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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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Synthesis of Fluorescent Water-Soluble Block Co-polymers

Synthesis of Fluorescent Water-Soluble Block Co-polymers | iBB | Scoop.it

The ability of block co-polymers to self-assemble and form micelles in solution can potentially be explored to deliver poorly soluble chemotherapeutic agents. Researchers from BSIRG-iBB led by Vasco Bonifácio, working in collaboration with colleagues from Universidade Nova, have synthesized new block copolymers of oligo-2-oxazoline and linear oligo(ethylenimine) that are water-soluble and show an intrinsic blue fluorescence. The synthesis uses a green protocol and allows a precise control of the oligo(ethylenimine) backbone. The work was published in Advanced Materials Letters.

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Screening Resins for Simultaneous Removal of Genotoxins from APIs

Screening Resins for Simultaneous Removal of Genotoxins from APIs | iBB | Scoop.it

A detailed investigation on the assessment of commercial resins for genotoxins removal in organic solvent solutions has just been published by Teresa Esteves, Flávio Ferreira and Frederico Ferreira from BERG-iBB, in collaboration with Hovione. The study addresses mitigation of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) loss during purification in recrystallization mother liquors by including a resin adsorption step to remove potential genotoxin impurities (PGTIs). Two resins were identified, AG 50W-X2 and IRA68, to efficiently remove an aromatic amine (4-dimethylaminopyridine) and a sulfonate ester (methyl p-toluenesulfonate) from methanol solutions, respectively, with adsorptions higher than 98% and an API loss lower than 10% using these resins combined in a single adsorption step. The potential for improving the API recrystallization economics, through mitigation of API losses is also suggested. Mometasone furoate (Meta) was used as model active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in the presence of 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) and methyl p-toluenesulfonate (MPTS) as two model PGTIs. The work was published in the journal Separation Science and Technology.

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Synergistic Effect of Osteopontin and Osteocalcin on Stem Cell Properties

Synergistic Effect of Osteopontin and Osteocalcin on Stem Cell Properties | iBB | Scoop.it

There is a high demand for functional bone grafts worldwide partly due to the increased life expectancy. Bone matrix proteins, especially osteopontin (OPN) and osteocalcin (OC), have been reported to regulate some physiological process, such as cell migration and bone mineralization. However, the effects of OPN and OC on cell proliferation, osteogenic differentiation, mineralization and angiogenesis are still undefined.  In a recent study published in Journal of Cellular and Biochemistry, researchers from SCERG-iBB working with colleagues from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assessed the exogenous effect of OPN and OC supplementation on human bone marrow mesenchymal stem/stromal cells proliferation and osteogenic differentiation.  These results suggest that OC and OPN stimulate bone regeneration by inducing stem cell proliferation, osteogenesis and by enhancing angiogenic properties. The synergistic effect of OC and OPN observed in this study can be applied as an attractive strategy for bone regeneration therapeutics by targeting different vital cellular processes.

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Maria João Jacinto to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Maria João Jacinto to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Maria João Jacinto will be defending her PhD thesis in Bioengineering at Instituto Superior Técnico, thursday the 7th March 2019 (10:30 H, room PA3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Raquel Barros and Ana Azevedo from BERG-iBB and Richard Willson from the University of Houston, Maria João focused her efforts on the development of platforms for the downstream processing and detection of VLPs and bacteriophages. The title of her thesis is "Integrative platforms for downstream processing and detection of viral particles”.

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Early Stage Researcher Positions in Continuous Downstream Processing of Biologics

Early Stage Researcher Positions in Continuous Downstream Processing of Biologics | iBB | Scoop.it

Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon) invites applications for 2 PhD positions in Biotechnology and Biosciences (Early Stage Researchers) to join the Marie Skłodowska Curie European Training Network CODOBIO: Continuous Downstream Processing of Biologics. The available projects “Miniaturized platform to capture bio-products through liquid-liquid extraction and solvent-free” and "Microfluidic devices for continuous chromatography" aim at the establishment of miniaturized platforms for continuous extraction and chromatography to aid process design and development. More information can be obtained by clicking the project titles. Candidates should send applications to a.azevedo@tecnico.ulisboa.pt (e-mail ref: “CODOBIO-ESR10”) by the 5th March 2019.

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Bead-based Microfluidic Platform for DNA Hybridization

Bead-based Microfluidic Platform for DNA Hybridization | iBB | Scoop.it

The demand for portable, rapid, sensitive and low-cost DNA detection systems that could be used for rapid diagnostic of disease and infection has motivated the development of new DNA detection platforms in recent years. BERG-iBB researchers working with colleagues from INESC-MN report a rapid and simple bead-based microfluidic platform to detect a specific 22-mer DNA sequence via hybridization, serving as a model of a miRNA biomarker for tumor and cardiovascular diseases. Nanoporous chromatography beads were used as solid support for probe DNA immobilization. The lowest limit of detection of 9.5 pM was achieved with an assay time of 10 min using a quantum dot label coupled with a multi-mode immobilization. The results highlight the potential of the system as a simple DNA hybridization platform, that achieves low pM sensitivities without the need for DNA amplification. The work was published in Sensors and Actuators B.

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Stem Cell Manufacturing

Stem Cell Manufacturing | iBB | Scoop.it

The book "Stem Cell Manufacturing", edited by Joaquim Cabral, Cláudia Lobato Silva and Margarida Diogo from SCERG-iBB, together with Chase from Cellular Dynamics International, edited by Elsevier in 2016, continues to serve as a reference for Bioengineers involved in bringing stem cells frm the lab to the clinic and market. The book discusses the required technologies that enable the transfer of the current laboratory-based practice of stem cell tissue culture to the clinic environment as therapeutics, while concurrently achieving control, reproducibility, automation, validation, and safety of the process and the product.

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Research Scientist Position in Biophysics

Research Scientist Position in Biophysics | iBB | Scoop.it

A position is open to hire a doctorate researcher within the framework of the FCT-funded SingleMolHTTex1 project. The overall aim of this project is to provide a detailed understanding of the initial binding steps of Huntingtin exon1 (HTTex1, with an expanded polyglutamine repeat) to biological membranes. A complementary set of single-molecule fluorescence techniques will be used to obtain insights into the physical/structural features of aggregation-prone states of HTTex1 at the membrane surface. Importantly, the results of this frontier project may assist in the rational design of inhibitors to treat and/or prevent Huntington’s disease. The work will be carried out under the scientific guidance of Dr. Ana M. Melo and at BSIRG (at CQFM and iBB), IST. More information on the position and how to apply can be found here under the acronym SingleMolHTTex1 and email to anammelo@tecnico.ulisboa.pt. The application deadline is February 12th, 2019.

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iBB's Mission Statement

iBB's Mission Statement | iBB | Scoop.it

«The core mission of iBB is to conduct groundbreaking research that combines an understanding of the complexity and mechanisms of living systems with the application of engineering principles, to educate and train scientists and bioengineers who will contribute to foster the economic growth of biotechnology in Portugal and to transfer knowledge to society by engaging into productive relations with industrial partners, promoting the creation of start-ups and raising scientific awareness among the public.»

iBB's insight:

Go to iBB's website here to learn more.

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BAGECO 15: Ecosystem Drivers in a Changing Planet

BAGECO 15: Ecosystem Drivers in a Changing Planet | iBB | Scoop.it

The 15th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology, dedicated to the topic "Ecosystem drivers in a changing planet", will be held in Lisbon on 26–30 May 2019. The event brings together leading experts in the fields of applied and environmental microbiology, metagenomics, bacterial evolution and related areas. BAGECO 15 will provide a forum to discuss the roles played by microorganisms in the functioning of natural and man-made ecosystems, and as sources of inspiring metabolites and materials of use in a future circular economy. The 5-day symposium is chaired by Rodrigo Costa from BSRG-iBB. Click on title to learn more.

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Temperature-Responsive Nanomagnetic Logic Gates for Cellular Hyperthermia

Temperature-Responsive Nanomagnetic Logic Gates for Cellular Hyperthermia | iBB | Scoop.it

The Biomolecular Big Brother can be described as the ability to control and monitorize biological processes, increasing the potential of Personalized Medicine. Rui Silva from BERG-iBB and co-authors from the University of Aveiro have developed a system capable of recording temperature fluctuations above a defined threshold, which can answer with Yes/No to the question “did the system locally exceed 42 ˚C degrees?”. Nanoplatelets were applied in a cellular hyperthermia assays using prostate cancer cells (PC-3 line) and different thermal doses were tested. For lower thermal doses where the threshold was not crossed and most cells appeared to be viable, whilst in high termal doses assays a loss in cellular viability was evident. The work was published in the journal Materials Horizons.

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Francisco Moreira Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Francisco Moreira Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Francisco Moreira has just defended his PhD thesis in Bioengineering (MIT Portugal) at Instituto Superior Técnico, wednesday the 12th December 2018 (14:00 H, room PA3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Joaquim Cabral and Cláudia Lobato Silva from SCERG-iBB, Francisco focused on the establishment of a scalable three-dimensional dynamic culture for the expansion of adipose tissue-derived MSC under xeno-free conditions. The title of his thesis is "Scalable Platform for the Expansion of Human Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells Under Dynamic Conditions”.

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Molecular and Physiological Basis of Yeast Tolerance to Adverse Lignocellulose-Based Process Conditions

Molecular and Physiological Basis of Yeast Tolerance to Adverse Lignocellulose-Based Process Conditions | iBB | Scoop.it

Lignocellulose-based biorefineries are an alternative to current petroleum-based refineries. However, the biomass pretreatment to break the recalcitrant lignocellulosic biomass structure results in the release of weak acids, furans, and phenolic compounds, which can be severely affect the performance of the common bioethanol producing yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Moreover, pentose sugar utilization and the high temperatures required for an efficient simultaneous saccharification and fermentation step, are additional challenges. Therefore, a better understanding of the yeast response and adaptation towards the presence of the referred multiple stresses is of crucial importance to design strategies to improve yeast robustness and bioconversion capacity from lignocellulosic biomass. A recent review published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology describes the main inhibitors derived from different biomass pretreatments and the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying yeast response to the above referred challenges. Successful cases of tolerance improvement are also highlighted. Decoding the overall yeast response mechanisms will pave the way for the integrated development of sustainable yeast cell-based biorefineries. This review paper was co-authored at iBB-BSRG by Prof Isabel Sá-Correia, in collaboration with the group of Prof Lucília Domingues at CEB, Universidade do Minho.

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Yeasts in Biotechnology and Human Health

Yeasts in Biotechnology and Human Health | iBB | Scoop.it

The book "Yeasts in Biotechnology and Human Health", edited by Isabel Sá-Correia from BSRG-iBB and featuring contributions from international researchers has just been released by Springer. The book discusses genome-based strategies to provide a holistic understanding of yeasts in Human Health and as model organisms in basic research or industrial production. Using numerous Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains and various non-conventional yeast species isolated from diverse origins, it describes essential biological processes, the biotechnological exploitation of yeast and pathogenesis control. It also demonstrates how functional and comparative genomics and the development of genome engineering tools are used in modern yeast research.

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Xylanase Production with Unconventional Yeast and Brewery Spent Grains

Xylanase Production with Unconventional Yeast and Brewery Spent Grains | iBB | Scoop.it

Xylanases play a crucial role in the hydrolysis of xylan-rich hemicelluloses and have wide industrial applications in the fuel, food, feed and pulp and paper industries. Obtaining these enzymes at low cost is of paramount importance for their commercial deployment. Their production has been reported mainly from fungi, while low activity levels are typically obtained from yeast. BERG-iBB researchers in collaboration with colleagues from the National Laboratory of Energy and Geology are exploring the potential of the unconventional yeast, Moesziomyces aphidis as a xylanases producer. Brewery spent grain was found as a potent inducer for high xylanase production activity, where extracellular crude extracts presented cellulase-free xylanolytic activity. The work was published in New Biotechnology Journal.    

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Compositional and Structural Analysis of GAGs in Cell-Derived ECM

Compositional and Structural Analysis of GAGs in Cell-Derived ECM | iBB | Scoop.it

Cell-derived ECM have emerged as promising materials for regenerative medicine due to their ability to recapitulate the native tissue microenvironment. However, little is known about the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composition of these cell-derived ECM. In a recent study published in Glycoconjugate Journal, researchers from SCERG-iBB, working in collaboration with colleagues from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, characterized three different cell-derived ECM in terms of their GAG content, composition and sulfation patterns using a highly sensitive LC-MS/MS technique. Distinct GAG compositions and disaccharide sulfation patterns were verified for the different cell-derived ECM. Additionally, the effect of decellularization method on the GAG and disaccharide relative composition was also assessed. The method offers a novel approach to determine the GAG composition of cell-derived ECM, which we believe is critical for a better understanding of ECM role in directing cellular responses and has the potential for generating important knowledge for the development of new ECM-like biomaterials for tissue engineering applications.

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Workshop "Integrative Approaches to Protein Folding & Aggregation"

Workshop "Integrative Approaches to Protein Folding & Aggregation" | iBB | Scoop.it

Progress in the field of protein folding requires a close dialogue between simulation and experiment. The workshop "Integrative Approaches to Protein Folding & Aggregation" aims to bring together computational and experimental scientists with scientists doing translational research in order to foster the dialogue between the three communities so that novel and integrative approaches can be developed. The workshop will take place on June 11-12th 2019 at Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL). The registration fee is 50 Euros and the deadline for abstract submission is March 29th 2019. Click on title to learn more.

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Research Scientist Position in Bioprocess Engineering is Open

Research Scientist Position in Bioprocess Engineering is Open | iBB | Scoop.it

A position is open at iBB to hire a doctorate researcher under the
scope of the FCT-funded AlgaePlas project. The selected candidate (PhD holder) will work on the development of bioprocesses involving bioreactors for the production of biopolymers and other high added value molecules from the carbohydrate fraction of macroalgae.The work will be performed at BERG-iBB under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Cesário. More information on the position and how to apply can be found here, under the acronym AlgaePlas. The application deadline is February 26th, 2019.

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Fed-batch Production of L-Asparaginase by Recombinant Pichia pastoris

Fed-batch Production of L-Asparaginase by Recombinant Pichia pastoris | iBB | Scoop.it

L-Asparaginase (ASNase) used in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia is produced from bacterial sources only. BERG-iBB researchers working with colleagues from U. São Paulo, Kings College London, U. Génova and U. Campinas developed a recombinant Pichia pastoris to synthesise ASNase II from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A multistage fed-batch cultivation divided in four distinct phases was applied to produce ASNase II and determine fermentation parameters.Results showed that the best strategy employed for ASNase II production uses glycerol fed-batch phase with pseudo exponential feeding plus induction with continuous methanol feeding. The study was published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

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Cell-derived Electrospun Microfibrous Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering

Cell-derived Electrospun Microfibrous Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Cell-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) has been employed as scaffolds for tissue engineering. SCERG-iBB researchers working with colleagues from the Rensselaer Polytechnic developed bioactive cell-derived ECM electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds produced from ECM derived from human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC), human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and their combination based on the hypothesis that the cell-derived ECM incorporated into the PCL fibers would enhance the biofunctionality of the scaffold. The findings show that all cell-derived ECM electrospun scaffolds promoted significant cell proliferation compared to PCL alone, while presenting similar physical/mechanical properties. Additionally, MSC:HUVEC-ECM electrospun scaffolds significantly enhanced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. The study was published in Materials Science and Engineering: C.

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iBB Welcomes New Research Group on Biospectroscopy and Interfaces

iBB Welcomes New Research Group on Biospectroscopy and Interfaces | iBB | Scoop.it

As of 2019, iBB is hosting a new research group (BSIRG) on Biospectroscopy and Interfaces. BSIRG focuses on Molecular and Cellular Biophysics, on Fluorescence and Surface Spectroscopies, on Cosmochemistry and Astrobiology, and on the Synthesis of Molecules, Polymers and Nanoparticles, having in view both fundamental science, as well as Health and Industrial Applications. The activities of BSIRG are carried out mainly at the Alameda campus of IST (Complexo building). The group is currently led by Mário Berberan e Santos.

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Joaquim Cabral Elected Director of iBB

Joaquim Cabral Elected Director of iBB | iBB | Scoop.it

The Scientific Council of iBB has elected Joaquim Cabral for a new mandate as its Director. Alongside with the management of iBB, Prof. Cabral will continue to serve as the lider of the Stem Cell Engineering research group (SCERG). The election took place at the Alameda campus of IST on the 19th January 2019.

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Research Scientist Position in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Research Scientist Position in Applied and Environmental Microbiology | iBB | Scoop.it

A position is open at iBB to hire a doctorate researcher under the scope of the FCT-funded MicroControl project. The selected candidate (PhD holder) will work on the development of multi-species bacterial inoculants to prevent diseases and promote well-being of fish larvae in aquaculture settings. The Research Scientist will apply next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies to study the onset of the fish microbiome during successive stages of larval rearing, and to determine whether microbiome manipulation approaches are effective in suppressing the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria in fish larviculture. Most of the work will be performed at BSRG-iBB under the supervision of Prof. Rodrigo Costa, with two secondments of approximately 1 month planned for experimental work at EPPO-IPMA (Olhão, Algarve) under the supervision of Dr. Laura Ribeiro.  More information on the position and how to apply can be found here under the acronym MicroControl. The application deadline is February 6th 2019. You can read more about the MicroControl project here: https://www.scoop.it/t/ibb?q=Microcontrol 

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Applications for the INPhINIT PhD Program are Open

Applications for the INPhINIT PhD Program are Open | iBB | Scoop.it

Applications for the 2019 edition of the INPhINIT PhD Program, sponsored by the "la Caixa" Foundation, are now open in 2 formats: INCOMING, until February 6, 2019; and RETAINING until February 27, 2019. Click on title for more info. 

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Perturbing the Dynamics and Organization of Cell Membrane Components: A New Paradigm for Cancer-Targeted Therapies

Perturbing the Dynamics and Organization of Cell Membrane Components: A New Paradigm for Cancer-Targeted Therapies | iBB | Scoop.it

https://www.scoop.it/t/ibb/?&tag=Ars%C3%A9nio+FialhoUnlike the current paradigm of “one drug one target”, nowadays multiple-target approaches taking place at the cancer cell membrane are gaining much more relevance. The rational is based on the use of a new class of molecules that can exert significant changes in the dynamics and organization of cell membranes thereby affecting growth factor signaling, invasiveness and drug resistance. In a review published in a Special Issue “Receptor-Targeted Cancer Therapy” of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, BSRG-iBB team members Nuno Bernardes and Arsenio M Fialho present and discuss novel approaches for cancer therapy, including the anticancer bacterial protein azurin.

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