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Beatriu de Pinós programme (BP2020). Chemical Biology Group (IQAC-CSIC)

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    01/03/2021 18:00 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
    Spain, Barcelona
    Chemical Biology


The Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC) belongs to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the largest public research institution in Spain and the third among Europe’s largest research organisations.

The IQAC is located in Barcelona and it was created with the mission to perform multidisciplinary research of excellence in both basic and applied chemical sciences with the main purpose of improving the quality of life.

The research carried out at IQAC is based on the application of chemical approaches to address and solve societal challenges, mainly those related to human health, the sustainability of chemical processes and products, and the needs for novel materials for different applications. In this regard, the research programs carried out in our institute are aimed at:

  • the development of methods and strategies for the synthesis of molecules of high added value (Methods & Strategies)
  • the discovery of chemical and molecular entities of therapeutic, biological and biomedical interest (Tools & Hits)
  • the study of molecules with surfactant properties, including synthesis, biophysical studies and applications (Surfactants)
  • the generation and use of nanobiotechnology knowledge for the prevention, diagnostic and treatment of diseases (Nanomedicine).

Administratively, the research groups at IQAC are organized in two departments: Biological Chemistry, and Surfactants and Nanobiotechnology. Moreover, research is complemented with a range of diverse scientific and technical platforms (including cell culture and animal facility), which offer their capabilities to both internal and external users.



Chemical Biology

Supervisors: Gemma Triola, Juan Bautista Blanco

Contact: gemma.triola@iqac.csic.es, juanbautista.blanco@iqac.csic.es

Web page:

Keywords: Sonic Hedgehog, D-protein synthesis, phage display, heterogeneous S-acylation, Ras, lipidomics


The research group

In the last two decades there has been remarkable achievements in the field of Biology specially due to the application of chemical approaches. Relevant examples include the synthesis of molecules able to tune enzymatic activity or disrupt protein-protein interactions, design of new fluorescent probes, novel proteomic methods that allow the identification of new cellular targets and the development of techniques for the synthesis and modification of proteins.

Our main goal is the use of chemical tools to study and characterize diseases, and improve our knowledge of important biological phenomena, principally signaling pathways such as Sonic Hedgehog and lipid-protein interactions. As a result, our scientific interests span organic chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics and medicinal chemistry.



Chemical biology study of the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway. The Hh cascade regulates embryo development, organogenesis and tissue patterning. Missregulation during embryogenesis leads to neonatal malformations. In adult organisms, upregulation of the Hh pathway is involved in the initiation and proliferation of several types of tumors including medulloblastoma, basal cell carcinoma and lung cancer. Our goal is to develop a mirror image phage display programme to identify D-peptide antagonists of the main components of the Hh signalling: the Sonic Hedgehog morphogen protein that activates the cascade, and the GPCR type protein Smoothened that transduces the signal intracellularly. We will study the potential of these D-peptides as inhibitors in cancer therapy.

Heterogeneous lipidation or proteins: The S-acylation of cysteinyl residues with fatty acids is one of the most common posttranslational modifications. Importantly, due to its reversibility the acyl group half-life is shorter than the protein half-life, resulting in a acylation/deacylation cycle that dynamically controls the localization and function of proteins. Although the pool of free fatty acids comprise more than 40 distinct molecular species, S-acylation has been thought to be restricted to palmitic acid. However, there is now accumulating evidence that heterogeneous acylation (shorter, longer, unsaturated fatty acids) may have an additional role in the regulation of protein localization and function. Our goal is to uncover methods which allow the appropriate identification and quantification of S-linked fatty acids, to apply these methods to profile relevant proteins such as the oncogens Ras, to explore the implications of this lipid diversity on health and disease and to characterize the enzymes responsible of these modifications.

What we are looking for is a candidate/s that should have expertise in some of these fields:

- Organic synthesis, mass spectrometry analysis.

- Solid phase peptide synthesis, RP-HPLC purification.

- Peptide ligations in solution.


- Cell and molecular biology. Desirable: protein cloning and expression in bacteria

- Training in phage display.

Fellows will be also involved in the supervision of students, attending seminars and conferences and will be encourage to apply for research grants to move forward to his/her independent career.


The IQAC is looking for excellent postdoctoral researchers from any country in the world interested in applying for the Beatriu de Pinós BP2020 call to carry out a 3-year research project in an unbeatable working environment.

To be eligible, the candidate must:

  • Hold a doctoral degree (PhD obtained between 1st January 2013 and 31th December 2018)*
  • At least 2 years of postdoctoral experience outside Spain
  • Have not worked or lived in Spain for more than 12 months in the last 3 years before the deadline.

*Some exceptions apply (see the call text)

Selected candidates will receive help and support from the research coordinator and from our projects department during proposal preparation.


If you are interested, please send a CV and a motivation letter explaining your research interest and background by 1st March 2021 to the supervisor indicating Beatriu de Pinós BP2020 call in the subject.


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