The Biofunctionalization laboratory was founded in 2001 when Dr. Vélez became a Ramon y Cajal her Fellow and started her independent research. The group pioneered, world wide, the use of AFM to characterize the structure and dynamics of individual filaments of the cytoskeletal protein FtsZ, related to bacterial division, in aqueous media (over 15 related publications in the last 15 years, including a review article in January 2019). She has participated in 2 nationally funded projects (BFU2005-04087-C02-02/BMC, BIO2008-04478-C03-02), 1 european project (HEALTH-F3-2009-223431), 1 Cost Action (TD1003) related to this subject.
In 2008 she moved to the Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica. (ICP-CSIC) as a scientific researcher to be in charge of the Scanning Probe Facilities and offer the service to the community and develop my research in close collaboration with other groups in the Biocatalysis department. Her experience in the development of membrane model systems has allowed the Bioelectrocatalysis group to extend their work to study also membrane redox proteins such as membrane hydrogenases and other redox proteins from the respiratory, also of high biotechnological interest. More than half a dozen publications in high impact journals related to this subject have come out from this collaboration. She has participated in one nationally funded project related to this are (CTQ2012-32448), is requesting a new one, and is now actively collaborating with the Biocatalysis group lead by Antonio Lopez de Lacey. She is also now participating in a recently funded project by the local government (CAM) related with electrochemical characterization of mitochondrial redox proteins ( P2018/BAA-4403).
Another line of research that has developed in the lab in the last 10 years is the one related to covalent modification of hydrogels to introduce magnetic nanoparticles to confer them properties as contrast agents and enzymatic reporters with applications in tissue engineering. This is the work in which the applicant will be involved. The group joined a European project related to the subject (HEALTH-F5-2008-201842) and developed a patent (P201230972). The work has continued and another nationally funded project (MAT2013-49847-EXP), in collaboration with Dr. Pilar Marin, from the Instituto de Magnetismo Aplicado ( IMA-UCM). We are now currently involved in another europan project (645757-VIVOIMAG) still active, that is leading to further collaborations and application for european funding (two submissions have already been presented this year, one to and ITN and one to a FET-Open call). The group also participated in a nationally funded project related to hydrogels (FIS2015-70339-C2-2-R).
The goup has also been very active in teaching activities. In 2003, Dr. Vélez was co-founder of the Biophysics Master at the UAM, which was the first of its kind offered in Spanish Universities. She has actively participated in organizing courses and summer schools directed towards providing interdisciplinary training to students to address the study of biological surfaces using different techniques and approaches. She has directed 6 PhD thesis, and has tutored more than 6 master student, including 2 from a Mexican university. This year she will receive another master student from la Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Azcapotzalco,( Mexico City), and two Erasmus students ( France and Greece) .
Dr. Vélez has a long time collaboration with the French group led by Veronique Arluison ( 3 common publications) and a Greek group led by Dr. Electra Gizeli ( 3 common publications). The collaboration is related to surface characterization techniques (AFM and QCM) and is currently being reinforced by collaborative work being developed in the Synchrotron Soleil using two different beam lines to study Circular Dichroism and Infrared-AFM of protein- lipid complexes.