Molecular Motors Nanomanipulation Lab

The use of nanomotors to power molecular machines is one of the most exciting challenges facing nanotechnology.

Our laboratory uses nanoscale principles and techniques to understand at the molecular level the physical-chemical and mechanistic principles of operation of biological molecular motors. These are catalytic proteins with moving parts that work efficiently inside the cells and are essential for cell proliferation and survival.

Using nature as a guide will facilitate the design of highly efficient ‘man-made’ molecular machines for complex operations at the nanoscale.

Join the Lab!


May 2017. Our work to determine the binding mode of the mitochondrial SSB proteins has been accepted for publication and is already on line!!

Let’s all meet next June at the Spanish Biophysical Society Meeting in Sevilla and at the IMDEA Nanoscience Early Stage Researchers Workshop

March 2017. Carlos Rodriguez Pulido joined our lab as a PhD Student to study viral replication dynamics. Welcome Carlos!

March 2017. Carlos Rodriguez Pulido joined our lab as a PhD Student to study viral replication dynamics. Welcome Carlos!

December 2016. The Madrid Government granted our lab with a PhD fellowship (PEJD-2016/IND-2451)

November 2016. Fernando Cerrón got a PhD fellowship from Universidad Complutense. Congrats Fernando!

The Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness just granted our proposal to study the operation of the human mitochondrial replisome at single molecule level!!

Kateryna Lemishko has been awarded with a FPU PhD grant, congrats Kateryna!!!

Check this new fancy magazine



Recent Publications

DNA synthesis determines the binding mode of the human mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein.

Morin JA, Cerrón F, Jarillo J, Beltran-Heredia E, Ciesielski GL, Arias-Gonzalez JR, Kaguni LS, Cao FJ, Ibarra B.

Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 May 9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx395

Mechanics, thermodynamics, and kinetics of ligand binding to biopolymers.

Jarillo J, Morín JA, Beltrán-Heredia E, Villaluenga JP, Ibarra B, Cao FJ.

PLoS One. 2017 Apr 5;12(4):e0174830.

Kinetic modeling of molecular motors: pause model and parameter determination from single-molecule experiments (2016)

José A Morin, Borja Ibarra and Francisco J Cao.

Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, Volume 2016, May 2016

Mechano-chemical kinetics of DNA replication: identification of the translocation step of a replicative DNA polymerase (2015)

J.A. Morin, F.J. Cao, J.M. Lázaro, J.R. Arias-Gonzalez, J.M. Valpuesta, J.L. Carrascosa, M. Salas, B. Ibarra

Nucleic Acid Research, 2015

Manipulation of single polymerase-dna complexes: a mechanical view of dna unwinding during replication (2012)

Morin J.A., Cao F.J., Valpuesta J.M., Carrascosa J.L., Salas M., Ibarra B.

Cell Cycle 11(16): 2967- 2968

Active dna unwinding dynamics during processive dna replication (2012)

J.A. Morin, F.J. Cao, J.M. Lázaro, J.R. Arias-Gonzalez, J.M. Valpuesta, J.L. Carrascosa, M. Salas, B. Ibarra

Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences USA 109(21): 8115-20

Mechanical stability of low-humidity single DNA molecules (2012)

Hormeño S., Ibarra B., Valpuesta J.M., Carrascosa J.L., Ricardo Arias-Gonzalez J.

Biopolymers 97(4): 199-208

Mechanical properties of high-G.C content DNA with a-type base-stacking (2011)

Hormeño S., Ibarra B., Carrascosa J.L., Valpuesta J.M., Moreno-Herrero F., Arias-Gonzalez JR.

Biophysical Journal 100(8): 1996-2005

Condensation prevails over B-A transition in the structure of DNA at low humidity (2011)

Hormeño S., Moreno-Herrero F., Ibarra B., Carrascosa J.L., Valpuesta J.M., Arias-Gonzalez J.R.

Biophysical Journal 100(8): 2006-2015

Proofreading Dynamics of a Processive DNA Polymerase (2009)

Ibarra, B., Chemla Y., Plyasunov, S., Smith S.B., Salas M., Bustamante C.

EMBO Journal 28: 2794-2802

Single centrosome manipulation reveals its electric charge and associated dynamic structure (2009)

Hormeño S., Ibarra B., Chichón F., Habermann K., Lange B., Valpuesta J.M., Carrascosa J.L., Arias-González J.R.

Biophysical Journal 97: 1022-1030

About Us


Borja Ibarra

Borja Ibarra received his PhD. in Molecular Biology from Universidad Autónoma Madrid in 2001. He made the ‘leap’ to molecular biophysics as a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Carlos Bustamante lab at UC Berkeley. Back in Spain in 2007, he applied single molecule manipulation methods as optical tweezers at the CNB-CSIC (Madrid) to study biological molecular motors at single molecule level. He joined the Nanobiosystems department at IMDEA Nanoscience in 2010, where he started the Molecular Motors Nanomanipulation Lab. ||


Sara De Lorenzo
Lab Manager

Sara de Lorenzo graduated in physics by the University Autónoma of Madrid. In 2005 she joined Dr. Felix Ritort Lab at University of Barcelona where she worked as the laboratory technician while completing her Master Degree. In collaboration with the ‘Mini-tweezers inventor’, Dr. Steven B. Smith, she developed a new optical tweezers instrument with an advanced temperature control system. In November of 2013 Sara joined IMDEA Nanoscience as a lab manager for Dr. Ibarra and Dr. Arias-González laboratories.


Fernando Cerrón
PhD Student

B.S Universidad Complutense Madrid, Physics, 2013.

M.S. Universidad Autónoma Madrid, Molecular Biophysics, 2014.

Kateryna Lemishko

Kateryna Lemishko
PhD Student

B.S. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Chemistry.

M.S. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Chemistry.

M.S. Universidad Autonoma Madrid, Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modeling.

Carlos Rodriguez Pulido

Carlos Rodriguez Pulido
PhD Student

B.S Universidad Complutense Madrid, Physics, 2016.

Former lab members


Jose A. Morin
Former Lab Member

Currently at mpipks

Ph.D. Universidad Autónoma Madrid (Spain), Single Molecule Biophysics, 2013.

M.S. in Biophisycs at Madrid's Autonoma University (Spain), 2010.

B.S. in Physiscs at Havana University (Cuba), (2006).


Atena Naeimi
Former Lab Member

Assistant Professor at University of Jiroft (Iran) March, 2013. In June 2013 I joined Dr. Borja Ibarra lab as a visiting researcher to work on the synthesis of novel nanomachines and their investigation at single molecule level with optical tweezers.

Contact / Join The Lab

Instituto IMDEA

We welcome informal enquiries from potential pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows. Candidates are expected to apply for independent research funding, however some bridging funding could be available. For post-doctoral fellows full assistance will be given in preparing a competitive research proposal (ie: HSFP, Marie-Curie Actions, etc)