Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: Gemma Fabrias
  • Email:

Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC)

Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia
  • Address: Jordi Girona, 18. 08034-Barcelona
  • Province: Barcelona

Research Area

  • Chemistry (CHE)
  • Life Sciences (LIF)

Brief description of the institution:

The Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC) ( belongs to the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) ( and it carries out research of excellence in chemical sciences, both basic and directed to solve specific problems of our society. Using chemistry as a guiding thread, the research developed at IQAC is organized around two main nodes: Biomolecular Sciences and Nanosciences.
The Biomolecular Sciences node integrates research lines in Biological, Biomedicinal and Supramolecular Chemistry, with an emphasis on addressing biological systems and processes of relevance in diagnosing, preventing and fighting against disease.
Research in Nanosciences is directed to the development of various nanobiotechnological applications based on the Chemistry of Nucleic Acid, the Chemistry and Biophysics of soft matter and the design, generation and use of immunoreagents.
A common goal of IQAC’s research programs is the use of sustainable alternatives for chemical synthesis and technology. These environmentally friendly alternatives include the design and use of biocompatible surfactants, ionic liquids and tailored biocatalysts, as well as the development of plasma chemistry-based methods.
Research in Computational Chemistry is also conducted at IQAC and it represents a valuable complement to the experimental studies carried out in other areas. Chemical reactivity, enzymology, bioinformatics and molecular modeling of supramolecular structures are addressed.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

The Research Unit on BioActive Molecules (RUBAM) ( is an active research group with a multidisciplinary character whose goal is to undertake research projects at the interface between chemistry and biology. Specifically, we are involved in studies on biologically active organic compounds with the aim of defining novel mechanisms of action and to obtain new molecules of therapeutic and biological interest. We consider the participation in collaborative multidisciplinary research projects with academic and pharmaceutical partners an essential strategic objective.

Our current projects are focused on the chemistry and biology of lipids. We are particularly interested in the development of chemical probes for cell biology studies related to sphingolipid metabolism, including pharmacological chaperones as new promising alternatives for some sphingolipidoses. We are also interested in the development of high throughput screening methods for the discovery of new chemical entities or the repurposing of existing drugs as modulators of sphingolipid metabolic and cell signaling pathways.

RUBAM has expertise in different techniques of chemistry and biology and the ability to undertake the design (including the use of in silico methods), the chemical synthesis and the biological testing of small organic molecules in cell free systems, cell culture and small rodents. Specialized investigations are conducted in the frame of collaborations with research partners.

Project description:

The research projects that RUBAM can offer involve the participation of organic chemists, biochemists/biomedical scientists and cell biologists. In general, the projects encompass the design (including the use of in silico methods in the frame of collaborations) and chemical synthesis of small molecules of different nature, mainly lipids, including caged, fluorescent or labelable (i.e. via click chemistry approaches) derivatives for further biological studies at biochemical and cell biology levels. Specifically, we aim at obtaining:

1) Pharmacological chaperones of mutated enzymes in rare diseases. Biological models include Niemann-Pick A and B, Gaucher and Farber disease. High throughput screening (HTS) procedures have been implemented for library screening, including drug libraries for drug repurposing.

2) Inhibitors of sphingolipid metabolism with biomedical applications. The compounds are tested using the platform of enzyme assays available in our laboratories both in cell free systems and in cell culture. These studies are conducted on the appropriate cell models depending on the disease of interest and, together with genetic approaches, are applied to target validation.

3) Chemicaltools for labeling lipid targets both in vitro and in intact cells. The bioactive molecules of interest are rationally designed to incorporate a reactive and a label/labelable unit. In the case of enzymes, the rational design is based on the reaction mechanism or on structural data. The targeted combinatorial library approach is also an alternative avenue, which is linked to the development of HTS procedures. A special focus is devoted to the obtaining of tools to study the role of lipids in autophagy and cytoplasmicvacuolation as means to modulate cell death in cancer.


Deadline is September 12, 2018.

Please send:

  • Complete curriculum vitae stating background and skills
  • Letter of motivation (research interest, etc)
  • Two letters of recommendation

I want to contact the Institution

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