Welcome to the Cortajarena laboratory

The Biomolecular Nanotechnology group focuses on protein engineering toward the generation of functional nanostructures and bioinspired materials for applications in nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine.

Our main objective is to develop versatile platforms based on simple protein building blocks for the fabrication of multiple protein-based hybrid functional nanostructures and biomaterials. By means of rational design we aim to generate protein assemblies with defined architectures. We use protein engineering and bioconjugation methodologies to produce molecular hybrids by combination of protein scaffolds with metals, nanoparticles, nanoclusters, and/or organic compounds. In particular, we are currently developing nanostructures and materials for applications in molecular electronics, sensing, catalysis, and photoactive systems.

Additionally, we are also interested in the biofunctionalisation of nanomaterials for biomedical applications from disease treatment to diagnosis. We pay special attention to elucidate the fundamental aspects for the design of nanoformulations with optimal properties under clinically relevant conditions. At the same time, we work on the biofunctionalisation of other materials such as polymeric surfaces to generate platforms with defined bio-recognition, anti-bactericial and bacterial-templating properties.

The group is led by Ikerbasque Research Professor Aitziber Lopez Cortajarena. The group was established at CIC biomaGUNE in early 2016 when Prof. Cortajarena moved to the institute from IMDEA Nanociencia in Madrid.

Prof. Cortajarena completed her PhD research in Biochemistry at the University of the Basque Country, Spain in 2002. She then held the position of a postdoctoral fellow and, subsequently, associate researcher with Prof. Lynne Regan at the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University until 2010, when she established her own research group at the IMDEA Nanociencia Foundation in Madrid.

During her research carrier, Prof. Cortajarena has implemented the use of repeat proteins for nanotools and materials development, which form the basis for the current research.