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In its 85-year story, the mission of our institute has been to carry out excellence research in fundamental and applied physical chemistry, contributing to the scientific training of several generations of researchers at the highest level. Our vision is to be an international reference in multidisciplinary research focused on the resolution of the present challenges of our society in the fields of health, biotechnology, new materials, and environment.


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The i-motif is four-stranded DNA structure stabilized by hemiprotonated cytosine base pairs (C:C+). Although this is a very attractive structural motif for the development of devices at a nanometric scale, the requirement of acidic pH for its formation makes the i-motif occurrence in vivo controversial.

In a recent study, scientists of the Rocasolano Institute of Physical Chemistry and its associated unit with the University of Barcelona (BIOESTRAN), together with collaborators of the IRB, have found i-motif like structures in repetitive DNA sequences that are prevalent in the human genome. Most importantly, these structures are stable at physiological conditions. This is due to the particular arrangement of the C:C+ base pairs and other secondary structure elements (minor groove tetrads) which favors the cytosine protonation at neutral pH.

B.Mir, I. Serrano, D. Buitrago, M. Orozco, N. Escaja, and C. González.Prevalent sequences in the human genome can form mini i-motifs structures at physiological pH. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139, 13985-13988, 2017. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b07383