Eaton - NanoBio Imaging Unit
I am an "Investigador Auxiliar" (Assistant
Researcher) at the REQUIMTE, working in the Chemistry Department of the
University of Porto (NanoBio Group).
The NanoBio group does not have a webpage yet, but is headed by Eulália
Pereira. The interests of the group include the preparation,
characterisation, and application of new nanoparticles, as well as the
study of their interactions with biological targets. My research
focuses on the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to study a variety
of biological and chemical systems. These include nanoparticle-DNA
interactions, organometallic vesicle structure, bacterial morphology
and nanomechanics, superparamagnetic nanoparticles, malarial
hepatocytes, Langmuir-Blodgett films and proteoliposome structure. I am
also PI in a project to develop new fluorescent nanoparticles for use
as gene sensors.
Special Visiting Researcher
I was made a "Pesquisador Visitante Especial" - Special Visiting Researcher at the Federal University of Parnaíba, Brazil.
This will probably run from 2015 to 2018. The grant is funded by CNPq (Brazil). Among other things (I'll be in Brazil a lot!),
we will have funding soon for a post-doc in Brazil,
and a grant for a PhD sandwich student between Brazil and Portugal. The themes will be natural products, nanoparticles and AFM.
Contact me if you are interested in either of these positions. See this news piece on the UCIBIO
website for more details.
Well done Cristina!
Cristina Neves has successfully defended her PhD. Thesis,
which was titled "Development of fluorescent silica nanoparticles encapsulating organic and inorganic fluorophores:
synthesis and characterization"?. Congratulations to Cristina, who was awarded the degree with distinction due to
her hard work and excellent defence.
New AFM Installed
We have just installed a new instrument in the lab. It is an LS-AFM from AFMWorkshop. This is the first instrument of its kind in the world, and is a new atomic force microscope designed for life sciences applications.
The instrument allows optical microscopy (including phase contrast microscopy), epifluorescence and AFM on the same sample. It also allows observation of the sample from above (reflected light), or below (transmitted light).
It is ideal for examination of cells. Initial tests last week suggest the new instrument is going to have excellent performance. Optimisation and a more complete installation is ongoing.
This instrument forms part of the BIO-AFM network which means that any researchers who wish to use it should be able to. Please contact me via the email address at the bottom of the page if you are interested.
Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society
I was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society (FRMS). Thanks very much to the RMS for this honour.
wins Nano2012 and E-MRS Young Scientist 2013 Prizes
Congratulations to Cristina Neves, my PhD student, on
winning a Young Scientist Award at the recent
Meeting. She won the award for her presentation titled
"Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles based on Organic and Inorganic
Fluorophores: Preparation and Characterization". This is
prize Cristina has won for her work in the
project on fluorescent nanoparticles. Cristina will soon be writing up,
so if any other prospective PhD student are interesting in continuing
work on this award-winning, FCT-funded project, they should contact me
ASAP! Once again, congratulations for Cristina, and we hope to see this
great work written up in thesis form really soon!
AFM Workshop 2013http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1549963411003777
The AFM Workshop
here in Porto took place last week. The course was a great success and
we had lots of positive feedback. There's a blog post reviewing the
Requimte AFM Workshop Prize
to Leonor Soares who won the image processing
competition in the Requimte AFM workshop 2013, with her image "Leonor
hair details", which is shown here. Leonor prepared (and grew!) the
sample herself, and scanned it along with Jorge, InFs Rocha and Tiago
Galv?o. She then produced this nice image which shows surface details
Announcment of the Requimte 2013 AFM Workshop
Since the acquisition of two AFM instruments in Requimte two years ago,
we've been training various users in the technique. A successful course
was held in 2011, and now we are announcing the 2013 course.
The course will be held in our laboratory in Porto, with two
instruments for the students to use. The course will include 2 days of
theory and two days of practice, covering both Image acquisition and
data analysis. The course will take place between the 25th and the 28th
of March 2013. Places are limited, so interested students are
encouraged to reserve a place as soon as possible.
for more information. Reservations can be made by emailing
We have published a new paper relating some studies we've made of the
development of the malaria parasite, plasmodium within liver cells
(hepatocytes), using AFM. This is the first time anyone has ever
studied the parasite in liver cells using AFM. In fact, there have only
been a couple of studies of hepatocyte sat all. Our work reports not
just AFM imaging but also nanomechanical measurements of the infected
The results show that it's possible to observe the growth and
multiplication of plasmodium within the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) as
it grows, and that this affects cell membrane texture.
But more importantly, we saw dramatic and significant changes in cells
stiffness in infected cells. 48 hours after infection, the cells had
stiffened by approximately ten times. This effect was seen in the main
body of the cell, away from the location of the PV. This suggests that
it is a reaction of the cell to the presence of the parasite. this is
the first time that cell stiffness changes upon malaria infection have
been seen in hepatic cells. The paper has been published in
Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, and can be found
There is also a local copy for download here: eaton_etal_malaria_nanomedicineNBM_reviewed.pdf
This work was carried out at The Instituto de Medicina Molecular,
Lisbon. Many thanks to my colleagues from there, especially Nuno Santos
for allowing use of the JPK Nanowizard II AFM. The full reference is:
P. Eaton, V. Zuzarte-Luis, M. M. Mota, N. C.
Santos, M. PrudFncio, Infection by Plasmodium
changes shape and stiffness of hepatic cells Nanomedicine:
Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine 8(1), 17-19 (2012).
Requimte Hands-on Minicourse
on Atomic Force Microscopy 2011
"Without any doubt I will recommend it for everybody which is
interested in AFM" - 2011 student.
The 2011 edition of the AFM course was held between 14th and 16th
The students learned about:
- AFM Background
- AFM Instrumentation
- AFM Modes - topographic and property modes
- Sample Preparation
- AFM Operation, with a section geared specifically towards
the TTA-AFM, as well as general scanning instructions and hints and
- AFM applications
- AFM Artifacts and troubleshooting AFM Operation
- Data processing and Analysis
- A guest lecture by Filomena Carvalho, from the IMM (
Faculty of medecine University of Lisob, on Force spectroscopy and
- A second guest lecture by Rogerio Cola?o of the IST,
Technical University of Lisbon, about AFM applications in nanotribology
- The course was very succesful, and some photos from the
course, and images acquired by the students can be seen here.
Thanks very much to AFM
Workshop for sponsoring the course!
Here are just a few example images measured with the new
TTAFM instrument on a variety of samples.
New Instrument Page
There is a
page describing our new AFM instrument over at afmhelp.com.
On the Requimte page
you can find information on both the Lisbon and Porto instruments. On
our page our instrument (Long Beach) is described, and there are also
operating protocols and procedures. There is also a booking calendar,
so you can see when the instrument's busy.
Best SPM Image at IMC17
At the 17th International Microscopy Congress (IMC17) in Rio de
Janeiro, I won the 1st place prize for best SPM image (Life Sciences).
The collage of the winners is shown below. Once again, thanks to
Gon?alo D?ria for providing the sample.
at the conference, both Maria Feio and Ana Pereira gave excellent and
well-received oral presentations, featuring AFM images obtained in our
lab. Well done to both of them!
FCT PROJECT FUNDED
The FCT has decided to fund our proposed project "Multifunctional
Nanoparticles for Clinical Diagnosis". The evaluators recommended
funding of 86,400 Euros for this project. The project will begin in
January 2011, and there will be two BI grants available after that, one
for nanoparticle synthesis and one for biosensor development. The
project is to be carried out jointly with the group of Pedro Baptista
from CIGMH, UNL, Lisbon. Thanks to all the co-applicants!
OUR NEW AFM JUST ARRIVED!
This week, our new AFM that I built in California, arrived in Porto. I
have unpacked and assembled it, and got the first test images.
Here are a couple of pictures of the system, on the left the AFM head,
and on the right an image of the acquisition software. For more details
about the new AFM, contact me at email@example.com. Some example
images will follow soon.
et al, "New insights into the use of magnetic force microscopy to
discriminate between magnetic and nonmagnetic nanoparticles"
Nanotechnology 21 (2010) 305706. This article can be accessed at: http://stacks.iop.org/0957-4484/21/305706
During the next thrity days or so, the article will be free to access,
as long as you log in to IOP Science.
This article shows explicitly for the first time, how the presence of
non-magnetic nanoparticles is detected by MFM. This is a problem, since
some previous results were rather ambiguous, and may not have shown
magnetic fields at all. We show how real magnetic effects can be
differentiated from "fake" MFM images, and that the fake images are
electrostatic in nature. We also give some idea of the sorts of
particles MFM can detect, and the distance it can detect them from.
Congratulations to Cristina! Note all the papers I have published
should be listed on this page.
My book is now available for preorder on amazon.com, click below to go
to the relevant pages.
ANOTHER IMAGE IN CALENDAR
One of our AFM images (measured by Cristina Neves and I) was featured
in the Veeco SPM 2010 calendar - the image shows a malarial mosquito
eye - the image was named "Looking for Lunch" by Veeco:
BOOK WRITING FINISHED
Work on my book has now finished. It is called "Atomic Force
Microscopy", written along with Paul West and it will be published in
2010. More details can be found at afmhelp.com.
IMAGE IN SCIENTEC CALENDAR
One of our AFM images was featured in Scientec customer calendar for
January 2009 - the image shows nanoparticle gene sensors interacting
with target dsDNA:
We don't have any positions open currently, but if you are
interested in a project concerning AFM, please contact me.
In particular, we are keen to find candidates, at doctoral or
post-doctoral level to study atomic force microscopy of bacteria.
Biographical Information and
CV and publication list are available here: CV
and Publications List
is my FTIR Spectroscopy Tutorial: Go to FTIR Tutorial
I have a list of Frequently Asked Questions (a FAQ)
about AFM here: AFM