Tentacles Project

In addition to the large amount of biomedical research carried out in the last few years in the field of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs), new translational aspects are being explored with increasing interest by biotech and pharmaceutical companies. In this context, a new Network funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science (2020-2021) has been created to promote scientific activities that open new clinical perspectives in EV research.

In Spain, several members of this network, have been pioneers in organizing workshops and courses to boost synergies and to encourage close collaborations with national companies to develop and market different products related to EVs.

From this privileged starting point, the “Translational NeTwork for the CLinical application of Extracellular VesicleS, TeNTaCLES” network has been assembled
with the objective of helping the Spanish research and industrial environment to hold leading positions in the field.

The current network involves highly competitive researchers that bring a global vision for the study of EVs and the development of new tools for their effective use in the clinical setting.

In the scientific framework, we aim to focus on fundamental aspects for the translation of EV knowledge to society with three main objectives: a) Develop methodological aspects for the generation of EV biobanks; b) Search for biomarkers in EVs as components of liquid biopsy, and c) Use of EVs in therapy.

During the two years of funding of this Network, workshops and seminars will be organized for the benefit of the entire EV research community in Spain.
Tentacles Integrating Members



Departamento de Biología Molecular, CBM-SO, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa

After a training stay in the laboratory of Dr Giménez at the UAM, I joined Dr Sanchez-Madrid´s lab for my PhD, which meant the start of a new line of research in the lab devoted to the characterization of tetraspanin complexes in intercellular adhesions of endothelial and epithelial cells. After a short stay in Dr WJ Nelson´s lab at Stanford, to learn the principles of timelapse confocal microscopy with fluorescent proteins, I was in charge of setting up the Videomicroscopy Facility at the Hospital de la Princesa, being the first confocal facility in Spain to perform time-lapse microscopy in living cells, and serving as training platform for other confocal units in Spain. During this first postdoctoral period I was involved in a multi-departmental study on the ethiopathology of fibrosis on peritoneal dialysis patients that was published in 2003 as a full article in The New Engl J Med, and gave rise to a patent.

In 2003 I obtained a competitive contract Miguel Servet. The first 3 years of that contract I worked together with the predoctoral fellow Olga Barreiro at the Servicio de Inmunología deciphering the role of tetraspanin complexes in leukocyte extravasation. After my second maternity leave, I joined the CNIC as Junior Visiting Researcher. At this time, I started my two main actual research lines: functional association of tetraspanins with proteases and intracellular connections of tetraspanins.

In 2009 I rejoined the Servicio de Inmunología, because of the opportunities posed by the creation of the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa. In this context, I was appointed Director of Technical Facilities and proposed as Young Group Leader at the Hospital Santa Cristina, to where we moved in May 2010. In 2014, I applied to the competitive contract Ramón y Cajal, which offered me a link with the University.

Our research on the tetraspanin interactome led us to the study of tetraspanins in the biogenesis and function of extracellular vesicles, a field in which we have developed a series of new techniques and detection devices. I became founder member of the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) and of the Spanish Group of Research in Extracellular Vesicles (GEIVEX). I organized the first GEIVEX Symposium (Segovia November 2012) and was Member of the Management Committee in BM1202 European Network on Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease COST ACTION. Among the national and international collaborations I want to highlight those in which we have studied the role of tetraspanins in embryo implantation and materno-fetal communication in collaboration with the IVI (Valencia).

From 2009 I have had continuous funding as Principal Investigator, as well as additional funding as collaborator. I have taken part in an Excellence Intramural Project from ISCIII and in two Networks of Excellence from MINECO (REDIEX and Tentacles).

Our group is focused on the characterization of tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs), specialized membrane platforms involved in cell-cell adhesion and migration processes. These membrane platforms are connected to different cytoskeletal components and signalling pathways. We have demonstrated a functional connection of tetraspanin CD81 with the dNTP hydrolase SAMHD1, that results in regulation of nucleotide metabolism downstream TEMs. This axis was proven to be relevant during HIV infectious cycle, and was protected through a patent that describes CD81 as a new target to fight against HIV infection.

In addition, tetraspanin proteins are among the most abundant proteins on extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs represent a novel mechanism of intercellular communication as vehicles for bioactive proteins, lipids, and RNAs. In our group, we are exploiting the tools against tetraspanin molecules to develop new isolation, detection and quantification devices. We are also interested in deciphering the role of tetraspanins in EV biogenesis and uptake by the target cell. Finally, we are developing synthetic exosome mimetics by the use of tetraspanin-based tools.

Soraya López-Martín: Laboratory Technician
Victor Toribio: PhD Student
Beatriz Benayas: PhD Student




Departamento Medicina. Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid

Francisco Sánchez-Madrid did his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is Professor of Immunology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, Chief of Service of Immunology and the Scientific Director of the Hospital Princesa Research Institute, Madrid, Spain.

Francisco Sánchez-Madrid has made leading contributions to knowledge about the mechanisms of leukocyte adhesion, polarity, migration and activation. This contribution has pioneered the identification and characterization of the first families of leukocyte adhesion molecules, their physiological role in the control of migration and cellular traffic, and their immense relevance to chronic inflammatory pathologies.

Sánchez-Madrid laboratory research on migration and activation receptors of human leukocytes is documented in more than 450 publications in international journals, including many recent articles in prestigious journals that have to date received more than 33.000 citations (H Index: 90).

In the most recent years, his research group has made key contributions to understanding the functional relevance of the supra-molecular organization of leukocyte and endotelial nanoplatforms connected to cytoskeleton in the regulation of cell-to-cell communication in the immune system and the mechanisms of transfer of genetic information by exosomes.

Sánchez-Madrid’s leadership capacity is demonstrated by the fact that more than twenty five of the select group of investigators trained in his lab are now university professors and research group leaders in their own right in national and international centres. Finally, Sánchez-Madrid has consistently shown his commitment to the management and promotion of scientific research in Spain and Europe. He has served as President of the Immunology Commission of the Spanish Health Research Fund (Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria; FIS, 1998-2000), Coordinator of the National Biomedicine Plan (Plan Nacional de Biomedicina, 2001-2005), and Member of the Evaluation Panel LS6 of European Research Council for Young Investigator Grants (2007-2010).



REMAR-IGTP Group, "Germans Trias i Pujol" Health Sciences Research Institute (IGTP) & Nephrology Service, "Germans Trias i Pujol" Univ. Hospital (HUGTiP), Can Ruti Campus, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain

Dr. Francesc E. Borràs graduated in Biology at the University of Barcelona in 1991. His phD studies were supervised by Drs. Antonio Celada and Jorge LLoberas, and focused on cellular and molecular aspects of macrophages. In 1998 he joined the Dept. of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics at the National Blood Service in London (UK) led by Dr. Cristina Navarrete, where he started to work on DC’s biology in tolerance as a post-doctoral fellow. In 2002, he earned a junior “Miguel Servet” researcher position and joined the Immunology lab at the “Germans Trias i Pujol” Research Institute (IGTP), directed by Dr. Ricardo Pujol, where he founded and led the Dendritic Cells´ research group (DCTeam).

After completing the “Miguel Servet” program in 2008, he was further promoted to a Senior Researcher position by the “Instituto de Salud Carlos III” and the “Generalitat de Catalunya” (Dept. of Health), and founded the IVECAT Group at the IGTP. Since 2014, Dr. Borràs is coordinator of the Research Group REMAR-IGTP (from “Recerca en Malalties d’Afectació Renal”), a research group funded by “Generalitat of Catalonia” (2014SGR804 and 2017SGR301), which includes more than 15 health professionals with interest in studying and addressing the problems of kidney diseases and related pathologies.

In the last 3 years the group participated in the publication of more than 50 manuscripts in impact journals, of which 23 are from basic research (70% in Q1 journals). In this period we have developed several research projects with competitive and non-competitive financing, a total of 6 doctoral theses have been defended and 6 doctoral theses are currently being directed. Dr. Borràs has been member of the board of the Catalan Society for Immunology (2008-12), Assistant Professor of Immunology at the UAB (2004-2012), Chief Editor of “Revista Inmunología” (2010-13), member of the Editorial Board of “Journal of Extracellular Vesicles”.

He is currently Associate Profesor of Immunology at University of Barcelona, member of the Editorial Board of the journal “Cells”, member of ISEV (International Society for Extracellular Vesicles), co-founder and vice president of GEIVEX (Spanish Research Group on Extracellular Vesicles, geivex.org) and co-founder of “Innovex Therapeutics”, a spin-off devoted to harness clinical application of extracellular vesicles. Dr. Borràs has directed 9 doctoral thesis, all qualified as Excellent Cum Laude. Moreover, five theses received the special honour mention of the UAB, and one was awarded the CERCA prize.

Our research has the ultimate goal to transfer of knowledge to Society in renal and related diseases. In this sense, the scientific interest of the research group focuses on three priority lines of research

a) Development of new strategies for the improvement in the objective diagnosis of renal diseases that represent a non-invasive alternative to renal biopsy.

b) Research in the field of preventive and therapeutic cell & “Cell-free” therapies for transplantation and other pathologies of renal involvement.

c) Clinical Research in Nephrology.

The first line of research has a clear translational vocation aiming to improve the quality of life of the renal patient, defining new approaches to avoid or reduce the need on renal biopsies. In this regard, the group is developing several studies to define these new strategies in diverse renal pathological processes, including polycystic kidney disease, glomerular disease, obesity and glomerular injury, and dialysis complications. Among other projects of interest, our group has received prior funding from ISCIII in the form of research projects that have allowed the defense of 2 doctoral theses, two more that are ongoing, the publication of various scientific articles and the recent application for a patent.

On the other hand, the second line of research derives from the interest of our group in the development of basic research projects with a medium-long term translational vision . In this regard, the group has developed in recent years different funded proposals in order to explore more deeply the therapeutic potential of cell therapy (such as mesenchymal stem cells or regulatory B cells) and new approaches. of “cell-free” therapies, including harnessing of extracellular vesicles.

Dr. Marcella Franquesa (“Miguel Servet” Researcher)

Dr. Marta Monguió-Tortajada (post-Doc)
Laura Carreras-Planella (pre-Doc)
Marta Clos Sansalvador (pre-Doc)
Sergio García García (pre-Doc)

Miriam Morón Font (Lab Technitian)




Centro de Biología Molecular “Severo Ochoa” (UAM-CSIC). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Dr. Isabel Guerrero is a senior researcher at the CBMSO since 1989. She graduated in chemistry at the University Autónoma de Madrid and obteined her PhD at the CBMSO (CSIC-UAM) in 1981. She did the her first postdoctoral stay (1981-1987) at NYU Medical Center working in the identification of the Ras family oncogenes (K-ras, N-ras) in mouse model systems for carcinogenesis. Next, in another postdoctoral stay in Oxford at the Imperial Cancer Research Foundation (now Cancer Research UK) (1987-1989) in Oxford she started working in Developmental Biology, and identified Patched as the receptor of the Hedgehog pathway in Drosophila. Both postdoctoral stays highlight her extensive experience in the field of genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms of cell signaling. Currently, she leads a competitive group as Research Professor of CSIC in the CBMSO in Madrid. Her studies on the mechanisms of cell signaling during development have a great international recognition, having organized several international conferences on Hedgehog signaling pathway and its involvement in the development and maintenance of stem cells and cancer.

Dr. Isabel Guerrero group has significant collaborations with national and international groups. Her group has been involved in National and European projects and networks. The principal investigator is a member of EMBO since 1997 and has served on review committees of EMBO from 2008 until 2012. Her research has been published in relevant journals in the field of cell biology and developmental biology.

The research of the group is related to the mechanisms of intercellular communication mediated by signaling proteins at long distances during embryonic development in fruit flies. The graded distribution of signaling molecules in a morphogenetic field and the ability of the receptor cells to respond specifically to different ligand concentrations are tightly regulated processes. For Hedgehog signaling, the group has proposed that specialized signaling filopodia (cytonemes) mediate a precise long distant communication within an epithelium and vesicles are the Hedgehog carriers in cytoneme-mediated transport for exovesicles secretion. Our hypothesis is that during morphogenesis non-neuronal cells exchange signalling proteins in extracellular vesicles by direct contact between cytonemes at specific sites, similar to neuronal synapses, facilitating concentration and spatial restriction of the signal. Currently, the group studies the implication of the cytoskeleton and vesicular trafficking in the exosome and cytoneme biogenesis and the crosstalk of Hedgehog pathway with other signaling pathways. Our research is interdisciplinary using diverse experimental systems across tissues in Drosophila, we use state-of-the-art methodologies for genetic, cellular and molecular analyses, superresolutin confocal microscopy, electron microscopy and 4D in vivo imaging.


The knowledge of the mechanisms underlying cell-cell signaling and cell signaling integration during normal development will contribute to understand other cell communication processes such as the maintenance of adult homeostasis and tumor progression.

Ana-Citlali Gradilla Castellanos. Junior investigator.
Laura González-Méndez. Postdoctoral.
Eléanor Simón: Postdoctoral.
Adrián Aguirre Tamaral. Graduated student.
Carlos Jiménez Jiménez. Graduated student.
Irene Sánchez Platero. Graduated student.
Pedro Ripoll Quitas. Visiting Professor.




Centro Nacional de Biotecnología del CSIC (CSIC-UAM), Madrid

Dr. Valés-Gómez has contributed very actively to the definition of the specificity of NK cell cytotoxicity, firstly during her PhD studies at Harvard University (1994-1999), analysing the interaction between different NK cell receptor-ligand pairs at a molecular level and studying their affinity of interaction using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). Later, during a post-doctoral position at the University of Cambridge (1999-2006), she worked on the activation of human NK cells in the recognition of virally infected cells. Dr. Valés-Gómez independent research begun at Cambridge, where she was Senior Research Associate (2006-2010), focusing in the activating receptor NKG2D and its ligands, as a model of molecules that signal stress to the immune system. In 2010, she joined the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology as tenured scientist where she leads the “tumour immune activation and evasion” laboratory. Recently, the group has described in detail the phenotype of NK cells with anti-tumoral capacities in the context of treatment of bladder cancer with BCG and melanoma treated with BRAF inhibitors. Collaborations are in place with several research groups, in Spain and abroad, and also with companies interested in bladder cancer immunotherapy and exosome detection.

The group of Dr. Valés-Gómez studies the interaction between immune receptors and their ligands, using as a model the biology of Natural Killer (NK) cells. Recent studies on the role of NK cells in cancer recognition have produced interesting results in two models of human cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma. We apply a range of biochemical and immunological techniques to understand the differentiation and proliferation of the NK cell compartment in the context of cancer and the changes provoked by different therapeutic approaches. The group is interested in describing the detailed phenotype of NK cells with anti-tumoral capacities and the factors required for their differentiation. In parallel, we study immune modulating molecules secreted by tumours, either soluble or as part of extracellular vesicles (EV), such as exosomes. In this context, the system of NKG2D and its ligands provide an example of tumour immune evasion molecules that can be detected in biological samples of patients. Using this and other systems, we have developed immune capture-based tools for an easier detection of EV biomarkers in cancer.

Gloria Esteso Tornero, Post-doctoral researcher
Carmen Campos-Silva, Graduate student.
Maren Kristin Kramer, Graduate student
Yaiza Cáceres-Martell, Research Assistant
Manzanero-Cancela Rocío, Laboratory Technician
Lucía Téllez Pérez, Undergraduate student




Área de Parasitología, Departamento de Biología Celular y Parasitología, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de València, y Unidad Mixta de Investigación en Endocrinología, Nutrición y Dietética Clínica, Hospital Universitario y Politécnico “La Fe”-Universitat de València

Dr. Antonio Marcilla is Full Professor of Parasitology, leading a research group studying the role of extracellular vesicles in the host-parasitic helminths interplay.

He earned his PhD in Pharmacy (Department of Microbiology-UV) in 1991, working on the characterization of cell wall mannoproteins from the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans as target for specific diagnostic, producing several monoclonals, some of them commercialized. As a postdoctoral fellow in the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD, USA) (1993-1995), he was involved in the characterization of protein-protein interactions in signal transduction originated in cancer cells, mainly in basophils, monocytes and macrophages.

Postdoctoral positions in the Instituto de Investigaciones Citológicas de Valencia (1995-1996), (currently Centro de Investigación “Principe Felipe”), and Universitat de Valencia (1996-1998), working on the molecular biology of candidiasis.

Assistant Professor of Parasitology, Facultat de Farmàcia-UV (1998-2002), Associated Professor (2002-2016), and Full Professor (2017-). Since his appointment at the Parasitology Department in 1998, he has been working in Molecular Parasitology, initially on vectors of the Chagas’ disease (producing molecular tools to distinguish triatomine bugs), and later on with parasitic trematodes, mainly Fasciola hepatica and Dicrocoelium dendriticum, as well as the nematode Strongyloides stercoralis. He has been involved in the analyses and molecular characterization of the host-parasitic helminths interphase, using genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches, in order to identify new and specific targets for their control (biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and/or vaccination). He started in 2011 his research in extracellular vesicles (EVs) as a source for those targets. Supervisor of 11 PhD Thesis and more than 20 Master Thesis, he has published 90 peer reviewed papers with more than 7100 cites (h index: 36).

Our current interests deal with the characterization of parasite EVs in the parasite-parasite, and parasite-host communications, as well as the characterization of EVs from edible plants, and the study of their applications in control parasitic and non-parasitic diseases.

Dolores Bernal Membrilla (Profesora Titular Universidad, Bioquímica y Biología Molecular)
María Trelis Villanueva (Profesora Contratada Doctora, Parasitología)
Fernando Cantalapiedra García (MsC Veterinary Sciences)
Christian Sánchez López (PhD student)
Liz Fiorella Sánchez Palencia (PhD student)
Pedro Pérez Bermúdez-Inglés (Catedrático de Universidad, Fisiología Vegetal)
José Miguel Soriano del Castillo (Catedrático de Universidad, Nutrición)
Carla Soler Quiles (Profesora Contratada Doctora, Toxicología)
Mojdeh Khosravi (PhD student)
Aránzazu González Arce (MsC student)



Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biobank Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología. Valencia

Molecular Biologist and PI of the Group Oncology Biomarkers and Advanced Therapies (GruBiT). Received the BS degree in Biology in 1993 and the PhD degree in Biology (Human Genetics) in 1998 both from the Universitat de Valencia. In 1998 moved to the Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología (FIVO) and established the Laboratory of Molecular Biology that currently is managing. His main expertise area is oriented on tumor biology and genetics particularly prostate, breast, lung and gynecological cancer and bone and soft tissue sarcomas.

He is also the Scientific Director of the FIVO’s Biobank and the Scientific Coordinator of Valencia Network of Oncological Biobanks. In 2014 he has been accredited as specialist in clinical genetics by the Spanish Society of Human Genetics (AEGH).

Director of 7 Doctorate Theses (2007 to date) and has participated in many post-graduate educational programs. He has been Invited Professor of the PhD programme from the Department of Pathology, University of Valencia (1999-2006); coordinator of the 4 editions of a Master Course on Biobanks and use of Biological samples for research in the Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir (2012-2018); as well as professor of postgraduate courses in Medical Genetics at the University of Valencia (2009 to date).  Currently, he is Professor of Cellular Biology at the Medical School of the Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir (2017-to date).

He is member of different scientific societies such as: OECI; SEAP, ASEICA; SEOM; GEICO; GEIS; AEGH; and GEIVEX. Since 2007 he is coordinating the Translational Research Committee of the GEICO group. 

Has more tan 150 peer-review publications with more the 5000 citations and a h-index of 40. 

  • Genetic and genomic diagnosis for solid tumors.

  • Prostate cancer: identification and validation of non-invasive or minimally invasive appraches.

  • Exosome characterization from prostate cancer patients as source of biomarkers.

  • Biobanking: handling and clinical annotation for the use of biological resources for research.

  • Gynecological cancer: genomic instability to identify patients that may benefit of DNA-damaging agents and PARP inhibitors.

  • Other tumors: tumor profiling and genomic characterization through –omic approaches.

Zaida García Casado, PhD
Antonio Fernández-Serra, PhD
Reyes Calaramunt-Alonso, PhD
Marta Ramírez-Calvo, Bsc.D biology
María-García Flores, Bsc.D biology
Isabel Cortell-Granero, Biobank coordinator
Patricia Carretero-Hinojosa, Technician
Tania Mazcuñan-Vitiello, Technician
Nuria López, Secretary
David Millán, PhD-student
Raquelo López-Reig, PhD-student
Belén Pastor-Navarro, PhD-student




Oncología Médica, Fundación de Investigación Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda, Madrid.

Prof. Provencio is the Principal Investigator of the Lung Cancer Research Group at Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Puerta de Hierro (IIS Puerta de Hierro). He is the Head of the Medical Oncology Department at Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda (HUPHM). Professor of Oncology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Scientific Director of the IIS Puerta de Hierro. President of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group (GECP). Prof. Provencio has a total of 254 scientific publications, 181 international (H index 48), more than 8000 citations, more than 200 conferences, 47 books or book chapters and 4 recognized sexennial research.

Dr. Provencio is a key opinion leader in lung cancer and has extensive experience in the field of medical oncology. His scientific work includes not only clinical research but also translational research. He initiated the Liquid Biopsy Laboratory at Hospital Puerta de Hierro which provides diagnostic services as well as conducts research projects in the field of personalized medicine. 

Dr. Provencio has significant experience in the use of Big Data Analytics for clinical and genomic data analysis in the context of Medical Oncology field. Remarkably, HPH group is currently participating in three European H2020 projects (CLARIFY 875160, IASIS H2020SC120162017 and BigMedilytics ICT1520162017) which aim to apply Big Data Analytics methodologies to improve lung cancer patient’s outcome. In the field of tumor immune microenvironment and blood biomarkers, the group is participating in the INmunoSIGHT project (RTC-2017-6502-1). Additionally, the group has recently started an ISCIII funded project focused on changes in the TCR immune repertoire and PBMCs populations in patients with lung cancer receiving chemoimmunotherapy (PI19/01652).

Atocha Romero Alfonso. Responsable Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida
Miguel Barquín del Romo. Personal de Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida con titulación superior
Sandra Sanz Moreno. Técnico de Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida
Alejandro Rodríguez Festa. Técnico de Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida
Dunixe Ares Trotta. Técnico de Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida
Estela Sánchez Herero. Personal de Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida con titulación superior
Roberto Serna Blasco. Personal de Laboratorio Biopsia Líquida con titulación superior




Polymer Therapeutics Laboratory, Centro Investigación Príncipe Felipe (CIPF) Valencia, Spain

Researcher unique identifier(s) (ORCID): 0000-0001-7771-3373

More information at Website

Dr. María J. Vicent received her Ph.D. degree in 2001 in chemistry after her research on solid supports from the Univ, Jaume I (Castellon, Spain) after several scientific stays in the laboratory of Prof. Fréchet’s lab. at the University California (Berkeley, USA). María then moved into more biomedically-oriented research, initially with the Spanish company Instituto Biomar S.A., and subsequently at the Centre for Polymer Therapeutics at the University of Cardiff (UK) with Prof. R. Duncan after receiving a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2002. In 2004, María joined the CIPF (Valencia, Spain) as a research associate through a Marie Curie Reintegration contract and was promoted to her current position as the head of the Polymer Therapeutics Laboratory at CIPF in 2006. María is currently responsible for the Screening Platform one of the Specialist Sites in the EU-OPENSCREEN European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) and coordinates the Advanced Therapies Program at CIPF.

María’s research group focuses on the development of novel nanopharmaceuticals for different therapeutic and diagnostic applications – in particular the application of Polymer Therapeutics in unmet clinical needs. María has been funded by both national and European grants (several acting as coordinator, including an ERC Consolidator grant-MyNano and ERC-PoC-POLYIMMUNE, Fund Health La Caixa-NanoPanTher) from academia as well as industry. María has received several prizes, including the IVth and the IXth Idea Awards, and she has been elected as member of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows Class of 2019. María has co-authored >110 peer-reviewed papers (h 38, >5500 citations) and ten patents. Three patents have been licensed to the pharmaceutical industry and a third used as the foundation for the founding of the spin-off company ‘Polypeptide Therapeutic Solutions S.L.’ (Valencia, Spain) in 2012. María was the President of the SPLC-CRS up to 2013 and the chairperson in key conferences in the nanomedicine field, such as the International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics and the annual Controlled Release Society meeting in 2019. María is also the executive editor of Adv. Drug Deliv Rev, the associate editor of NanoMedicine: NBM and DDTR, and a member of the editorial boards of key journal in the field including, J. Control Rel., Polymer Chemistry, Biomaterial Sciences, and Mol. Pharmaceutics.

Polymer therapeutics have attained clinical proof-of-concept with multiple marketed products and two polymer therapeutics reaching the US top-ten best-selling drugs. However, there still exist opportunities to expand and develop this platform in areas such as i) delivery of single/combination anti-cancer agents against novel molecular targets, ii) development of innovative polymeric materials with defined architectures, and (iii) treatment of diseases other than cancer, including neurodegeneration. The Polymer Therapeutics Laboratory at the CIPF is a highly interdisciplinary team that focuses on these exciting research areas from the rational synthetic design up the their biological evaluation in preclinically relevant in vivo models. Our research activity includes the design of advanced polymer conjugates – novel therapeutic and/or diagnostic tools with applications in metastatic cancer, neurodegeneration, and tissue regeneration, among others.

The development of polypeptide-based biodegradable carriers, the use of combination therapies, and the design of nanoconjugates for novel molecular targets represent approaches we follow to achieve effective treatment options. Additionally, the implementation of quantitative tools to assess the fate of polymer therapeutics allows the investigation of how spatial conformation affects trafficking, pharmacokinetics, and whole body biodistribution, so allowing the exploration of a range of clinical applications.

Dr Ana Armiñán
Dr Inmaculada Conejos-Sánchez
Dr Zoraida Andreu
Dr Maria Medel
Dr Alessio Malfanti
Dr Rocío Jurado
Dr Stuart Atkinson
Mª Helena Ferrandis
Esther Masiá
David Charbonnier
Sonia Vicente-Ruiz
Oleksandr Zagorodko
Fernanda Rodríguez
Tetiana Melnik
Snezana Dordevic
Antoni Serrano
Paz Boix
Paula Soriano
María García
Inés Domingo




ICREA Research Professor at Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) & Institut d’Investigació Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)
Ctra. de Can Ruti. Camí de les Escoles, s/n 08916 BADALONA (Barcelona), Spain

I studied at the University of Georgia where I received my PhD in 1985 followed by two WHO-postdoctoral trainings at the New York University Medical Centre and the Institut Pasteur where I specialized in molecular biology of malaria. Next, I consolidated an interdisciplinary and multi-Centric malaria research group at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1990, I did a sabbatical year at the Centre for Molecular Biology (ZMBH), University of Heidelberg. In 2007, I joined the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, and this year conjoined the Institut d’Investigació Germans Trias i Pujol. Cornerstones of this research activity are the discovery of the largest multigene virulent family of human malaria parasites involved in spleen immune evasion and the discovery that reticulocyte-derived exosomes from infections act as intercellular communicators and can be used as a novel vaccine and platform against malaria.

My main research area is the biology of Plasmodium vivax, a neglected human malaria parasite responsible for millions of yearly clinical cases. We are presently looking for mechanistic insights of the role of reticulocyte-derived exosomes, nanovesicles of endocytic origin, in signalling the spleen and the bone marrow to unveil molecular basis of anaemia and splenomegaly and to use this information in rationale vaccine development. To pursue spleen studies, we have constructed this organ on-a-chip and are now evaluating its usage in studies of malaria and of other haematological disorders. In addition, we are exploring the use of exosomes as novel vaccines and biomarkers in other human neglected parasitic diseases. Last, we are immortalizing human hematopoietic stem cells to develop a continuous in vitro culture system for blood stages of this malaria species, a major technological key-gap to advance studies of this neglected human malaria.

Hernando A del Portillo, ICREA Research Professor and Carmen Fernandez-Becerra, Assistant Research Professor joined the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in 2007 bringing their expertise in Plasmodium vivax malaria. In november 2015, the Plasmodium vivax and Exosome Research Group (PVREX, https://pverex.com) joined the Germans Trias I Pujol Research Institute (IGTP) through a collaborative agreement among ICREA, ISGlobal and IGTP.

The group brings their expertise in malaria and exosome research with a very strong motivation to produce translational impact. The group uses a series of molecular and cellular biology technologies combined with immunoepidemiological studies in endemic regions of vivax malaria (i) to study the biology of the parasite, (ii) to unveil mechanistic insights into anaemia and splenomegaly, (iii) to discover new antigens for vaccinations, and (iv) to discover biomarkers of liver latent infections. In addition, the group is pioneering the use of reticulocyte-derived exosomes as a new vaccine and platform against malaria. To this end, Dr. del Portillo has co-founded Innovex Therapeutics S.L., the first Spanish Spin-off devoted to the use of exosomes as new therapeutic agents and diagnostic tools. It is important to note that the Spin-off is presently located at IGTP.

The group has implemented small-scale soluble protein production in the cell-free wheat germ system for multiplex immunological assays, in vivo imaging of malaria parasites in mouse models, organs-on-a-chip technology and humanized mouse models to advance their studies of the role of the spleen and bone marrow. Lastly, due to the lack of an in vitro culture system for vivax malaria, which has a unique tropism for reticulocytes, the group is working on immortalization of human CD34+ capable of expanding and differentiation into these young red blood cells.

Co-Principal Investigator: Carmen Fernandez-Becerra, PhD., Assistant Research Professor
Postdoctoral Fellow: Melisa Gualdrón-López, PhD. (PERIS). Date of incorporation: 01/06/2016
PhD students:
Miriam Diaz Varela, PhD Student (AGAUR). Date of Incorporation: 2015
Haruka Toda, PhD Student (AGAUR). Date of Incorporation: 2016
Núria Cortes, PhD Student (MUNDO SANO). Date of Incorporation: 2017
Iris Aparici, PhD student (FPI MINECO). Date of Incorporation: 2018
MSc students: Alberto Ayllon Hermida, MSc student. Date of incorporation 2018
Technical Fellow: Marc Nicolau. Date of incorporation 2016




Ikerbasque Research Professor. Lab.3- Exosomes group. Metabolomics Unit & Platform. CIC bioGUNE, CIBERehd Derio, 48160, Bizkaia SPAIN

Dr. Falcon-Perez is IKERBASQUE Research Professor at CIC bioGUNE research institute (Derio, Bizkaia, Spain) where leads the EXOSOMES laboratory and the METABOLOMICS platform of the center. He is a biochemistry and cellular biologist with wide experience in performing high-content omics-based analyses. Degree in Biological Science (1994, Seville, Spain) and Ph D in Biochemistry (1999, Madrid, Spain). From 2001-2005, he occupied a postdoctoral position at Human Genetics Department of UCLA (USA) where he specialized in intracellular vesicular trafficking. In 2006, he moved to CIC bioGUNE in Spain and initiated his group on EXOSOMES as a source for disease biomarker discovery and a tool for therapeutic applications. Dr. Falcon´s group has characterized extracellular vesicles secreted by many in vivo and in vitro experimental models of several diseases, as well as from different bodily fluids, participating already in many publications related with extracellular vesicles. He is co-founder of the Spanish Association for Innovation and Investigation on Extracellular Vesicles (GEIVEX), forms part of the board of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV), is co-chair of the Rigor and Standardization ISEV sub-committee.

By applying “omics” technologies, including metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics, as well as, specific biochemical tools, our group has studied EVs for more than a decade, especially in the field of cancer and metabolic diseases. Along these years, we have moved through different methodologies and experimental models that have provided a repertoire of low invasive candidate markers for cancer and metabolic diseases. The group put special emphasis on the application of methodology that could accelerate the translation into the clinic, and on the application of EVs in the development of therapeutics tools. Our group is also very involved in the functional aspects related with EVs, given that these vesicles are not only carriers of molecules, they are also active entities with functional enzymes that modify their environment and influence different patho-physiological processes.

Dr. Félix Royo.
Dr. Sebastiaan van Liempd.
Dra. Esperanza González.
Diana Cabrera.
Maria Azparren (PhD student).
Jone Ibañez (PhD student).
Guillermo Bordanoba (PhD student).




Oncología Molecular, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid

I did my PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Amparo Cano in Madrid (Spain, Biomedical Research Institute “Alberto Sols”) where he specialized in analyzing Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition Mechanisms (J Biol Chem 2003, Mol Cell Biol 2004, J Cell Sci 2004). In my lab we described the molecular mechanisms of EMT regulated by Snail transcription factor andst ASEICA young investigator award in 2015, Pfizer award 2016, Fero Fellow 2016, Marie Curie/WHRI-Academy Fellow in 2016.

My current research at CNIO is focused on analyzing the role of extracellular vesicles in metastasis and their use in liquid biopsy, we have recently published the use of extracellular vesicles as surrogate markers of tumor mutations and their use as minimal residual disease indicators (García-Silva et al. 2019).

Susana García-Silva – Staff Scientist
Marta Hergueta – Postdoc 
Laura Nogues – Postdoc 
Sara Sanchez – Técnico 
Vanesa Santos – Técnico 
Lucia Robado – Predoc
Teresa Gonzalez – Predoc
Alberto Hernández – Predoc
Elena Castellano – Predoc




Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Neuroscience Area, Multiple Sclerosis Group.
Doctor Begiristain s/n, 20014 San Sebastián.

David Graduated in Biochemistry in 1999 and start his PhD in Multiple Sclerosis at the Hospital Donostia. He started his scientific career studying the susceptibility SNPs in complex diseases as multiple sclerosis (With a 1-year stay in Columbia University, New York). These Genome approach drive his interest to the phenotypic expression of these changes in the transcriptome and the regulation of this gene-expression by the environment. This regulation process drive to wondering how the message is spread through the immune system, ending in a project to study the extracellular vesicles in multiple sclerosis. This holistic vision of the diseases drive him to analyze the data from a systems perspective, with a stay in the University of California San Francisco in which he start to study demyelination. Actually, he leads the multiple sclerosis group with specific interest in the regulation of the transcriptome, in the use of miRNA as biomarkers and as potential treatments, in the implication of the extracellular vesicles in the immune system regulation and in the remyelinating process.

He published his first work in 2002, since then he has published 67 works (H index 28), He has supervised eight thesis and several undergraduate and master’s degrees for different universities. He has obtained overlapping funding in the last 5 years from International, National and Autonomic competitive calls.

He is part of the Spanish Network of Multiple Sclerosis and of The Spanish Group of Research In extracellular vesicles.

The main research lines of our group are focus in:

  • Transcriptome regulation in autoimmune diseases. Studying the transcriptome, the microRNA, the circRNA and the sncRNA and their interaction in regulation networks.
  • Extracellular vesicles as important actors in the pathophysiology of the neurological diseases.
  • sncRNA as treatment and extracellular vesicles as vehicles to drive them to the Central Nervous System.
  • RNA and Extracellular vesicles as biomarkers of multiple sclerosis and/or neurodegeneration processes.
  • Microbiome and their implications in Neurological diseases
  • Immunosenescence and their effect in the autoimmunde diseases.
  • Environmental effects on multiple sclerosis, focusing in Diet and Vitamin D.
  • Adverse effects of multiple sclerosis treatments.

David Otaegui – PhD. Biochemistry
Tamara Castillo-Triviño – Neurologist
Maialen Arruti – Neurologist
Maider Muñoz-Culla – PhD. Biochemistry
Laura Moles – PhD. Biology
Alvaro Prada – Inmunologist
Ainhoa Alberro – PhD. Biotechnologist
Leire Iparraguirre – PhD Student
Lucia Sepúlveda – Lab Technician
Leire Romarate – Clinical assays Manager
Andrea Iribarren – PhD Student
Jose Suarez – PhD Student




Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago (IDIS)
Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago (Servizo Galego de Saúde-SERGAS)

María Pardo Pérez PhD, is a Group Leader at the IDIS since 2009. Following her doctoral thesis in 2003, she joined the Oxford GlycoProteomics Group (University of Oxford) on a 3-year post-doctoral contract. During this period she gained extensive experience in the identification of new molecules of clinical interest. Precisely, she pioneered the application of proteomics to the identification of malignancy biomarkers for uveal melanoma, the results of which are currently being applied translationally. In 2006 she returned to Spain and formed her own research group at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago. Since then she have established a series of research lines aimed at identifying new signals released by adipose and muscular tissue within the context of obesity. Since then, she was awarded two contracts in competitive calls, one at the regional level (Parga Pondal Program-Xunta de Galicia) and later a Miguel Servet Fellowship (ISCIII). She is coordinator of the Galician Network on Extracellular Vesicles and trustee of the Foundation IDIS; she has more than 50 publications, led 5 consecutive projects of the ISCIII, directed 4 PhD theses and a large number of undergraduate students, and laboratory technicians.

The main interest at the Obesidomics Group are based on finding protective signals released by the muscle when exercising, and new therapeutic targets coming from the fatty tissue, as the most abundant tissue in the development of obesity. In her group are particularly interested in the communication between these two tissues and also in the role played by the visceral adipose tissue considered to be more harmful and responsible for the comorbidities associated with excess weight. Under this context, they have been recently focused on the study of extracellular vesicles shed by adipose tissue during the development of obesity, and their role on its comorbidities. They are leading an innovative project that aims to apply the use of vesicles released by human visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues, and from other obesity implicated cells/tissues, as biomarkers for the study and monitoring of obesity, as well as analyzing the functional role of these vesicles in the comorbidities of this disease.

María Pardo Pérez, Phd- Group leader/Investigadora del SNS Miguel Servet (SERGAS)
Tamara Camino Martínez, Lcda, Biología, Investigadora predoctoral (FPU)
Nerea Lago Baameiro, Lcda Biología, Investigadora predoctoral (Fundación IDIS)
Javier baltar bolieve, MD Phd, Cirujano-investigador clínico (SERGAS)
Aurelio Martis Sueiro, MD, Médico endocrino-obesidad investigador clínico (SERGAS)
Ivan Couto González, MD- Cirujano plástico-investigador clínico (SERGAS)
Francisco Santos Benito, MD, Phd, Cirujano obesidad-investigador clínico (SERGAS)