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Production and Purification of Supercoiled Minicircles

Production and Purification of Supercoiled Minicircles | iBB | Scoop.it

A wider application of minicircle (MC) vectors in gene therapy research depends critically on the ability to purify supercoiled MC from related miniplasmid (MP) and parental plasmid (PP) impurities. BERG-iBB researchers published a protocol that describes a purification strategy that combines the in vitro enzymatic relaxation of supercoiled MP and PP impurities by a nicking endonuclease, and topoisomer separation and RNA clearance by hydrophobic interaction chromatography. The time required to follow the full protocol, from production to isolation of sc MC is, approximately, 50 hr. The process delivers supercoiled MCs that are virtually free from MP, PP, RNA and protein impurities. The work was published in Human Gene Therapy Methods.

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Cláudia Godinho Defends PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Cláudia Godinho Defends PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

Cláudia Sofia Pires Godinho will be defending her Ph D thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico, thursday the 26th July 2018 (10:30 H, room PA3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Profs. Isabel Sá-Correia and Miguel Teixeira from BSRG-iBB, Cláudia has investigated the role of transporters in yeast multistress defense mechanisms. The title of her thesis is "ABC and MFS transporters involved in multistress defense mechanisms in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae: roles of Pdr18 and Tpol”.

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Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis of Pesticide Action in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis of Pesticide Action in Saccharomyces cerevisiae | iBB | Scoop.it

Accidental spills or careless storage and disposal of pesticides may lead to environmental contamination posing possible risks for non-target microbes and higher eukaryotes in ecosystems. In a recent publication in the journal Ecotoxicology, iBB-BSRG researchers led by Cristina A. Viegas, in collaboration with Jörg D. Becker from IGC, reported a comparative transcriptomic analysis of the responses to sub-lethal levels of six environmentally relevant pesticides in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae model species. A number of predictions of biological pathways and mechanisms emerged from this study in yeast, which are relevant to better understand the potential mode of action and adverse side-effects of these pesticides in biological systems.

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Azurin Perturbs Lipid Rafts’ Organization and Enhances Sensitivity to Anti-cancer Drugs

Azurin Perturbs Lipid Rafts’ Organization and Enhances Sensitivity to Anti-cancer Drugs | iBB | Scoop.it

A new determinant of the interaction of the bacterial anti-cancer protein azurin with the lipid rafts present in the membrane of cancer cells has been uncovered by a team led by Arsénio Fialho from BSRG-iBB, in collaboration with Sandra Pinto and Fábio Fernandes from CQFM-IN and iBB. The lipid rafts in these cells contribute to increase membrane order, rigidity and resistance to anti-cancer drugs. As a consequence of the interaction with lipid rafts, we demonstrate that treating cells with azurin increases membrane fluidity, and ultimately benefits the action of other drugs, probably by facilitating its entry in cancer cells. The work was recently published in the journal Cell Cycle.

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StartUp Research Program Presentation

StartUp Research Program Presentation | iBB | Scoop.it

Dr. Miguel Santos will be presenting the StartUp Research Program of ITQB NOVA and NOVA SBE  next wednesday the 11th July at 14:00-15:00 (room QA1.3, Alameda Campus).  Researchers, PhD students and Post-Docs are all invited to attend. The abstract of the presentation can be seen here. Miguel Santos is Invited Principal Investigator at ITQB Nova and StartUp Research Coordinator.  

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Protein and Lipid sorting in the Secretory Pathway by Chris Burd

Protein and Lipid sorting in the Secretory Pathway by Chris Burd | iBB | Scoop.it

Chris Burd will be giving a talk entitled "Protein and Lipid sorting in the Secretory Pathway", Monday the 9th july at 15:00 h in the meeting room of the main building of the IST Alameda campus. In his talk, Chris will focus on the Golgi apparatus, which constitutes the central distribution center, analogous to a post office, of the cell by directing the trafficking of lipids and proteins to their resident organelle or to the cell surface. Chris is a professor of Cell Biology at the University of Yale. His research is driven by the desire to understand how the organelles of the endomembrane system - the collection of intracellular, membrane-bounded organelles that compartmentalize the biochemical reactions that fuel life - are assembled and maintained. The talk is part of The American Corners program.

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Mixed Regulatory-Metabolic Genome-Scale Models in Yeasts

Mixed Regulatory-Metabolic Genome-Scale Models in Yeasts | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "MIXED-UP: Targeting pathogenesis and engineering cell factories: developing mixed regulatory-metabolic genome-scale models in yeasts" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of MIXED-UP is to develop genomic scale mathematical models that describe the complete metabolic and regulatory networks in yeasts of biotechnological and clinical relevance. These mathematical models will be used for the in silico prediction of the best proteins or pathways to target for the development of improved yeast cell factories. They will also enable the identification of the key regulatory or metabolic steps that constitute the best drug targets, aiming the development of new antifungal drugs for the treatment of superficial and invasive candidiasis. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Industrial Biotechnology, is headed by Miguel Teixeira from BSRG-iBB and involves a consortia of partners from the University of Minho, INESC-ID and IGC.

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Manufacturing of Therapeutic Exosomes

Manufacturing of Therapeutic Exosomes | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "EXOpro: Development of a scalable manufacturing process for therapeutic human mesenchymal stem/stromal cell-derived exosomes" has been recommended for funding by FCT. The goal of EXOpro is to develop a fully controlled manufacturing process for the production and purification of an effective, safe and fully characterized MSC-derived exosome-based product. Overall, the success of this project is expected to contribute to the development of novel cell-free strategies for  Regenerative Medicine settings. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Chemical Engineering, is headed by Ana Fernandes from SCERG-iBB and Ana Azevedo from BERG-iBB and involves a collaboration with the University of São Paulo.

Photo details: GFP-expressing MSCs by Joana Serra, copyright iBB 2017.

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Seminar on Biomaterial Systems for Engineering New Vascular Networks by Eduardo Silva

Seminar on Biomaterial Systems for Engineering New Vascular Networks by Eduardo Silva | iBB | Scoop.it

Eduardo Silva will be giving a seminar entitled "Biomaterial Systems for Engineering New Vascular Networks", Tuesday the 26th June at 11h in room 1.38, Taguspark. Eduardo Silva is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the University California, Davis. He received his degree in Metallurgical and Materials Science Engineering from University of Porto, and he holds a Ph.D. in Biomedicine from the Gulbenkian PhD Programme, with work performed at Harvard University. His research long-term goal is to engineer novel polymer based vehicles for controlled delivery of cells, drugs and/or genes in the context of vascularizing ischemic tissues.

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Re-engineering E. coli for Interferon Production

Re-engineering E. coli for Interferon Production | iBB | Scoop.it

The bacterial genome can be modified to favour the synthesis of recombinant protein. Such productivity gains can contribute to lower costs and increase the affordabiliy of protein pharmaceuticals. BERG-iBB researchers and colleagues from the Institute of Technology Guwahati (India) have shown that deletion of the pgi (phosphoglucose isomerase) gene in Escherichia coli favours the production of the pharmaceutically important protein interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). Specific IFN-gamma yields were 3.0-fold higher in mutant compared to native strain. Furthermore, a metabolic model analysis showed that pgi deletion raises flux efficiency towards IFN-gamma synthesis. The work was published in Enzyme Microbial Technology.

 

Photo details: 3D model of pgi by Emw, own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8814547

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Scale-up of Cardiomyocyte Production

Scale-up of Cardiomyocyte Production | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "CardioWheel: Upscaling the Production of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Cardiomyocytes using Vertical-Wheel Bioreactors" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of CardioWheel is the application of bioreactor technology for human Pluripotent Stem Cell expansion and cardiomyocyte differentiation in a single process, culturing cells in suspension in the novel single-use Vertical-Wheel Bioreactors. These bioreactors will be characterized using computational fluid dynamics and this knowledge will be used to scale up the culture. The generated cells will be tested for functional and pharmacological activity to demonstrate their applicability in drug discovery and regenerative medicine. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Chemical Engineering, is headed by Carlos Rodrigues and Joaquim Cabral from SCERG-iBB.

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Impact of Microbiome Healing on Fish Larviculture

Impact of Microbiome Healing on Fish Larviculture | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "MicroControl: Exploiting the healing capacity of nature´s microbiomes for improved fish larviculture" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of MicroControl is to develop multi-species cocktails of beneficial fish symbionts to prevent bacterial disease incidence during fish larval rearing, a stage at which fish individuals are highly susceptible to acute outbreaks that pronouncedly impact land-based rearing of hundreds of economically important species. The team will conduct larval rearing trials under “microbiome therapy” to address the effectiveness of the approach in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), the third most cultivated fish species worldwide. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Biological Sciences, is headed by Rodrigo Costa from BSRG-iBB and involves a collaboration with Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera.

 

Photo details: Gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) larva, from Sara I.C. Castanho, “The potential of Asparagopsis armata to control the bacterial load associated to live feed to improve Seabream (Sparus aurata) larvae performance”, MSc Thesis., Algarve University, Portugal, June 2014.

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Quantitative Analysis of Bead-Based Microfluidic Optical Biosensors

Quantitative Analysis of Bead-Based Microfluidic Optical Biosensors | iBB | Scoop.it

Microfluidic devices with integrated photodetectors can address the need for compact and portable biosensing platforms for medical, veterinary, environmental and food safety applications. However, depending on the application, performance requirements like the minimum detectable limits, the target sensitivity, and the detection time can vary dramatically. To improve the engineering of fit-for-purpose bead-based microfluidic biosensors, researchers at BERG-iBB and INESC-MN developed a simple quantitative methodology to determine (1) equilibrium constants, (2) binding kinetics, (3) rate at which photons are generated/absorbed per captured molecule, and (4) molecular capture efficiencies. These parameters provide an effective trade-off between required sensitivity, cost effectiveness and assay complexity. This work was published in the IOP Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

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Antimicrobial Properties of Camphor-Derived Silver Complexes

Antimicrobial Properties of Camphor-Derived Silver Complexes | iBB | Scoop.it

The emergence of bacterial resistance to available antimicrobials has prompted the search for novel antibacterial compounds to overcome this public health problem. Metal-based complexes have been much less explored than organic compounds as antimicrobials, leading to investigations of the antimicrobial properties of selected complexes in which silver may occupy the frontline due to its use as medicine since ancient times. Like silver, camphor has also long been used for medicinal purposes. However, in both cases, limited information exists concerning the mechanisms of their antimicrobial action. In a recent collaborative work by the research group headed by Jorge H. Leitão from BSRG/iBB and M. Fernanda Carvalho from CQE, the present knowledge of the antimicrobial properties of camphor-derived silver complexes is reviewed, focusing on recent research on the synthesis and antimicrobial properties of complexes based on silver and camphor imines. Selected examples of the structure and antimicrobial activity relationships of ligands studied so far are presented, showing the potential of silver camphorimine complexes as novel antimicrobials. The review was published in the journal Antibiotics.

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Assessment of Ecotoxicological Potential of Cement-based Construction Materials

Assessment of Ecotoxicological  Potential of Cement-based Construction Materials | iBB | Scoop.it

Innovation in construction materials (CM) implies changing their composition by incorporating raw materials (RM), usually non-traditional ones (e.g., processed or recycled RM), to confer particular characteristics. However, potential environmental risks associated with changing the conventional composition of CM are not completely known and need to be evaluated. Researchers from iBB-BSRG and CERIS - Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, at IST, proposed and applied a methodology for the assessment of the potential ecotoxicity associated with RM and cement-based CM considering a conservative scenario representative of the end of the materials life cycle. The work was published in the journal Materials.

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Flow Microcalorimetry Analysis of the Adsorption of mAbs in Phenylboronate Chromatography

Flow Microcalorimetry Analysis of the Adsorption of mAbs in Phenylboronate Chromatography | iBB | Scoop.it

The feasibility of applying Flow Microcalorimetry to evaluate the complex phenomena involved in the adsorption of monoclonal antibodies to phenylboronate ligands has been demonstrated by BERG-iBB researchers led by Ana Azevedo, in collaboration with Ana Cristina Dias-Cabral from CICS-UBI. The thermodynamic studies evidence the role of affinity and non-specific effects that contribute to the complex, phenylboronate-mediated multimodal adsorption process. This deeper understanding, combined with the economic advantages associated with the employment of the PBA ligand, may lead industry to adopt such a chromatographic process as a reliable alternative to protein A-based capture steps in the current downstream processing of mAbs. The work is part of Sara Rosa’s PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences. The paper was published on J. Chromatography A.

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International Microorganism Day 2018

International Microorganism Day 2018 | iBB | Scoop.it

The 2018 International Microorganism Day (IMD 2018) will take place on the 17th September all around Europe, focused on two main subjects: "Microbes and the fascination for the invisible" and “Microorganisms, Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development". The aim of this Day is to raise awareness among young people and the society in general on the role of microorganisms in our lives as well as their potential as versatile and efficient cell factories. The Portuguese activities of the IMD 2018 will be organized by the Portuguese Society of Microbiology (SPM), in collaboration with Ciência Viva Agency, Ordem dos Biólogos, the Portuguese Society of Ecology and the high patronage of the UNESCO National Commission. This year, the program counts with the collaboration of the Portuguese Microbiological Resource Center Network and the Spanish Microbiology Society. The activities supported by SPM will take place at Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, in close collaboration with the Bioengineering Department, the Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Núcleo de Engenharia Biológica and Clube de Cervejeiros do Técnico. Several other academic and research units around the country are also involved. Check our website to see the program details and how you may participate. Entrance in most activities is free. Don’t miss it!

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Advancing the Development of Vaccines Against Bacteria of the Burkholderia cepacia complex

Advancing the Development of Vaccines Against Bacteria of the Burkholderia cepacia complex | iBB | Scoop.it

 Bacteria of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality among patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. Eradication of these pathogens by antimicrobial therapy often fails, highlighting the need to develop novel strategies to eradicate infections. Vaccines are attractive since they can confer protection to particularly vulnerable patients, as is the case of cystic fibrosis patients. Several studies have identified specific virulence factors and proteins as potential subunit vaccine candidates. So far, no vaccine is available to protect from Bcc infections. In a recent publication in the journal Vaccines, iBB-BSRG researchers Sílvia Sousa, António M. Seixas and Jorge H. Leitão review the most promising postgenomic approaches and selected web tools available to speed up the identification of immunogenic proteins with the potential of conferring protection against Bcc infections.

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Probiotic Therapeutics for Candidiasis

Probiotic Therapeutics for Candidiasis | iBB | Scoop.it
The project "LactoCan – Fostering the development of new probiotic therapeutic approaches for the treatment of candidiasis exploring the Candida-lactobacilii interference" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of LactoCan is to foster the development of new anti-Candida therapies by exploring the intimate, but yet unexplored, interference that exists in vivo between several lactobacilli species that compose the human mycobiome and that are known to play a role in modulating the overgrowth of pathogens, including of Candida spp. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Biological Sciences, is headed by Nuno Mira from BSRG-iBB and involves national/international collaborations with the University of Minho, with INRIA and with the University of Antwerpen. 
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Expansion of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Vertical-Wheel Bioreactors

Expansion of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in Vertical-Wheel Bioreactors | iBB | Scoop.it

The successful use of Human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hiPSC) for disease modelling, drug discovery and, ultimately, for regenerative therapies depends on the development of robust bioprocesses capable of generating large numbers of hiPSC and derivatives. SCERG-iBB researchers developed a bioprocess for the scalable generation of hiPSC in a microcarrier-based system using, for the first time, single-use Vertical-Wheel bioreactors. hiPSC culture was performed in working volumes up to 300 mL, maintaining the pluripotency and genomic integrity of the cells, providing an important tool for the successful manufacturing of hiPSC-based products.  The work was published in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology.

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iBB Integrates ITN Awarded on "Continuous Downstream Processing of Biologics"

iBB Integrates ITN Awarded on "Continuous Downstream Processing of Biologics" | iBB | Scoop.it

The European Project CODOBIO: Continuous Downstream Processing of Biologics has been recommended for funding by the European Commission under a Marie Sklodowska Curie Action – ITN - Innovative Training Network. The consortium involves 20 participants form Academia, Industry and Regulatory Agencies. The goal is to develop a new generation of multidisciplinary young researchers fit to work in academia and industry in the field of continuous manufacturing of biologics with special emphasis on continuous downstream processing. The research and training program will cover all technical and management skills required for the implementation of continuous manufacturing in biotechnological industry. The IST team is composed by Ana Azevedo, Raquel Aires-Barros, Miguel Prazeres and Guilherme Ferreira from BERG-iBB.

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Metagenomic Binning Illuminates the Evolution of Unculturable, Symbiotic Bacteria

Metagenomic Binning Illuminates the Evolution of Unculturable, Symbiotic Bacteria | iBB | Scoop.it

Most microorganisms cannot be cultivated in the laboratory, what hinders our understanding of their physiology, evolution and functional roles. In collaboration with GEOMAR, University of Kiel, iBB researchers used modern nucleotide composition binning methodologies to assemble the genome of an “unculturable” bacterial symbiont from microbial metagenomes. The research led to the identification of a novel alphaproteobacterial lineage found to be intimately associated with marine sponges, termed "SERC" (sponge-enriched Rhodospirillales clade), characterized by the lack of chemotaxis and motility traits and enrichment of genes required for the utilization of organic sulfur, biosynthesis of natural products, and cell detoxification processes. The work was published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

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Sustainable Bioplastics from Seaweed

Sustainable Bioplastics from Seaweed | iBB | Scoop.it

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable macromolecules produced as reserve materials by bacteria.  PHAs have the potential to replace the main polymers in the plastic market as long as price competitive production processes are developed. The goal of the project "AlgaePlas", which has recently been recommended for funding by FCT, is to use seaweed residues after hydrocolloid extraction, or whole seaweed with no current industrial applications, as novel sugar platforms for PHAs production by marine bacteria. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Industrial Biotechnology, is headed by Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB and involves collaboration with the University of Minho. The proposal "AlgaePlas: Seaweed biorefinery for the upgrade of carbohydrates to sustainable bioplastics" was submitted in the context of the 2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants.

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Biomolecular Constructs for Cellulose Modification

Biomolecular Constructs for Cellulose Modification | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "CBM-X: Biorecognition as a Tool for the Functionalization of Cellulose-based Materials with Biomolecules and Nanostructures" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of CBM-X is to develop biomolecular constructs for the precise modification of cellulose matrices with nanostructures and/or biomolecules, and for the anchoring of nanocellulose onto a range of materials. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Materials Engineering, is headed by Miguel Prazeres from BERG-iBB and involves a collaboration with the company NZYTech.

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Bioscience Analysis Tools Meeting 2018

Bioscience Analysis Tools Meeting 2018 | iBB | Scoop.it

The Bioscience Analysis Tools Meeting 2018, to be held in ITQB on the 12-13 July 2018, has been designed to provide maximum opportunity for discussion on biosciences analysis tools and will engage some national and international specialists who will share their experience in this field. The event targets all those who are interested in instrumental techniques that allow the analysis of interactions, intrinsic properties and the characterization of membranes, biomolecules, aggregates, micro vesicles and nanoparticles. Click on title to learn more.

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