Author: Anna May

Teresa Soto presents her “Treball de recerca” on silk and bacterial cellulose

Teresa (in the center) with her teachers at Institut Pere Calders
Teresa (in the center) with her teachers at Institut Pere Calders

Teresa Soto, high school student at Institut Pere Calders, Bellaterra, has presented her Research Project (Treball de Recerca) entitled “Estudi comparatiu de dos polímers: la cel·lulosa bacteriana i la seda” (Comparative study of two polymers: bacterial cellulose and silk).

The project is about comparing the properties between these two biopolymers: bacterial cellulose, produced in our lab by the bacteria Gluconacetobacter xylinus, and silk, obtained from the cocoons of silkworms.

Teresa was with us for a couple of months to do the experimental part of her project, under the supervision of Anna Laromaine.

Lab cleaning day in the lab!

Today was the lab cleaning day! Everybody collaborated and we managed to clean all the lab and update all the chemicals database =)

We also wish good luck to Qianzhe Zhang as new lab manager for the next months!

Thanks all!

And thank you Deyaa and Ma for the photos!

The lab was crowded for the lab cleaning
Dani, Luo and Irene cleaning the hoods and oven
Miquel updating the security cupboard chemical list
Ma and Anna with the chemical cupboard, and Ignasi and Jordi with the common material
“Is that thermometer working?” Jordi asks himself.
Ma and Ignasi, and outside, Monica, Aml and Deyaa.
Working on updating the common material list.
Lab cleaning: everybody with labcoat, gloves and goggles. Good laboratory practices!

Excellent cum laude for Laura González thesis on “Evaluating inorganic nanoparticles in the living organism C. elegans”!

The NN group members would like to congratulate Laura González for her excellent work on the Ph.D. thesis defense!

Laura’s thesis is entitled “Evaluating inorganic nanoparticles in the living organism Caenorhabditis elegans” and has been supervised by Dr. Anna Laromaine and Dr. Anna Roig, from the NN group

The jury was formed by Dr. Maria Vallet-Regí (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain), Dr. Stefaan Soenen (KU Leuven, Belgium) and Dr. Joel N. Meyer (Duke University, USA).

Congratulations Laura! 


Today Joel N. Meyer from Duke University gives a Seminar at ICMAB on “Mechanisms of uptake and toxicity of Ag NP in C. elegans”

Prof. Joel N. Meyer will give a Seminar entitled “Mechanisms of uptake and toxicity of silver nanoparticles in Caenorhabditis elegans“, today, December 15, at 12 pm at ICMAB Conference Room Carles Miravitlles.

Prof. Joel N. Meyer is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Nicholas School of the Environment and Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), at Duke University, NC, USA. 

Short abstract:

Engineered nanomaterials offer great opportunities due to their novel properties. However, there is concern that these novel properties may also result in deleterious effects on human and ecological health that are difficult to predict based only on an understanding of the chemical makeup. We tested a number of nanoparticles (NPs) for toxicity in the nematode model Caenorhabditis elegans, and found that certain silver NPs (AgNPs) were the most toxic of the NPs that we had tested. We therefore extended our studies to characterize environmental factors that might alter AgNP toxicity, as well as the uptake and mechanism of toxicity of AgNPs in C. elegans.

Because much AgNP waste is expected to end up in aquatic ecosystems, we tested the influence of environmental variables on toxicity. We found that higher ionic strength, the presence of natural organic matter, and sulfidation of the AgNPs (expected to occur in many environments after AgNP release) all significantly reduced Ag NP toxicity. Using physicochemical, genetic, and pharmacological rescue approaches, we found that the most toxic AgNPs -generally, the smallest- caused their effects largely via dissolution. Some AgNPs (typically less soluble due to size or coating) also caused toxicity via generation of reactive oxygen species, an effect specific to nanoparticulate silver. This effect was masked by the toxicity of silver ions except when dissolution was very limited. The toxicity of the tested AgNPs was almost never greater than would result from complete dissolution of the same mass of silver. We also found that endocytosis was an important mechanism for AgNP uptake. However, the specific mechanisms by which AgNPs or released silver ion cause toxicity remain unclear. Because AgNPs are used to kill microbes, and mitochondria are endosymbiotic descendants of bacteria, current studies are focused on testing the possibility that AgNPs cause some of their toxicity via disruption of mitochondrial function.

If you would like to arrange a meeting with Prof. Joel N. Meyer please contact: Dr. Anna Laromaine (

Laura González will defend her Doctoral Thesis on Friday, December 16th at 12 pm at ICMAB

This Friday 16th of December Laura González is going to defend her Doctoral Thesis entitled “Evaluating inorganic nanoparticles in the living organism Caenorhabditis elegans”, supervised by Dr. Anna Laromaine and Dr. Anna Roig

In this thesis, we have used the simple model organism Caenorhabditis elegans as an in vivo biological system to screen inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) with biomedical uses. In particular, we have assessed the behaviour of two types of particles with different composition, size and surface properties: iron oxide NPs coated with citrate and bovine serum albumin, and gold nanoparticles of two different sizes. We have studied their interactions with C. elegans including their uptake, fate, biological effects and NP-responsive molecular mechanisms, and compared our results with previous studies. To this end, we have combined toxicity tests, materials science and imaging techniques and gene expression analysis. We have been able to perform this biological evaluation in the synthetic laboratory where the particles were synthesized and characterised due to the advantageous experiments features of C. elegans.In summary, this thesis exploits the potential of C. elegans as a simple animal model to evaluate NPs in the initial stages of development and contributes to: (i) a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of NPs in C. elegans, in particular studying the influence of NP properties (size, surface coating and core composition) on their in vivo effects, (ii) extend the toolkit of techniques available to characterise nano-bio interactions in small organisms.

The Jury Members will be:

Everyone is invited to join the presentation, that will be held at 12 pm at ICMAB Conference Room Carles Miravitlles. After the defense, there will be a “pica-pica” for everyone in the dining room. 

Anna Laromaine at MUY INTERSANTE: “When you work in a single field, you’re limiting yourself”

Anna Laromaine appears in the MUY INTERESANTE magazine number 427 (December 2016). The magazine article highlights Anna’s carrer: from studying Chemistry at Universitat de Girona, to her PhD at ICMAB, and her multiple Postdoctoral Fellowships at University College London, MIT and Harvard, where she worked in different fields related to nanomaterials and biomedicine, before returning to ICMAB

The article also emphasizes the fact that Anna is not only a prolific researcher; she also teaches at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, gives seminars and talks in high schools, and has founded her own startup company

We hope you enjoy the article and learn a little bit more of one of our group members! Congratulations Anna!

  • Download the article here!
  • News at ICMAB webpage here.

Today is the Biomed PhD Day Symposium at Campus de l’Alimentació de Torribera (UB)

biomed-carteThe Biomedicine PhD Program team organizes this one day symposium Biomed PhD Day on December 7th at Universitat de Barcelona – Campus de l’Alimentació de Torribera

Some of the most experienced and renowned researchers in the field, such as Dr. Manel Esteller (Cancer Epigenetics, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute – IDIBELL), Dr. Antoni Trilla (Epidemiologist, Hospital Clinic, ISGlobal), and Dr. Patrick Aloy (Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology, Institute for Research in Biomedicine – IRB), will give Invited Lectures in the symposium.

The symposium will also include some interesting workshops on subjects of specific interest for PhD students, such as “10 tips to get your paper published in high-impact journals and how to avoid rejections” by Dr. Marta Pulido, “The anomaly of women in science” by Dr. Sònia Estradé, “Business and technology transfer in Biomedicine: why the prospect of making money is not that bad” by Dr. Luís Ruiz Ávila or “Planning your Academic Career, with an Open Mind” by Dr. Elisabeth Pain, among others. 

More information:


Anna Roig visits King Abdhullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)


This week Anna Roig is visiting King Abdhullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. She has been invited by Prof. Xixiang Zhang at the Physical Science and Engineering Division. 

Anna has delivered a seminar today on Bio-screening of protein coated nanoparticles: in-vitro and in-vivo by the C. elegans model. She also visited the very well equipped labs and talked to students and faculty.


logo of KAUST

Deyaa will attend the XV Workshop on Rapid methods and automation in food microbiology

logo_xv_workshop_mramaFrom November 22nd to 25th there is the XV Workshop on Rapid methods and automation in food microbiology at the Veterinary Faculty of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). 

This workshop is organized by Centre d’Innovació, Recerca i Transferència en Tecnologia dels Aliments and Departament de Ciència animal i dels aliments, and is based on the original idea from Professor Dr. Daniel Y. C. Fung (Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA).

The purpose of the workshop is to broaden and spread the theoretical and practical knowledge about innovative methods for rapid detection, enumeration, isolation and characterization of foodborne and waterborne microorganisms and their products.

The workshop will consist on different presentations from researchers and industry, lab sessions and exhibitions. Read the program here

We hope that Deyaa learns new things and enjoys it! 

Some images of the workshop:


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The Scientific Advisory Board of the Severo-Ochoa Program visits the ICMAB

Luis M. Liz-Marzán, member of the SAB, with Anna Roig, Anna Laromaine and Irene Anton from the NN GroupToday and tomorrow (November 21-22) we have at ICMAB the members of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Severo-Ochoa program, formed by internationally highly recognised researchers.


For this reason, this morning the coordinators of each Research Line have presented the main highlights, objectives and future perspectives of each Research Line. In the afternoon, the SAB members, guided by a PhD Student, had the opportunity to learn about the on-going research of each Research Group, with the help of the dedicated posters.


Our group had four posters on show:

  1. Bacterial cellulose, a biopolymer with a myriad of potential applications
  2. Evaluating inorganic nanoparticles in vivo on Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans)
  3. Nanomaterials designed for pro-angiogenic therapies aimed at neurorepair after a stroke
  4. Multiferroic ε-Fe2O3 films at room temperature

Irene Anton was the guide of Luis M. Liz-Marzán, from CIC biomaGUNE, San Sebastián (Spain). 


News at ICMAB webpage here