Elisa Maria Parra Ortiz

Elisa Maria Parra Ortiz

Assistant professor

I am a researcher interested in the application and development of experimental biophysical techniques for the study of artificial and natural biomembranes, first from a fundamental point of view, but aiming to inform about biologically relevant processes affecting them that could have a potential impact on biomedical and pharmaceutical research. In particular, I am focused on understanding the interactions between lipid membranes and different antimicrobial agents with the aim of developing novel, more optimized treatments against infection based on nanomaterials.

As a member of the Group of Surface and Colloid Chemistry, my current projects involve studies on lipid membrane oxidation, membrane interactions and selectivity of different antimicrobial peptides and nanoparticles, for which I mainly employ neutron reflectometry, SAXS, QCM-D, FTIR-ATR, DLS and fluorescence.

Previously, I held a postdoctoral position at the Center for Single Particle Science and Engineering/MEMPHYS, Dep. Physics, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark (Odense, Denmark), where I focused on the application of microscopic and micropipette manipulation techniques to characterize different interfacial and colloidal lipid-based systems with special interest for biomedical and industrial applications. As part of these projects, I also participated actively in service contracts with international R&D and pharmaceutical companies.

My education includes a BS in Theoretical Physics, a MSc in Biomedical Physics, and a PhD in Physics with distinction cum laude at Complutense University (Madrid, Spain), with stays at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) and Universitat Jaume I (Castellón, Spain). My research during my PhD studies was around the structural and mechanical effects that two natural proteins produced by our lungs originate in lipid membranes, likely related to their biological function, and crucial for the design and development of clinical surfactants for lung therapy. In order to do that, I employed a wide range of spectroscopic, microscopic, micromanipulation, and electrophysiological techniques.

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