ICREA Academia
Antonio Villaverde

Antonio Villaverde

ICREA Acadèmia 2008, 2013 & 2018

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona · Life & Medical Sciences

Antonio Villaverde

A. Villaverde is a Chair Professor of Microbiology at the Department of Genetics and Microbiology and leader of the Nanobiotechnology group at the IBB, Autonomous University of Barcelona. He coordinates a research team of 20 people, fully integrated in the Networking Biomedical Research Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine. He also leads the Applied and Basic Microbiology team of the Generalitat de Catalunya. A. Villaverde has authored around 300 peer-reviewed papers on microbiology-biotechnology-nanoscience interfaces, apart from around 340 communications to conferences, several books, book chapters and 16 patents, among which 7 have been licensed. In 2002, A. Villaverde founded the journal Microbial Cell Factories (ISSN: 1475-2859) and in 2017, the spin-off company Nanoligent SL, devoted to develop precision nanomedicines for cancer. From his publication record, A. Villaverde has received, so far, a total of 11,617 citations, with an h-index of 54.

Research interests

My activities can be summarized by two main research lines:

1- Design of self-assembling, protein-only nanoparticles for cell-targeted drug delivery. We develop peptidic ligands of cell surface tumoral markers as convenient functional agents of innovative antitumoral drugs and drug vehicles. By that, we generate novel nanostructured agents resulting from biofabrication, for selective drug delivery and precision cance medicines.

2- Design or artificial secretory granules as in vivo depots for slow drug release. We generate mimetics of secretory granules from the endocrine system, based on the selective coordination of functional therapeutic proteins and divalent cations. The resulting micron-scale clusters, containing a unique protein species, act as protein depots that are disintegrated, upon subcutaneous administration, to release protein drugs in a time-sustained manner. This principle is being adapted to a variety of diseases and biomedical uses, including vaccination.


Biotechnology; Nanomedicine; Nanobiotechnology; Biomaterials; Recombinant proteins