Cytosolic and nuclear optical nanosensors, second project selected in the joint DTIC-CEXS call
The project “Cytosolic and nuclear optical nanosensors” has been selected in the second call of joint projects DCEXS – DTIC and will be executed during this year and 2019. The call is aimed at triggering collaboration between the two departments at UPF recognised as María de Maeztu Units of Excellence: the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS, MDM-2014-0370) and the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC, MDM-2015-0502).
The project will take place in the context of developing sensing nanotechnologies gathering data from the intracellular milieu of living cells by using nanoparticles with an optical read out. Special attention will be paid (i) to characterize the nanoparticles in different media via enhanced dark field hyperspectral imaging to track changes in their physicochemical properties that may led to a loss in functionality and (ii) to deliver the sensors to the cytosol and nucleus of the cells to overcome the endocytic and nuclear barriers. Both, tracking and sensing can be done at the level of individual nanoparticles to collect more specific information about the nanomaterial-cell interface.
The project involves knowledge and technology transfer between two research groups: The Biomedical Electronics Research Group (BERG) of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC), led by Antoni Ivorra, and the Integrative Biomedical Materials and Nanomedicine Group of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, led by Pilar Rivera Gil. The Biomedical Electronics Research Group will perform numerical analyses and will provide devices (e.g. electrodes and generators) and expertise regarding electroporation. On the other hand, the Integrative Biomedical Materials and Nanomedicine Group will develop the nanoparticles and will perform the in vitro studies indicated in the above description of the sub-objectives.
In addition to knowledge and technology transfer, this project will foster work culture and scientific culture exchanges between both groups, and between both departments. For instance, the Integrative Biomedical Materials and Nanomedicine Group will benefit from the Biomedical Electronics Research Group experience in animal and pre-clinical experimentation and industrial property issues. And, viceversa, the Biomedical Electronics Research Group will be exposed to a field of high scholarly impact (nanomedicine) and to a set of in vitro tools and methods unknown to it but very relevant for its research.