Following her degree in Chemistry, Cristina Flors completed her PhD at the Institut Químic de Sarrià in Barcelona in 2004 under the supervision of Prof. Santi Nonell. During that time, she studied the pho- tophysical properties of phenalenone derivatives, with particular emphasis on their singlet oxygen pho- tosensitization. In 2005 she moved to the laboratory of Prof. Johan Hofkens at KU Leuven, Belgium, to learn single-molecule and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Her most representative result from that period was the single-molecule characterization of the photoswitching properties of the fluorescent protein Dronpa and its mutants. Importantly, they showed how the thorough understanding of photophys- ics can help optimize super-resolution imaging. Having gained expertise in a new technique with great potential, she moved to the University of Edinburgh in 2008 to begin her independent research career, funded by EPSRC and The Royal Society. She started a new research program to develop methodology for super-resolution imaging of DNA. In February 2012 she moved to IMDEA Nanoscience as a Group Leader (Ramón y Cajal fellowship), where she continue to work the improvement of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, and its application to study biology and materials. She is also interested in development and characterization the novel of fluorescent proteins for advanced microscopy applications.
We develop novel methods, typically based on light, to study biological problems at the nanoscale:
- Novel methods for super-resolution imaging: super-resolution fluorescence microscopy techniques are able to image (biological) structures with a spatial resolution of tens of nm, one order of mag- nitude better than standard fluorescence microscopy. We develop novel methods that extend the application of super-resolution microscopy. A few years ago we were able to image for the first time directly-labelled DNA with a spatial resolution below 40 nm (ChemPhysChem 2009, 10, 2201; J. Microscopy 2013, 251, 1). More recently, we have implemented a novel microscope that allows us to correlate in situ super-resolution fluorescence imaging and atomic force microscopy (ChemPhy- sChem 2014, 15, 647).
- Photosensitizing fluorescent proteins for advanced microscopy: this project aims at developing improved light-responsive proteins capable of generating singlet oxygen, a particular form of reactive oxygen species that plays a crucial role in cell signalling and phototherapeutic applications. The possibility to have precise genetic control of the protein localization and thus the site of singlet oxygen generation is attracting much interest given its strong potential for applications in microscopy, optogenetics and photodynamic therapy (JACS 2013, 135, 9564).
- Correlative atomic force microscopy and localization-based super-resolution microscopy: revealing labelling and image reconstruction artefacts A. Monserrate, S. Casado, C. Flors ChemPhysChem, 2014, DOI:10.1002/cphc.201300853
- Super-resolution fluorescence imaging of directly labelled DNA: from microscopy standards to living cells, C. Flors J. Microsc. 251 (1), 1-4, 2013
- Singlet Oxygen Generation by the Genetically Encoded Tag miniSOG R. Ruiz-González, A. L. Cortajarena, S. H. Mejias, M. Agut, S. Nonell, C. Flors J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 9564-9567, 2013