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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. He leads the Nanobiotechnology group at the IBB, Autonomous University of Barcelona, where he coordinates a research team of 20 people, fully integrated in the Networking Biomedical Research Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN). He also leads the Innovative Bio-drugs team of the Generalitat de Catalunya. A. Villaverde has authored 330 peer-reviewed papers on microbiology-biotechnology-nanoscience interfaces, apart from more than 350 communications to conferences, several books, book chapters and 18 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 developing precision nanomedicines for cancer. From his publication record, A. Villaverde has received, so far, a total of 14,280 citations, with an h-index of 59. 

Research interests

We design self-assembling, protein-only nanoparticles for the cell-targeted drug delivery in cancer and other conditions, using protein engineering strategies such as architectonic domains in combination with tumor-homing peptides. This approach results in a highly selective, precision delivery of protein drugs or payload chemicals into target cells. In addition, we have learned how to organize these agents into artificial secretory granules within the micro-scale. These entities act as in vivo depots for slow drug release, that mimic secretory granules from the mammalian endocrine system. This technology is based on the coordination between divalent cations and histidine residues in a controlled way, and it allows the generation of fully biocompatible, self-disintegrating materials with a wide spectrum of applications in diverse clinical fields.


Biotechnology; Nanomedicine; Nanobiotechnology; Biomaterials; Recombinant proteins

ICREA Memoir 2023