Prof. Pohl Milón

Centro de Investigación e Innovación Universidad Peruana

de Ciencias Aplicadas UPC 

Lima, Perú

Synthetic molecules for biosensing or inhibiting pathogenic microorganisms


Katherin Peñaranda2, José Alberto Nakamoto1, Diego F. Joseph1, Ana Elena Sanchez1, and Pohl Milón1,2,*

(1) Centro de Investigación e Innovación, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas-UPC, Lima, Perú

(2) Research and Innovation Division, BDM, Lima, Peru ́

* Presenter:


Pathogenic microorganisms are a common problem to human health, agriculture, and alimentary industries, among others, causing deaths and economic loses worldwide. The prompt detection and inhibition of infectious microorganisms save lives and allow tailored interventions to reduce financial impacts. Here, we use large genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data sets to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets that are species-specific and absent in the host. On the other hand, we use the SELEX technology to develop aptamers for the specific recognition or inhibition of abundant and/or essential proteins from pathogenic microorganisms. Biochemical assays coupled to structural modeling allowed to characterize the interaction of aptamers against the HGMB1, a biomarker of Plasmodium falciparum, causing Malaria. Similarly, aptamers developed against an abundant protein of Trypanosoma Cruzi, causing Chagas disease, have been adapted for ELISA-like detection systems. Rapid kinetics, molecular modeling, and structural approximations show that aptamers against the bacterial translation initiation factor IF3 result in inhibiting initial steps of protein synthesis, i.e. aptamers as antibiotics. Altogether, aptamer applications as biosensing or therapeutic molecules will be discussed as attempts to tackle-down the negative impact that pathogenic microorganisms bring to societies.



Keywords: biosensor, biomarker, antibiotic, protein synthesis, FRET, rapid kinetics

Dr. Pohl Milón is a Principal Investigator of the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Health Sciences Faculty of UPC University in Perú. He Started his Career in Science graduating in 2002 in Biological Sciences at the State University of Milan, Italy. Then, he attended the State University of Camerino, Italy, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Biology with a particular focus on molecular and biochemical aspects of the bacterial ribosome. In 2008 he joined the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen (Germany) for a 5-year post-doc where he developed novel techniques to monitor the quaternary assembly of ribosomal complexes in real time. Dr. Milón returned to Perú in 2013 to lead the Laboratory of Applied Biophysics and Biochemistry at UPC.  Dr. Milón has led five national and two international grants aiming to develop novel high throughput platforms for isolating ribosomal inhibitors and for developing aptamers as biosensors or therapeutic alternatives to antibodies. Among Dr. Milón work he has contributed significantly to our understanding of ribosome function with a particular focus on the initiation phase of protein synthesis, detailed the molecular mechanism of new and old antibiotics, and developed aptamers for Plasmodium falciparum, Trypanosoma cruzi, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, among others. Dr. Milón current funding focuses on investigations of undescribed mechanisms of ribosome inhibition by known antibiotics and screening of new lead compounds, either from natural or synthetic sources. Additionally, current funding aims to increase the number of Aptamers against endemic to Peru infectious diseases. Dr. Milón has published more than 20 articles in different highly respected Journals, an h-index of 12 (Scopus), 14 (Google Scholar), or 13 (Researchgate), and more than six hundred citations to his work.