Supramolecular Materials for Biomedical and Environmental Technologies is a research unit integrated in the Department of Chemistry. We carry out an intense research in the fields of Supramolecular Chemistry and Polymer Science and their pharmaceutical applications (drug delivery vehicles like cyclodextrins, gels and nanoparticles), Materials Science (nanocomposites and hydrogels), Cultural Heritage studies and, in the modelling, Design and optimization of Reactors and Sustainable processes from an application-oriented viewpoint.
The members of the group are in charge of the subjects related to Physical Chemistry, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Inorganic Chemistry and Materials Science (degrees of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Environmental Sciences and Pharmacy), and committed to the didactics and divulgation of science.
The 3rd LEISHMAFIBER workshop was celebrated on the 10th of November at the Universidad Carlos III, in the frame of the coordinated project "Multifunctional sprayable wound dressings obtained by solution blow spinning for the treatment of skin diseases" (PID2020-112713RB-C21, -C22). In this occasion, the workshop was organised as an international meeting, NEW CHALLENGES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF NANOFIBROUS MATERIALS, with invited internationally renowned scientists who imparted key-note lectures, and aimed to promote the participation of young researchers. Our PhD students Zeinab Dirany, Javier Carriles, Nerea Guembe and Paolo Ginatta presented their results in the form of flash presentations and posters.
Collaboration Grant (Ministerio de Educación)
Carmen Tabuenca and Cristina Galindo (Double Degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry, 4th year), who are doing her Final Degree Projects in SUMBET group, under the supervision of Itziar Velaz, Javier Peñas and Adrian Duran, have been awarded a Collaboration Grant by the Ministerio de Educación for the academic year 2023-2024.
Nerea Guembe has been granted an FPU fellowship (Ayudas para la formación de Profesorado Universitario 2022) for PhD studies. She recently presented her MSc Thesis with the title "Study of the Leishmanicidal Activity of Pentamidine-Functionalized Microfibers Produced by Solution Blow Spinning (SBS)". Her research will focus on the production of functionalised polymeric fibers for the treatment of parasitic diseases, under the supervision of Prof. Gustavo González Gaitano (SUMBET) and Prof. Paul Nguewa (ISTUN), in the frame of the LEISHMAFIBER project.
Special Issue (guest editor)
Prof. Adrián Durán will be the guest editor of the Special Issue "Mineralogical Appoaches to Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Materials" within the journal "Minerals" (Impact Factor: 2.5)
Zeinab Dirany has been awarded the "Best Short Presentation" at the 7th European Cyclodextrin Conference, held in Budapest, September 5-8 2023, with the communication "Formulations of miltefosine using cyclodextrins and polymeric surfactants: Structural characterization and application against leishmaniasis". SUMBET was also represented in the Conference by Prof. González-Gaitano, who delivered an invited lecture on "Cyclodextrins, surfactants and self-assembly". The next conference in these series of European meetings will take place in Milano, in 2025.
María Elisa Martínez Barbosa, professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Sonora (Mexico), has joined the Department for a sabbatical. She has obtained a grant from the Programa de Movilidad para Investigadores de la Universidad de Navarra and will collaborate with Prof. Itziar Vélaz, in the field of drug delivery systems based on nanoparticles.
Prof. Adrián Durán, who obtained the accreditation as Full Professor from the AQU (Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya) last March and from the ANECA last november, has been promoted to Catedrático de Universidad. We send Adrián our warmest congratulations for his promotion.
The results of an investigation by Juan Pablo Fuenzalida, Rubén Costa and coworkers from the Technical University of Munich at Straubing and SUMBET, has been published in Advanced Materials. In this work, "Genetically Encoded Oligomerization for Protein-Based Lightning Devices", a strategy to design highly stable, bow-tie shaped, fluorescent proteins for their integration into light emitting devices in optoelectronics, has been proposed. This strategy permits a remarkable function-stability of the construct, with light emission preserved for months and high thermal folding stability in different solvents and synthetic polymers. Water-free green-, red-, and white-emitting Bio-HLEDs have been produced, with first-class performance compared to prior-art devices. The final version of the article can be viewed at the website of the journal.
Nerea Guembe-Michel (QUI-BQ 2022) has been granted an ADA (Asociación de Amigos de la UN) fellowship for PhD studies. Her research will focus on the production of functionalised polymeric fibers for the treatment of leishmaniasis, under the supervision of Prof. Gustavo González Gaitano (SUMBET) and Prof. Paul Nguewa (ISTUN).
Iván Ruiz is currently doing a research stay at the Laboratoire d'Archéologie Moléculaire et Structurale (CNRS/Sorbonne Université) in Paris. Among the tasks he is carrying out is the displacement to different museums in the north of France (Provins, Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, Soissons...) to analyze some 13th century tiles using non-invasive portable techniques, and the application of archaeomagnetic techniques for the dating of the artworks and their spatial distribution.
BSc thesis award
Our PhD student, Nerea Guembe, has been awarded the Premio al mejor Trabajo Final de Grado (TFG), organised by the ISTUN (Instituto de Salud Tropical UN), for her degree thesis entitled Pentamidine, Released from Blow Spun Polymeric Microfibers, Impairs Leishmaniasis by Downregulating cycA and cyc6. With these grants, the institute aims to help young researchers who pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Navarra. We congratulate Nerea for her achievement.
2nd LEISHMAFIBER Workshop
The 2nd LEISHMAFIBER workshop was celebrated on the 23rd of May at the Universidad de Navarra, in the frame of the coordinated national project "Multifunctional sprayable wound dressings obtained by solution blow spinning for the treatment of skin diseases" (PID2020-112713RB-C21, -C22). Attendants from the research groups involved in the project, SUMBET, ISTUN and the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, presented their results in the form of seminars and flash presentations. The intern and RTP students of the degree in Chemistry ascribed to the SUMBET group were also present in the meeting. The next workshop will take place in autumn, in Madrid.
In the news
An investigation from researchers of SUMBET, ISTUN and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) has been featured at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source site. In this research, a new drug delivery system to treat leishmaniasis, based on polymeric mixed micelles and gels, has been investigated using small angle neutron scattering experiments on the Larmor diffractometer. The full paper can be found here.
Dr. Max Petitjean, who recently finished his Ph.D. dissertation ("Development of Sustainable Polysaccharide Matrices with Hydrophobic Modifications") in our department, has been awarded the Premio Extraordinario de Doctorado (Natural and Applied Sciences program) corresponding to the academic year 2021-2022. We congratulate Max on his achievement and wish him all the best in his professional career.
In the news
Iván Ruiz Ardanaz, PhD student within the SUMBET group, taught the conference entitled "The secrets of the tiles of Teobaldo: a scientific perspective" last Wednesday, November 9 (2022), at the Museum of Navarra. At the conference, he revealed some of his discoveries related to Navarrese medieval tiles.
Leire Goñi Ciáurriz has recently completed the doctoral studies developed in the SUMBET group. On october 27, 2022, she presented her thesis "Development of nanocomposites containing titanium dioxide nanoparticles and cyclodextrins for food packaging applications" and she has received the Cum Laude mention. She has obtained the International Doctorate mention with a long stay (four months) at the Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC) with Prof Bousserrhine. We congratulate Dr. Goñi for her excellent achievement.
In the news
Prof. Itziar Vélaz has published the article "¿Qué hacemos con los plásticos?" last October 5, 2022, in The Conversation.
Javier Carriles Matanza (QUI-BQ 2021) has been granted an ADA (Asociación de Amigos de la UN) fellowship. His research will focus on the production of polymeric fibers for wound dressings against leishmaniasis under the supervision of Prof. Gustavo González Gaitano (SUMBET) and Prof. Paul Nguewa (ISTUN).
Experiments at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory
Small angle neutron scattering experiments have been recently performed at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxfordshire, UK), aimed at testing the structure at mesoscopic level of micelles and gels of polymeric surfactants for the treatment of leishmaniasis. Zeinab and Rima Dirany and Gustavo González conducted the experiments, with the assistance of Dr. Gregory Smith, beam scientist of the LARMOR diffractometer. The experiments, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK), are framed within the MINECO project “Multifunctional sprayable wound dressings obtained by solution blow spinning for the treatment of skin diseases (PID2020-112713RB-C21)”, from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.
Award at the 20th International Cyclodextrin Symposium
Zeinab Dirany has been awarded a Young Investigator Training Program grant (Cyclonet YITP2019) to do a research stay at the Universitá di Messina, under the supervision of Prof. Antonino Mazzaglia. The award was presented at the 20th International Cyclodextrin Symposium, held in Naxos (Sicily) from 13-16 of May. SUMBET was represented in the Conference by Zeinab, who presented a poster communication on the use of cyclodextrins for the treatment of leishmaniasis, and Gustavo González-Gaitano. The next edition of the symposium will be held in France (Boulogne sur Mer) in May 2024.
Leire Goñi (QUIM+BQM'21), doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry, winner of the "Your Doctoral Thesis in a Twitter Thread: #HiloTesis" award from the University of Navarra, within the context organized by CRUE Spanish Universities. (https://twitter.com/Lei_goni/status/1520519625955590144)
In the news
Sebastian Correa (QUIM’20, MMCC’21) describes his experience in the University. He recently completed his Master Theses “Development and optimization of photocatalysts using chemical coating techniques and assessment of the yields in the removal of organic contaminants in aqueous phase” under the supervisión of Profs. Javier Peñas and Adrian Duran (SUMBET).
Max Petitjean has recently completed the doctoral studies carried out in the SUMBET group with his dissertation viva. The thesis "Development of Sustainable Polysaccharide Matrices with Hydrophobic Modifications" applied the principles of green chemistry to the preparation of biobased materials with various potential applications as sorbents or delivery devices. His PhD work included the International Doctorate mention with a short stay (5 weeks) at Queen's College Belfast School of Pharmacy and a long stay (four months) at Université de Lille. He has received the Cum Laude mention by the examining panel. We congratulate Dr. Petitjean for his excellent achievement.
SANS experiments at ISIS
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK) has funded a project to carry out small angle neutron scattering experiments (SANS) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxfordshire, UK). The experiments, which will be performed in May, will test the structure at mesoscopic level of micelles and gels of polymeric surfactants for the treatment of leishmaniasis, in collaboration with researchers of the Institute of Tropical Health (ISTUN).
Antonio Solano (Chemical engineer 2021, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) has been granted a research fellowship (Programa de Iniciación a la Investigación CNBBBJ-UNAM-2021) to work on the production of polymeric fibers for biomedical applications. He will work under the supervision of Prof. Itziar Vélaz (SUMBET), until February 2022.
Nature Biotechnology features an article developed at the Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging (Helmholtz Zentrum München) by Juan Pablo Fuenzalida and collaborators on photo-switchable proteins for applications in fluorescence microscopy and optoacoustic imaging methods. We congratulate Juan Pablo and the team at HMZ for the paper (see here a less-technical explanation on switchable proteins by the author for general public)
In the news
Prof. Juana Fernández, on the new electronic system recently implemented in the Comarca de Pamplona to open the rubbish bins, in Diario de Navarra (9/November/2021)
Collaboration Grant (Ministerio de Educación)
Olaia Mendiburu (Degree in Chemistry, 4th year), who is doing her Research Training Program (RTP) in SUMBET, has been awarded a Collaboration Grant by the Ministerio de Educación for the academic year 2021-2022. Her work will focus on the synthesis and characterization of photocatalysts with metallic support for the elimination of emerging pollutants in aqueous phase.
Dr. Joan Puig Rigall has been awarded the Premio Extraordinario de Doctorado (Natural and Applied Sciences program, 2020-2021), for the thesis "Supramolecular structures of D-alpha-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate, poloxamines, and cyclodextrins: design, characterization, and potential applications as drug delivery systems". We send Joan our warmest congratulations and wish all the best in his new post as Biomaterials Project Leader at Naturemimetix.
The Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (programa Retos de la Sociedad) has funded the coordinated project "Multifunctional sprayable wound dressings obtained by solution blow spinning for the treatment of skin diseases". The project, which involves researchers from SUMBET (coordinator) and research groups ISTUN and UC3M, will be developed until 2024.
Iván Ruiz Ardanaz (QUI2019) has been granted an ADA (Asociación de Amigos de la UN) fellowship. His research will focus on the cultural heritage of Navarre (medieval ceramics) under the supervision of Prof. Adrián Durán (SUMBET) and Prof. Esther Lasheras (LICA)
In the news
Get-together on climatic change with Prof. Juana Fernández in Navarra Television (16/XII/2020)
"With camouflage against parasites". The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum features a joint investigation of SUMBET, UC3M, ISTUN and the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS)
The summer course entitled "Plastic in food. New materials”, held from 19th to 28th of July 2021, was taught by Prof. Itziar Vélaz and Leire Goñi (PhD student). It was organized in collaboration with the Government of Navarra and the Science Museum of the University of Navarra. The most frequently used polymers in food packaging, the new lines of research in applied nanotechnology, and the most common recycling processes were explained.