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IBEC ( is a research institute covering most bioengineering fields, from basic research to medical applications, aiming to act as an international reference in this field. IBEC was established in 2005 by the Government of Catalonia, the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) and is located at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) sharing also facilities with the Bellvitge University Hospital (BUH). IBEC hosts around 200 researchers and technicians, which are part of its own staff or are associated to the UB and UPC or coming from different recruitment programs of research staff (e.g. ICREA and others). Therefore, these institutions may act as third parties of the Grant Agreement (see Section 2.3). Within IBEC, the “Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches” group led by Pau Gorostiza is focused on developing nanoscale tools to study biological systems. These tools include instrumentation based on proximity probes, like Electrochemical Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy, that it is applyed to study redox proteins. Another set of nanotools that the group is developing is based on molecular actuators that can be switched with light, like azobenzene, which can be chemically attached to biomolecules in order to optically control their activity.
Role and expertise of IBEC in the project
The IBEC group will lead WP2 and participate in WP4, WP5 and WP7 ICREA Research Professor Pau Gorostiza, principal investigator of the IBEC group, developed the photoswitchable glutamate receptor LiGluR and is a well recognized scientist in the field of optogenetics. He is involved in both national and European research projects and he was recently granted an European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (OPTICALBULLET – ERC 210355). Other participants from Gorostiza’s group are two graduate students (Antonio Bautista, Andrea Ursic), a technician (Kay Eckelt) and a postdoc (Núria Camarero). Specific tasks related to the biophysical characterization of photoswitches and their application to neuronal preparations will be perfomed in collaboration with the research group of Artur Llobet at the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL), which is also placed at BUH, since they have great expertise on electrophysiologic and neuronal culture techniques applied to the study of neurotransmission. Participation of Dr. Llobet’s group include two graduate students in his group (David Albrecht and Helena Bros)..
In addition to own group equipment, researchers of the group have access to powerful technological facilities, at the PCB Nanotechnology Platform, for Cellular and Molecular Biology as well as for Nanotechnology. Among other we can cite Focused Ion Beam, Electron Beam and Nanoimprint Lithographies, Wet and reactive Ion etching, Atomic Force, Tunnelling and Electron Microscopes, Confocal optical and near field optical microscopes, cell growth facilities, proteomics and genomics units, animal experimentation units, etc.
Baldiri Reixac, 10-12 - Barcelona