ESR 4: Javier Lou Franco, Queens University Belfast, United Kingdom

Plasmonic FoodSmartphone assays for food spoilage

Javier Lou Franco is a PhD candidate working at Queen’s University Belfast (UK), at the Institute for Global Food Security. His work is supervised by Dr Cuong Cao and Prof Christopher Elliott. He is originally from Zaragoza, a city in northeast Spain, where he undertook a BSc in Biotechnology and a MSc in Nanostructured Materials for Nanotechnological Applications. Before joining the FoodSmartphone project, he worked at the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragón, contributing in the development of two biosensors based on gold nanoparticles to detect proteins present in paint samples and miRNA to detect multiple sclerosis, respectively.
He has experience in synthesizing gold nanoparticles of different shapes and sizes, as well as in working with binding elements for biosensing applications. Among his scientific interests, he wishes to deepen in the biosensors field, focusing in nanoparticles as transducer elements due to their outstanding and unique properties and combining them with biomolecules that guarantee the needed specificity. Javier is mainly interested in understanding how biosensor’s properties can be improved and in health applications, not only regarding biomedicine issues but also food security.
Beyond scientific research, Javier also likes sports, both practising and watching them. He enjoys playing basketball in his free time. Moreover, he loves travelling, visiting new places and discovering new cultures all over the world. Reading, watching films and animals and nature related activities can be found among his hobbies.
Since he started high school, Javier new that he was keen on the scientific world. He decided to follow a biological formation at University, but always kept in mind the chemical and technological applications. Finding innovative solutions to actual health problems has become his motivation to continue working in the nanodiagnosis field. Furthermore, the multiple and growing number of fields where these tools can be applied keep his interest awake, always trying to improve these systems and find further and unexplored applications.
This projects also gives Javier the opportunity to work in a different country, United Kingdom, where he can learn different working ways and combine them with the knowledge gained during his previous formation in Spain.

Javier Lou Franco