What We Do
Our group is interested in understand how mechanical forces modulate critical biological processes, from muscle elasticity to bacterial adhesion. Specifically, we aim to understand the mechanisms implemented within the cell in response to mechanical cues, describing the genes involved and how the proteins coded by those genes are adapted in nature.
In the last year we established a mechanical assay that allowed us to characterize the giant protein of striated muscle, titin (Nature Comm 11; 2060). These experiments will help us to contribute to determining the emerging role that this gene and protein play in the myocyte.
Furthermore, we have implemented several experiments that aim to determine how a gene family highly conserved in the Group A Streptococcus—adhesin gene—, is involved in the adhesion to human epithelia. We analyze the evolutive differences found in the sequences, and how these changes are translated to protein structure and modify the adhesion mechanisms (Methods Mol Biol. 2020; 2136:347-364).
Currently we are working to develop new strategies for interfering with the folding and formation of bacterial adhesins. We are combing computational tools, protein engineering and single molecule mechanics to probe our anti-adhesive peptides.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE LAB
We started the lab on early 2019, focusing our efforts to set up a research line on the emerging field of the mechano-biology, the interface between biology, chemistry, and physics. Our motivation is to understand how mechanicial processes modulate biological responses. We use a combination of molecular biology, protein engineering, computational tools, and biophysics aiming to determine how force become one of the most important signals in the cell.
We are located at Universidad Mayor in the Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics (CGB), Laboratory of Microbe Genomics. Recently and with the collaborations of Fernádez lab (Columbia Univ) we finished the assembly of our first single-molecule instrument–SOPHIA– but also know as Mjölnir. The microscope is a modified atomic force microscope designed for mechanical pulling at the single molecule level. We are working in our second setup, which with the collaborations of our friends at SMAT-C (USACH) we hope to finish within the following months.
Check it out our research projects!
(updated April 17, 2021)
LOCKDOWN 2.0 WORKING AGAIN FROM HOME
March 29, 2021
STORMBREAKER AKA "OPTIMUS" IS ALMOST READY
AFTER MONTHS AT HOME WE ARE BACK IN THE LAB!
Oct 2, 2020
NEW STUDENTS JOIN THE TEAM! WELCOME TOMAS, VICENTE, AND PABLO
Aug 24, 2020
CONGRATS ANDREA! A NEW BIOTECH ENGINEER
May 12, 2020
WE ARE STILL WORKING BUT FROM HOME