Maria F. García-Parajo

Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO)

Engineering Sciences

María F. García-Parajo obtained her PhD in Physical Electronics in 1993 at Imperial College, London, UK, working on the fabrication and photoluminescence spectroscopy of quantum structures based on GaAs/AlGaAs. After acquiring extensive expertise in scanning probe microscopy (STM, NSOM, AFM) at the L2M-CNRS, Bagneux, France (1993-1995) and University of Barcelona, Spain (1995-1996) she moved in 1996 to the Applied Optics group of the University of Twente, the Netherlands. Her main research topics have been single molecule detection and spectroscopy using near- and far-field optical techniques with focus in photophysics of organic and autofluorescent proteins, molecular photonics and biophysics. Since 2005 she is ICREA Research Professor, first hosted at the IBEC - Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia and since July 2011 at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences, leading the Single Molecule Biophotonics group.

Research interests

Our research focuses on the development of advanced optical techniques to the study of biological processes at the single molecular level on living cells. We use near-field optical approaches and photonic antennas to provide simultaneous nanoimaging and nanospectroscopy on living cells, in combination with other far-field nanoscopy methods. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy in ultraconfined volumes, and multi-color single particle tracking are exploited to gain access to dynamic processes down to the µs time resolution. In parallel, our aim is to bring biophysical inside into fundamental biological questions that have important implications for health and disease, including cell biology and immunology, in close collaboration with biologists.

Selected publications

– Torreno-Pina JA, Manzo C, Salio M, Aichinger MC, Oddone A, Lakadamyali M…  Cerundolo V & Garcia-Parajo MF 2016, ‘The actin cytoskeleton modulates the activation of iNKT cells by segregating CD1d nanoclusters on antigen-presenting cells’, PNAS, 113, 6, E772 – E781.

– Sosa-Costa A, Isern de Val S, Sevilla-Movilla S, Borgman KJE, Manzo C, Teixido J & Garcia-Parajo MF 2016, ‘Lateral Mobility and Nanoscale Spatial Arrangement of Chemokine-activated alpha 4 beta 1 Integrins on T Cells’, J. Biol. Chem., 291, 40, 21053.

– de Torres J, Mivelle M, Moparthi SB, Rigneault H, van Hulst NFGarcía-Parajo MF, Margeat E & Wenger J 2016, ‘Plasmonic nanoantennas enable forbidden Förster Dipole–Dipole energy transfer and enhance the FRET Efficiency”, Nano Lett. 16, 6222–6230.

– Regmi R, Berthelot J, Winkler PM, Mivelle M, … García-Parajo MF, Bidault S, Wenger J & Bonod N 2016, ‘All-Dielectric silicon nanogap antennas to enhance the fluorescence of single molecules’, Nano Lett. 16, 5143-5151.

– Torreno-Pina JA, Manzo C & Garcia-Parajo MF 2016, ‘Uncovering homo-and hetero-interactions on the cell membrane using single particle tracking approaches’, J. Phys. D-Appl. Phys., 49, 10.

– Eich C, Manzo C, de Keijzer S, … Garcia-Parajo MF & Cambi A 2016, ‘Changes in membrane sphingolipid composition modulate dynamics and adhesion of integrin nanoclusters’, Scientific Reports, 6, 20693.

– Di Fabrizio E, Schluecker S, Wenger J, … van Hulst NFGarcia-Parajo MF, Pucci A, Cojoc D, Hauser CAE & Ni M 2016, ‘Roadmap on biosensing and photonics with advanced nano-optical methods’, J. Opt, 18, 6, 063003.

Selected research activities

  • Organizer of the ICREA International Symposium in BioNanoVision of cellular architecture, 25-27 May, Barcelona.
  • Scientific coordinator of the EC Project FP7-ICT: NANO-VISTA.
  • Scientific coordinator of the HFSP Advanced grant: NANO-MECHANO-BIOLOGY.
  • 12 invitations to international conferences & workshops.