Nanomedicine (NM)’s research focuses on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches towards an early and unequivocal diagnosis and treatment of cancer, inflammatory and neurological diseases. NM works in close collaboration with the clinic to enable translational medical research and to approach the end-user, in an attempt to offer a better prognosis and personalized treatment. To this aim, NM covers from fundamental research on the identification and validation of diseases’ biomarkers and cellular interactions, to a more applied cross-disciplinary research focused on the development of technologies and nanostructures (inorganic, organic, hybrid) for precision disease diagnosis, therapy and theranostics, ranging from low to high technology readiness levels (TRLs).
NM field of action comprises in vitro (2D, 3D, OoC), ex vivo and in vivo experimentation and evolves in the frontier between Chemistry, Materials Science, Biophysics, Engineering and Biology, always within an international framework.
Nanomedicine evolves in the frontier between different disciplines of knowledge, such as chemistry, materials science, physics and biology, always within an international framework.
1- Engineering of advanced (magnetic) nanostructures towards disease-specific imaging and stimuli-triggered therapy and theranostics. Led by Juan Gallo/Manuel Bañobre.
2- Soft self-assembled nanostructures for gene/drug delivery. Led by Bruno Silva.
3- Mechanisms of disease and identification of molecular biomarkers for the development of new diagnostic technologies and therapies. Led by Inês Mendes Pinto.
4- Development of innovative bioengineered tools to study cellular interactions at the tumor microenvironment and metastatic sites. Led by Marta Oliveira.
The SAXSess Kratky camera at INL is an ideal tool to determine the sizes and shapes of nanostructures with some degree of periodicity (e.g. liquid crystalline phases, covalent organic frameworks, etc). In this particular case, the instrument configuration allows probing both the small-angle (SAXS) and wide-angle (WAXS) regimes, and the periodicities (e.g. distances) that can be probed are in the range of ca. 0.23 to 18 nm, depending on the sample. The samples can be liquid or solid in nature.
The nanoscale information about the arrangements of materials provided by SAXS in an ensemble average over the x-ray illuminated area, and is therefore an excellent complement to direct imaging methods (e.g. TEM, AFM) that have to scan through large sample areas to have representative statistics about the sample.
The SAXS instrument is an Anton Paar SAXSess equipped with image plate detection. The q-range available in the SAXS-WAXS combined configuration is 0.25 to 28.3 nm-1. The system uses a sealed X-ray tube and a Kratky camera (i.e. line collimation) to maximize intensity and allow the detection of more weakly scattering systems, at the expense that in this geometry the systems must be isotropic in nature (i.e. not oriented). Currently we are able to measure a variety of sample types including colloidal dispersions, liquid crystals, and finely ground powders over a range of temperature of ca. 22-80 °C.
Claudia Botello (in collaboration with Prof. José Teixeira at U.Minho)
Lorena G. Hevia
PhD student (2014-2017)