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Barcelona, Spain

The Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology is a public-funded research institute focusing in nanotechnology established in 2003. It will be housed in a new building located on campus at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Catalonia. Wikipedia.

Valle L.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
World Journal of Gastroenterology | Year: 2014

The development of colorectal cancer (CRC) can be influenced by genetic factors in both familial cases and sporadic cases. Familial CRC has been associated with genetic changes in high-, moderate- and low-penetrance susceptibility genes. However, despite the availability of current gene-identification techniques, the genetic causes of a considerable proportion of hereditary cases remain unknown. Genome-wide association studies of CRC have identified a number of common low-penetrance alleles associated with a slightly increased or decreased risk of CRC. The accumulation of low-risk variants may partly explain the familial risk of CRC, and some of these variants may modify the risk of cancer in patients with mutations in high-penetrance genes. Understanding the predisposition to develop CRC will require investigators to address the following challenges: the identification of genes that cause uncharacterized hereditary cases of CRC such as familial CRC type X and serrated polyposis; the classification of variants of unknown significance in known CRC-predisposing genes; and the identification of additional cancer risk modifiers that can be used to perform risk assessments for individual mutation carriers. We performed a comprehensive review of the genetically characterized and uncharacterized hereditary CRC syndromes and of low- and moderate-penetrance loci and variants identified through genome-wide association studies and candidate-gene approaches. Current challenges and future perspectives in the field of CRC predisposition are also discussed. © 2014 Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Alemany R.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Clinical and Translational Oncology | Year: 2013

Soon after the discovery that viruses cause human disease, started the idea of using viruses to treat cancer. After the initial indiscriminate use, crude preparations of each novel virus in the early twentieth century, a second wave of virotherapy blossomed in the 60s with purified and selected viruses. Responses were rare and short-lived. Immune rejection of the oncolytic viruses was identified as the major problem and virotherapy was abandoned. During the past two decades virotherapy has re-emerged with engineered viruses, with a trend towards using them as tumor-debulking immunostimulatory agents combined with radio or chemotherapy. Currently, oncolytic Reovirus, Herpes, and Vaccinia virus are in late phase clinical trials. Despite the renewed hope, efficacy will require improving systemic tumor targeting, overcoming stroma barriers for virus spread, and selectively stimulating immune responses against tumor antigens but not against the virus. Virotherapy history, viruses, considerations for clinical trials, and hurdles are briefly overviewed. © 2012 Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO).

Pruneda J.M.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2010

Half-semimetallicity has been predicted to occur in zigzag-shaped graphene ribbons embedded in BN sheets. Using first-principles density-functional calculations a physical explanation is given, showing that the magnetism of the edge states in graphene strips and polarity effects in BN strips team up to give a spin asymmetric screening that induces an electronic reconstruction and half-semimetallicity at the interface, with a gap of at least a few hundreds of millielectron volts for one spin orientation and a tiny gap of tens of millielectron volts for the other. The dependence with ribbon widths is discussed, revealing that a range of ribbon widths is required to obtain the half-semimetallic state. These results prove that unconventional physical effects similar to those observed at insulating oxide interfaces, can also exist in lower dimensions, opening alternative routes for tuning electronic properties at nanointerfaces. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Pruneda J.M.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics | Year: 2012

First-principles calculations of substitutional defects and vacancies are performed for zigzag-edged hybrid C/BN nanosheets and nanotubes which recently have been proposed to exhibit half-metallic properties. The formation energies show that defects form preferentially at the interfaces between graphene and BN domains rather than in the middle of these domains, and that substitutional defects dominate over vacancies. Chemical control can be used to favor localization of defects at C-B interfaces (nitrogen-rich environment) or C-N interfaces (nitrogen-poor environment). Although large defect concentrations have been considered here (106 cm -1), half-metallic properties can subsist when defects are localized at the C-B interface and for negatively charged defects localized at the C-N interface; hence the promising magnetic properties theoretically predicted for these zigzag-edged nanointerfaces might not be destroyed by point defects if these are conveniently engineered during synthesis. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Bhaskar U.K.,Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Nature Nanotechnology | Year: 2015

Flexoelectricity allows a dielectric material to polarize in response to a mechanical bending moment and, conversely, to bend in response to an electric field. Compared with piezoelectricity, flexoelectricity is a weak effect of little practical significance in bulk materials. However, the roles can be reversed at the nanoscale. Here, we demonstrate that flexoelectricity is a viable route to lead-free microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems. Specifically, we have fabricated a silicon-compatible thin-film cantilever actuator with a single flexoelectrically active layer of strontium titanate with a figure of merit (curvature divided by electric field) of 3.33 MV-1, comparable to that of state-of-the-art piezoelectric bimorph cantilevers. © 2015 Nature Publishing Group

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