The Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics (Nb4D) Group belongs to the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC), one of the institutes of the State Agency CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), and to the Biomedical Research Centre Network of Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBERBBN).

The group is led by Prof. M.-Pilar Marco, Professor of Research of CSIC, and is composed of a multidisciplinary, highly qualified team of investigators.

Since 1996 Nb4D investigates the design of new strategies for the development of a new generation of diagnostic tools and devices that increase the effectiveness of the actual methods. A large part of the investigation is centred on combining specific bioreceptors with micro (nano) particles and devices designed to produce optical or electrical signals. Right now, the knowledge generated about the properties that materials have at the nanometre level allow for the design of new strategies for the detection and quantification of biomarkers of interest in different fields.

Basic research is performed around 3 lines: (i) the development of bioreceptors with defined properties (affinity, specificity); (ii) the preparation and characterisation of functional biohybrid materials, resulting from the incorporation of specific bioreceptors on inorganic materials with optical or electrical properties and; (iii) the implementation of these bioreceptors or biofunctional materials onto transducers based on new micro/ nanobiotechnological approaches.

All of the research is aimed at providing diagnostic alternatives to the clinical and food safety fields. In the clinical field the Nb4D group is active in cardiovascular, neurodegenerative or infectious diseases, therapeutic drug monitoring and adverse drug reactions. In the food safety field, methods are being developed for the detection of residues of pesticides, veterinary drugs or pathogens.

Among the capabilities of the Nb4D group it is worth mentioning its expertise and know how related to the production of antibodies against a variety of substances, including small non-immunogenic molecules, for which it is an internationally recognised referent. Also the group has the knowledge to create functional biohybrid materials and nanoprobes resulting from the covalent biofunctionalisation of surfaces and nano particles. Moreover it possesses the capacity to establish diagnostic methods and technologies based on microplates (e.g. ELISA), micro – arrays and on optical (SPR, surface plasmon resonance; LSPR, localises SPR; EW, evanescent wave) or electrochemical (impedance spectroscopy, amperometric) transductors. The latters permit the development of high performance biosensor-based diagnostic methods or point-of-care (PoC) devices providing rapid responses, selective to the presence of particular biomarkers (even in complex biological matrices) and possibilities for multiplexation, miniaturisation or automation.

Since its creation, the Nb4D group has participated in more than fifty projects, many of them at the European level, collaborating with recognized research groups from the public and the private sector. Moreover, it holds stable research collaboration contracts with European and US companies. As a result of the research performed, numerous specific antibodies along with immunochemical techniques, including biosensors, with various applications have been developed. The Nb4D group possesses a portfolio of patents protecting bioreagents and technologies, which in some cases are under exploitation by biotech companies.

Results have also been published in nearly 200 peer reviewed international journals of high impact factor. The Nb4D group also trains predoctoral students and partakes in doctorate and master programmes.

The Nb4D group has an important collection of specific antibodies and bioconjugates for the detection of cardiovascular biomarkers, microorganisms, anabolic androgenic steroids, oral anticoagulants, veterinary drugs (antibiotics, steroid hormones etc.), pesticides, industrial residues etc.

In 2009 the group created the Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) infrastructure whose objective is to provide services and scientific assessment related to the production of antibodies, whether monoclonal or polyclonal, bioconjugates (proteins, biotin, fluorophores, nanoparticles etc.) and the development of immunochemical detection methods. Nowadays, CAbS provides services to a large number of entities including public research bodies (25%) and private enterprises (75%).

For more information about the scientific activities of the Nb4D group as well as the results from their investigation in the form of products or patents please consult the webpage.


M.-Pilar Marco

Professor of Research, Head of the Nb4D group

Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics (Nb4D)

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)



Tel: +34 934006100


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here