule field-effect transistor ACS Nano 6, 8, 7044-7052

Artés, Juan M., López-Martínez, Montserrat, Giraudet, Arnaud, Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Sanz, Fausto, Gorostiza, Pau, (2012). Current–Voltage characteristics and transition voltage spectroscopy of individual redox proteins Journal of the American Chemical Society 134, 50, 20218-20221

Caballero-Briones, F., Palacios-Padrós, A., Calzadilla, O., Moreira, I. D. P. R., Sanz, F., (2012). Disruption of the chemical environment and electronic structure in p-type Cu2O films by alkaline doping Journal of Physical Chemistry C 116, 25, 13524-13535

Darwish, Nadim., Díez-Pérez, I., Guo, S., Tao, N., Gooding, J. J., Paddon-Row, M. N., (2012). Single molecular switches: Electrochemical gating of a single anthraquinone-based norbornylogous bridge molecule Journal of Physical Chemistry C 116, 39, 21093-21097

Arimon, M., Sanz, F., Giralt, E., Carulla, N., (2012). Template-assisted lateral growth of amyloid- Bioconjugate Chemistry 23, 1, 27-32

Redondo-Morata, L., Giannotti, M. I., Sanz, F., (2012). AFM-based force-clamp monitors lipid bilayer failure kinetics Langmuir 28, 15, 6403-6410

Redondo-Morata, L., Giannotti, M. I., Sanz, F., (2012). Influence of cholesterol on the phase transition of lipid bilayers: A temperature-controlled force spectroscopy study Langmuir 28, 35, 12851-12860

Redondo-Morata, Lorena, Oncins, Gerard, Sanz, Fausto, (2012). Force spectroscopy reveals the effect of different ions in the nanomechanical behavior of phospholipid model membranes: The case of potassium cation Biophysical Journal 102, 1, 66-74

Hoyo, J., Torrent-Burgués, J., Guaus, E., (2012). Biomimetic monolayer films of monogalactosyldiacylglycerol incorporating ubiquinone Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 384, 1, 189-197

Hoyo, J., Guaus, E., Torrent-Burgués, J., Sanz, F., (2012). Electrochemical behaviour of mixed LB films of ubiquinone - DPPC Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 669, 6-13

Redondo, L., Giannotti, M. I., Sanz, F., (2012). Stability of lipid bilayers as model membranes: Atomic force microscopy and spectroscopy approach Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co.KGaA Part I: General Atomic Force Microscopy, 259-284

Simao, C., Mas-Torrent, M., Crivillers, N., Lloveras, V., Artés, Juan Manuel, Gorostiza, Pau, Veciana, Jaume, Rovira, C., (2011). A robust molecular platform for non-volatile memory devices with optical and magnetic responses Nature Chemistry 3, 5, 359-364

Giannotti, M. I., Esteban, O., Oliva, M., Garcia-Parajo, M. F., Sanz, F., (2011). pH-Responsive polysaccharide-based polyelectrolyte complexes as nanocarriers for lysosomal delivery of therapeutic proteins Biomacromolecules American Chemical Society 12, 7, 2524-2533

Caballero-Briones, F., Palacios-Padrós, A., Sanz, Fausto, (2011). CuInSe2 films prepared by three step pulsed electrodeposition. Deposition mechanisms, optical and photoelectrochemical studies Electrochimica Acta 56, 26, 9556-9567

Roa, J. J., Oncins, G., Diaz, J., Capdevila, X. G., Sanz, F., Segarra, M., (2011). Study of the friction, adhesion and mechanical properties of single crystals, ceramics and ceramic coatings by AFM Journal of the European Ceramic Society 31, 4, 429-449

Roa, J. J., Oncins, G., Diaz, J., Sanz, F., Segarra, M., (2011). Calculation of young's modulus value by means of AFM Recent Patents on Nanotechnology 5, 1, 27-36

Gorostiza, P., Isacoff, E.Y., (2011). Photoswitchable ligand-gated ion channels Springer 55, 267-285

Garcia-Manyes, S., Redondo-Morata, L., Oncins, G., Sanz, F., (2010). Nanomechanics of lipid bilayers: Heads or tails? Journal of the American Chemical Society American Chemical Society 132, 37, 12874-12886

Sisquella, X., de Pourcq, K., Alguacil, J., Robles, J., Sanz, F., Anselmetti, D., Imperial, S., Fernàndez-Busquets, X., (2010). A single-molecule force spectroscopy nanosensor for the identification of new antibiotics and antimalarials FASEB Journal 24, 11, 4203-4217

Garcia-Manyes, S., Sanz, F., (2010). Nanomechanics of lipid bilayers by force spectroscopy with AFM: A perspective Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes 1798, 4, 741-749

Palacios-Padros, A., Caballero-Briones, F., Sanz, F., (2010). Enhancement in as-grown CuInSe2 film microstructure by a three potential pulsed electrodeposition method Electrochemistry Communications 12, 8, 1025-1029

Caballero-Briones, F., Palacios-Padros, A., Calzadilla, O., Sanz, F., (2010). Evidence and analysis of parallel growth mechanisms in Cu2O films prepared by Cu anodization Electrochimica Acta 55, 14, 4353-4358

Carulla, N., Zhou, M., Arimon, M., Gairi, M., Giralt, E., Robinson, C. V., Dobson, C. M., (2009). Experimental characterization of disordered and ordered aggregates populated during the process of amyloid fibril formation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, 19, 7828-7833

Arteaga, O., Escudero, C., Oncins, G., El-Hachemic, Z., Llorens, J., Crusats, J., Canillas, A., Ribo, J. M., (2009). Reversible mechanical induction of optical activity in solutions of soft-matter nanophases Chemistry - An Asian Journal 4, 11, 1687-1696

Caballero-Briones, F., Artes, J. M., Diez-Perez, I., Gorostiza, P., Sanz, F., (2009). Direct observation of the valence band edge by in situ ECSTM-ECTS in p-type Cu2O layers prepared by copper anodization Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113, 3, 1028-1036

Nussio, M. R., Oncins, G., Ridelis, I., Szili, E., Shapter, J. G., Sanz, F., Voelcker, N. H., (2009). Nanomechanical characterization of phospholipid bilayer islands on flat and porous substrates: A force spectroscopy study Journal of Physical Chemistry B 113, 30, 10339-10347

Gorostiza, P., Isacoff, E. Y., (2008). Optical switches for remote and noninvasive control of cell signaling Science 322, 5900, 395-399

Gorostiza, P., Isacoff, E. Y., (2008). Nanoengineering ion channels for optical control Physiology 23, 5, 238-247

Olmedo, Ivonne, Araya, Eyleen, Sanz, Fausto, Medina, Elias, Arbiol, Jordi, Toledo, Pedro, Àlvarez-Lueje, Alejandro, Giralt, Ernest, Kogan, Marcelo J., (2008). How changes in the sequence of the peptide CLPFFD-NH2 can modify the conjugation and stability of gold nanoparticles and their affinity for beta-amyloid fibrils Bioconjugate Chemistry 19, 6, 1154-1163

Caballero-Briones, F., Palacios-Padros, A., Pena, J. L., Sanz, F., (2008). Phase tailored, potentiodynamically grown P-Cu2-xTe/Cu layers Electrochemistry Communications 10, 11, 1684-1687

Arimon, M., Grimminger, V., Sanz, F., Lashuel, H. A., (2008). Hsp104 targets multiple intermediates on the amyloid pathway and suppresses the seeding capacity of A beta fibrils and protofibrils Journal of Molecular Biology 384, 5, 1157-1173

Oncins, G., Torrent-Burgues, J., Sanz, F., (2008). Nanomechanical properties of arachidic acid Langmuir-Blodgett films Journal of Physical Chemistry C 112, 6, 1967-1974

Oncins, Gerard, Vericat, Carolina, Sanz, Fausto, (2008). Mechanical properties of alkanethiol monolayers studied by force spectroscopy Journal of Chemical Physics 128, 4, 044701

Torrent-Burgues, J., Oncins, G., Sanz, F., (2008). Study of mixed Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett films of dissimilar components by AFM and force spectroscopy Colloids and Surfaces a-Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects Elsevier Science 321, 1-3, 70-75

Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Guell, Aleix Garcia, Sanz, Fausto, Gorostiza, Pau, (2006). Conductance maps by electrochemical tunneling spectroscopy to fingerprint the electrode electronic structure Analytical Chemistry 78, 20, 7325-7329

Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Sanz, Fausto, Gorostiza, Pau, (2006). Electronic barriers in the iron oxide film govern its passivity and redox behavior: Effect of electrode potential and solution pH Electrochemistry Communications 8, 10, 1595-1602

Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Vericat, Carolina, Gorostiza, Pau, Sanz, Fausto, (2006). The iron passive film breakdown in chloride media may be mediated by transient chloride-induced surface states located within the band gap Electrochemistry Communications 8, 4, 627-632


  • iMic molecular imaging system
  • Electrochemical scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) for molecular imaging
  • Asylum Research Molecular Force Probe
  • Multimode SPM Nanoscope III (SCT-UB)
  • Autolab potentiostat
  • Patch clamp setup with Heka EPC10 amplifier
  • Molecular Imaging Electrochemical STM


  • Prof. Amadeu Llebaria
    Institut de Química Avançada de Catalunya (IQAC-CSIC)
  • Prof. Ernest Giralt
    Dept. de Química Orgànica, Universitat de Barcelona
  • Prof. Miquel Àngel Pericàs
    Institut Català d’Investigació Química (ICIQ), Tarragona
  • Dr. Piotr Bregestovski
    Institut de Neurobiologie de la Mediterraneé (INMED), Marseille
  • Dr. Mireia Oliva
    Dept. de Farmàcia i Tecnologia Farmacèutica, Universitat de Barcelona
  • Dr. Artur Llobet
    Dept. Patología y Terapéutica Experimental, Universitat de Barcelona
  • Dr. Joan Torrent
    Escola Universitària d’Òptica i Optometria de Terrassa, Spain
  • Prof. Dirk Trauner
    Chemistry Dept., UC Berkeley, USA
  • Prof. Carles Solsona
    Pathology and Experimental Therapeutics Dept, UB
  • Prof. Francisco Ciruela
    ICREA / Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  • Prof. Jesús Giraldo & Dr. Jordi Hernando
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain


The most efficient single-molecule diode ever made

Researchers have created the most efficient single-molecule diode ever.

Light-regulated drugs as analgesics

A new study involving scientists from IBEC, IQAC/CSIC and CNRS in France uses light-regulated drugs to alleviate the negative emotions associated with chronic pain.

Molecules activated by light to control glutamate receptors

Researchers at IBEC, IQAC-CSIC and CNRS have developed molecules that can modulate the activity of glutamate receptors in the central nervous system, with important applications in biomedicine.

IBEC researcher wins international electrochemistry prize

Senior researcher Ismael Diez has won an award from the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE).

“Crean moléculas que restauran la visión en retinas degeneradas”

There’s been lots of press coverage of Pau Gorostiza’s group’s recent Nature Communications paper describing their development of molecules that can be applied as light-regulated molecular prostheses to help restore vision in cases of retinal degeneration.

Vision restoration by molecular prostheses

The groups of Pau Gorostiza, ICREA Research Professor at IBEC, and Amadeu Llebaria of IQAC-CSIC have developed molecules that can be applied as light-regulated molecular prostheses to help restore vision in cases of retinal degeneration.

Celebrating advances in spinal cord and brain research by Marató-funded projects

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Pau Gorostiza took part in the 17th Symposium of La Marató de TV3 this week, which was devoted to the celebration of the 30 research projects awarded funding by the telethon in 2010.

IBEC and UB scientists solve long-standing enigma in chemistry

Researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the University of Barcelona (UB) and two universities in Australia have introduced a new way of catalysing (speeding up) chemical reactions by applying an electric field between the reacting molecules. This opens the door for the fabrication of chemical compounds, used in drugs and materials, in a faster and cheaper way.

IBEC ERC grantee meets business angels

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Pau Gorostiza was one of nine ERC Proof of Concept holders to take part in the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) Winter University this week in Copenhagen.

Public event on IBEC research into light-controlled drugs

As Spain’s expert in optogenetics and optopharmacology, IBEC group leader Pau Gorostiza will be the star of the next “Diálogos por la Ciencia” event in Madrid next week.

A further step towards light-controlled drugs

Researchers in Barcelona discover more potential candidates on the route to tailored, photo-switchable therapies by disproving design limitation

“Un nuevo paso hacia los fármacos dirigidos con luz”

Pau Gorostiza interviewed on Kitona, the science programme of Radio Onda Regional de Murcia.

“Light-operated Drugs” 


Pau Gorostiza’s work on optopharmacology, or light-controllable drugs, has appeared in the latest edition of The Scientist magazine in the US.

IBEC groups in neuroscience map

IBEC’s Nanoprobes and nanoswitches and Molecular and Cellular Neurobiotechnology groups are two of the 120 groups featured on the Mapa de la Recerca en Neurociències a Catalunya. Created by the Societat Catalana de Biologia and hosted by IEC, the map aims to be a useful way of depicting the state-of-the-art of research in neuroscience in the region, and also a practical tool for researchers and science communicators.
Check it out here.

Scientist develop first light-operated drug for most common target proteins 


Researchers in IBEC’s Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group and their collaborators have announced the development of the first ever light-controlled therapeutic agent whose effects focus specifically on the largest, most important class of drug target proteins – G protein-coupled receptors. In the journal Nature Chemical Biology this week, the scientists reveal Alloswitch-1, the latest advance in their research into photoswitchable (or light-operated) drugs. Controlling drug activity with light means that the therapeutic effects can be accurately delivered locally, thus reducing their effect on other areas and the resultant side effects, and helps reduce the dosage required.

Delving deeper into the inner workings of cells 


Research carried out at IBEC has opened the way to new applications to control the activation of neurons and other working parts of cells. The dream of precisely and remotely controlling every aspect of the cell’s inner workings in tissue offers the promise of uncovering the molecular mechanisms of complex cellular processes, which in turn can lead to leaps in our understanding of what happens when things go wrong – for example, how and when neurodegenerative diseases can develop.

“La ciencia avanza hacia fármacos que se activan cuando les da la luz” 


An article about, and interview with, Pau Gorostiza appears in El Periódico today, talking about his work on light-activated drugs.

Can you make your mobile smaller?

Montse López and Pau Gorostiza, PhD student and group leader in IBEC’s Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group, have participated in the development of “Can you make your mobile smaller?”, a virtual experiment in collaboration with IrsiCaixa’s Unit for Public Engagement on Health Research.

B·Debate reviews what nanotechnology can offer health

The B·Debate event ‘Nanotechnologies in Health: Current Challenges and Future Prospects’, organised by ICN and IBB in collaboration with IBEC, UABCEI and Nanonica, is taking place at CosmoCaixa this week.

“Medicaments que s’activen quan els toca la llum”

Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group leader Pau Gorostiza was the subject of a feature last week in La Vanguardia’s Sunday magazine “Diners”.

Angewandte Chemie cover for Nanoprobes group

The latest cover of the respected chemistry journal Angew Chem features the Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group’s paper, released online last month, that describes a strategy to quickly and reversibly impair the function of specific proteins using light-regulated inhibitory peptides. As well as being chosen for the cover, their paper was among the 5% to be included in the ‘Very Important Paper’ section of the journal, and has also been extensively publicised in the press both here and abroad.

Victoria Englert: “Las notas no te definen como persona”

IBEC got another mention in El Periódico this week, when Victoria Englert, winner of the prestigious Intel ISEF prize of the Fundación Catalunya-La Pedrera, talks about her forthcoming internship in the Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group.

Pioneering breakthrough of chemical nanoengineering to design drugs controlled by light

Researchers at IRB Barcelona and IBEC achieve photo-switchable molecules to control protein-protein interactions in a remote and non-invasive manner.

IBEC researcher awarded prestigious ERC top-up grant

It has been announced that IBEC’s Pau Gorostiza (left, with the Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group) is one of the researchers selected to benefit from the European Research Council (ERC)’s top-up funding scheme ‘Proof of Concept’.

“Control celular mediante luz”

The Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group’s research into light as a tool to manipulate biological and pharmacological processes remotely and non-invasively was featured in Investigación y Ciencia, the Spanish version of Scientific American.

Imaging the electrocatalytic activity of single nanoparticles

An IBEC researcher has collaborated on a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology that outlines an effective new way to characterize and improve nanoparticle catalysts, which play essential roles in biomedicine, industry and everyday life by affecting the rate at which chemical reactions take place.

“Líders en recerca: Pau Gorostiza, aportant llum a l’activitat cel·lular”

Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group leader and ICREA professor Pau Gorostiza is featured in an interview in Recercat, the online newsletter of the Commission for Universities and Research of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge.

Two papers for Nanoprobes group

IBEC researchers have found a way to measure the rate of electron transfer (ET) – an important process which is essential in many chemical and biological processes such as cellular respiration and photosynthesis – at the single-molecule level.

Electromechanics at the nanoscale

Flick a switch, turn a knob or pull a lever and you’re operating an electromechanical device, albeit a complex one. Now an IBEC researcher and his collaborators have broken new ground with a proven concept for the first such electronic component to operate using just a single-molecule electrical contact.

Funding from RecerCaixa for photopharmacology project

ICREA group leader Pau Gorostiza’s project ‘Development of light-modulated ligands for remote, non-invasive regulation of neuropathic pain’ was announced today as one of the first twenty projects to be chosen for funding by a brand new programme, RecerCaixa.

RecerCaixa video about photopharmacology project

Pau Gorostiza features in a short video produced by funders RecerCaixa about the project ‘Development of light-modulated ligands for remote, non-invasive regulation of neuropathic pain’, of which he is the coordinator.

Telethon funds for collaborative project

A scientific project involving IBEC researchers has received a funding boost of €475,000 from Fundació La Marató de TV3.


We are happy to receive CVs and enquiries from talented individuals. Prospective students and staff are encouraged to contact us to discuss possibilities. Please feel free to suggest new projects, areas of research or new ideas.

Current projects and research topics in the group are listed below. You can also visit the jobs page to find jobs in other groups or administration positions.

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