Nanoscopy for nanomedicine

Lorenzo Albertazzi | Junior Group Leader
Pietro Delcanale | Postdoctoral Researcher
Silvia Pujals Riatós | Postdoctoral Researcher
Maria Arista Romero | PhD Student
Natàlia Feiner Gracia | PhD Student
Lisanne Van Oppen | PhD Student
Edgar Fuentes Fuentes | Masters Student
Bernat Miret Ontiveros | Masters Student
Roger Riera Brillas | Masters Student
Alis Olea Rodica | Masters Student
Christian Vila Parrondo | Masters Student
Rachel Ruth Aizen | Visiting Researcher


The main goal of our group is to use Super Resolution Microscopy (Nanoscopy) to visualize and track in living cells and tissues self-assembled nanomaterials with therapeutic potential (Nanomedicine). The understanding of materials-cell interactions is the key towards the development of novel nanotechnology-based therapies for treatment of cancer and infectious diseases.

albertazzi0Our group aims to use a multidisciplinary approach, at the interface of chemistry, physics and biology, to develop novel nanomaterials for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Many biological structures are made of multiple components that self-organize into complex architectures. Here we want to mimic this phenomenon to develop novel bioactive materials such as nanoparticles or nanofibers able to build themselves. We showed how this powerful approach can be used to design materials for intracellular delivery of therapeutic moieties such as drugs or siRNA.

Below: Widefield (upper right corner) and STORM super resolution image of HeLa cell internalizing polymer nanoparticles

albertazzi1To study the behavior of such complex nanomaterials in action we make use of a variety of optical microscopy techniques, in particular of Super Resolution Microscopy (Nanoscopy). Nanoscopy can achieve a resolution down to 20 nm, 10 times better than classical optical imaging and represents an ideal tool to visualize nanosized objects in the biological environment. In particular we demonstrated how STORM (Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy) can be used to image nanomaterials interactions with cellular structures.


IBEC project among 44 funded by AXA

The AXA Research Fund, the international scientific philanthropy initiative of global insurer AXA, officially announced last week that it will devote €15.6m in 2016 to 44 new research projects with leading academic institutions in 16 countries.

Playing with molecular Lego to build the next generation of drug delivery vectors

New IBEC junior group leader Lorenzo Albertazzi and his former colleagues at the Eindhoven University of Technology, working together with industry partner Novartis, have made a leap in drug delivery vectors by developing a new type of carrier with some groundbreaking improvements.

“Wrapping Up Pandemics in New Nanomaterials”

Lorenzo Albertazzi’s research project funded by AXA, Novel approaches for Pandemic Virus Targeting Using Adaptive Polymers, is featured on the Granted Projects section of their website.

‘Submarinos’ en la sangre para llevar el medicamento a las células dañadas

New IBEC junior group leader Lorenzo Albertazzi is profiled in El Mundo’s “Personajes Únicos” section this week.

Expert in novel drug delivery systems joins IBEC

Dr Lorenzo Albertazzi, a nanoscientist whose research focuses on creating smart self-assembling materials for therapeutic applications, is joining IBEC this September.


International grants
Novel approaches for Pandemic Virus Targeting Using Adaptive Polymers AXA Research Fund Lorenzo Albertazzi


(See full publication list in ORCID)

Bakker, Maarten H., Lee, Cameron C., Meijer, E. W., Dankers, Patricia Y. W., Albertazzi, Lorenzo, (2016). Multicomponent supramolecular polymers as a modular platform for intracellular delivery ACS Nano 10, 2, 1845-1852

Beun, L. H., Albertazzi, L., Van Der Zwaag, D., De Vries, R., Cohen Stuart, M. A., (2016). Unidirectional living growth of self-assembled protein nanofibrils revealed by super-resolution microscopy ACS Nano 10, 5, 4973-4980

Garzoni, M., Baker, M. B., Leenders, C. M. A., Voets, I. K., Albertazzi, L., Palmans, A. R. A., Meijer, E. W., Pavan, G. M., (2016). Effect of H-bonding on order amplification in the growth of a supramolecular polymer in water Journal of the American Chemical Society 138, 42, 13985-13995

Aloi, Antonio, Vargas Jentzsch, Andreas, Vilanova, Neus, Albertazzi, Lorenzo, Meijer, E. W., Voets, Ilja K., (2016). Imaging nanostructures by single-molecule localization microscopy in organic solvents Journal of the American Chemical Society 138, 9, 2953-2956

da Silva, Ricardo M. P., van der Zwaag, Daan, Albertazzi, Lorenzo, Lee, Sungsoo S., Meijer, E. W., Stupp, Samuel I., (2016). Super-resolution microscopy reveals structural diversity in molecular exchange among peptide amphiphile nanofibres Nature Communications 7, 11561

De Koker, Stefaan, Cui, Jiwei, Vanparijs, Nane, Albertazzi, Lorenzo, Grooten, Johan, Caruso, Frank, De Geest, Bruno G., (2016). Engineering polymer hydrogel nanoparticles for lymph node-targeted delivery Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 55, 4, 1334-1339

Li, Hui, Fierens, Kaat, Zhang, Zhiyue, Vanparijs, Nane, Schuijs, Martijn J., Van Steendam, Katleen, Feiner Gracia, Natàlia, De Rycke, Riet, De Beer, Thomas, De Beuckelaer, Ans, De Koker, Stefaan, Deforce, Dieter, Albertazzi, Lorenzo, Grooten, Johan, Lambrecht, Bart N., De Geest, Bruno G., (2016). Spontaneous protein adsorption on graphene oxide nanosheets allowing efficient intracellular vaccine protein delivery ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 8, 2, 1147-1155

van der Zwaag, Daan, Vanparijs, Nane, Wijnands, Sjors, De Rycke, Riet, De Geest, Bruno G., Albertazzi, Lorenzo, (2016). Super resolution imaging of nanoparticles cellular uptake and trafficking ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 8, 10, 6391-6399

Beuwer, Michael A., Knopper, M. F., Albertazzi, Lorenzo, van der Zwaag, Daan, Ellenbroek, Wouter G., Meijer, E. W., Prins, Menno W. J., Zijlstra, Peter, (2016). Mechanical properties of single supramolecular polymers from correlative AFM and fluorescence microscopy Polymer Chemistry 7, 47, 7260-7268


  • Nikon NSTORM Super Resolution Microscope
  • Super Resolution microscopy
  • Single particles tracking
  • TIRF fluorescence imaging
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Dynamic light scattering


  • Roey Amir
    Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Ilja Voets
    Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • Giovanni Pavan
    SUPSI, Switzerland
  • Bruno De Geest
    University of Ghent, Belgium
  • Salvador Borros
    IQS, Barcelona

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