Photo of Frank Hernandez

Frank Hernandez

Associate Professor, Docent

Group leader of the Nucleic Acids Technologies Lab (NAT-Lab) 


Frank 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 (Donostia, Spain) based on the novel activatable probes for detecting relevant pathogens. Most recently, his group has reported the utility of nuclease activity as biomarker in cancer (ChemComm, 2016, 52, 12346-12349). 

Present research

At Linköping University, Frank is a WCMM fellow in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) and 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.




Garazi Goikoetxea, Khadija-Tul Kubra Akhtar, Alona Prysiazhniuk, Baris Ata Borsa, Mehmet Ersoy Aldag, Murat Kavruk, Veli C. Ozalp, Frank Hernandez (2024) Fluorescent and electrochemical detection of nuclease activity associated with <i>Streptococcus pneumoniae</i> using specific oligonucleotide probes The Analyst Continue to DOI


Baris Ata Borsa, Luiza I. Hernandez, Tania Jiménez, Chaitanya Tellapragada, Christian G Giske, Frank J Hernandez (2023) Therapeutic-oligonucleotides activated by nucleases (TOUCAN): A nanocarrier system for the specific delivery of clinical nucleoside analogues. Journal of Controlled Release, Vol. 361, p. 260-269 Continue to DOI


Javier Garcia Gonzalez, Frank J Hernandez (2022) Nuclease activity: an exploitable biomarker in bacterial infections Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics, Vol. 22, p. 265-294 Continue to DOI


1.    Mcnamara II JO, Stockdale K, Horswill A, Hernandez FJ, Behlke M. (WO2013033436)
Oligonucleotide-based probes for detection of bacterial nucleases

2.    McNamara JO, McNamara II JO, Huang Y, Hernandez FJ, Giangrande PH, Gu B.  (WO2013082515)
Nucleic acid aptamers directed to surface receptors and methods of use

3.    Ozalp VC, Oktem HA, Hernandez FJ, Hernandez Luiza, Schafer T.  (WO2015088455)
Aptamer-gated nanoparticles for lateral flow assays 

4.    Mcnamara II JO, Flenker K, Hyeon K, Horswill AR, Hernandez FJ, Behlke M, Huang L, Owczarzy R, Burghardt E,  Kenkel E, CLARK K (WO2015120406)
Oligonucleotide-based probes and methods for detection of microbes

5.    Hernandez FJ and Hernandez LI. (WO/2016/062726)
Detection of nuclease activity


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