PhD thesis: Discovery of protein biomarkers in breast cancer patients using ultrasensisitive optoplasmonic immunoassays

DescriptionThe Bionanomechanics group (CSIC) is focused on the development of physical technologies, in particular nanomechanics and optomechanics, for their application in microbiology and oncology. The group has successfully proposed and developed disruptive concepts at the boundary between physics and biology, such as the identification of biophysical markers for cancer mechanobiology (ACS Nano 2016, 10, 3365, ACS Sens. 2019, 4, 12, 3325, PCT / ES20 / 070236) and for the detection of pathogenic organisms (Nature Communications 2016, 7, 13452, Nature Nanotechnology 2020, 15, 469, PCT / EP19 / 063680). Among its most recent lines of research, the group is addressing the development of innovative nanotechnology-based tools for cancer mechanobiology (ERC-StG-Nanoforcells (ERC-StG) and for proteomics (ERC-CoG-Liquidmass). Related to this PhD project, the group has developed a new concept of a hybrid opto-mechano-plasmonic biosensor device for the detection of minute concentrations of tumor biomarkers, with a detection limit of 100 femtogram/mL, exceeding existing technologies by several orders of magnitude (Nature Nanotechnology 9, 1047 (2014), Nat. Nanotech News & Views 9, 959 (2014), PCT / ES2015 / 070434). This PhD Project starts from the following hypothesis: The deepest region of the plasma proteome (low abundant, rare proteins) can be explored with the highly sensitive technology developed by the group to find protein biomarkers useful for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Thus, the goal will be to develop highly sensitive immunoassays based on the cited nanotechnologies and their application for the discovery of protein biomarkers for breast cancer. The PhD Project will train the candidate in the different multidisciplinary aspects of this research: Surface chemistry, nanotechnologies, instrumentation development (hardware and software), data analysis. The work will be developed in a multidisciplinary environment and under the supervision by experts in chemistry, nanotechnology and oncology. The work involves experimental skills and optomechanical and biological characterization. To: Bachelors in Chemistry or Biochemistry. Minimum score of 2 (excluding TFG and master grades) in a scale ranging from 1 to 4. Previous experience in research will be positively evaluated but it is not required. The candidate must show enthusiasm, high motivation and capability to learn new topics.

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