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Publications

by Keyword: Characterization

Fontana-Escartín, A, Lanzalaco, S, Zhilev, G, Armelin, E, Bertran, O, Alemán, C, (2024). Oxygen plasma treated thermoplastics as integrated electroresponsive sensors Materials Today Communications 38, 107653

Polypropylene (PP), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) and polylactic acid (PLA) 3D printed specimens, which are intrinsically non-electroresponsive materials, have been converted into electroresponsive electrodes applying a low-pressure oxygen plasma treatment. After complete chemical, morphological and electrochemical characterization, plasma treated samples have been applied as integrated electrochemical sensors for detecting dopamine and serotonin by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry. Results show differences in the sensing behavior, which have been explained on the basis of the chemical structure of the pristine materials. While plasma treated PLA exhibits the highest performance as electrochemical sensor in terms of sensitivity (lowest limits of detection and quantification) and selectivity (against uric acid and ascorbic acid as interfering substances), plasma treated PP displays the poorest behavior due to its low polarity compared to PLA 3D-printed electrodes. Instead, plasma treated TPU and PETG shows a very good response, much closer to PLA, as sensitive electrodes towards neurotransmitter molecules (dopamine and serotonin). Overall, results open a new door for the fabrication of electrochemical conductive sensors using intrinsically insulating materials, without the need of chemical functionalization processes.

JTD Keywords: 3d printing, Amines, Ascorbic acid, Chemical characterization, Cyclic voltammetry, Dopamine, Electrochemical characterizations, Electrochemical sensor s, Electrochemical sensors, Electrode materials, Electroresponsive materials, Low-pressure oxygen-plasma treatments, Morphological characterization, Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (mwcn), Neurophysiology, Oxygen, Oxygen plasmas, Plastic bottles, Polyethylene terephthalate glycol, Polyethylene terephthalate glycols, Polyethylene terephthalates, Polylact i c acid, Polylactic acid, Polylactic acid pla, Polyols, Polypropylene, Polypropylene oxides, Polypropylenes, Polyurethanes, Reinforced plastics, Supercapacitors, Thermoplast i c polyurethane, Thermoplastic polyurethane, Thermoplastic polyurethanes


Hernández, F, Ferrer, I, Pérez, M, Zabala, JC, del Rio, JA, Avila, J, (2023). Tau Aggregation Neuroscience 518, 64-69

Here we revisit tau protein aggregation at primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. In addition, the presence of non-aggregated tau protein, which has been recently discovered, is also commented on.Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: alpha-helix, alzheimer-disease, antigenic determinants, binding, isomerase pin1, microtubule-binding repeats, neurofibrillary tangles, paired helical filaments, repeat domain, structural-characterization, tau conformations, w-tau isoform, Microtubule-associated protein, Microtubule-binding repeats, Tau, Tau conformations, W-tau isoform


De Lama-Odría, MD, del Valle, LJ, Puiggalí, J, (2023). Lanthanides-Substituted Hydroxyapatite for Biomedical Applications International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 24, 3446

Lately, there has been an increasing demand for materials that could improve tissue regenerative therapies and provide antimicrobial effects. Similarly, there is a growing need to develop or modify biomaterials for the diagnosis and treatment of different pathologies. In this scenario, hydroxyapatite (HAp) appears as a bioceramic with extended functionalities. Nevertheless, there are certain disadvantages related to the mechanical properties and lack of antimicrobial capacity. To circumvent them, the doping of HAp with a variety of cationic ions is emerging as a good alterative due to the different biological roles of each ion. Among many elements, lanthanides are understudied despite their great potential in the biomedical field. For this reason, the present review focuses on the biological benefits of lanthanides and how their incorporation into HAp can alter its morphology and physical properties. A comprehensive section of the applications of lanthanides-substituted HAp nanoparticles (HAp NPs) is presented to unveil the potential biomedical uses of these systems. Finally, the need to study the tolerable and non-toxic percentages of substitution with these elements is highlighted.

JTD Keywords: biolabeling, biomedicine, biosensors, bone regeneration, calcium, cancer treatment, cationic ions, cell imaging, cerium, doped hap, hydroxyapatite, implants, in-vitro bioactivity, lanthanides-substitutions, lanthanidessubstitutions, nanoparticles, radiation synovectomy, sm-153 particulate hydroxyapatite, structural-characterization, theragnostics, theranostic nanoplatforms, Europium-doped hydroxyapatite, Hydroxyapatite, Theragnostics


Cañellas-Socias A, Cortina C, Hernando-Momblona X, Palomo-Ponce S, Mulholland EJ, Turon G, Mateo L, Conti S, Roman O, Sevillano M, Slebe F, Stork D, Caballé-Mestres A, Berenguer-Llergo A, Álvarez-Varela A, Fenderico N, Novellasdemunt L, Jiménez-Gracia L, Sipka T, Bardia L, Lorden P, Colombelli J, Heyn H, Trepat X, Tejpar S, Sancho E, Tauriello DVF, Leedham S, Attolini CS, Batlle E, (2022). Metastatic recurrence in colorectal cancer arises from residual EMP1+ cells Nature 611, 603-+

Around 30-40% of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) undergoing curative resection of the primary tumour will develop metastases in the subsequent years1. Therapies to prevent disease relapse remain an unmet medical need. Here we uncover the identity and features of the residual tumour cells responsible for CRC relapse. An analysis of single-cell transcriptomes of samples from patients with CRC revealed that the majority of genes associated with a poor prognosis are expressed by a unique tumour cell population that we named high-relapse cells (HRCs). We established a human-like mouse model of microsatellite-stable CRC that undergoes metastatic relapse after surgical resection of the primary tumour. Residual HRCs occult in mouse livers after primary CRC surgery gave rise to multiple cell types over time, including LGR5+ stem-like tumour cells2-4, and caused overt metastatic disease. Using Emp1 (encoding epithelial membrane protein 1) as a marker gene for HRCs, we tracked and selectively eliminated this cell population. Genetic ablation of EMP1high cells prevented metastatic recurrence and mice remained disease-free after surgery. We also found that HRC-rich micrometastases were infiltrated with T cells, yet became progressively immune-excluded during outgrowth. Treatment with neoadjuvant immunotherapy eliminated residual metastatic cells and prevented mice from relapsing after surgery. Together, our findings reveal the cell-state dynamics of residual disease in CRC and anticipate that therapies targeting HRCs may help to avoid metastatic relapse.© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

JTD Keywords: colonization, defines, human colon, mutations, plasticity, retrieval, stem-cells, subtypes, underlie, Animal, Animal cell, Animal experiment, Animal model, Animal tissue, Animals, Article, Cancer, Cancer growth, Cancer immunotherapy, Cancer inhibition, Cancer recurrence, Cancer staging, Cell, Cell adhesion, Cell migration, Cell population, Cell surface receptor, Cohort analysis, Colorectal cancer, Colorectal neoplasms, Colorectal tumor, Comprehensive molecular characterization, Controlled study, Crispr-cas9 system, Cytoskeleton, Disease exacerbation, Disease progression, Dynamics, Emp1 gene, Epithelial membrane protein-1, Extracellular matrix, Flow cytometry, Fluorescence intensity, Gene expression, Genetics, Human, Human cell, Humans, Immune response, Immunofluorescence, In situ hybridization, Marker gene, Metastasis potential, Mice, Minimal residual disease, Mouse, Neoplasm proteins, Neoplasm recurrence, local, Neoplasm, residual, Nonhuman, Pathology, Phenotype, Prevention and control, Protein, Receptors, cell surface, Single cell rna seq, Tumor, Tumor protein, Tumor recurrence


Dhiman, S, Andrian, T, Gonzalez, BS, Tholen, MME, Wang, YY, Albertazzi, L, (2022). Can super-resolution microscopy become a standard characterization technique for materials chemistry? Chemical Science 13, 2152-2166

The characterization of newly synthesized materials is a cornerstone of all chemistry and nanotechnology laboratories. For this purpose, a wide array of analytical techniques have been standardized and are used routinely by laboratories across the globe. With these methods we can understand the structure, dynamics and function of novel molecular architectures and their relations with the desired performance, guiding the development of the next generation of materials. Moreover, one of the challenges in materials chemistry is the lack of reproducibility due to improper publishing of the sample preparation protocol. In this context, the recent adoption of the reporting standard MIRIBEL (Minimum Information Reporting in Bio–Nano Experimental Literature) for material characterization and details of experimental protocols aims to provide complete, reproducible and reliable sample preparation for the scientific community. Thus, MIRIBEL should be immediately adopted in publications by scientific journals to overcome this challenge. Besides current standard spectroscopy and microscopy techniques, there is a constant development of novel technologies that aim to help chemists unveil the structure of complex materials. Among them super-resolution microscopy (SRM), an optical technique that bypasses the diffraction limit of light, has facilitated the study of synthetic materials with multicolor ability and minimal invasiveness at nanometric resolution. Although still in its infancy, the potential of SRM to unveil the structure, dynamics and function of complex synthetic architectures has been highlighted in pioneering reports during the last few years. Currently, SRM is a sophisticated technique with many challenges in sample preparation, data analysis, environmental control and automation, and moreover the instrumentation is still expensive. Therefore, SRM is currently limited to expert users and is not implemented in characterization routines. This perspective discusses the potential of SRM to transition from a niche technique to a standard routine method for material characterization. We propose a roadmap for the necessary developments required for this purpose based on a collaborative effort from scientists and engineers across disciplines.

JTD Keywords: blinking, fluorophore, intramolecular spirocyclization, localization, nanoparticles, resolution limit, reveals, single-molecule fluorescence, stimulated-emission, Characterization techniques, Diffraction, Distributed computer systems, Environmental management, Information reporting, Material chemistry, Materials characterization, Minimum information, Optical reconstruction microscopy, Optical resolving power, Sample preparation, Structure dynamics, Structure functions, Super-resolution microscopy, Synthesized materials


Sans, J, Arnau, M, Sanz, V, Turon, P, Alemán, C, (2022). Polarized Hydroxyapatite: New Insights and Future Perspectives Through Systematic Electrical Characterization at the Interface Advanced Materials Interfaces 9, 2101631

Tejo-Otero, A, Fenollosa-Artes, F, Achaerandio, I, Rey-Vinolas, S, Buj-Corral, I, Mateos-Timoneda, MA, Engel, E, (2022). Soft-Tissue-Mimicking Using Hydrogels for the Development of Phantoms Gels 8, 40

With the currently available materials and technologies it is difficult to mimic the mechanical properties of soft living tissues. Additionally, another significant problem is the lack of information about the mechanical properties of these tissues. Alternatively, the use of phantoms offers a promising solution to simulate biological bodies. For this reason, to advance in the state-of-the-art a wide range of organs (e.g., liver, heart, kidney as well as brain) and hydrogels (e.g., agarose, polyvinyl alcohol –PVA–, Phytagel –PHY– and methacrylate gelatine –GelMA–) were tested regarding their mechanical properties. For that, viscoelastic behavior, hardness, as well as a non-linear elastic mechanical response were measured. It was seen that there was a significant difference among the results for the different mentioned soft tissues. Some of them appear to be more elastic than viscous as well as being softer or harder. With all this information in mind, a correlation between the mechanical properties of the organs and the different materials was performed. The next conclusions were drawn: (1) to mimic the liver, the best material is 1% wt agarose; (2) to mimic the heart, the best material is 2% wt agarose; (3) to mimic the kidney, the best material is 4% wt GelMA; and (4) to mimic the brain, the best materials are 4% wt GelMA and 1% wt agarose. Neither PVA nor PHY was selected to mimic any of the studied tissues. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

JTD Keywords: brain, composite hydrogel, dynamic mechanical analysis, elastography, hardness, hydrogels, in-vitro, liver, materials, mechanical-properties, mimicking, soft tissues, tissue scaffolding, viscoelasticity, warner-braztler shear test, warner–braztler shear test, Dynamic mechanical analysis, Hardness, Hydrogels, Materials, Mimicking, Soft tissues, Tissue scaffolding, Viscoelastic characterization, Viscoelasticity, Warner–braztler shear test


Rial-Hermida, MI, Rey-Rico, A, Blanco-Fernandez, B, Carballo-Pedrares, N, Byrne, EM, Mano, JF, (2021). Recent Progress on Polysaccharide-Based Hydrogels for Controlled Delivery of Therapeutic Biomolecules Acs Biomaterials Science & Engineering 7, 4102-4127

A plethora of applications using polysaccharides have been developed in recent years due to their availability as well as their frequent nontoxicity and biodegradability. These polymers are usually obtained from renewable sources or are byproducts of industrial processes, thus, their use is collaborative in waste management and shows promise for an enhanced sustainable circular economy. Regarding the development of novel delivery systems for biotherapeutics, the potential of polysaccharides is attractive for the previously mentioned properties and also for the possibility of chemical modification of their structures, their ability to form matrixes of diverse architectures and mechanical properties, as well as for their ability to maintain bioactivity following incorporation of the biomolecules into the matrix. Biotherapeutics, such as proteins, growth factors, gene vectors, enzymes, hormones, DNA/RNA, and antibodies are currently in use as major therapeutics in a wide range of pathologies. In the present review, we summarize recent progress in the development of polysaccharide-based hydrogels of diverse nature, alone or in combination with other polymers or drug delivery systems, which have been implemented in the delivery of biotherapeutics in the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. © 2021 American Chemical Society.

JTD Keywords: biodegradable dextran hydrogels, biotherapeutics, bone morphogenetic protein-2, carrageenan-based hydrogels, chitosan-based hydrogels, controlled delivery, controlled-release, cross-linked hydrogels, growth-factor delivery, hydrogels, in-vitro characterization, polysaccharides, self-healing hydrogel, stimuli-responsiveness, tissue engineering, Antibodies, Bioactivity, Biodegradability, Biomedical fields, Biomolecules, Biotherapeutics, Chemical modification, Circular economy, Controlled delivery, Controlled drug delivery, Delivery systems, Drug delivery system, Functional polymers, Hyaluronic-acid hydrogels, Hydrogels, Industrial processs, Polysaccharides, Recent progress, Renewable sources, Stimuli-responsiveness, Targeted drug delivery, Tissue engineering, Waste management


Andrian, T, Delcanale, P, Pujals, S, Albertazzi, L, (2021). Correlating Super-Resolution Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy Reveals Multiparametric Heterogeneity in Nanoparticles Nano Letters 21, 5360-5368

The functionalization of nanoparticles with functional moieties is a key strategy to achieve cell targeting in nanomedicine. The interplay between size and ligand number is crucial for the formulation performance and needs to be properly characterized to understand nanoparticle structure-activity relations. However, there is a lack of methods able to measure both size and ligand number at the same time and at the single particle level. Here, we address this issue by introducing a correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) method combining super-resolution microscopy (SRM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging. We apply our super-resCLEM method to characterize the relationship between size and ligand number and density in PLGA-PEG nanoparticles. We highlight how heterogeneity found in size can impact ligand distribution and how a significant part of the nanoparticle population goes completely undetected in the single-technique analysis. Super-resCLEM holds great promise for the multiparametric analysis of other parameters and nanomaterials.

JTD Keywords: cellular uptake, correlative light and electron microscopy (clem), density, electron microscopy (em), functionalization, heterogeneity, nanomedicine, nanoparticles, pegylation, plga, progress, quantification, size, Correlative light and electron microscopy (clem), Electron microscopy (em), Heterogeneity, Nanomedicine, Nanoparticles, Physicochemical characterization, Super-resolution microscopy (srm)


Wang, YY, Friedrich, H, Voets, IK, Zijlstra, P, Albertazzi, L, (2021). Correlative imaging for polymer science Journal Of Polymer Science 59, 1232-1240

The characterization of polymeric materials is key towards the understanding of structure–activity relations and therefore for the rational design of novel and improved materials for a myriad of applications. Many microscopy techniques are currently used, with electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and atomic force microscopy being the most relevant. In this perspective paper, we discuss the use of correlative imaging, that is, the combination of multiple imaging methodologies on the same sample, in the field of polymeric materials. This innovative approach is emerging as a powerful tool to unveil the structure and functional properties of biological and synthetic structures. Here we discuss the possibilities of correlative imaging and highlight their potential to answer open questions in polymer science.

JTD Keywords: correlative imaging, electron microscopy, material characterization, resolution microscopy, super‐, Atomic force microscopy, Correlative imaging, Electron microscopy, Material characterization, Super-resolution microscopy


Balakrishnan, H, Millan-Solsona, R, Checa, M, Fabregas, R, Fumagalli, L, Gomila, G, (2021). Depth mapping of metallic nanowire polymer nanocomposites by scanning dielectric microscopy Nanoscale 13, 10116-10126

Polymer nanocomposite materials based on metallic nanowires are widely investigated as transparent and flexible electrodes or as stretchable conductors and dielectrics for biosensing. Here we show that Scanning Dielectric Microscopy (SDM) can map the depth distribution of metallic nanowires within the nanocomposites in a non-destructive way. This is achieved by a quantitative analysis of sub-surface electrostatic force microscopy measurements with finite-element numerical calculations. As an application we determined the three-dimensional spatial distribution of ?50 nm diameter silver nanowires in ?100 nm-250 nm thick gelatin films. The characterization is done both under dry ambient conditions, where gelatin shows a relatively low dielectric constant, ?r ? 5, and under humid ambient conditions, where its dielectric constant increases up to ?r ? 14. The present results show that SDM can be a valuable non-destructive subsurface characterization technique for nanowire-based nanocomposite materials, which can contribute to the optimization of these materials for applications in fields such as wearable electronics, solar cell technologies or printable electronics. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

JTD Keywords: composite, constant, electrodes, mode, nanostructures, objects, progress, subsurface, tomography, Composite materials, Dielectric materials, Electric force microscopy, Electrostatic force, Force microscopy, Low dielectric constants, Nanocomposites, Numerical calculation, Polymer nanocomposite, Printable electronics, Scanning dielectric microscopy, Silver nanowires, Solar cell technology, Stretchable conductors, Subsurface characterizations, Transparent electrodes, Wearable technology


Covington, JA, Marco, S, Persaud, KC, Schiffman, SS, Nagle, HT, (2021). Artificial Olfaction in the 21st Century Ieee Sensors Journal 21, 12969-12990

The human olfactory system remains one of the most challenging biological systems to replicate. Humans use it without thinking, where it can equally offer protection from harm and bring enjoyment in equal measure. It is the system’s ability to detect and analyze complex odors, without the need for specialized infra-structure, that is the envy of many scientists. The field of artificial olfaction has recruited and stimulated interdisciplinary research and commercial development for several applications that include malodor measurement, medical diagnostics, food and beverage quality, environment and security. Over the last century, innovative engineers and scientists have been focused on solving a range of problems associated with measurement and control of odor. The IEEE Sensors Journal has published Special Issues on olfaction in 2002 and 2012. Here we continue that coverage. In this article, we summarize early work in the 20th Century that served as the foundation upon which we have been building our odor-monitoring instrumental and measurement systems. We then examine the current state of the art that has been achieved over the last two decades as we have transitioned into the 21st Century. Much has been accomplished, but great progress is needed in sensor technology, system design, product manufacture and performance standards. In the final section, we predict levels of performance and ubiquitous applications that will be realized during in the mid to late 21st Century.

JTD Keywords: air-quality, breath analysis, calibration transfer, chemical sensor arrays, chemosensor arrays, drift compensation, electronic nose, gas sensors, headspace sampling, machine learning, machine olfaction, odor detection, plume structure, voc analysis, Artificial olfaction, Electrodes, Electronic nose, Electronic nose technology, Headspace sampling, Instruments, Machine learning, Machine olfaction, Monitoring, Odor detection, Olfactory, Sensor phenomena and characterization, Sensors, Temperature sensors, Voc analysis


Arista-Romero, M, Pujals, S, Albertazzi, L, (2021). Towards a Quantitative Single Particle Characterization by Super Resolution Microscopy: From Virus Structures to Antivirals Design Frontiers In Bioengineering And Biotechnology 9, 647874

In the last year the COVID19 pandemic clearly illustrated the potential threat that viruses pose to our society. The characterization of viral structures and the identification of key proteins involved in each step of the cycle of infection are crucial to develop treatments. However, the small size of viruses, invisible under conventional fluorescence microscopy, make it difficult to study the organization of protein clusters within the viral particle. The applications of super-resolution microscopy have skyrocketed in the last years, converting this group into one of the leading techniques to characterize viruses and study the viral infection in cells, breaking the diffraction limit by achieving resolutions up to 10 nm using conventional probes such as fluorescent dyes and proteins. There are several super-resolution methods available and the selection of the right one it is crucial to study in detail all the steps involved in the viral infection, quantifying and creating models of infection for relevant viruses such as HIV-1, Influenza, herpesvirus or SARS-CoV-1. Here we review the use of super-resolution microscopy (SRM) to study all steps involved in the viral infection and antiviral design. In light of the threat of new viruses, these studies could inspire future assays to unveil the viral mechanism of emerging viruses and further develop successful antivirals against them.

JTD Keywords: antivirals, characterization, imaging, super-resolution, virus, Antivirals, Characterization, Imaging, Super-resolution, Virus


Woythe, L, Tito, NB, Albertazzi, L, (2021). A quantitative view on multivalent nanomedicine targeting Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 169, 1-21

© 2020 The Authors Although the concept of selective delivery has been postulated over 100 years ago, no targeted nanomedicine has been clinically approved so far. Nanoparticles modified with targeting ligands to promote the selective delivery of therapeutics towards a specific cell population have been extensively reported. However, the rational design of selective particles is still challenging. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of quantitative theoretical and experimental understanding of the interactions involved in cell targeting. In this review, we discuss new theoretical models and experimental methods that provide a quantitative view of targeting. We show the new advancements in multivalency theory enabling the rational design of super-selective nanoparticles. Furthermore, we present the innovative approaches to obtain key targeting parameters at the single-cell and single molecule level and their role in the design of targeting nanoparticles. We believe that the combination of new theoretical multivalent design and experimental methods to quantify receptors and ligands aids in the rational design and clinical translation of targeted nanomedicines.

JTD Keywords: binding-kinetics, biological identity, biomolecular corona, blood-brain-barrier, drug-delivery, gold nanoparticles, multivalency, nanotechnology, protein corona, quantitative characterization, rational design, super-selectivity, superresolution microscopy, tumor heterogeneity, Ligand-receptor interactions, Multivalency, Nanotechnology, Quantitative characterization, Rational design, Super-selectivity


Lozano, H., Millán-Solsona, R., Fabregas, R., Gomila, G., (2019). Sizing single nanoscale objects from polarization forces Scientific Reports 9, (1), 14142

Sizing natural or engineered single nanoscale objects is fundamental in many areas of science and technology. To achieve it several advanced microscopic techniques have been developed, mostly based on electron and scanning probe microscopies. Still for soft and poorly adhered samples the existing techniques face important challenges. Here, we propose an alternative method to size single nanoscale objects based on the measurement of its electric polarization. The method is based on Electrostatic Force Microscopy measurements combined with a specifically designed multiparameter quantification algorithm, which gives the physical dimensions (height and width) of the nanoscale object. The proposed method is validated with ~50 nm diameter silver nanowires, and successfully applied to ~10 nm diameter bacterial polar flagella, an example of soft and poorly adhered nanoscale object. We show that an accuracy comparable to AFM topographic imaging can be achieved. The main advantage of the proposed method is that, being based on the measurement of long-range polarization forces, it can be applied without contacting the sample, what is key when considering poorly adhered and soft nanoscale objects. Potential applications of the proposed method to a wide range of nanoscale objects relevant in Material, Life Sciences and Nanomedicine is envisaged.

JTD Keywords: Characterization and analytical techniques, Imaging techniques


Vidal, E., Buxadera-Palomero, J., Pierre, C., Manero, J. M., Ginebra, M. P., Cazalbou, S., Combes, C., Rupérez, E., Rodríguez, D., (2019). Single-step pulsed electrodeposition of calcium phosphate coatings on titanium for drug delivery Surface and Coatings Technology 358, 266-275

Metallic implants have some limitations related to bioactivity and bacteria colonization leading to infections. In this regard, calcium phosphate coatings can be used as carrier for drug delivery in order to improve the mentioned drawbacks. The present work proposes the introduction of an antibacterial agent in the course of a pulsed and reverse pulsed electrodeposition. Calcium phosphate coatings were prepared in 30 min using different pulse waveforms (unipolar-bipolar), current densities (2–5 mA/cm2) and temperatures (40–60 °C). Mechanical stability of the as-coated surfaces was studied in order to select the optimal electrodeposition conditions. Subsequently, selected coatings were loaded with an antiseptic agent, chlorhexidine digluconate (CHX), via a single-step co-deposition procedure. CHX concentration added to the electrolyte was adjusted to 3 mM based on the antibacterial efficacy of the loaded coatings evaluated in vitro with Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacteria strains. Whereas the same chlorhexidine concentration was added to the electrolyte, results showed that the amount of CHX loaded was different for each condition while release kinetics was maintained. The results of this work demonstrate that a pulsed co-deposition strategy has great potential to modulate local delivery of antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine digluconate, which may prevent early phase infections of metallic implants after insertion.

JTD Keywords: Antibacterial agent, Calcium phosphate, Characterization, Coating, Pulse electrodeposition, Titanium


Garde, A., Giraldo, B. F., Jané, R., Latshang, T. D., Turk, A. J., Hess, T., Bosch, M-.M., Barthelmes, D., Merz, T. M., Hefti, J. Pichler, Schoch, O. D., Bloch, K. E., (2015). Time-varying signal analysis to detect high-altitude periodic breathing in climbers ascending to extreme altitude Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing , 53, (8), 699-712

This work investigates the performance of cardiorespiratory analysis detecting periodic breathing (PB) in chest wall recordings in mountaineers climbing to extreme altitude. The breathing patterns of 34 mountaineers were monitored unobtrusively by inductance plethysmography, ECG and pulse oximetry using a portable recorder during climbs at altitudes between 4497 and 7546 m on Mt. Muztagh Ata. The minute ventilation (VE) and heart rate (HR) signals were studied, to identify visually scored PB, applying time-varying spectral, coherence and entropy analysis. In 411 climbing periods, 30–120 min in duration, high values of mean power (MPVE) and slope (MSlopeVE) of the modulation frequency band of VE, accurately identified PB, with an area under the ROC curve of 88 and 89 %, respectively. Prolonged stay at altitude was associated with an increase in PB. During PB episodes, higher peak power of ventilatory (MPVE) and cardiac (MP LF HR ) oscillations and cardiorespiratory coherence (MP LF Coher ), but reduced ventilation entropy (SampEnVE), was observed. Therefore, the characterization of cardiorespiratory dynamics by the analysis of VE and HR signals accurately identifies PB and effects of altitude acclimatization, providing promising tools for investigating physiologic effects of environmental exposures and diseases.

JTD Keywords: High-altitude periodic breathing, Cardiorespiratory characterization, Time-varying spectral analysis, Acclimatization, Hypoxia


Castaño, O., Sachot, N., Xuriguera, E., Engel, E., Planell, J. A., Park, J. H., Jin, G. Z., Kim, T. H., Kim, J. H., Kim, H. W., (2014). Angiogenesis in bone regeneration: Tailored calcium release in hybrid fibrous scaffolds ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 6, (10), 7512-7522

In bone regeneration, silicon-based calcium phosphate glasses (Bioglasses) have been widely used since the 1970s. However, they dissolve very slowly because of their high amount of Si (SiO2 > 45%). Recently, our group has found that calcium ions released by the degradation of glasses in which the job of silicon is done by just 5% of TiO2 are effective angiogenic promoters, because of their stimulation of a cell-membrane calcium sensing receptor (CaSR). Based on this, other focused tests on angiogenesis have found that Bioglasses also have the potential to be angiogenic promoters even with high contents of silicon (80%); however, their slow degradation is still a problem, as the levels of silicon cannot be decreased any lower than 45%. In this work, we propose a new generation of hybrid organically modified glasses, ormoglasses, that enable the levels of silicon to be reduced, therefore speeding up the degradation process. Using electrospinning as a faithful way to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM), we successfully produced hybrid fibrous mats with three different contents of Si (40, 52, and 70%), and thus three different calcium ion release rates, using an ormoglass–polycaprolactone blend approach. These mats offered a good platform to evaluate different calcium release rates as osteogenic promoters in an in vivo subcutaneous environment. Complementary data were collected to complement Ca2+ release analysis, such as stiffness evaluation by AFM, ζ-potential, morphology evaluation by FESEM, proliferation and differentiation analysis, as well as in vivo subcutaneous implantations. Material and biological characterization suggested that compositions of organic/inorganic hybrid materials with a Si content equivalent to 40%, which were also those that released more calcium, were osteogenic. They also showed a greater ability to form blood vessels. These results suggest that Si-based ormoglasses can be considered an efficient tool for calcium release modulation, which could play a key role in the angiogenic promoting process.

JTD Keywords: Biological materials, Blood vessels, Calcium, Electrospinning, Glass, Hybrid materials, Silicon oxides, Sol-gel process, Sol-gels, Angiogenesis, Biological characterization, Calcium phosphate glass, Calcium-sensing receptors, Degradation process, Extracellular matrices, Organic/inorganic hybrid materials, ormoglasses, Silicon


Serra, T., Ortiz-Hernandez, M., Engel, E., Planell, J. A., Navarro, M., (2014). Relevance of PEG in PLA-based blends for tissue engineering 3D-printed scaffolds Materials Science and Engineering: C 38, (1), 55-62

Achieving high quality 3D-printed structures requires establishing the right printing conditions. Finding processing conditions that satisfy both the fabrication process and the final required scaffold properties is crucial. This work stresses the importance of studying the outcome of the plasticizing effect of PEG on PLA-based blends used for the fabrication of 3D-direct-printed scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. For this, PLA/PEG blends with 5, 10 and 20% (w/w) of PEG and PLA/PEG/bioactive CaP glass composites were processed in the form of 3D rapid prototyping scaffolds. Surface analysis and differential scanning calorimetry revealed a rearrangement of polymer chains and a topography, wettability and elastic modulus increase of the studied surfaces as PEG was incorporated. Moreover, addition of 10 and 20% PEG led to non-uniform 3D structures with lower mechanical properties. In vitro degradation studies showed that the inclusion of PEG significantly accelerated the degradation rate of the material. Results indicated that the presence of PEG not only improves PLA processing but also leads to relevant surface, geometrical and structural changes including modulation of the degradation rate of PLA-based 3D printed scaffolds.

JTD Keywords: 3D-printing, Polylactic acid, Rapid prototyping, Scaffold, Surface characterization


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

In this work we report the fabrication of Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films of a substituted ZnPc (octakis(oxyoctyl)phthalocyanine of zinc), and their characterization by means of several techniques. These characterization techniques include surface pressure (π-A) and surface potential (ΔV-A) isotherms as well as UV-vis Reflection spectroscopy and Brewster Angle Microscopy (BAM) for the films at the air-water interface together with UV-vis absorption and IR spectroscopies and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for the LB films. The π-A and ΔV-A isotherms and BAM images indicate a phase transition at a surface pressure of ca. 9 mN/m and a multilayer formation at surface pressures around 19-20 mN/m; at a surface pressure around 27 mN/m a disordered collapse of the film occurs. In addition, AFM images of LB films at π = 10 mN/m and π = 20 mN/m show a monomolecular and a multilayered film, respectively. The comparison of the UV-vis spectrum of ZnPc in solution, the reflection spectra of the Langmuir films and UV-vis spectra of LB films reveals a significant reduction in the Q band intensity for the films, indicative of an organization of ZnPc in the Langmuir and LB films versus the random distribution in solution. The UV-vis Reflection spectra are also consistent with multilayer formation at surface pressures around 19-20 mN/m. The relative intensities of the IR spectrum bands change from the KBr pellet to the LB film which is also attributable to orientation effects in the film. Cyclic voltammetric experiments of LB films incorporating the ZnPc derivative show peaks that can be correlated with redox processes occurring in the phthalocyanine ring. A small but significant influence of the surface pressure and the number of deposited layers in the electrochemical behaviour is observed. The electrochemical response of cast films exhibits some differences with respect to that of LB films which have been attributed to their different molecular organizations.

JTD Keywords: Atomic Force Microscopy, Electrochemistry, Langmuir-Blodgett, Multilayers, Optical spectroscopy techniques, Zinc phthalocyanine, Atomic force microscopy, Electrochemistry, Interfaces (materials), Isotherms, Multilayers, Nitrogen compounds, Optical multilayers, Organic polymers, Zinc compounds, Brewster angle microscopy, Characterization techniques, Electrochemical behaviour, Langmuir and langmuir-blodgett films, Langmuir-blodgett, Optical spectroscopy techniques, UV-Vis Reflection Spectroscopy, Zinc phthalocyanines, Langmuir Blodgett films


Arcentales, A., Voss, A., Caminal, P., Bayes-Genis, A., Domingo, M. T., Giraldo, B. F., (2013). Characterization of patients with different ventricular ejection fractions using blood pressure signal analysis CinC 2013 Computing in Cardiology Conference (CinC) , IEEE (Zaragoza, Spain) , 795-798

Ischemic and dilated cardiomyopathy are associated with disorders of myocardium. Using the blood pressure (BP) signal and the values of the ventricular ejection fraction, we obtained parameters for stratifying cardiomyopathy patients as low- and high-risk. We studied 48 cardiomyopathy patients characterized by NYHA ≥2: 19 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and 29 patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM). The left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) percentage was used to classify patients in low risk (LR: LVEF > 35%, 17 patients) and high risk (HR: LVEF ≤ 35%, 31 patients) groups. From the BP signal, we extracted the upward systolic slope (BPsl), the difference between systolic and diastolic BP (BPA), and systolic time intervals (STI). When we compared the LR and HR groups in the time domain analysis, the best parameters were standard deviation (SD) of 1=STI, kurtosis (K) of BPsl, and K of BPA. In the frequency domain analysis, very low frequency (VLF) and high frequency (HF) bands showed statistically significant differences in comaprisons of LR and HR groups. The area under the curve of power spectral density was the best parameter in all classifications, and particularly in the very-low-and high- frequency bands (p <; 0.001). These parameters could help to improve the risk stratification of cardiomyopathy patients.

JTD Keywords: blood pressure measurement, cardiovascular system, diseases, medical disorders, medical signal processing, statistical analysis, time-domain analysis, BP signal, HR groups, LR groups, blood pressure signal analysis, cardiomyopathy patients, diastolic BP, dilated cardiomyopathy, frequency domain analysis, high-frequency bands, ischemic cardiomyopathy, left ventricular ejection fraction, low-frequency bands, myocardium disorders, patient characterization, power spectral density curve, standard deviation, statistical significant differences, systolic BP, systolic slope, systolic time intervals, time domain analysis, ventricular ejection fraction, Abstracts, Databases, Parameter extraction, Telecommunication standards, Time-frequency analysis


Giraldo, B. F., Chaparro, J. A., Caminal, P., Benito, S., (2013). Characterization of the respiratory pattern variability of patients with different pressure support levels Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Osaka, Japan) , 3849-3852

One of the most challenging problems in intensive care is still the process of discontinuing mechanical ventilation, called weaning process. Both an unnecessary delay in the discontinuation process and a weaning trial that is undertaken too early are undesirable. In this study, we analyzed respiratory pattern variability using the respiratory volume signal of patients submitted to two different levels of pressure support ventilation (PSV), prior to withdrawal of the mechanical ventilation. In order to characterize the respiratory pattern, we analyzed the following time series: inspiratory time, expiratory time, breath duration, tidal volume, fractional inspiratory time, mean inspiratory flow and rapid shallow breathing. Several autoregressive modeling techniques were considered: autoregressive models (AR), autoregressive moving average models (ARMA), and autoregressive models with exogenous input (ARX). The following classification methods were used: logistic regression (LR), linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and support vector machines (SVM). 20 patients on weaning trials from mechanical ventilation were analyzed. The patients, submitted to two different levels of PSV, were classified as low PSV and high PSV. The variability of the respiratory patterns of these patients were analyzed. The most relevant parameters were extracted using the classifiers methods. The best results were obtained with the interquartile range and the final prediction errors of AR, ARMA and ARX models. An accuracy of 95% (93% sensitivity and 90% specificity) was obtained when the interquartile range of the expiratory time and the breath duration time series were used a LDA model. All classifiers showed a good compromise between sensitivity and specificity.

JTD Keywords: autoregressive moving average processes, feature extraction, medical signal processing, patient care, pneumodynamics, signal classification, support vector machines, time series, ARX, autoregressive modeling techniques, autoregressive models with exogenous input, autoregressive moving average model, breath duration time series, classification method, classifier method, discontinuing mechanical ventilation, expiratory time, feature extraction, final prediction errors, fractional inspiratory time, intensive care, interquartile range, linear discriminant analysis, logistic regression analysis, mean inspiratory flow, patient respiratory volume signal, pressure support level, pressure support ventilation, rapid shallow breathing, respiratory pattern variability characterization, support vector machines, tidal volume, weaning trial, Analytical models, Autoregressive processes, Biological system modeling, Estimation, Support vector machines, Time series analysis, Ventilation


Kuphal, M., Mills, C.A., Korri-Youssoufi, H., Samitier, J., (2012). Polymer-based technology platform for robust electrochemical sensing using gold microelectrodes Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 161, (1), 279-284

Rapid and inexpensive development of electrochemical sensors with good exploitation potential may be produced using a polymer as a substrate material. However, fabrication of polymer-based sensors is challenging. Using photolithography and etching of gold-coated poly(ethylene-2,6-naphthalate) (PEN), we have succeeded in fabricating disk-shaped and interdigitated microelectrodes (uEs). The electrodes have an excellent adhesion to the polymer and are encapsulated using a novel room-temperature process, applicable for low-cost, high-throughput fabrication. The PEN surface has been characterized in respect of wettability, surface energy and surface roughness. Finally, the electrodes give stable and reproducible electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry responses, using the redox couple ferrocyanide and ruthenium hexamine. The results demonstrate the robustness and functionality of the polymer-based sensor platform with minimum feature sizes of 6 um.

JTD Keywords: Poly(ethylene naphthalate), Photolithography, Microelectrodes, Interdigitated electrodes, Electrochemical characterization, Electrochemical sensor