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About Us

The mitochondrial membranes lab (MML) is essentially devoted to the reconstitution of fundamental mitochondrial proteins in model membranes with the main goal of understanding and controlling their dynamics and self-assembly under out-of-equilibrium conditions. The MML gathers a broad experience in membrane biophysics and biochemistry of artificial systems. The knowledge is applied for the generation of new bioinspired drug delivery systems and the identification of mitochondrial membranes as a novel therapeutic target  against rare diseases.

Research lines


ATP synthase membrane biophysics


Mitochondrial fusion


self-assembly of golgin proteins

our team

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ILM completed his Degree in Physics at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) in 2001 and a MSc in Molecular Biophysics at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris) in 2002. In 2006, ILM obtained his PhD in Molecular Biophysics (Université Paris VII) with Prof Philippe F. Devaux and Dr. Marisela Vélez. His PhD thesis focused on lipid asymmetry using model membranes. During his postdoctoral training at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Monroy lab), his research efforts addressed the mechanical characterization of ceramide-based membranes and protein-lipid systems with biological implications in bacterial cell division of red blood cell dynamics. In 2013, ILM was awarded with an ERC Starting Grant to develop biomimetic systems for in-cell ATP synthesis and delivery. The ERC grant allowed ILM to launch, first as a Ramón y Cajal fellow (2014) and then as an Associate Professor (2017), the Mitochondrial Membranes Laboratory (MML). The MML projects are essentially devoted to the reconstitution of fundamental mitochondrial proteins in model membranes to understand their dynamics and self-assembly under out-of-equilibrium conditions. More recently, ILM was introduced to the liquid-liquid phase separation ability of Golgi proteins during a sabbatical stay at the Pr. Rothman’s lab. The fruitful collaboration with Pr. Rothman and in partnership also with Frederic Pincet (CNRS) and Vivek Malhotra (CRG) resulted in the award of an ERC Synergy Grant (2020) to decipher the formation and self-organization of the protein secretory pathway.

In 1999, PN obtained his PhD in Molecular Microbiology with Prof. Arnold Driessen at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen where he focused on the structural and functional properties of the Escherichia coli ATPase SecA by Tryptophan Fluorescence Spectroscopy. In 2006, PN moved to Madrid for a postdoctoral period in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Miguel Vicente at the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC), where the research activity focused on the in vitro reconstruction of essential cellular processes in bacteria to understand the molecular mechanism of the bacterial cell division that were further studied through fluorescence-based biophysical techniques in combination with traditional biochemistry and bacterial genetics. In 2014, PN joined the Mitochondrial Membranes Lab at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) to focus on the reconstitution of bacterial and mitochondrial ATP- and GTP- hydrolyzing membrane proteins and, within a drug delivery approach, specifically modulate the behavior of the drug delivery vehicle, the cargo molecule or the membrane-associated proteins that ensure optimal delivery of our cargo of interest. In 2021, PN became Assistant Professor at the Department of Physical Chemistry of UCM. The current research interests of PN focus on the dynamics of bacterial and mitochondrial proteins and their interplay with the membrane.

NGC obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 2021 at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and she pursued a Master’s degree in Advanced Chemistry one year later at UCM. NCG joined the mitochondrial membranes lab as an undergraduate student to work on the diffusive properties of lipids under confined conditions using fluorescence correlation techniques. In 2022, NCG started her PhD training at the MML to focus on the self-assembly of the biomolecular rotor ATP synthase in model membranes by means of time-resolved fluorescence microscopy.

PMG is a biophysicist (BSc/MSc in Theoretical Physics 2004 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; MSc and PhD in Biophysics, 2008 and 2013 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) with research interest on self-assembly of proteins reconstituted into membrane model systems. His main expertise covers Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) applied to measure real-time lapsed images at single molecule level in liquid, as well as surface acoustic sensors such as the Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM-D). Currently, the main goal of his research is the study of the collective behavior of golgin proteins anchored to supported lipid bilayers combining AFM structural and dynamic data with mass- and conformational-sensing capabilities of QCM-D.

VGAV started his research as an undergraduate student in the Atomic, Molecular and Nuclear Physics Department at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), where he pursued the mechanical understanding of Escherichia coli cell division. VGAV obtained his BSc in Chemistry in 2013 at UCM to join the Mitochondrial Membranes Lab as a PhD candidate in 2014. During his doctoral training VGAV addressed the question on the mechanical interaction of ATP synthase with lipid membranes using reconstituted systems and advanced microscopy to obtain his PhD in 2018. As a postdoctoral fellow, VGAV expanded his skills to molecular dynamics simulations, with a short term EMBO stay at the Multiscale Modeling Lab on ITQB NOVA (Pr. Manuel Nuno Melo). VGAV became in 2021 Assistant Professor of Physics at UCM. His current main research interests focus on membrane biophysics and computation, with particular emphasis on lipids and proteins in biological membranes.

In 2019, DGV graduated in Biology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) to pursue a MSc in Biotechnology at UAM. Motivated by his interest in rare diseases DGV joined the Mitochondrial Membranes Lab as an undergraduate student to be trained in membrane biophysics and lipid-protein interactions of reconstituted systems. Since 2021, DGV has focused on the curvature sorting of ATP synthase mediated by protein rotation to obtain his PhD degree.

Marcin Makowski earned his PhD in Medical Biochemistry from Universidade de Lisboa. During his doctorate, he studied peptide-membrane interactions through a variety of biophysical techniques, namely fluorescence spectroscopy and Molecular Dynamics Simulations. The hypotheses that emerged during his doctorate led him to become interested in bioenergetic membranes, and in particular, the molecular motor ATP synthase as a potential therapeutic target. This interest prompted his interaction with the Mitochondrial Membranes Lab, which he joined briefly in 2019 with an EMBO Short Term Fellowship and then again in 2023, as a postdoctoral researcher. Using molecular dynamics simulation methods MM aims at unravelling the interactions between and ATP synthases and lipid membranes.

MAS graduated in Physical Sciences at Universidad de Valladolid where he pursued a Master’s degree in Medical Physics in 2008. His master’s thesis addressed the modelling of cell survival to radiation. Motivated by his interest in physics and biology, MAS was awarded with a JAE-Tec contract from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to conduct instrumentation tasks and develop data and image processing routines applied to time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy under the supervision of Dr. Pilar Lillo. During this period, MAS did research on drug-cell interactions, searching for targets with putative biomedical applications. In 2017 MAS moved to the private sector as a Radiation Protection Expert, developing Radiation Protection and Quality Controls in medical environments, mainly in radiodiagnosis and nuclear medicine. Back to science in 2022, MAS worked in mitochondrial morphology studies in CSIC. In 2023 MAS joined to the Mitochondrial Membranes Lab to study the self-assembly of golgins in lipid membranes by means of time-resolved fluorescence microscopy.

DGC obtained his degree in Biochemistry at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). DGC completed his academic background pursuing a MSc in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Universitat de Valencia. His predoctoral training focused on the protein folding characterization by means of spectroscopic techniques, CD and FTIR among them. In 2019 joined Dr. Marisela Velez (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC) as a PhD candidate to study the respiratory chain of native mitochondria using electrochemical methods. During his PhD, DGV was trained in atomic force microscopy (AFM) for the sample characterization on gold electrodes. His experience in AFM facilitated his enrollment in the Mitochondrial Membranes Lab in 2023 to characterize the self-assembling properties of golgi matrix proteins at the interface on supported lipid bilayers.

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