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  • Dr. Cristina Flors

    Dr. Cristina Flors

    Position: Senior Research Professor

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    Telephone no.: +34 91 299 8767

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    Biography:

    Following my degree in Chemistry, I completed my PhD at the Institut Químic de Sarrià in Barcelona in 2004 under the supervision of Prof. Santi Nonell. During that time, I studied the photophysical properties of phenalenone derivatives, with particular emphasis on singlet oxygen photosensitization, using a range of spectroscopic techniques. In 2005 I moved to the laboratory of Prof. Johan Hofkens at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, to learn single-molecule and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. I investigated the photophysical properties of different molecules such as perylene diimide dendrimers and a range of fluorescent proteins. My most representative result from that period was the single-molecule characterization of the photoswitching properties of the fluorescent protein Dronpa and its mutants. Importantly, we showed how the thorough understanding of photophysics can help optimize super-resolution imaging (Flors et al, J. Am Chem. Soc. 2007). Having gained expertise in a new technique with great potential, I moved to the University of Edinburgh in 2008 to begin my independent research career, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and The Royal Society. I started a new research program to develop methodology for super-resolution imaging of DNA based on single-molecule localization (Flors et al, ChemPhysChem 2009; Curr. Op. Chem. Biol. 2011). In February 2012 I moved to IMDEA Nanoscience with a Ramón y Cajal fellowship, and I am now Senior Group Leader. At IMDEA I continue working on the improvement of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy methods, most recently combining them with atomic force microscopy. In parallel to the super-resolution work, I am also interested in the photosensitizing properties of fluorescent proteins and their applications in advanced microscopy and phototherapy.

  • Dr. Patricia Bondía

    Dr. Patricia Bondía

    Position: Postdoctoral Researcher

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    Telephone no.: +34 91 299 8765


    Biography:

    The development of new technologies to study the nanoscale events that rule every biological process has become my motivation for doing research since I studied the Biotechnology degree (Polytechnic University of Valencia and Ghent University). After finishing my studies, I was fascinated by the applications of molecular biology in Biomedicine so I decided to join the pharma industry, becoming part of the Protein Science group of Crucell B.V. (Leiden, The Netherlands). There I discovered the power of Biophysics to understand the protein nanoworld. As a result, I decided to enrol in the Biophysics master (Autonomous University of Madrid) where I learnt the state-of-art technology used in molecular biology research. Thus, I focused my Master thesis at the Cajal Institute (Madrid) on the study of the role of proteins as mechanical signal transductors through force spectroscopy. Afterwards, I started working at IMDEA Nanoscience under the supervision of Cristina Flors, where I had the opportunity of studying biological structures at the nanoscale through the combination of different imaging techniques. I recently defended my PhD on the application of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy in correlation with AFM for the nanoscale study of amyloid aggregates with potential application in biomedicine and materials science.

    Currently, I continue to work as a postdoc on new projects focused on the use of photodynamic strategies for solving biomedical challenges.

  • Dr. Joaquim Torra

    Position: Postdoctoral Researcher

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    Telephone no.: +34 91 299 8700


    Biography:

    I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 2012 from the University of Barcelona. Then I moved to the Institut Químic de Sarrià where I completed my Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2013, and my PhD Degree in photochemistry and photobiology in 2018, under the supervision of Prof. Santi Nonell and Dr. Rubén Ruiz-González.
    My work during the PhD Degree focused on the characterization of the photophysical and photosensitizing properties of novel fluorescent flavoproteins (FbFPs) by means of steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopic techniques. Interestingly, most of FbFPs studied produce singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon blue light illumination, and are capable of inducing severe cell photodamage when expressed in mammalian and bacterial cells. We have shown that FbFPs have great potential as genetically encoded photosensitizers for a variety of mechanistic, imaging and therapeutic applications, including correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM), optogenetics and photodynamic therapy (PDT) of cancer and microbial infections.
    Recently, I have joined the group of Dr. Cristina Flors at IMDEA Nanoscience in Madrid as a postdoctoral researcher. My research interests include the study and development of novel photochemical and photobiological tools with potential for optogenetic applications and for super-resolution and other advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques, to expand the currently available palette of fluorophores and provide therapeutic alternatives in biomedicine.

  • Felipe Viela

    Dr. Felipe Viela Bovio

    Position: Postdoctoral Researcher

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    Telephone no.: +34 91 299 8700


    Biography:

    I obtained the degree in Biochemistry at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) in 2012 and completed my training with the Molecular and Cellular Biology master degree at the same university a year later. During that time, I joined the Nanoscience Institute of Aragon to study protein-DNA interaction at the single-molecule level by using atomic force microscopy (AFM).

    Then, I moved to Madrid to start my PhD in Prof. Isabel Rodríguez’s group at IMDEA Nanociencia, where I used cutting-edge techniques in materials science to drive cellular functions. Specifically, I engineered a range of bioinspired polymer nanotopographies to manipulate the biological response of stem cells and bacteria

    My fascination with the complexity of bacterial-surface interaction encouraged me to specialize on this topic, so I joined the laboratory of Prof. Yves Dufrêne at Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) as a postdoctoral fellow by the end of 2017. I learnt how to use single-molecule and single-cell atomic force spectroscopy to unravel several medically-relevant bacterial adhesion mechanisms.

    Since October 2020, I am a postdoctoral researcher at Prof. Cristina Flors’ group. I would like to combine AFM force spectroscopy with advanced fluorescent nanoscopy to better understand and improve the bactericidal performance of bioinspired polymer nanotopographies.

  • Ingrid Ortega

    Ingrid Vanesa Ortega

    Position: PhD Student

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    Telephone no.: +34 91 299 8700


    Biography:

    After I finished my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry (Complutense University of Madrid and Jagiellonian University of Krakow, 2017), I had the opportunity to work at the pharmaceutical company Epinamics (Germany) where I was applying spectroscopy techniques for the measurement of diverse physico-chemical parameters in biological samples.

    Then, I enrolled in a Master’s in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine and I completed my master thesis under the supervision of Dr. Jose Luis Fernandez Luna, head of Cellular Signalling at and Therapeutics Targets in Cancer (Health Research Institute IDIVAL, “Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, 2018). The project was about the proliferation and migration capacity of glioblastoma multiforme human cells when submitted to stress. This project motivated me to focus my research career on the search for new tools for biology, with the final goal of finding alternative therapies for human diseases.

    At present, I am working as a PhD student in the group of Dr. Cristina Flors at IMDEA Nanoscience Institute. My main research is aimed at developing advanced microscopy tools to study bacterial death in real time.