Proposal/Contract no:
STRP 033256


Participant  Role

Leader name

Participant name



P1 - CO

Dr. Anna Mitraki
Prof. George Fytas
Assoc. Prof. Dimitris Vlassopoulos
Manolis Kasotakis, grad. student
Erifylli Kalloudi, grad. student

University of Crete.
Department of Materials Science and Technology

P2 - CR

Prof. Ari Barzilai

Prof. Ehud Gazit

Tel-Aviv University
Department of Neurobiochemistry

Department of Molecular Microbiology and

P3 - CR

Assoc. Prof. Winnie Svendsen
Dr. J. Castillo
Dr. M.Dimaki
Dr. P. Bøggild

Technical University of Denmark
Department of Micro and Nanotechnology



P4 - CR

Dr. Mark J van Raaij
Antonio L Llamas-Saiz
Sergio Galán Bartual
Pablo Guardado Calvo, PhD
Patricia Ferraces Casais, technician

University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Faculty of Pharmacy
X-Ray Diffraction Unit, RIAIDT



P5 - CR

Prof. Trevor Forsyth

Estelle Mossou, PhD

Institut Laue Langevin, Grenoble

Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG.
EPSAM and ISTM Research Institutes




P6 - CR

Prof. Saul J B Tendler
Prof. Clive J Roberts
Dr Stephanie Allen
Victoria Sedman

The University of Nottingham.
School of Pharmacy




P7 - CR

Dr. Solomzi Makohliso
Dr. Marc Heuschkel
Dr. Shady Gawad

Ayanda Biosystems S.A. Lausanne



P8 - CR
Assoc. Prof. Elisabeth Csöregi SciTech Link HB, Technology Transfer and Management, Lund


Department of Materials Science and Technology University of Crete
Role in the project To design and modify self-assembling protein-based nanowires and nanotubes using fundamental knowledge gained from studies of folding, structure and assembly of natural fibrous proteins. To participate in the structural characterization of building blocks using biochemical and biophysical techniques.
Dr. Anna Mitraki
Dr. Anna Mitraki has been working for a more than 15 years on the folding, assembly and structure of natural fibrous proteins, namely proteins from phages and viruses. She recently got interested in using these proteins as models for the design of new fibrous materials, and moved to the Materials Science Department of the University of Crete in September 2004. Her current research interests include: design and study of fibrous biomaterials; self-assembling protein materials; protein folding and assembly; protein engineering and production. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal “NanoBiotechnology”, ISSN 1551-1286.
Prof. George Fytas is head of the polymer group at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (IESL) at FORTH, and External Scientific Member of the Max-Planck Society. He has a long track record in the field of polymer dynamics and his research interests are focused on dynamics and ordering of soft materials as well as applications of dynamic laser light scattering techniques.
Assoc. Prof. Dimitris Vlassopoulos: his research interests focus on soft matter physics problems and has a long track record in the field of molecular rheology of complex fluids and applications of rheo-optical techniques.
  Manolis Kasotakis graduated from the Materials Science Department of the
University of Crete and his project focuses on design and study of
metal-binding self-assembling peptides.
  Erifylli Kalloudi graduated from the Materials Science Department of the
University of Crete and her project focuses on design and study of
self-assembling peptides destined for tissue regeneration applications.


Departments of Molecular Microbiology, Biotechnology and Neurobiochemistry
Role in the project To characterize and utilize the recently developed peptide nanotubes and nano-spheres as a molecular platform for technological applications and for the development of novel type of building blocks for the formation of nano-bioassemblies. He will serve both at the WP dealing with characterization and design as well as with the WP that are focused on electrochemical and tissue engineering applications.
Prof. Ari Barzilai is a member at the Department of Neurobiochemistry at TAU. His main research interest and experience are in the field of neurobiology of neurodegenerative diseases, with special interest in optic nerve degeneration and regeneration. The Barzilai research group has characterized the molecular events associated with neurodegenerative processes that occurred as a result of acute optic nerve injury. In 2002, Barzilai's research group had identified semaphorins as key players in the apoptotoic process resulted from optic nerve axotomy. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated that semaphorins are also important in the generation of the non-permissive environment for axonal regeneration following acute injury. Prof. Barzilai is the author or co-author of approximately 45 referred publications in international journals, 6 invited review articles, 8 chapters in book and extended conference proceedings.
Ehud Gazit

Prof. Ehud Gazit is a tenured faculty member at the department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at TAU.
Prof. Gazit is also member of the governing board the TAU Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute. His main research interest and experience is in the field of protein structure and function, protein self-assembly, amyloid fibril formation. Gazit groups have the developed the concept of aromatic interactions as a major driving force for the formation of nano-scale amyloid fibrils. The Gazit group had identified in 2003 a novel class of peptide nanotubes that allow the fabrication of nano-scale metallic objects. He is the author or co-author of approximately 45 referred publications in international journals, 10 chapters in book and extended conference proceedings, 9 patent applications.


Technical University of Denmark
Role in the project To develop methods to reproducibly mount nano-bioassemblies developed by partners P1and P2 with micro- and nanofabricated silicon devices, to investigate the structural, mechanical and electricalproperties of these structures, and to use this know-how to fabricate prototype biosensor arrays in collaboration with partner P7 (Ayanda).
Assoc. Prof. Winnie Svendsen is heading the NanoBioSystem group at MIC. The main focus of the group is to develop integrated sensors system for biological applications. The group have large experience in working with the design of mechanical sensors for biological applications, presently the group is involved in two major projects; the design of a integrated chromosome total analysis system investigating translocation in chromosomes and a integrated microfluidic-sensor system for neurobiological and stem cell research in collaboration with the Danish stem cell research centre (DASC). The group has extensive knowledge on designing, fabrication and integrating electro-mechanical sensors with integrated read-out, which will be useful when designing and fabricating the microelectrode system.

Dr. Jaime Castillo is a chemist from the Industrial University of Santander (Colombia). In December 2005 he finished his Ph.D at Lund University (Sweden). His doctoral thesis involved the development of amperometric biosensor for the detection of analytes from cellular models. In 2006 he was working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Analytical Department of Bochum University (Germany). In January 2007 he joined the Nano Bio Integrated Systems group (NaBIS) at the Department of Micro and Nanotechnology (MIC) at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). His research experience has been focused in the fabrication and development of electrochemical microbiosensors for the detection of analytes of biological importance. He is specialized in surface electrode modifications, enzyme immobilisation and microelectrode fabrication. His research work involves the integration of biological material with micro and nanodevices to develop sensing devices.


Dr Maria Dimaki (MD) is currently a post doctoral researcher, member of the NanoBioSystems group a MIC. The main focus of her work is the development of integrated sensor systems for biological applications, involving amongst others the use of E beam lithography. Part of MDs work will involve the creation of a knowledge database for E beam lithography.
Maria Dimaki was born in Athens, Greece and entered the prestigious department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1995 from where she received her M.Eng degree in 2000 graduating amongst the best 2% of her year. She received a scholarship from the Bodossakis foundation in Greece to study for a year at the prestigious Imperial College of London from which she received an MSc degree, graduating with distinction first in her year, thus receiving a financial award from the department. She received a stipend from the Technical University of Denmark to do a Ph.D. in Nanotechnology under associate professor Peter Bøggild at MIC. Since September 2005 MD has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at MIC. MDs ph.d. project gave her extensive knowledge in the simulation of Microsystems, particularly the effects of dielectrophoresis on various particles, such as latex beads and nanotubes.


Peter Bøggild is an associate professor, heading the Nanointegration research group at MIC – Department for Micro- and Nanotechnology, at the Technical University of Denmark. He received his Ph.D. degree at Copenhagen University in 1998 in the field of experimental low temperature physics, with the title of the thesis “ Electron Transport in Open Quantum Dots” .
Peter Bøggild was employed as Assistant Research Professor at MIC from 1998 to 2001 where he investigated applications for micro-scale four-point probes for measurements in ultra-high vacuum, on self-assembled polymeric monolayers and on metallic thin films. From 2001 he was appointed associate professor and since then built a research group concerned with development of new nanoscale tools for manipulation and characterization of nanostructures as well as generic methods for connecting molecular nanocomponents such as carbon nanotubes with microsystems. Recently, the focus areas are 1) parallel integration (wafer-scale) methods such as in-situ growth of nanocomponents directly in Microsystems, or self-assembly using electrostatic fields. 2) automated nanorobotic manipulation systems for prototyping of nanodevices and 3) integration of molecular electronics with mass-produced nanocircuitry.


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy and X-Ray Diffraction Unit, RIAIDT, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Role in the project To develop stable fibrous protein constructs destined for crystallisation and solving of structures in order to identify still unknown fibrous building blocks. The design will be based on natural triple-stranded fibrous folds from viruses, with the use of registration motifs such as the “foldon” from  bacteriophage T4 fibritin (with partner 1). To design and optimise novel building blocks that are based on natural fibrous folds (with partner 1).
Dr. Mark J. van Raaij is responsible for the activity of the viral protein structure group at the Department of Biochemistry. He has a research group formed by two PhD students and two technicians. His main research interest and experience is in the field of viral cell attachment proteins. He is author on more than 30 publications in international journals. He is partner in three European research project.
Antonio L. Llamas-Saiz Dr. Antonio L Llamas-Saiz is the manager of the X-ray unit of the RIAIDT, University of Santiago de
Compostela He is an expert in
crystallography of small molecules, proteins and viruses.
  Sergio Galán Bartual completed undergraduate degrees in Biology (Universitie of Alicante, Spain) and Biochemistry (University Miguel Hernández, Elche, Spain). He did his PhD thesis research at the University Miguel Hernández under the direction of Dr. Francisco Rodríguez Valera in the area of microbiology. With his expertise in cloning, culture of bacteria and experience in protein purification, he will be a valuable addition to our group and contribute significantly to the success of our part of the project. He is co-author of four publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has also worked in laboratories in the UK and Brasil.
  Pablo Guardado Calvo is a PhD student working on crystallography of animal virus proteins and contributes part-time to the BeNatural project. He graduated from Santiago de Compostela University in 2004, with a degree in Biology. From September 2006, he is funded by a FPU pre-doctoral fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.
  Patricia Ferraces Casais is a qualified technician and also has a degree in English filology. She is responsible for the daily running of the lab and contributes to protein expression and purification.
  Sara Alvira, PHD student


Institut Laue Langevin
Role in the project

To characterize by diffraction methods the self-assembled nanotubes formed from the peptides developed, and to relate this information to that obtained by other methods of characterization described in WP3, notably AFM, DFS, and light scattering. The structures of the nanotube systems will be studied in the context of the high-resolution information available from WP1. The assembly processes of the peptide systems will be studied in solution using SANS and SAXS.


Prof. Trevor Forsyth is Head of the neutron biology programme within the PSB at the ILL.
He also holds a Chair in Biophysics at the Instiute of Science and Technology in Medicine at Keele University Medical School in the UK. He is responsible for a grouping of 3 postdoctorals, 2 PhD students and a technician within the PSB. He was instrumental in the conception, creation and funding of the ILL-EMBL Deuteration Laboratory, which now has a flourishing in-house and user programme. His research interests are centred on the study of molecular and macromolecular structure using physical & biophysical techniques. Of particular interest are an important class of molecules that are filamentous in character and which usually form fibrous materials. These include many important biomolecules such as nucleic acids, cellulose, filamentous viruses as well as amyloid fibres of the type that are central to the theme of this proposal. He coordinates a major JRA within the NMI3 Integrated Infrastructures Initiative, and is involved in current UK funding for ILL and PSB-related projects amounting to well over £2 million.

  Estelle Mossou is a PhD student working on the BeNatural project. She
graduated from Bath University in 2006, with a first class honours degree in
Physics. Her PhD is registered at Keele University and her project work is
focused on the structural characterisation using X-ray and neutron
scattering methods.


School of Pharmacy, The University of Nottingham
Role in the project To provide nanoscale physicochemical and structural characterization of the novel protein building blocks and constructs developed within the project. This will be principally achieved using dynamic force spectroscopy, SPR, QCM-D and AFM imaging and mechanical measurements. Other roles include support of surface patterning of the formed Nanoassemblies and surface chemical characterization of these structures.
Saul J B Tendler

Prof Saul J B Tendler’s research interests are directed to the biophysical investigation of biomolecular systems and their interactions. He is especially interested in the process of biomolecular self-assembly and how such phenomena may be exploited in bionanotechnology. With Peter Cumpson (National Physical Laboratory), MEMS based technology is being designed to allow scanning probe microscopes to be accurately calibrated. These new devices are also being investigated as novel biosensors

Clive J Roberts

Prof Clive J Roberts’ research is focussed on the application of nanoscale analysis to fundamental and applied aspects of pharmaceutical formulation, drug delivery and biomolecular structure and function. Current activities include the quantification of drug particle interactions using AFM and the study of biomolecular and biomaterial interactions. Clive is the Director of the £3.2 million Nottingham Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre.

Victoria Sedman

Dr Stephanie Allen’s main research focus is single molecule biophysics, with a particular interest in exploring how an improved understanding of such processes can be exploited for the development of new therapeutic approaches and materials/devices. Current projects are directed towards an understanding of the interactions of multi-protein assemblies involved in the replication of DNA, the molecular basis of a range of ‘RNA’ diseases, and the interactions and unfolding pathways of ribonucleic acids (RNAs).

  Dr Victoria Sedman is currently a postdoctoral researcher within the Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis (LBSA) in the School of Pharmacy. Her research interests are in the biophysical investigation of self-assembling peptides and their potential biotechnology applications.


Ayanda Biosystems S.A.
Role in the project

Utilization of project results in order to develop biosensor applications with high commercial potential from the various nanostructures being developed in the project.  We will the use MEA substrates that incorporate molecularly tailored peptide nanotubes as the platform to develop a novel biosensor for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as better performance MEAs for ion channel studies in drug discovery.
Commercial dissemination & exploitation of results.


Dr. Solomzi Makohliso currently serves as the CEO of Ayanda. He holds a Ph.D in Biomaterials from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Lausanne), with several years of experience in the domain of bio-interface design via molecular surface engineering approaches for coupling biological tissue to biochip devices. He is also the coordinator of an FP6-STREP (LSHB-CT-2005-513771: SLIC-Biosensors in Molecular Diagnostics). His previous management experience includes manager of a multidisciplinary group in a biotech company in the USA.


SciTech Link HB
Role in the project

Project management, biosensor development, web-site design, technology transfer and exploitation strategy.

Assoc. Prof. Elisabeth Csöregi graduated from Lund University and further specialized at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. Since 1995 she has been a senior scientist at Lund University (Departments of Biotechnology and Analytical Chemistry) where she is now a part-time associated professor. She has been seconded by the Swedish Ministry of Education to the INTAS research Program of the European Union for 2.5 years where she was the scientific officer for about 175 research projects. Her research interest is within bioanalysis, development, integration, and miniaturization of enzyme-, protein, and bacteria-based biosensors for application in the medical field, food sector and environmental protection. She was/is involved in several international and national projects amounting a total funding of approximately € 6 M during the last 10 years. She is author of about 150 articles published in journals, books and conference proceedings was the funding editor of Applied Nanoscience and is the European Editor of Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology.
©2006 BeNAtural