Scientific program

Molecular biosensing is a multidisciplinary field. Developing a robust sensing methodology requires a collaborative approach. Thus, we are striving to include in this symposium some of the main areas involved.


Fluorescence spectroscopy based on small molecules has found a multitude of applications in the chemical and biological sciences, from analytical chemistry to cell imaging. At the outset, these techniques focused on the description of cellular structures using dyes with different physicochemical properties, e.g. lipophilic dyes to highlight the membrane.

However, it was soon observed that functional dyes could provide an extraordinary insight of some biological processes.  Hence, the first small molecules that act as sensors were developed, one of the first examples being the phosphate probe. Current trends point towards the design of highly tuned molecules, the use of charge-transfer complexes and up-converting dyads as a means of allowing the use of tissue-compatible light.

During the symposium some of our speakers talk about the up-to-date strategies, advances and challenges in the design and applications of molecular sensors.


Spectroscopy is the analysis and study of the myriad interactions between electromagnetic radiation and matter. It has found an incredibly high number of applications in a broad range of human activities, from biomedical analysis to astronomy. Among the many types of spectroscopic techniques those regarding absorption and emission of ultraviolet and visible light are particularly useful to investigate the fundamental properties of molecules and their interaction with others and their environment in molecular systems.

During the symposium speakers will present some of the cutting-edge spectroscopic methods, especially those used in the study of complex molecular systems such as cell-membrane models. Some of the applications, challenges and perspectives in the field will also be discussed. 


Due to the complexity and dynamic nature of cell membranes the study of certain cellular functions is often challenging. Our capacity to understand some of these processes has a tremendous impact on humane-health related disciplines, pharmacology, diagnostics, and therapeutics to name a few. In an effort to overcome the challenge, artificial membrane models have been developed and used for the last 50 years. This technology has been widely applied to the design of artificial organs, photodynamic therapy and diagnostic devices.

This session will focus on lipid mono and bilayers and liposomes, the most extensively studied membrane models. Some outstanding trends and up-to-date applications will be presented as well.


Computational methods have become an indispensable part of the research in chemistry. Nowadays, there is an enormous and fructiferous collaboration between theory and synthesis, where as a general trend the former assists establishing the goals of the latter.  Photochemistry is one of the areas in which theoretical calculations have enormously helped develop an entire new set of materials and molecules.

During the symposium, our speakers will present some advances in the field and the application of theoretical calculations to the study of multicomponent molecular systems and their interactions within complex biological environments.