Gabriel Gomila Lluch | Group Leader
Annalisa Calò | Senior Researcher
Aurora Dols Pérez | Postdoctoral Researcher
Rubén Millán Solsona | Senior Technician
Larissa Hütter | PhD Student
Oscar Nieves Paniagua | PhD Student
Shubham Tanwar | PhD Student
The main goal of the Nanoscale Bioelectrical Characterization group is to develop a multiscale approach to Bioelectricity, covering from the nano- to the microscale. To this end the group combines methods and techniques from Scanning Probe Microscopy, Organic Electronics and Big Data. ain objective is to contribute to develop new label-free biological nanoscale characterization methods and new electronic biosensors.
The group performs research on Scanning Dielectric Microscopy, a set of Scanning Probe Microscopy techniques and methods to measure the local dielectric properties of samples. Over the years, implementations of Scanning Dielectric Microscopy in current sensing, force sensing and at microwave frequencies have been developed. In the case of the force sensing mode, operation in air and liquid environments have been implemented. At present, the group is centered in developing advanced force volume modes for Scanning Dielectric Microscopy coupled to big data computational and processing techniques. The objective is to obtain fast functional dielectric maps of complex samples (e.g. cells) with nanoscale spatial resolution and with sensitivity to the subsurface properties.
With the Scanning Dielectric Microscope, we investigate the passive dielectric properties of Biological samples. Among others, we have determined the dielectric constant of lipid bilayers, supramolecular protein structures like virus capsids and tails, bacterial flagella and protein layers, and of DNA. Moreover, the dielectric properties of single viruses, bacterial cells and bacterial endospores have been measured, and we analyzed the effect of environmental humidity in their dielectric response. Finally, we have investigated the dielectric properties of confined water, finding an anomalous low dielectric constant value. At present, applications are focused in determining the dielectric properties of heterogeneous lipid bilayers, liposomes and eukaryotic cells, all of the in the liquid environment. The objective is to develop a nanoscopic technique able to map the composition of complex biological systems without the use of exogeneous labels.
Nanoscale dielectric map of a single bacterial cell obtained with the Scanning Dielectric Microscope. The color scale represents the local dielectric constant, which provides information on the local polarization of the bacterial cell in response to an external electric field. From the nanodielectric map the local composition (e.g. lipids, proteins, nucleic acids) of the bacterial cell can be obtained in a label-free way.
The Scanning Dielectric Microscopy is also used to investigate the electrical properties of the so-called bacterial nanowires, nanoscale structures produced by electrogenic bacterial cells, which enable the exchange of electrons extracellularly at long distances from the bacterial cell body. Current research is focused in the study of the electric properties of outer membrane cell extensions from Shewanella Oneidensis MR-1 and of protein fibers from the so-called cable bacteria cells.
The group also performs research in the application of Electrolyte Gated Field Effect Transistors as biosensors to record the electrical activity of excitable cells. We have demonstrated the potential of these transistors to record the electrical activity of clusters of cardiomyocyte cells over long periods of time (weeks), and, currently, we are investigating its potential application to other cell types (e.g. neurons) and cell structures (e.g. organoids).
Finally, the group is working in the integration of nanoscale and microscale electrical recording techniques for Biology in a single instrument. We have already demonstrated the possibility to integrate the in-liquid Scanning Dielectric Microscope with the Electrolyte Gated Field Effect Transistor, and, currently, we are working in using this platform to perform multiscale electrical recordings on electrically excitable cells with the objective to correlate nano- and microscopic electrical cell activity.
Electrical recording of the extracellular potential of cardiomyocyte-like cells derived from human Pluripotent Stem Cells by means of an Electrolyte Gated Organic Field Effect Transistor (EGOFET). With this EGOFETs stable electrical recordings over weeks have been achieved.
|BORGES · Biosensing with ORGanic ElectronicS (2019-2022)||Marie Curie Skłodowska European Training Network (MSCA-ITN-ETN)||Gabriel Gomila|
|BIGDATASPM · Métodos de datos masivos aplicados a la Microscopía de Sonda de Barrido para estudios eléctricos funcionales en ciencias de la vida (2020-2022)||MINECO, Generación Conocimiento: Proyectos I+D||Gabriel Gomila|
|SGR Grups de recerca consolidats (2017-2020)||AGAUR / SGR||Gabriel Gomila|
|SPM2.0 · Scanning probe microscopies for nanoscale fast, tomographic and composition imaging (2017-2020)||Marie Curie Skłodowska European Training Network (MSCA-ITN-ETN)||Gabriel Gomila (Project Coordinator)|
|NANOMICROWAVE · Microwave Nanotechnology for Semiconductor and Life Sciences (2013-2016)||MARIE CURIE – ITN||Gabriel Gomila|
|V-SMMART Nano · Volumetric Scanning Microwave Microscopy Analytical and Research Tool for Nanotechnology (2012-2016)||NMP – SME||Gabriel Gomila|
|AFM4NanoMed&Bio · European network on applications of Atomic Force Microscopy to Nanomedicine and Life Sciences||EU COST Action TD1002||Gabriel Gomila (Management Committee Substitute Member)|
|BIOWIRESENSE · Plataforma universal para la detección de biomarcadores basada en nanocables bacterianos conductores (2017-2019)||MINECO, Explora Ciencia||Gabriel Gomila|
|NANOELECTOMOGRAPHY· Electrical nanotomography based on scanning probe microscopy for nanomaterials and biological samples (2014-2016)||MINECO (TEC2013-48344-C2-1-P)||Gabriel Gomila|
|NANOELECTROPHYS · Scanning Electric Force Microscope for Electrophysological Recordings at the Nanoscale
|MINECO (TEC2016-79156-P)||Gabriel Gomila|
|ICREA Academia Award (2015-2019)||Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) / Generalitat de Catalunya||Gabriel Gomila|
Balakrishnan, Harishankar, Millán, Rubén, Checa, Marti, Fabregas, Rene, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2021). Depth mapping of metallic nanowire polymer nanocomposites by scanning dielectric microscopy Nanoscale Accepted Manuscript
Checa, Martí, Millan-Solsona, Ruben, Mares, Adrianna Glinkowska, Pujals, Silvia, Gomila, Gabriel, (2021). Fast label-free nanoscale composition mapping of eukaryotic cells via scanning dielectric force volume microscopy and machine learning Small Methods Early view, 2100279
Kyndiah, A., Leonardi, F., Tarantino, C., Cramer, T., Millan-Solsona, R., Garreta, E., Montserrat, N., Mas-Torrent, M., Gomila, G., (2020). Bioelectronic recordings of cardiomyocytes with accumulation mode electrolyte gated organic field effect transistors Biosensors and Bioelectronics 150, 111844
Muzio, Martina Di, Millan-Solsona, Ruben, Borrell, Jordi H., Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2020). Cholesterol effect on the specific capacitance of submicrometric DOPC bilayer patches measured by in-liquid scanning dielectric microscopy Langmuir 36, (43), 12963–12972
Fabregas, R., Gomila, G., (2020). Dielectric nanotomography based on electrostatic force microscopy: A numerical analysis Journal of Applied Physics 127, (2), 024301
Millán, Rubén, Checa, Marti, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2020). Mapping the capacitance of self-assembled monolayers at metal/electrolyte interfaces at the nanoscale by In-liquid scanning dielectric microscopy Nanoscale 12, (40), 20658-20668
Kyndiah, Adrica, Checa, Martí, Leonardi, Francesca, Millan-Solsona, Ruben, Di Muzio, Martina, Tanwar, Shubham, Fumagalli, Laura, Mas-Torrent, Marta, Gomila, Gabriel, (2020). Nanoscale mapping of the conductivity and interfacial capacitance of an electrolyte-gated organic field-effect transistor under operation Advanced Functional Materials , (), 2008032
Checa, Marti, Millán, Rubén, Blanco, Núria, Torrents, Eduard, Fabregas, Rene, Gomila, Gabriel, (2019). Mapping the dielectric constant of a single bacterial cell at the nanoscale with scanning dielectric force volume microscopy Nanoscale 11, 20809-20819
Lozano, H., Millán-Solsona, R., Fabregas, R., Gomila, G., (2019). Sizing single nanoscale objects from polarization forces Scientific Reports 9, (1), 14142
Checa, M., Millan-Solsona, R., Gomila, G., (2019). Frequency-dependent force between ac-voltage-biased plates in electrolyte solutions Physical Review E 100, (2), 022604
Fumagalli, L., Esfandiar, A., Fabregas, R., Hu, S., Ares, P., Janardanan, A., Yang, Q., Radha, B., Taniguchi, T., Watanabe, K., Gomila, G., Novoselov, K. S., Geim, A. K., (2018). Anomalously low dielectric constant of confined water Science 360, (6395), 1339-1342
Lozano, Helena, Fabregas, Rene, Blanco, Núria, Millán, Rubén, Torrents, Eduard, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2018). Dielectric constant of flagellin proteins measured by scanning dielectric microscopy Nanoscale 10, 19188-19194
Dols-Perez, Aurora, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2018). Interdigitation in spin-coated lipid layers in air Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 172, 400-406
Wu, Bi-Yi, Sheng, Xin-Qing, Fabregas, Rene, Hao, Yang, (2017). Full-wave modeling of broadband near field scanning microwave microscopy Scientific Reports 7, (1), 16064
Crespo, Anna, Pedraz, Lucas, Van Der Hofstadt, Marc, Gomila, Gabriel, Torrents, Eduard, (2017). Regulation of ribonucleotide synthesis by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa two-component system AlgR in response to oxidative stress Scientific Reports 7, (1), 17892
Biagi, Maria Chiara, Badino, Giorgio, Fabregas, Rene, Gramse, Georg, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2017). Direct mapping of the electric permittivity of heterogeneous non-planar thin films at gigahertz frequencies by scanning microwave microscopy Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics , 19, (5), 3884-3893
Van Der Hofstadt, Marc, Fabregas, Rene, Millan, Ruben, Juarez, Antonio, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2016). Internal hydration properties of single bacterial endospores probed by electrostatic force microscopy ACS Nano 10, (12), 11327–11336
Biagi, Maria Chiara, Fabregas, Rene, Gramse, Georg, Van Der Hofstadt, Marc, Juárez, Antonio, Kienberger, Ferry, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2016). Nanoscale electric permittivity of single bacterial cells at gigahertz frequencies by scanning microwave microscopy ACS Nano 10, (1), 280-288
Van Der Hofstadt, M., Fabregas, R., Biagi, M.C., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2016). Nanoscale dielectric microscopy of non-planar samples by lift-mode electrostatic force microscopy Nanotechnology 27, (40), 405706
Dols-Perez, Aurora, Gramse, Georg, Calo, Annalisa, Gomila, Gabriel, Fumagalli, Laura, (2015). Nanoscale electric polarizability of ultrathin biolayers on insulator substrates by electrostatic force microscopy Nanoscale 7, 18327-18336
Van Der Hofstadt, M., Hüttener, M., Juárez, A., Gomila, G., (2015). Nanoscale imaging of the growth and division of bacterial cells on planar substrates with the atomic force microscope Ultramicroscopy , 154, 29-36
Botaya, Luis, Otero, Jorge, González, Laura, Coromina, Xavier, Gomila, Gabriel, Puig-Vidal, Manel, (2015). Quartz tuning fork-based conductive atomic force microscope with glue-free solid metallic tips Sensors and Actuators A: Physical , 232, 259-266
Esteban-Ferrer, Daniel, Edwards, Martin Andrew, Fumagalli, Laura, Juarez, Antonio, Gomila, Gabriel, (2014). Electric polarization properties of single bacteria measured with electrostatic force microscopy ACS Nano 8, (10), 9843–9849
Cuervo, A., Dans, P. D., Carrascosa, J. L., Orozco, M., Gomila, G., Fumagalli, L., (2014). Direct measurement of the dielectric polarization properties of DNA Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111, (35), E3624-E3630
Caló, A., Reguera, D., Oncins, G., Persuy, M. A., Sanz, G., Lobasso, S., Corcelli, A., Pajot-Augy, E., Gomila, G., (2014). Force measurements on natural membrane nanovesicles reveal a composition-independent, high Young's modulus Nanoscale 6, (4), 2275-2285
Dols-Perez, A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2014). Structural and nanomechanical effects of cholesterol in binary and ternary spin-coated single lipid bilayers in dry conditions Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 116, 295-302
Gramse, G., Kasper, M., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., Hinterdorfer, P., Kienberger, F., (2014). Calibrated complex impedance and permittivity measurements with scanning microwave microscopy Nanotechnology 25, (14), 145703 (8)
Gomila, G., Gramse, G., Fumagalli, L., (2014). Finite-size effects and analytical modeling of electrostatic force microscopy applied to dielectric films Nanotechnology 25, (25), 255702 (11)
Fumagalli, L., Edwards, Martin Andrew, Gomila, G., (2014). Quantitative electrostatic force microscopy with sharp silicon tips Nanotechnology 25, (49), 495701 (9)
Castillo-Fernandez, O., Rodriguez-Trujillo, R., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., (2014). High-speed counting and sizing of cells in an impedance flow microcytometer with compact electronic instrumentation Microfluidics and Nanofluidics , 16, (1-2), 91-99
Birhane, Y., Otero, J., Pérez-Murano, F., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., Bausells, J., (2014). Batch fabrication of insulated conductive scanning probe microscopy probes with reduced capacitive coupling Microelectronic Engineering , 119, 44-47
Caballero, D., Fumagalli, L., Teixidor, F., Samitier, J., Errachid, A., (2013). Directing polypyrrole growth by chemical micropatterns: A study of high-throughput well-ordered arrays of conductive 3D microrings Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 177, 1003-1009
Gramse, G., Dols-Perez, A., Edwards, M. A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2013). Nanoscale measurement of the dielectric constant of supported lipid bilayers in aqueous solutions with electrostatic force microscopy Biophysical Journal , 104, (6), 1257-1262
Gomila, G., Esteban-Ferrer, D., Fumagalli, L., (2013). Quantification of the dielectric constant of single non-spherical nanoparticles from polarization forces: Eccentricity effects Nanotechnology 24, (50), 505713
Gramse, G., Edwards, M.A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2013). Theory of amplitude modulated electrostatic force microscopy for dielectric measurements in liquids at MHz frequencies Nanotechnology 24, (41), 415709
Dols-Perez, A., Sisquella, X., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2013). Optical visualization of ultrathin mica flakes on semitransparent gold substrates Nanoscale Research Letters 8, (1), 1-5
Fumagalli, Laura, Esteban-Ferrer, Daniel, Cuervo, Ana, Carrascosa, Jose L., Gomila, Gabriel, (2012). Label-free identification of single dielectric nanoparticles and viruses with ultraweak polarization forces Nature Materials Nature Publishing Group 11, (9), 743-826
Calò, A., Sanmartí-Espinal, M., Iavicoli, P., Persuy, M. A., Pajot-Augy, E., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., (2012). Diffusion-controlled deposition of natural nanovesicles containing G-protein coupled receptors for biosensing platforms Soft Matter 8, (46), 11632-11643
Gramse, G., Gomila, G., Fumagalli, L., (2012). Quantifying the dielectric constant of thick insulators by electrostatic force microscopy: effects of the microscopic parts of the probe Nanotechnology 23, (20), 205703
Gramse, G., Edwards, M. A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2012). Dynamic electrostatic force microscopy in liquid media Applied Physics Letters , 101, (21), 213108
Dols-Perez, Aurora, Fumagalli, Laura, Cohen Simonsen, Adam, Gomila, Gabriel, (2011). Ultrathin spin-coated dioleoylphosphatidylcholine lipid layers in dry conditions: A combined atomic force microscopy and nanomechanical study Langmuir 27, (21), 13165-13172
Fumagalli, L., Gramse, G., Esteban-Ferrer, D., Edwards, M. A., Gomila, G., (2010). Quantifying the dielectric constant of thick insulators using electrostatic force microscopy Applied Physics Letters , 96, (18), 183107
Toset, J., Gomila, G., (2010). Three-dimensional manipulation of gold nanoparticles with electro-enhanced capillary forces Applied Physics Letters , 96, (4), 043117
Sanmarti, M., Iavicoli, P., Pajot-Augy, E., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., (2010). Human olfactory receptors immobilization on a mixed self assembled monolayer for the development of a bioelectronic nose Procedia Engineering (EUROSENSOR XXIV CONFERENCE) 24th Eurosensor Conference (ed. Jakoby, B., Vellekoop, M.J.), Elsevier Science (Linz, Austria) 5, 786-789
Fumagalli, L., Ferrari, G., Sampietro, M., Gomila, G., (2009). Quantitative nanoscale dielectric microscopy of single-layer supported biomembranes Nano Letters 9, (4), 1604-1608
Gramse, G., Casuso, I., Toset, J., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2009). Quantitative dielectric constant measurement of thin films by DC electrostatic force microscopy Nanotechnology 20, (39), 395702
Rodriguez-Trujillo, R., Castillo-Fernandez, O., Garrido, M., Arundell, M., Valencia, A., Gomila, G., (2008). High-speed particle detection in a micro-Coulter counter with two-dimensional adjustable aperture Biosensors and Bioelectronics 24, (2), 290-296
Gomila, G., Toset, J., Fumagalli, L., (2008). Nanoscale capacitance microscopy of thin dielectric films Journal of Applied Physics 104, (2), 8
Rodriguez-Trujillo, R., Castillo-Fernandez, O., Arundell, M., Samitier, J., Gomila, G., (2008). Yeast cells detection in a very fast and highly versatile microfabricated cytometer MicroTAS 2008 12th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences , Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (San Diego, USA) , 1888-1890
Casuso, I., Pla, M., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., Minic, J., Persuy, M. A., Salesse, R., Pajot-Augy, E., (2008). Immobilization of olfactory receptors onto gold electrodes for electrical biosensor Materials Science & Engineering C 5th Maghreb-Europe Meeting on Materials and their Applicatons for Devices and Physical, Chemical and Biological Sensors , Elsevier Science (Mahdia, TUNISIA) 28, (5-6), 686-691
- Cypher Atomic Force Microscope (Asylum Research)
- Nanowizard 4 Bio-Atomic Force Microscope (JPK)
- Cervantes Atomic Force Microscope (Nanotec Electronica)
- Easy Scan 2 Atomic Force Microscope (Nanosurf)
- AxioImager A1m Reflection Optical Microscope (Zeiss) equipped with a AxioCam ERc5s (Zeiss)
- CompactStat portable electrochemical interface and impedance analyzer (Ivium Technologies)
- Palmsens 4, 8 channel Potentiostat (Palmens)
- 2 eLockIn204 4-phase Lock-In amplifiers (Anfatec)
- Keithley 6430 sub-femtoAmp remote sourcemeter
- Keysight B2912A precision Source/Measure Unit, 2 channels
- Keysight N9310A RF Signal Generator 9 kHz to 3.0 GHz
- Dra. Laura Fumagalli
University of Manchester, United Kingdom
- Dr. Ferry Kienberger
Agilent Technologies Austria, Linz, Austria
- Prof. Marco Sampietro
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
- Dr. Jordi Borrell
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Prof. Antonio Juárez
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Manel Puig
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Filip Meysman
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
- Prof. Fabio Biscarini
Universita di Modena e Regio Emilia, Italy
- Dra. Marta Mas-Torrents
Institut de Ciències de Materials de Barcelona, Spain
- Dra. Adrica Kyndiah
Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
- Dr. Laura Fumagalli | Senior Researcher
Now: Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy – Condensed Matter Physics, University of Manchester (UK)
- Dr. Annalisa Calò | Postdoc
Now: Postdoc, CUNY Advance Science Research Center (USA)
- Dr. Aurora Dols-Pérez | Postdoc
Now: Postdoc at the Technical University of Delft (Nederlands)
- Dr. Martin Edwards | Postdoc
Now: Research Assistant Professor, University of Utah (USA)
- Daniel Esteban Ferrer | PhD Student
- Georg Gramse | PhD Student
Now: Senior Researcher, Johannes Kepler University of Linz (Austria)
- Dr. Jordi Otero | Postdoc
Now: Postdoc, Institute For Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)
- Marc van der Hofstadt | PhD Student
- Maria Chiara Biagi | PhD Student
An international study co-authored by IBEC’s researchers has identified nickel as a key conductive component in the wires found in cable bacteria. This ground-breaking finding, obtained by combining high-resolution microscopy, spectroscopy and chemical imaging, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.
IBEC researchers were able to drastically reduce the microscopy images processing time using machine learning tools. By using this new technique, they obtained, in only few seconds, a map of the cellular biochemical composition.
With a new method that combines high-powered scanning force microscopes and machine learning, IBEC researchers have drastically reduced the processing time required to achieve nanoscale biochemical compositions map from electric images of eukaryotic cells in just seconds. Using earlier computation methods, processing one image could take even months.
Aurora Dols and Zaida Álvarez, researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), receive the prestigious fellowships Beatriu de Pinós, awarded by the Catalan Government for the incorporation of highly qualified postdoctoral researchers into the Catalan research system.
A joint collaboration between the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) and The University of Manchester has succeeded in mapping the electrical properties of organic biosensor/electrolyte interfaces at the nanoscale by measuring local electric forces. Electronic biosensors based on organic materials could make soon a reality the dream of low-cost, disposable, flexible and biocompatible electronic devices for the interaction with biological systems .
Researchers at IBEC and ICMAB develop a flexible, cheap and biocompatible transistor platform able to record an electrocardiogram of cells and micro-tissues during long periods of time.
The platform, based on organic transistor technology (EGOFET), can also measure the effect of drugs on beating cells, as cardiomyocytes, opening the door to several applications such as implantable devices for health.
Research led by the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute, with the collaboration with IBEC, reveals that water that’s only a few molecules thick – like the water that covers every surface around us – behaves very differently to normal, ‘bulk’ water.
Water is one of the most fascinating substances on Earth. At the heart of its many unusual properties is its high polarizability – that is, its strong response to an applied electric field.
An IBEC group has been awarded EU funding to coordinate a project that aims to train a new generation of researchers in the science and technology of Scanning Probe Microscopes.
Thanks to the Marie Curie ITN funding, the ten consortium members of the SPM2.0 European Training Network – located in Spain, France, Austria, the UK and Italy – will be able to provide researchers with state-of-the-art multidisciplinary scientific training in the field of Scanning Probe microscopies, covering basic science to industrial applications, which should enable them to generate new scientific knowledge.
An IBEC group has demonstrated, for the first time, that the hydration properties of a single bacterial endospore in varying environmental relative humidity can be determined with high accuracy and reproducibility, and in a non-destructive way, shedding new light on endospore survival strategies.
Endospores are recognized as the hardiest form of life on Earth, and are produced by certain bacterial cells in response to a lack of nutrients.