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PhD Theses

Congratulations, Dr. Dolores Bueno, new ICMAB graduate!

Doctor Researcher Dolores Bueno, from the NANOMOL Group at ICMAB, defended her PhD thesis on Friday, 20 March 2020. Her PhD Thesis was entitled "Peptide functionalized nanoliposomes for biomolecule intracellular delivery, prepared using compressed CO2" and was supervised by Nora Ventosa and Elisabet González. If you want to know more about Dolores' experience during her PhD and her future plans, continue reading this post! 

26 March 2020

Dolores Bueno defended her PhD Thesisi in the ICMAB Meeting Room, only with one of her supervisors, Nora Ventosa, and one member of the PhD Committee, Imma Ratera, in the room. The rest of the PhD Committee and the audience connected through videoconference with her. The presentation was very good, and the questions and answers too. The only thing missing was the celebration after the defense! When the coronavirus pandemia is over, we will need to celebrate it with our most recent Doctor, Dolores Bueno!

  • Why did you choose the ICMAB for your PhD?

In 2013, the Spanish government reduced a lot the science funding, especially in the scholarships to perform a PhD. I contacted various groups without the economic resources, but finally the group Nanomol in ICMAB-CSIC offered me a possibility to start my PhD, even before getting a scholarship, that was granted two years later. 

  • How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience? 

 I worked with liposomes that are capsules made of lipid material, kind of similar to the soap. In contact with water these lipids, among them cholesterol, arrange in capsules, where we can encapsulate different substances, as for example proteins. We tried to integrate a protein in order to ameliorate the treatment of rare disease Fabry: the patients lack this protein, so it must be administered to them. By integrating it in the liposomes we pursue to protect the protein from degradation and to direct it to the sick cells. We produce the liposomes using compressed CO2. This gas is a supercritical fluid, meaning that it can be in the supercritical state of matter: an intermediate state between gas and liquid, where we can control the properties of gas and liquid with very little changes in pressure and temperature. The technology DELOS-SUSP based in compressed CO2 enables the production of very homogenous and appropriate liposomes for the application in Fabry disease. 

  • What are the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?

 The main application is to generate a candidate of drug for the treatment of Fabry disease, in order to ameliorate the current treatment disadvantages (the degradation before the protein performs its action, etc.) 

  • From the lessons learnt here, which one do you value the most?

 I value most the self-knowledge of my limitations and strong points in stress situations. 

  • What will you miss the most from ICMAB?

 The people. On one hand, my supervisors and IP from Nanomol that encouraged me and helped me along the years. On the other hand, all the young researchers of the center that make a splendid environment to work in. 

  • How do you think this experience will contribute to your training and to your future? 

 This experience has been my first serious introduction in the scientific research and career. I have learnt what I like and do not like of this field, which will help me to search for a job according to my preferences. 

  • What are your plans once you finish your PhD?

 I am planning to look for a research job in the private industry. I would like to change my area of expertise to Soil Chemistry. I am also considering to dedicate professionally to one of my hobbies: science communication. 

  • What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD, that now you can recommend to the ones who are starting?

 I wish I had known the increased risk of suffering a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, in PhD students. I strongly recommend to the new students to take care of themselves, trying to find relaxing and interesting activities beyond the PhD and dedicate time to these activities and also, if required, to search for medical help. 

  • Why did you become a scientist? Which have been your role models? 

 My great grandmother suffered from Alzheimer (currently my grandmother is also suffering from this condition) and I wanted to find a cure to this sad disease. There are no researchers in my family, therefore I do not know who inspired me. I do not remember neither any teacher that influenced me to make the decision to become a scientist.  

  • Which is your favourite female scientist? 

 Is hard to choose… But I think that is Lise Meitner. A strong woman that helped to understand the fission of the atom and what was happening inside the atomic nucleus, even though she was exiled from Nazi Germany because she was Jew. She refused to collaborate in the development of the atomic bomb because of her moral convictions. She was unjustly not awarded with the Nobel Prize for her contributions while her male workers received it. 

  • Describe in 3 keywords… 
    Your research: Compressed CO2, liposomes, Fabry disease. 
    Barcelona: Amazing, entertaining, cosmopolite.
    Your experience at ICMAB: Interesting, perfectly imperfect, rewarding

Thesis Title: Peptide functionalized nanoliposomes for biomolecule intracellular delivery, prepared using compressed CO2

by Dolores Bueno, NANOMOL Group, ICMAB-CSIC

Date: Friday, 20 March 2020
Time: 11 am
Venue: ICMAB - Sala de Juntes (Videoconference)

Abstract: Fabry disease is a rare disease caused by a gene mutation on the X-chromosome, which encodes α-galactosidase A (GLA) enzyme. The lack of GLA causes the accumulation of globotriaosylceramide at the lysosomes. The actual treatment is based in the enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), the intravenous administration of the enzyme. Nanotechnology is a powerful tool to develop enzyme-loaded nanosystems in order to ameliorate ERT efficacy.DELOS-SUSP (Depressurization of an Expanded Organic Solution-Suspension) methodology enables the production of small unilamellar vesicles using compressed CO2. DELOS-SUSP allows the simultaneous encapsulation of different bioactives like RGD peptide and GLA in liposomes. This Thesis has used liposomes with RGD and GLA to generate a solid proof of concept for the treatment of Fabry disease.


  • Nora Ventosa Rull, NANOMOL Group, ICMAB-CSIC
  • Elisabet González Mira, NANOMOL Group, ICMAB-CSIC

PhD Committee:

  • President: Salvador Borrós i Gómez, IQS
  • Secretary: Inmaculada Ratera Bastardas, ICMAB-CSIC
  • Vocal:  Marisa García López, UB

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