The Nanobioengineering group is a truly multidisciplinary team composed by researchers coming from very diverse backgrounds working together in applying nanotechnology for the development of new biomedical systems and devices, mainly for diagnostic purposes, and integrated microfluidic Organ-on-Chip devices for the study of organ physiology, disease etiology, or drug screening.
The goal is to fabricate microsystems containing living cells that recapitulate tissue and organ level functions in vitro and new portable diagnosis devices that can be used as Point-of-Care systems.
The main research activities of the group include the engineering and biochemical functionalization of biomaterials integrated with microfluidics systems. The bioengineered microdevices are used to study cell responses to biomolecular compounds applied to Organ-on-Chip devices, or for the development of new lab-on-a-chip based biosensors.
The projects carried out by the group are focused on clinical and industrial problems and are related to three convergent research lines:
1. Biosensors and Lab-on-a-Chip devices for clinical diagnosis and monitoring
- DNA sensors-arrays integrated in lab-on-a-chip for portable point of care diagnosis
- Vascular implantable sensors for circular cancer biomarker detection.
- Antibody-based sensors for pathogenic microorganisms’ detection and neurodegenerative early detection
- Implantable physiological sensors-array for tissue in vivo hypoxia and ischemia monitoring.
- 3D printing microfluidic technology.
- Microfluidic chip using hydrodynamic forces for cell counting and sorting. Application for detection of circulating tumours cells (CTCs).
2. Nanotechnology applied to biomolecule interaction studies and micro/nano-environments for regenerative medicine applications
- Development of bioengineered 2D and 3D micro/nanoenvironments with a topography and chemical composition controlled at the nanoscale for cell behavior studies (adhesion, proliferation, differentiation). Application to musculoskeletal system regeneration.
- Biophysical description of cellular phenomena (adhesion, cell migration, differentiation) using micro/nanotechnologies, cell biology tools and soft matter physics.
- Study of biological mechanisms at single molecule level.
- Study of magnetite nanoparticles – Amyloid-Beta interaction in Alzheimer disease.
3. Microfluidic systems for biological studies and Organ-on-Chip devices
- Microfluidic chip for blood/plasma filtering and anemia diseases characterization
- Spleen-on-a-chip development.
- Nanoporous-based systems for kidney-on–a-chip developments.
- Engineering microfluidic platforms for neurobiological studies.
- Development of 3D neuromuscular tissue models for soft robotics and clinical applications
- Microfluidic system to monitor cancer therapy response. Tumor Cancer on a chip in vitro development.
- Microfluidic vessel on-a-chip for screening drug delivery systems.
Josep Samitier Martí
|BASE3D (2019-2022)||RIS3CAT Tecnologies Emergents||Josep Samitier|
|PREMED Desarrollo de un ensayo microfluídico funcional en células para el tratamiento personalizado contra el cáncer (2019-2022)||MICIU: Retos investigación||Joan Montero|
|Sistema microfisiológico para mimetizar las barreras hemato-sistema nervioso central: aplicación a la esclerosis lateral amiotrófica (2019-2022)||MICIU: Retos investigación||Anna Lagunas|
|BATMAN Nanopartículas biomiméticas para el tratamiento dirigido del neuroblastoma pediátrico (2021-2023)||MICIU, Retos investigación: Proyectos I+D.||Aranzazu Villasante|
|Neuroblastoma en un chip para investigar la resistencia a fármacos y el uso de nanopartículas terapéuticas (2018-2022)||Asociación Española contra el Cáncer (AECC)||Aranzazu Villasante|
|Evaluación Funcional de respuesta celular a la quimioterapia neoadyuvante en Sarcoma de tejido blando (2021-2024)||Fundación Mari Paz Jiménez Casado (FMPJC), Beca Trienal FMPJC Investigación Sarcomas||Joan Montero|
|ASCTN-Training Training on Advanced Stem Cell Technologies in Neurology (2018-2022)||European Comission Marie Curie ITN||Josep Samitier|
|EVIDENCE Erythrocytes properties and viability in dependence of flow and extra-cellular environment (2020-2023)||European Comission Marie Curie ITN||Josep Samitier|
|PANDORA Pandemics Outbreaks Rationalized: towards a universal therapy to eliminate intracellular pathogens (2020-2025)||European Commission, ERC – StG||Josep Samitier|
|BEST Postdoctoral Programme in Bioengineering Excellence Scientific Training (2017-2022)||European Commission, COFUND – Marie Sklodowska-Curie Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes||Josep Samitier|
|SCIFI From Scientists to Innovators for Industry (2022-2024)||EIT Health, EITHealth BP2022 Education||Josep Samitier|
|Descubrimiento de nuevos marcadores terapéuticos en neuroblastoma mediante la generación de modelos basados en técnicas de ingeniería de cáncer (2021-2023)||Associació pacients NEN||Josep Samitier /Aranzazu Villasante|
|Understanding and measuring mechanical tumor properties to improve cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survival: Application to liquid biòpsies (2017-2022)||Obra Social La Caixa||Josep Samitier|
|BCNatal Artificial Placenta Project (2021-2022)||Obra Social La Caixa||Maria José López|
|Descubrimiento de nuevos marcadores terapéuticos en neuroblastoma mediante la generación de modelos basados en técnicas de ingeniería de cáncer (2021-2023)||Associació pacients NEN||Aranzazu Villasante|
|Personalizing pediatric cancer treatment with kinome analyses, cell-based funcional assays and microfluidics (2017-2021)||CELLEX||Josep Samitier / Joan Montero|
|ISCHEMSURG Miniaturized electrochemical sensor for monitoring of free flap ischemia in post-surgery (2019-2021)||AGAUR||Josep Samitier|
|Joint Programme – Healthy Ageing (2016)||Obra Social “La Caixa”||Josep Samitier|
|PLANTOID Innovative Robotic Artefacts Inspired by Plant Roots for Soil Monitoring||ICT||Josep Samitier|
|Universal diagnostic platforms based on oligonucleotide cofidied nanoparticles and DNA microarray sensor devices||MINECO, I+D-Investigación fundamental no orientada||Josep Samitier|
|ELECTRA-G (2014-2016)||Conveni GENOMICA S.A.U.||Josep Samitier|
|Desarrollo de una nueva tecnología lab-on-a-chip para la detección y cuantificación de secuencias de ADN/ARN (2014-2016)||Conveni GENOMICA S.A.U.||Josep Samitier|
|BIOBOT Engineered biological soft robots based on neuro-muscular junction control (2015-2018)||MINECO, Proyectos EXPLORA Ciencia / Tecnología 2015||Josep Samitier|
|Advancecat Acceleradora pel desenvolupament de teràpies avançades ||ACCIÓ / Smart Specialization funds (RIS3)||Josep Samitier|
|MINDS Plataforma MIcrofluídica 3D de cultivo Neuronal compartimentada para el estuDio de enfermedades neurológicaS (2016-2018)||MINECO, Proyectos I+D Excelencia||Josep Samitier|
|nanoET-leukemia Nanoconductance of electron transfer proteins of the respiratory chain. Direct measurementat the single molecular level and therapeutic regulation in cancer stem cells (2015-2018)||MINECO, Proyectos RETOS 2015 / CIBER||Anna Lagunas / Marina Giannotti|
|Desenvolupar un sistema d’assistència robòtica per medicina i cirurgia fetal (2016-2019)||CELLEX||Josep Samitier|
|Monitoring neurocognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases using saliva or blood-derived biomarkers and a multiplexed approach (2016-2018)||Obra Social “La Caixa”||Josep Samitier|
|ISCHEMSURG Miniaturized electrochemical sensor for monitoring of free flap ischemia in post-surgery (2019-2020)||CaixaImpulse||Monica Mir|
|Personalizing Melanoma Treatment Using Dynamic BH3 Profiling (2018-2020)||Dana-Farber Cancer Institut||Joan Montero|
|NANOVAX Nanovacunas diseñadas para inmunoterapia antitumoral (2016-2020)||EuroNanoMed (ERA-Net)||Josep Samitier|
|Understanding and measuring mechanical tumor properties to improve cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survival: Application to liquid biopsies (2017-2020)||Obra Social “La Caixa”||Josep Samitier|
|Personalizing pediatric cancer treatment (2018-2020)||Fundación FERO||Joan Montero|
Nanofabrication and nanomanipulation
- 3D Printing system for microfluidic devices
- Optical Waveguide Lightmode Spectroscope (OWLS)
- Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)
- Optical Microscopes (white light/epifluorescence)
- Electrical Impedance spectroscopy (EIS)
- Multi-frequency Lock-in Amplifier
- Sub-femtoamp Remote SourceMeter Instrument
- Biological safety cabinet (class II)
- Microwell plate readers
- Protein and DNA electrophoresis systems
- Microincubator Okolab
- Nanodrop spectrophotometer
- CO2 incubator for cells: Galaxy® 48 S, 48 L, 230 V/50/60 Hz, standard
- Cell culture cabin: Bioii-Advance 3
- High precision syringe pumps
- Peristaltic pumps
- Prof. Fernando Albericio
Institut de Recerca Biomédica (IRB), Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. José Antonio Andrades
Universidad de Málaga, Spain
- Prof. Ezequiel Pérez
Inestrosa Centro Andaluz de Nanomedicina y Biotecnología (BIONAND), Málaga, Spain
- Prof. Joan Bausells
Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica (CNM-CSIC), Barcelona
- Prof. Albert van den Berg
University of Twente, The Netherlands
- Prof. Andre Bernard
Institut für Mikro- und Nanotechnologie (MNT-NTB), Buchs, Switzerland
- Prof. H. Börner
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Golm, Germany
- Prof. Josep Maria Canals
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Matthew Dalby
University of Glasgow, UK
- Prof. Paolo Dario
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), Pontedera, Italy
- Prof. Ramón Eritja
Institut de Recerca Biomédica (IRB), Barcelona, Spain
- Prof. E. Faszewski
Wheelock College, Boston, USA
- Prof. G. Fuhr
FhG Biomedicine, St. Ingbert, Germany
- Dr. Juan C. Izpisúa
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California
- Dr. Nicole Jaffrezic
Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France
- Dr. Graham Johnson
Uniscan Instruments Ltd, Buxton, UK
- Dr. Mª Pilar Marco
Institute of Chemical and Environmental Research, Barcelona
- Prof. Jean-Louis Marty
Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, France
- Prof. Barbara Mazzolai
IIT Center for Micro-BioRobotics (CMBR), Pontedera, Italy
- Dr. Edith Pajot
Biology of Olfaction and Biosensors group (BOB) at INRA, Jouy-en-Josas, France
- Dr. M. Lluïssa Pérez
Dept. Farmacología, University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Hernando del Portillo
Centro de Investigación en Salud Internacional de Barcelona (CRESIB), Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Jaume Reventós
Hospital Vall d’Hebrón, Barcelona, Spain
- Prof. L. Reggiani
Nanotechnology Laboratory, INFM, Lecce, Italy
- Prof. Daniel Riveline
Laboratory of Cell Physics ISIS/IGBMC, Strasbourg
- Prof. M. Sampietro
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
- Prof. Molly M. Stevens
Imperial College, London, UK
- Dr. Christophe Vieu
Laboratoire d’analyse et d’architectures des systèmes (LAAS-CNRS), Toulouse, France
- Prof. Pau Gorostiza
- Prof. Irene Díaz Moreno
3IIQ-cicCartuja, Universidad de Sevilla-CSIC, Spain
- Prof. Miguel A. de la Rosa
3IIQ-cicCartuja, Universidad de Sevilla-CSIC, Spain
- Dr. María del Mar Mañú Pereira
Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Joan Lluis Vives
Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
- Biokit S.A. (Werfen group); Genomica S.A.U. (Zeltia group); Tallers Fiestas S.L.; Enantia S.L.; Microfluidic ChipShop GmbH; Minifab; Microliquid
IBEC researcher Joan Montero authors a paper in Nature Communications which uncovers a key adaptation that melanoma cancer cells use to evade current therapies. This finding might allow physicians to use better drug combinations to improve patient outcomes in the future. Despite significant advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment, most targeted cancer therapies fail to achieve complete tumor regressions or durable remission. Understanding why these treatments are not always efficient has remained a main challenge for researchers and physicians. Now, Joan Montero from the IBEC and colleagues at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School in USA report in Nature Communications a mechanism that uncovers why some therapies fail to treat melanoma.
Josep Samitier and Núria Montserrat at the “Engineering and Manufacture of Living Systems” workshop in China
Last 9-11th of October took place in Beijing the workshop on “Engineering and Manufacture of Living Systems”. The aim of the workshop was to bring together multi-disciplinary researchers to review the latest advances and discuss the future directions in the design and manufacture of engineered living systems, and their integration amongst the researchers gathered at this international workshop. The major topics discussed during the workshop were: to consider issues related to translation of engineered living systems from the laboratory to the clinic and to industry, review enabling and emerging techniques for using pluripotent cells from various sources such as cell spheroids, organoids and organs-on-a-chip, discuss the ethical, societal and regulatory issues associated with the development and manufacture of engineered living systems and envision future research, development and synergies at the integration and interface of biomanufacturing and engineering living systems amongst others. The meeting was organised by Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) aim to strengthen future collaboration between the two research institutions. With this purpose, IBEC Director’s Josep Samitier and Edith Heard, Director of EMBL, have signed a 5-year agreement at EMBL Barcelona headquarters. This collaboration is the beginning of a working framework for activities between EMBL and IBEC which support strategic long-term scientific and general collaboration in areas of mutual interest. Some of the proposed join projects are a postdoc EMBL-IBEC program and a series of EMBL-IBEC seminars. Moreover, it is also planned to reinforce visitors’ exchange whereby scientific personnel affiliated to EMBL or IBEC will have the possibility to visit the facilities of the other institution in order to study research developments and techniques and to foster interdisciplinary collaborations.
The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia is one of the six centres in Spain to be awarded accreditation in this round of the Severo Ochoa Excellence programme. Furthermore, IBEC is the only center that receives this accreditation for the second time. The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities published yesterday the results of the winners of this distinction, selected by an international panel of a hundred judges, for its scientific results and strategic programmes. Severo Ochoa Excellence Awards identify and promote public research centres and units in Spain that stand out as international references in their specialized fields IBEC Director Josep Samitier expressed his gratitude for the award and highlights that: “the obtention of the Severo Ochoa accreditation for the second time satisfies us greatly because it recognizes the leadership and excellence of IBEC activities both in research and in translation of the obtained results to society”.
IBEC researcher Loris Rizzello receives 1.5 million Euros from the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for his PANDORA project, focused on creating a new therapy to eradicate tuberculosis. Last September 3rd the European Research Council (ERC) announced the projects awarded with an “ERC Starting Grant”. Among the 408 projects selected is the PANDORA project of Dr. Loris Rizzello, a researcher of the Nanobioengineering group of the IBEC led by Prof. Josep Samitier. The PANDORA project of Dr. Rizzello aims to revolutionize the way we cure infections caused by intracellular pathogens, finding a universal therapy able to attack infectious diseases and, at the same time, avoiding antibiotic resistance. More specifically, the winning project of the prestigious ERC Starting Grant will seek solutions that help eradicate tuberculosis, one of the worst pandemics so far, identifying the molecular “barcode” of infected cells, in order to design polymeric nanoparticles that selectively attack infected cells, without affecting healthy cells.
Collaborating IBEC groups have published a study in Nature Communications that reveals that electron transfer can take place while a protein is approaching its partner site, and not only when the proteins are engaged, as was previously thought. The results open up a new way of thinking about how proteins interact, and can have implications in a better understanding of many processes – such as photosynthesis, respiration and detoxification – in which electron transfer plays an important role. The relocation of an electron from one chemical entity to another – electron transfer (ET) – doesn’t happen passively: electrons are carried individually by redox proteins.
An article about the EU-funded project Plantoid – which aims to design subterranean robots for soil exploration and monitoring that draw inspiration from plants – has appeared on the European … Read more
On Monday IBEC junior group leader Nuria Montserrat and senior researcher Aranzazu Villasante were two of the researchers awarded funding at the Asociación Española de Investigación sobre el Cáncer (AECC)’s ceremony in Madrid. The AECC has bestowed 160 grants on cancer researchers during the past year, a total of €17.6m. The association made the official presentations of these awards at an event presided over by Her Majesty Queen Letizia on World Cancer Research Day, 24th September 2018.
IBEC’s Smart-Nano-Bio-Devices and Nanobioengineering groups have joined forces to solve the problem of random movement of micro- and nanomotors. Samuel Sanchez’s group has been forging ahead with its creation of self-propelling micro- and nanodevices in the last few years. These chemically powered ‘swimmers’ are self-propelled by catalytic reactions in fluids – which could be the fluids of our body, or water – and have a number of promising applications, such as targeted drug delivery, environmental remediation, or as pick-up and delivery agents in lab-on-a-chip devices.
An interview with IBEC director Josep Samitier in his capacity as the president of ACER appeared in the ‘Dominical’ supplement of the Diari de Girona last week.