Maria F. García-Parajo

Maria F. García-Parajo

Institut de Ciències Fotòniques

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 focus on the development and application of different forms of super-resolution microscopy (STED, STORM, NSOM) as well as photonic antennas to reach spatial resolutions around 10nm on intact cells. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy in ultraconfined volumes, and multi-color single particle tracking are exploited to gain access to dynamic processes down to the microsecond time resolution. Using these combined approaches, we aim at understanding how spatiotemporal compartmentalization of biomolecules inside cells regulates and control cell function. This fundamental question has important implications for health and disease, touching the fields of cell biology and immunology.

Selected publications

- Sanz-Paz, M.; Wenger, J.; van Hulst, N. F.; Mivelle, M.; Garcia-Parajo, M. F. 2020, 'Nanoscale control of single molecule Forster resonance energy transfer by a scanning photonic nanoantenna', Nanophotonics, 9, 12, 4021 - 4031.

- Sil P,  Mateos N, Nath S, Buschow S, Manzo C,  Suzuki K, Fujiwara T,Kusumi A, Garcia-Parajo M.F* & Mayor S*. 2020 Dynamic actin-mediated nano-scale clustering of CD44 regulates its meso-scale organization at the plasma membrane. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 31, 7, 561 - 579.   * Equally contributing authors.  

- Raote, I.; Chabanon, M; Walani, N.; Arroyo, M.; Garcia-Parajo, M. F.; Malhotra, V.; Campelo, F. 2020, 'A physical mechanism of TANGO1-mediated bulky cargo export', Elife, 9, e59426.

- Winkler, P. M.; Campelo, F.; Giannotti, M. I; Garcia-Parajo, M. F. 2020, 'Planar plasmonic antenna arrays resolve transient nanoscopic heterogeneities in biological membranes', Single Molecule Spectroscopy And Superresolution Imaging Xiii, Proc. SPIE 11246, 112460F.

- de la Serna, J. B.; Mellado, M.; Dustin, M.L.; Garcia-Parajo, M. F.; Morikis, D. 2020, 'Editorial: ImmunoPhysics and ImmunoEngineering', Frontiers In Physics, 8, 28.

Selected research activities

Recipient of the ERC-Advanced grant NANO-MEMEC, 2018.

Member of  Evaluation Panel ERC-Life Sciences, Advanced Grants, European Research Council.

President of the jury for the annual award “Premis de la Ciutat de Barcelona”, Experimental Sciences and Technology. 

Member of the international scientific committee of the 2020 European Physical Society (EPS), Condensed Matter Division.

Coordinator of the Advanced Optical Microscopy Program at BIST-Barcelona Institute of Science & Technology, Barcelona, Spain.

7 invited lectures at international conferences and workshops (on-line)

Participation in general talks, debates and dissemination activities to promote the active participation of Women in Science