Gabriel Gomila Lluch | Group Leader
Adrica Kyndiah | Postdoctoral Researcher
Rubén Millán Solsona | Senior Technician
Harishankar Balakrishnan | PhD Student
Martí Checa Nualart | PhD Student
Martina Di Muzio | PhD Student
Helena Lozano Caballero | PhD Student
Oscar Nieves Paniagua | PhD Student
The main goal of the Nanoscale bioelectrical characterization group is to develop new experimental setups based on atomic force microscopy and new theoretical frameworks enabling the quantification of the electrical properties of biological systems at the nanoscale (including biomembranes, single viruses, single bacteria cells and eukaryotic cells).
Above: AFM Topographic (left) and Electrostatic Force Microscopy dielectric (right) images of two microfabricated pillars of Al3O2 (95 nm thick, top) and of SiO2 (60 nm thick, bottom) on a gold substrate, obtained in a liquid environment. The dielectric image (right) shows an inverted contrast (higher electric force on the substrate than on the pillars) due to the higher electric permittivity of the surrounding liquid medium (water) with respect to that of the pillars.
Our main objective is to contribute to develop new label-free biological nanoscale characterization methods and new electronic biosensors.
During 2017 we have completed our studies on the measurement of the local electromagnetic properties of materials in the high frequency range (>GHz) with the use of the Scanning Microwave Microscope. In particular, we have developed a method to map directly the electric permittivity of non-planar heterogeneous samples by means of a Scanning Microwave Microscope, and, contributed to the development of a full electromagnetic modelling of this microscope.
Right: Atomic Force Microscopy topographic (left) and Electrostatic Force Microscopy dielectric (right) images of a bacterial polar flagellum of 10 nm in diameter obtained in air. The use of 3D finite element numerical simulations enables the quantification of the dielectric image and the extraction of the dielectric constant of the proteins composing the bacterial polar flagellum (sample prepared by Eduard Torrents’ group at IBEC).
On the other side, we have made experimental and theoretical advances towards extending the use of Electrostatic Force Microscopy in the liquid environment, in order to be able to probe the dielectric properties of biosamples in physiological conditions.
Finally, we have developed methods to probe the dielectric properties of small scale filamentous protein structures and applied them to the dielectric characterization of bacterial polar flagella. During this year, also, we have optimized sample preparation and imaging methods to image protein-DNA complexes with the Atomic Force Microscope, and started new research projects devoted to the study of the electrical properties of electrogenic bacteria, nanopore systems, single neurons and organic electronic devices, which are currently under development.
Left: Atomic Force Microscopy image of DNA molecules complexed with AlgR proteins. The DNA molecules are 2 nm high and appear as green, while the proteins are around 3 nm high and appear as red spots in the DNA molecules. The DNA molecules tend to bent around the positions where the proteins are complexed with the DNA (sample prepared by the group of Dr. E. Torrents, IBEC).
Research led by the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute, with the collaboration with IBEC, reveals that water that’s only a few molecules thick – like the water that covers every surface around us – behaves very differently to normal, ‘bulk’ water.
IBEC researchers have shown for the first time how bacteria make DNA under stressful conditions, such as drug treatments.
The Nanoscale Biolectrical Characterization group has been awarded EU funding to coordinate a project that aims to train a new generation of researchers in the science and technology of Scanning Probe Microscopes.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (PhD student) on Nanoscale Tomography based on Electrostatic Force Microscopy
Application Deadline: 28/02/2017
The Nanoscale Biolectrical Characterization group is looking for a Early Stage Researcher (PhD student) to develop his/her PhD thesis project on the development of a novel Nano-tomographic technique based on electrostatic force microscopy.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (PhD student) on Nanoscale Composition Mapping with Electrostatic Force Microscopy
Application Deadline: 28/02/2017
The Nanoscale Biolectrical Characterization group is looking for a Early Stage Researcher (PhD student) to develop his/her PhD thesis project on the label-free mapping of biological membranes’ composition with nanoscale spatial resolution.
An IBEC group has demonstrated, for the first time, that the hydration properties of a single bacterial endospore in varying environmental relative humidity can be determined with high accuracy and reproducibility, and in a non-destructive way, shedding new light on endospore survival strategies.
Researchers at IBEC and their collaborators from the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, The University of Manchester and the company Keysight Technologies have now achieved an elusive goal: to measure the electromagnetic properties of biological materials at the level of a single bacterial cell and at very high frequencies (gigahertz).
Having measured the electric polarizability of DNA – a fundamental property that directly influences its biological functions – for the first time ever last year, IBEC´s Nanoscale Bioelectrical Characterization group has made a further breakthrough in the understanding of the dielectric properties of cell constituents by measuring the electric polarizability of the main components of the cell membrane – namely lipids, sterols and proteins – with a spatial resolution down to 50nm.
Gabriel Gomila, IBEC group leader and Associate Professor at the UB, has received an ICREA Academia Prize 2014 for excellence in research and capacity for leadership.
Two groups working together at IBEC demonstrate the potential of electrical studies of single bacterial cells in a paper published in ACS Nano. Gabriel Gomila’s Nanoscale Bioelectrical Characterization group and that of Antonio Juárez, Microbial Biotechnology and Host-pathogen Interaction, combined their expertise on microscopic electrical measurements and bacteria respectively to come up with a way to study the response to external electrical fields of just a single bacterial cell.
The electric polarizability of DNA is a fundamental property that directly influences its biological functions. Despite the importance of this property, however, its measurement has remained elusive so far. In a study published in PNAS today, researchers at Barcelona’s Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) led by Laura Fumagalli, senior researcher at IBEC and lecturer at the University of Barcelona, and their collaborators at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) and at Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), and at Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia (CNB-CSIC) and IMDEA Nanociencia in Madrid, describe how they have found a way to directly measure DNA electric polarizability – represented by its dielectric constant, which indicates how a material reacts to an applied electric field – for the first time ever.
The latest article published by IBEC’s Nanoscale bioelectrical characterization group has made the cover of the journal Nanotechnology.
A new European Marie Curie Initial Training Network involving IBEC’s Nanoscale Bioelectrical Characterization group will attempt to bring research into microwaves – which are extensively used in a host of applications such as telecommunications, microwave ovens and radar – to a whole new level.
Scientists at IBEC in Barcelona have found a way of effectively identifying nanoscale objects and viruses that could offer a breakthrough for biomedical diagnostics, environmental protection and nano-electronics.
IBEC’s Nanoscale Bioelectrical Characterization group, headed by Gabriel Gomila, is a partner in a new EU-funded collaborative project set to develop a new tool for non-destructive 3D nanoscale structural characterization, the Volumetric Scanning Microwave Microscope (VSMM).
Gabriel Gomila and Laura Fumagalli, from the Nanoscale bioelectrical characterization line at IBEC, are two of the authors of the study.
|SPM2.0 Scanning probe microscopies for nanoscale fast, tomographic and composition imaging (2017-2020)||Marie Curie Skłodowska European Training Network (MSCA-ITN-ETN)||Gabriel Gomila (Project Coordinator)|
|BIOWIRESENSE Plataforma universal para la detección de biomarcadores basada en nanocables bacterianos conductores (2017-2019)||MINECO, Explora Ciencia||Gabriel Gomila|
|NANOELECTOMOGRAPHY Electrical nanotomography based on scanning probe microscopy for nanomaterials and biological samples (2014-2016)||MINECO (TEC2013-48344-C2-1-P)||Gabriel Gomila|
|NANOELECTROPHYS Scanning Electric Force Microscope for Electrophysological Recordings at the Nanoscale
|MINECO (TEC2016-79156-P)||Gabriel Gomila|
|ICREA Academia Award (2015-2019)||Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) / Generalitat de Catalunya||Gabriel Gomila|
|NANOMICROWAVE Microwave Nanotechnology for Semiconductor and Life Sciences (2013-2016)||MARIE CURIE – ITN||Gabriel Gomila|
|V-SMMART Nano Volumetric Scanning Microwave Microscopy Analytical and Research Tool for Nanotechnology (2012-2016)||NMP – SME||Gabriel Gomila|
|AFM4NanoMed&Bio European network on applications of Atomic Force Microscopy to Nanomedicine and Life Sciences||EU COST Action TD1002||Gabriel Gomila (Management Committee Substitute Member)|
Fumagalli, L., Esfandiar, A., Fabregas, R., Hu, S., Ares, P., Janardanan, A., Yang, Q., Radha, B., Taniguchi, T., Watanabe, K., Gomila, G., Novoselov, K. S., Geim, A. K., (2018). Anomalously low dielectric constant of confined water Science , 360, (6395), 1339-1342
Lozano, Helena, Fabregas, Rene, Blanco, Núria, Millán, Rubén, Torrents, Eduard, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2018). Dielectric constant of flagellin proteins measured by scanning dielectric microscopy Nanoscale 10, 19188-19194
Dols-Perez, Aurora, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2018). Interdigitation in spin-coated lipid layers in air Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces , 172, 400-406
Wu, Bi-Yi, Sheng, Xin-Qing, Fabregas, Rene, Hao, Yang, (2017). Full-wave modeling of broadband near field scanning microwave microscopy Scientific Reports , 7, (1), 16064
Crespo, Anna, Pedraz, Lucas, Van Der Hofstadt, Marc, Gomila, Gabriel, Torrents, Eduard, (2017). Regulation of ribonucleotide synthesis by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa two-component system AlgR in response to oxidative stress Scientific Reports , 7, (1), 17892
Biagi, Maria Chiara, Badino, Giorgio, Fabregas, Rene, Gramse, Georg, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2017). Direct mapping of the electric permittivity of heterogeneous non-planar thin films at gigahertz frequencies by scanning microwave microscopy Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics , 19, (5), 3884-3893
Van Der Hofstadt, Marc, Fabregas, Rene, Millan, Ruben, Juarez, Antonio, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2016). Internal hydration properties of single bacterial endospores probed by electrostatic force microscopy ACS Nano 10, (12), 11327–11336
Biagi, Maria Chiara, Fabregas, Rene, Gramse, Georg, Van Der Hofstadt, Marc, Juárez, Antonio, Kienberger, Ferry, Fumagalli, Laura, Gomila, Gabriel, (2016). Nanoscale electric permittivity of single bacterial cells at gigahertz frequencies by scanning microwave microscopy ACS Nano 10, (1), 280-288
Van Der Hofstadt, M., Fabregas, R., Biagi, M.C., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2016). Nanoscale dielectric microscopy of non-planar samples by lift-mode electrostatic force microscopy Nanotechnology , 27, (40), 405706
Dols-Perez, Aurora, Gramse, Georg, Calo, Annalisa, Gomila, Gabriel, Fumagalli, Laura, (2015). Nanoscale electric polarizability of ultrathin biolayers on insulator substrates by electrostatic force microscopy Nanoscale 7, 18327-18336
Van Der Hofstadt, M., Hüttener, M., Juárez, A., Gomila, G., (2015). Nanoscale imaging of the growth and division of bacterial cells on planar substrates with the atomic force microscope Ultramicroscopy , 154, 29-36
Botaya, Luis, Otero, Jorge, González, Laura, Coromina, Xavier, Gomila, Gabriel, Puig-Vidal, Manel, (2015). Quartz tuning fork-based conductive atomic force microscope with glue-free solid metallic tips Sensors and Actuators A: Physical , 232, 259-266
Esteban-Ferrer, Daniel, Edwards, Martin Andrew, Fumagalli, Laura, Juarez, Antonio, Gomila, Gabriel, (2014). Electric polarization properties of single bacteria measured with electrostatic force microscopy ACS Nano 8, (10), 9843–9849
Cuervo, A., Dans, P. D., Carrascosa, J. L., Orozco, M., Gomila, G., Fumagalli, L., (2014). Direct measurement of the dielectric polarization properties of DNA Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111, (35), E3624-E3630
Caló, A., Reguera, D., Oncins, G., Persuy, M. A., Sanz, G., Lobasso, S., Corcelli, A., Pajot-Augy, E., Gomila, G., (2014). Force measurements on natural membrane nanovesicles reveal a composition-independent, high Young's modulus Nanoscale 6, (4), 2275-2285
Dols-Perez, A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2014). Structural and nanomechanical effects of cholesterol in binary and ternary spin-coated single lipid bilayers in dry conditions Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces , 116, 295-302
Gramse, G., Kasper, M., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., Hinterdorfer, P., Kienberger, F., (2014). Calibrated complex impedance and permittivity measurements with scanning microwave microscopy Nanotechnology , 25, (14), 145703 (8)
Gomila, G., Gramse, G., Fumagalli, L., (2014). Finite-size effects and analytical modeling of electrostatic force microscopy applied to dielectric films Nanotechnology , 25, (25), 255702 (11)
Fumagalli, L., Edwards, Martin Andrew, Gomila, G., (2014). Quantitative electrostatic force microscopy with sharp silicon tips Nanotechnology , 25, (49), 495701 (9)
Castillo-Fernandez, O., Rodriguez-Trujillo, R., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., (2014). High-speed counting and sizing of cells in an impedance flow microcytometer with compact electronic instrumentation Microfluidics and Nanofluidics , 16, (1-2), 91-99
Birhane, Y., Otero, J., Pérez-Murano, F., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., Bausells, J., (2014). Batch fabrication of insulated conductive scanning probe microscopy probes with reduced capacitive coupling Microelectronic Engineering , 119, 44-47
Caballero, D., Fumagalli, L., Teixidor, F., Samitier, J., Errachid, A., (2013). Directing polypyrrole growth by chemical micropatterns: A study of high-throughput well-ordered arrays of conductive 3D microrings Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical , 177, 1003-1009
Gramse, G., Dols-Perez, A., Edwards, M. A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2013). Nanoscale measurement of the dielectric constant of supported lipid bilayers in aqueous solutions with electrostatic force microscopy Biophysical Journal , 104, (6), 1257-1262
Gomila, G., Esteban-Ferrer, D., Fumagalli, L., (2013). Quantification of the dielectric constant of single non-spherical nanoparticles from polarization forces: Eccentricity effects Nanotechnology , 24, (50), 505713
Gramse, G., Edwards, M.A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2013). Theory of amplitude modulated electrostatic force microscopy for dielectric measurements in liquids at MHz frequencies Nanotechnology , 24, (41), 415709
Dols-Perez, A., Sisquella, X., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2013). Optical visualization of ultrathin mica flakes on semitransparent gold substrates Nanoscale Research Letters 8, (1), 1-5
Fumagalli, Laura, Esteban-Ferrer, Daniel, Cuervo, Ana, Carrascosa, Jose L., Gomila, Gabriel, (2012). Label-free identification of single dielectric nanoparticles and viruses with ultraweak polarization forces Nature Materials Nature Publishing Group 11, (9), 743-826
Calò, A., Sanmartí-Espinal, M., Iavicoli, P., Persuy, M. A., Pajot-Augy, E., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., (2012). Diffusion-controlled deposition of natural nanovesicles containing G-protein coupled receptors for biosensing platforms Soft Matter , 8, (46), 11632-11643
Gramse, G., Gomila, G., Fumagalli, L., (2012). Quantifying the dielectric constant of thick insulators by electrostatic force microscopy: effects of the microscopic parts of the probe Nanotechnology , 23, (20), 205703
Gramse, G., Edwards, M. A., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2012). Dynamic electrostatic force microscopy in liquid media Applied Physics Letters , 101, (21), 213108
Dols-Perez, Aurora, Fumagalli, Laura, Cohen Simonsen, Adam, Gomila, Gabriel, (2011). Ultrathin spin-coated dioleoylphosphatidylcholine lipid layers in dry conditions: A combined atomic force microscopy and nanomechanical study Langmuir , 27, (21), 13165-13172
Fumagalli, L., Gramse, G., Esteban-Ferrer, D., Edwards, M. A., Gomila, G., (2010). Quantifying the dielectric constant of thick insulators using electrostatic force microscopy Applied Physics Letters , 96, (18), 183107
Toset, J., Gomila, G., (2010). Three-dimensional manipulation of gold nanoparticles with electro-enhanced capillary forces Applied Physics Letters , 96, (4), 043117
Sanmarti, M., Iavicoli, P., Pajot-Augy, E., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., (2010). Human olfactory receptors immobilization on a mixed self assembled monolayer for the development of a bioelectronic nose Procedia Engineering (EUROSENSOR XXIV CONFERENCE) 24th Eurosensor Conference (ed. Jakoby, B., Vellekoop, M.J.), Elsevier Science (Linz, Austria) 5, 786-789
Fumagalli, L., Ferrari, G., Sampietro, M., Gomila, G., (2009). Quantitative nanoscale dielectric microscopy of single-layer supported biomembranes Nano Letters , 9, (4), 1604-1608
Gramse, G., Casuso, I., Toset, J., Fumagalli, L., Gomila, G., (2009). Quantitative dielectric constant measurement of thin films by DC electrostatic force microscopy Nanotechnology , 20, (39), 395702
Rodriguez-Trujillo, R., Castillo-Fernandez, O., Garrido, M., Arundell, M., Valencia, A., Gomila, G., (2008). High-speed particle detection in a micro-Coulter counter with two-dimensional adjustable aperture Biosensors and Bioelectronics , 24, (2), 290-296
Gomila, G., Toset, J., Fumagalli, L., (2008). Nanoscale capacitance microscopy of thin dielectric films Journal of Applied Physics , 104, (2), 8
Rodriguez-Trujillo, R., Castillo-Fernandez, O., Arundell, M., Samitier, J., Gomila, G., (2008). Yeast cells detection in a very fast and highly versatile microfabricated cytometer MicroTAS 2008 12th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences , Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (San Diego, USA) , 1888-1890
Casuso, I., Pla, M., Gomila, G., Samitier, J., Minic, J., Persuy, M. A., Salesse, R., Pajot-Augy, E., (2008). Immobilization of olfactory receptors onto gold electrodes for electrical biosensor Materials Science & Engineering C 5th Maghreb-Europe Meeting on Materials and their Applicatons for Devices and Physical, Chemical and Biological Sensors , Elsevier Science (Mahdia, TUNISIA) 28, (5-6), 686-691
- Cypher Atomic Force Microscope (Asylum Research)
- Nanowizard 4 Bio-Atomic Force Microscope (JPK)
- Cervantes Atomic Force Microscope (Nanotec Electronica)
- Easy Scan 2 Atomic Force Microscope (Nanosurf)
- AxioImager A1m Reflection Optical Microscope (Zeiss) equipped with a AxioCam ERc5s (Zeiss)
- CompactStat portable electrochemical interface and impedance analyzer (Ivium Technologies)
- Palmsens 4, 8 channel Potentiostat (Palmens)
- 2 eLockIn204 4-phase Lock-In amplifiers (Anfatec)
- Keithley 6430 sub-femtoAmp remote sourcemeter
- Keysight B2912A precision Source/Measure Unit, 2 channels
- Keysight N9310A RF Signal Generator 9 kHz to 3.0 GHz
- Dra. Laura Fumagalli
University of Manchester, United Kingdom
- Dr. Ferry Kienberger
Agilent Technologies Austria, Linz, Austria
- Prof. Marco Sampietro
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
- Dr. Jordi Borrell
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Prof. Antonio Juárez
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Manel Puig
University of Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Filip Meysman
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
- Prof. Fabio Biscarini
Universita di Modena e Regio Emilia, Italy
- Dr. Laura Fumagalli | Senior Researcher
Now: Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy – Condensed Matter Physics, University of Manchester (UK)
- Dr. Annalisa Calò | Postdoc
Now: Postdoc, CUNY Advance Science Research Center (USA)
- Dr. Aurora Dols-Pérez | Postdoc
Now: Postdoc at the Technical University of Delft (Nederlands)
- Dr. Martin Edwards | Postdoc
Now: Research Assistant Professor, University of Utah (USA)
- Daniel Esteban Ferrer | PhD Student
- Georg Gramse | PhD Student
Now: Senior Researcher, Johannes Kepler University of Linz (Austria)
- Dr. Jordi Otero | Postdoc
Now: Postdoc, Institute For Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)
- Marc van der Hofstadt | PhD Student
- Maria Chiara Biagi | PhD Student