2016 Ignite Project: CALIX4TRANS

Transport of small molecules and ions across lipid bilayers using synthetic carriers

Project overview

CALIX4TRANS was awarded the BIST Ignite Grant in March, 2017. The news release can be found here.

CALIX4TRANS will focus on research on the frontiers of chemistry and biology, specifically on synthetic materials capable of transporting amino acids and small molecules through lipid barriers. Advances in this area may have applications in new methods for the controlled release of drugs at the cellular level and in the treatment of diseases such as cystic fibrosis and diabetes.

Multidisciplinarity within CALIX4TRANS

The successful achievement of CALIX4TRANS objectives requires the combination of different areas of expertise that emerge from the fields of Supramolecular Chemistry and Molecular Biology. Bringing together two groups with such different areas of expertise will result in a large and complementary pond of knowledge, ideas, and techniques, which are expected to generate cross-fertilization.

Progress: updated abstract as of December 2017

There is considerable interest in the study of synthetic carriers for the transport of small molecules and ions across lipid bilayers due to the strong relationship that exist between several human diseases (e.g. cystic fibrosis, diabetes, etc) and transmembrane transport misregulation. Findings in this area can be not only important in the understanding of the complex mechanisms of transport at work in biological systems but it also may represent an advance, as well as new applications in the biomedical research field (e.g. drug delivery). We noticed a limited number of contributions related to the use of synthetic carriers for amino acid transport. In this vein, CALIX4TRANS is presented as an interdisciplinary research project aiming to evaluate the putative properties of calix[4]pyrrole derivatives as synthetic carriers specially for the transport of amino acids across lipid bilayers of liposomes. Moreover, we propose the use of fluorescent calix[4]pyrrole derivatives as indicators for the signaling and quantification of transport processes of small molecules (i.e. creatinine). CALIX4TRANS brings together two recognized research groups with complementary areas of expertise at the Chemistry-Biology border that will guarantee the success of this unprecedented and multidisciplinary research Project.

Project members

Pablo Ballester

ICREA Research Professor and Group Leader at ICIQ

Manuel Palacín

Group Leader at IRB Barcelona

Ekaitz Errasti

Post-doctoral fellow at IRB Barcelona

Gemma Aragay

Post-doctoral fellow at ICIQ

Luis Martínez

Post-doctoral fellow at ICIQ

BIST centres

Institutional Members of the Board of Trustees