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UA researchers are working on the development of bioelectronic devices that are printed on tissue or placed directly on the skin

UA researchers are working on the development of bioelectronic devices that are printed on tissue or placed directly on the skin

Within the framework of the eProt research project selected in the FET Open call, a highly competitive European program for radically new technologies
The eProt research project, in which a team from the University of Alicante (UA) is taking part, led by distinguished researcher Reyes Calvo, has been selected in the FET Open (Future and Emerging Technologies) call for the H2020 program. It is a highly competitive European program that finances collaborative research projects with an impact on the development of future and radically new technologies.
The main objective of the e-Prot (Engineered conductive proteins for bioelectronics / A protein-based platform for bioelectronics) project is to develop bioelectronic devices with protein-based materials. These implantable, sustainable and efficient devices are presented as an alternative to traditional technologies used in the electronics industry that could be placed on or under the skin and in clothing for medical applications. "From measuring parameters to the controlled dispensing of medicines, or in textiles to measure variables such as temperature or pulse," explains Calvo.
The researcher Reyes Calvo recently joined the Department of Applied Physics of the UA through the GenT excellence program of the Generalitat Valenciana. The team of researchers from the University of Alicante participating in the project is made up of the distinguished researcher Carlos Sabater and the professor Carlos Untiedt.
"In our project we propose the possibility of building prototypes of these devices totally based on biomaterials that are by definition biocompatible and more sustainable in their production than other materials in use in electronics. Both the electronic circuit itself, as well as the energy storage part (All these devices require power), it would be done with different modifications of the proteins on which these functional materials are based ", explains the distinguished researcher from the UA. This technology presents a breakthrough for the medical sector with applications in implantable devices and in devices that are printed on fabrics or placed directly on the skin known as wearable electronics.
Stages of the project
The eProt project, in which institutions from five European countries participate, was born from the collaboration of three Spanish researchers: Reyes Calvo (UA), and, from the Basque Country, Maica Morant, (CIC Energigune) and Aitziber L. Cortajarena (CIC biomaGUNE), who coordinates the project. The funding granted will allow this collaboration to scale up by incorporating new partners, hiring staff, and thus facilitating the transformation of basic science ideas into real prototypes that can be commercialized. The total endowment of the project is about three million euros, of which the University of Alicante team will receive approximately 400,000 euros.
The team led by Professor Aitziber L. Cortajarena at CIC biomaGUNE will design conductive proteins and synthesize biomaterials based on them. These systems will be studied by the group of researchers led by Reyes Calvo at the University of Alicante, experts in the study of electrical conduction mechanisms in molecular systems and new materials. Together with other collaborators, proteins with optimal properties will be selected to be integrated into different biocompatible electronic devices, such as, for example, small implantable batteries that will be integrated by Maica Morant and her collaborators at CIC energiGUNE.
UA team
Reyes Calvo joined the Department of Applied Physics in 2019 through the GenT regional talent attraction program, where she leads a laboratory dedicated to the study of the electrical and optical properties of two-dimensional quantum materials. Prior to joining the UA, he had an Ikerbasque Fellow at CIC Nanogune (San Sebastián) and did two postdoctoral stays at University College London (UK) and Stanford University (USA). Her work has been published in more than 20 high-impact articles, she has received various grants and competitive contracts, such as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship, and is a principal investigator for several national and regional projects, including a recent grant from the Generalitat Valenciana for the acquisition of a team of advanced electrical measurements at low temperatures and high magnetic fields.


Por su parte, Carlos Sabater se incorporó también al Departamento de Física Aplicada de la UA como investigador de excelencia GenT tras realizar dos estancias postdoctorales en centros de alto prestigio como la Universidad de Leiden en los Países Bajos y el Instituto Weizmann de Israel. Sabater es especialista en la caracterización de las propiedades de conducción electrónica en sistemas atómicos y moleculares, combinando aproximaciones experimentales y teóricas. Ha publicado su trabajo en 17 artículos en revistas de reconocido prestigio y tiene en su haber una patente para la secuenciación de ADN utilizando electrodos de grafeno.

Por último, Carlos Untiedt es profesor titular en el Departamento de Física Aplicada , donde lidera el laboratorio de bajas temperaturas y sistemas nanométricos. Además, fue director del departamento hasta 2019. Untiedt es un experto de renombre internacional en el área de la electrónica atómica y molecular. Su trabajo ha sido publicado en artículos en revistas de prestigio como Nature y su trabajo ha recibido a día de hoy más de 2700 citas.

Proyectos FET Open

Los proyectos FET Open se caracterizan por estar basados en ideas rompedoras que puedan llegar a generar nueva tecnología, incluir un enfoque científico altamente interdisciplinario y estimular la participación de jóvenes investigadores y pymes de alta tecnología. En los proyectos participan prestigiosas universidades y centros tecnológicos internacionales. La Comisión Europea ha financiado 58 proyectos de un total de 902 propuestas valoradas, lo que supone una tasa de éxito de tan solo el 6,6 %.