Laboratory webpage

Participation in Working Groups

  • WG1 - Biophysics of cell and tissue structure
  • WG3 - New methodologies to study mechanobiology of cells and tissues
  • WG4 - Mechanobiological principles of rare and common diseases

Research Interests

Our research group named “Nanomedicine” is part of the biosanitary research Institute IDIVAL, in Santander, Spain.
Our group works on the interaction of nanomaterials with cells and tissues. Some nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes, interact directly with the cellular cytoskeleton, interfering significantly with the biomechanics of the cell in the processes of proliferation, migration or phagocytosis. Indeed, we have demonstrated how these filamentous nanomaterials, interfere with macrophage phagocytosis, and when endocytosed penetrate inside the cellular cytoplasm, interact biomimetically with microtubules, significantly interfering with their dynamics and the cellular biomechanics, triggering anti-migratory, antiproliferative, and pro-apoptotic effects on cells that actively proliferate. In vivo, carbon nanotubes cause anti-tumoral effects. Some nanoparticles can also significantly interfere microtubule dynamics. Some studies we published in 2016 also show how ZnO nanoparticles –copmmonly used inas physical sun blockers- , once phagocytosed, can dissolve in the interior of the endolysosomal membranes, releasing zinc ions which cause the increase in diameter of the microtubules. Zn stabilizes the protofilament conformations, these assemble rigid microtubules that finally penetrate through the cell membrane killing the cell. These are only two examples of how nanomaterials can interfere with the mechanobiology of the cytoskeleton in the context of nanomedicine and nanotoxicity, which are the two lines of work to which our research group is dedicated.

Technologies offered to other EuroCellNet participants

Our research group works routinely with techniques of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry, as well as physicochemical characterization techniques of nanomaterials or biological nanoparticles. Amog others, we have full access to the following facilities: Animal House (with a areas of housing for different species, generic laboratories for basic development of procedures, area for immunosuppressed animals, biosecurity for work with biological agents, SPF zones and a surgical area equipped with several operating rooms for the development of experimental surgery); (ii) full access to the following cell characterization systems: Electron microscopy (TEM); confocal laser scanning microscopy; confocal Raman imaging microscopy and live cell microscopy imaging; flow cytometers, etc.; (iii) Cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry laboratory facilities

Technologies sought from other EuroCellNet participants

We would like to have techniques/systems to quantitatively measure/document changes in cellular biomechanics when treating cells/tissues with different nanomaterials.


1.- Multiwalled carbon nanotubes display microtubule biomimetic properties in vivo, enhancing microtubule assembly and stabilization. Rodriguez-Fernandez L, et al. ACS Nano. 2012; 28;6(8):6614-25.
2.- Nanotube interactions with microtubules: implications for cancer medicine. García-Hevia L, et al. Nanomedicine 2014 Jul;9(10):1581-8
3.- Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Hinder Microglia Function Interfering with Cell Migration and Phagocytosis. Villegas JC, et al. Adv Healthc Mater. 2014 Mar;3(3):424-32

4.- Inhibition of Cancer Cell Migration by Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes. L. García-Hevia, et al. Adv Healthc Mater. (2015) 4(11):1640-4

5.- Nano-ZnO leads to tubulin macrotube assembly and actin bundling triggering cytoskeletal catastrophe and cell necrosis. L. García-Hevia, et al. Nanoscale (2016) 8(21):10963-73


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