Frank J. Hernandez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) at Linköping University. Dr Hernandez is the Group Leader of the Nucleic Acids Technologies Lab (NAT-Lab). His lab is exploring the utility of nucleases as biomarkers of disease. The main research goal is to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies using nucleic acid probes for cancer and bacterial infections. NAT-Lab is also exploring the construction of MRI-activatable probes with the ambition of translating this technology into contrast agents for clinical use.
Dr. Hernandez has received his B.Sc. in Microbiology (Bacteriology and Clinical Laboratory) in 2003 from the University of Antioquia, Colombia. In 2008, he received his PhD in Bioengineering (Chemical and Process Engineering) from the University Rovira i Virgili (Spain). His doctoral work was focused on nucleic acids as molecular recognition elements for biosensing.
Next, he decided to study the utility of chemical modifications of nucleic acids probes as a postdoctoral researcher at the Nucleic Acid Center, University of Southern Denmark. This period of training considerably expanded his expertise in nucleic acid-based technologies. Later on, he moved to the USA, to the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, where he had the opportunity to apply his previous background to biological problems, using experimental tools such as cell cultures and animal models of disease (cancer and infectious diseases). As result of this postdoctoral work, he co-developed a drug delivery system with a novel drug release approach (Hernandez et. al, ChemComm, 2014, 50, 9489-9492). He also demonstrated the utility of nucleic acid aptamers as responsive molecules using mesoporous nanocapsules for drug delivery and targeting cancer cells (Hernandez, et. al., ChemComm, 2013, 49, 1285-1287). All this previously packed knowledge led him right into the pioneering of an optical activatable fluorescence probe for detecting bacteria in vivo, which is a novel system for targeting microoganisms (Hernandez et. al., Nature Medicine, 2014, 20, 301-306).
Later, he joined the University of Basque Country and the Biodonostia Health Research Institute (Spain), working in the diagnosis of cancer using hybridization systems based on nucleic acids. He is inventor in several patents and the co-founder of a Start-up company that develops lateral flow systems (SOMAprobes, Spain).