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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Use of nanospheres as a vehicle for the administration of immunostimulants in species of interest to aquaculture (NANOAQUA) 

Lead Researcher: 
Nerea Roher Armentia

Research Centre: 
Faculty of Biosciences. Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Nerea RoherAquaculture, as the means for breeding hydrobiological resources, is a sector of strategic importance to Spain. One of its limiting factors is diseases, considering the few specific tools (vaccines and/or immunostimulants) to prevent them, and this causes significant losses in the sector. In this context, one promising tool is the use of nanotechnology for the design, manufacture and use of nanoliposomes that encapsulate molecules to allow immunostimulation and mass vaccination with minimally invasive and non-toxic methods. The objective of this project in the first phase is the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of the biological and physical parameters of liposomes in the zebrafish model. In parallel, work will be carried out on the composition of the liposomes to ensure systems with a high encapsulation capacity and the possibility of releasing active compounds. In the second phase, these devices will be assessed in vivo by administering immunostimulants (IS) encapsulated in liposomes in both the zebrafish model and other aquaculture species of interest such as trout or sea bream. 


2 articles published in Journals
1 paper at national conferences
1 paper at international conferences  

Nerea Roher Armentia
Degree in Biochemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, 1995) and Masters in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (UAB, 1997), I completed my doctoral thesis in the Dept. of Biochemistry (UAB) under the supervision of Dr. E. Itarte and Dr. M. Plana (2002). My scientific interest was focused on the field of protein kinase-mediated signalling and in particular the study of the protein kinase CK2. Between 2002 and 2003, I worked as an associate lecturer in the Dept. of Biochemistry at the UAB where I carried out teaching and research tasks. In 2005 I was given a Juan de la Cierva research contract at the University of Barcelona with Dr. J.V. Planas. During this period I studied the effects of TNF-alpha (pro-inflammatory cytokine) in the intracellular traffic of glucose transporter GLUT4 in cellular models of trout and rats. Since January 2008, I have carried out my research activity in the Fish Physiology group at UAB led by Dr. L. Tort and Dr. S. MacKenzie, where I have been developing a functional genomics platform for aquaculture species of interest within a Consolider-Ingenio project. In parallel, I have been carrying out studies focused on the innate immune system of fish and more specifically in the study at the molecular level of the response of trout macrophages against bacterial and viral pathogens.

Throughout my research career I have carried out sojourns at both reference laboratories of national (Dr. Lorenzo, Complutense University of Madrid) and international renown (Dr. O.G. Issinger, Odense University; Dr. L. Pinna, Padua University; Dr. F.W. Goetz, Water Lakes Institute, USA; Dr. F.C. Wardle, University of Cambridge). I have published 21 papers in indexed international journals, and 4 book chapters.

My scientific interests focus on: 1) The evolution of the immune system of fish with special emphasis on the recognition of pathogens through specific receptors (PRR, pathogen recognition receptors) and the subsequent response of individuals to eliminate the pathogen (host-pathogen relationship). 2) Development and incorporation of new technologies (e.g. nanotechnology) in fish health in order to promote aquaculture. 3) Development of functional genomics tools for the study of physiological processes from an integrated perspective. 4) Molecular studies of the biology of macrophages of different species of teleostei and how they respond to pathogens.

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