BioNano activities

Dynamic nanolandscape of immune receptors

Cell Biophysics & Physical Biology

Project description

Our aim is to exploit state-of-the-art optical nanoscopy to unravel the nanolandscape of cells of the immune system and get dynamic information of the cell surface organization of cellular receptors and subsequent signalling pathways at the nanometer level. In particularly in the immune system, which defends our body against pathogens, recognition and elimination of nanometer-sized pathogens is regulated through complex cell signaling and cell communication to ensure a swift and effective protective response. Understanding how these cell surface processes are orchestrated at the molecular level on living cells is at the core of this project.

External collaborations

Dr. Alessandra Cambi (NCMLS, Nijmegen, Netherlands); Prof. Enzo Curundolo (Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK); Prof. Javier Martinez-Picado (IrsiCaixa, Badalona, Spain); Dr. Daniel Benitez-Ribas (Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Spain)

Selected publications in this project


  • Faculty of 1000

    An ICFO PNAS Plus paper has been highlighted by the Faculty of 1000. The recent study published in PNAS Plus researchers of the Single Molecule Biophotonics research group Dr. Juan Torreño, Dr. Carlo Manzo, Dr. Anna Oddone, led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Maria Garcia-Parajo, in collaboration with Dr. Melike Lakadamyali, has been recommended by … Continue reading →

  • Cancer immunotherapy from the nanoscale

    A new mechanism to regulate activation of Natural Killer T cells in PNAS Plus Researchers Juan Torreno-Pina and Carlo Manzo working in the Single Molecule Biophotonics group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Maria Garcia-Parajo, have recently discovered a novel mechanism that leads to the activation of Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells. After activation, iNKT … Continue reading →

  • Role of disorder in cell membranes and connection with function

    Weak ergodicity breaking of receptor motion in living cells stemming from random diffusivity in PRX. Fundamental biological processes, including the capture of pathogens by membrane receptors, are regulated by molecular transport. A joint collaboration between the ICREA Professors at ICFO Maria Garcia-Parajo and Maciej Lewenstein show that receptor functioning is linked to nonergodic dynamics, which … Continue reading →

  • Two recent ICFO papers highlighted by the HFSP

    PNAS and J. Cell Science papers highlighted for new findings in Biology by means of super-resolution and single molecules approaches. Two recent studies published in PNAS and J. cell Science by the Single Molecule Biophotonics group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Maria Garcia-Parajo have been highlighted by the Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) for … Continue reading →

  • The advantages of order in Biology

    Cell membranes exploit hierarchical order to efficiently internalize pathogens in PNAS. A recent study carried out by Juan Torreno-Pina, Bruno Castro and Carlo Manzo of the Single Molecule Biophotonics group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO María García-Parajo, established a crucial role for the organization of the cell membrane in the recognition and binding of … Continue reading →

  • The balance between adhesion and migration

    Re-activating adhesion on cells of the immune system in Plos One. A recent single molecule study carried out by Kyra Borgman, Thomas van Zanten and Carlo Manzo in the Single Molecule Biophotonics group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Maria Garcia-Parajo sheds new light on the tight balance between cell adhesion and migration in the … Continue reading →

  • ICREA International Symposium

    May 29 – 31, 2013 Visualizing signaling nanoplatforms at a higher spatiotemploral resolution The aim of the symposium is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of world-leading scientists to further our understanding on the fundamental molecular mechanisms that govern nanostructures and protein function relationships at the cell membrane. The symposium will cover topics related to … Continue reading →

  • Leukocyte adhesion in PNAS

    ICFO researchers introduce new insights into cell migration and leukocyte adhesion. Researchers at ICFO in the group led by ICREA Prof. Maria Garcia-Parajo, working in collaboration with a team from Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences in the Netherlands have been able to capture the initial steps leading to leukocyte adhesion using Super-Resolution Light Microscopy … Continue reading →


HFSP advanced grant; MINECO Severo Ochoa, Fundacio Privada CELLEX Barcelona, MINECO-FIS2014-56107-R.

▲ Dynamic nanolandscape of immune receptors