NanoBiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications

Group Leader: Laura M. Lechuga

Main Research Lines

  • Plasmonics (SPR) and nanoplasmonics (LSPR) for biosensors

  • Nanophotonic biosensors based on integrated optics technology (MZI and BiMW)

  • Customised polymer microfluidic devices and flow delivery systems

  • Full integration in lab-on-a-chip and point-of-care biosensor analytical platforms

  • Universal biofunctionalisation techniques and biochip packaging

  • Bioanalytical applications in clinical, environmental and molecular biology, providing application-specific functionalities

The activities of the Nanobiosensors and Bionalytical Applications Group are focused on the development of novel nanobiosensor devices based on the principles of nanoplasmonics and silicon-based photonics, including surface biofunctionalisation, microfluidics for automatic fluid delivery and complete lab-on-a-chip integration for point-of-care devices. The application of nanobiosensor devices in real clinical diagnostics and environmental control is one of the group’s main objectives. Its research activities range from basic research to technological operation of working sensing platforms, as well as the transfer of its research outcomes to industry. The group is at the forefront of photonic biosensors development at the international level, an example of which is its bimodal waveguide interferometric device. Since 2006 the group has been associated to the ISCIII Biomedical Research Networking Centre (CIBER) as part of its Centre for Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN).

Our work is focused on:

Development of photonic transducers based on silicon-related optoelectronics technology and nanoplasmonics which can afford competitive advantages compared to the state-of-the-art. Main goal is to improve sensitivity, miniaturisation and multiplexing capabilities of the sensors. 

New strategies for universal biofunctionalisation techniques of biological receptors (as proteins or genomic strands), ensuring selectivity, life-cycle, non-fouling properties and reusability. Drying and packaging of the pre-functionalised biochips. 

Full integration in point-of-care analytical platforms, including micro/nanofluidics, optical subsystems and interfaces, biocompatible encapsulation, hardware, and software. Deliver technologies to enable development of autonomous, reactive platforms that can be embedded in user environments. 

Full demonstration of the applicability of our biosensor technology for real life requests, mainly for clinical diagnostics (i.e early cancer diagnostics, infectious diseases diagnosis in resource-limited settings), food and environmental control (i.e. microbiological infections and rapid detection of toxins). This line includes validation in clinical hospitals and environmental settings. Providing custom packaging solutions and application-specific functionalities. 

Technology transfer of our nanobiosensor and point-of-care technologies. Enhanced usability facilitates a smoother transition between our laboratory prototypes to products, leading to increased commercialisation potential. We work in providing platforms, tools, IP, open-source and custom applications targeted to filling gaps in diagnostics. 

Group Leader

Laura M. Lechuga

CSIC Research Professor

Prof. Laura M. Lechuga received her PhD in Chemistry from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) in 1992. She is Full Professor of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and Head of the Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) in Barcelona (Spain) and at the Networking Biomedical Research Center (CIBER-BBN). She has been Adjunct Professor at The Artic University of Norway (2012-2016) and Distinguished Visiting Professor at University of Campinas (Brazil) (2013- 2017).

The principal focus of her research is the development of novel nanobiosensor devices based on nanoplasmonics and silicon-based photonics principles, including surface biofunctionalization, microfluidics for automatic fluid delivery and complete lab-on-a-chip integration for point-of-care devices. The use of nanobiosensor devices for a wide range of challenging clinical and environmental applications is one of her main objectives.

She has published over 260 articles, book chapters and proceedings, has 8 families of patents, and has presented her work worldwide in more than 360 invited talks. She has co-founded two spin-off companies. Prof. Lechuga is Associate Editor of Analyst (RSC) and has been Associate Editor for other two physics and engineering journals. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of several national and international high-level research centres and has taken part in numerous international evaluation panels.

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