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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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InSilico4OCReg – Computational Models Optimizing In Vitro Biophysical Stimulation Protocols for Osteochondral Regeneration

InSilico4OCReg – Computational Models Optimizing In Vitro Biophysical Stimulation Protocols for Osteochondral Regeneration | iBB | Scoop.it

The research project “InSilico4OCReg - In silico models guiding in vitro biophysical stimulation of biomimetic hierarchical scaffolds: a computational modelling approach towards functional osteochondral regeneration” was recommended for funding by FCT (250,000 euros in the 2021 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The project started in January 2022 and aims to develop an innovative combined in silico modelling-in vitro experimental system which, inspired by the properties of the native osteochondral tissue, will be able to optimize tissue engineering strategies towards the production of implants with improved functionality and mechanical properties. The multidisciplinary team of InSilico4OCReg includes researchers from iBB, CDRSP-Politécnico de Leiria, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY-USA), and an orthopedic surgeon (Hospital dos Lusíadas). The project, which falls within the scientific area of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Systems, is headed by João Carlos Silva (PI, SCERG-iBB) and Prof. Paula Pascoal-Faria (co-PI, CDRSP-Politécnico de Leiria).

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Project YumAlgae

Project YumAlgae | iBB | Scoop.it

Consumer acceptance of microalgae products is often hampered by their colour, “fishy” smell and flavor. An international project with research teams from ISA (PI Prof. Anabela Raymundo), IST (Carla de Carvalho, iBB-BERG), Norce (Norway) and the company Pagarete Microalgae solutions (Portugal) is aimed at the use of enzymes to improve the overall sensory quality of microalgal ingredients. The project, entitled “YUM ALGAE - enzYmes for improved sensory qUality of MicroALGAE ingredients in foods”, is funded in ca. 1 million euros by the Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway grants (EEA grants, Blue Growth programme).

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Participation in the EU Project FuturEnzyme

Participation in the EU Project FuturEnzyme | iBB | Scoop.it

A team of researchers from iBB-BERG, including Carlos Rodrigues, Ricardo Pereira, Pedro Fernandes, Prof. Joaquim Sampaio Cabral and led by Carla de Carvalho, will contribute to the development of enzymes for a new generation of environmentally friendly consumer products in the EU project FuturEnzyme. The consortium of 16 leading academic and industrial partners, led by Dr. Manuel Ferrer from CSIC (Spain), will develop innovative solutions that will combine big biodata mining and bio-prospecting, disruptive machine learning and protein engineering, nano-biotechnology, fermentation and downstream-processing systems, and pre-industrial testing. Innovative solutions will be proposed to discover, design, optimize and formulate new enzymes to develop detergents, textiles and cosmetics that combine a high level of functionality with improved sustainability, thus responding to the demands from consumers and industries.

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Regeneration of Periodontal Tissues with Hierarchical Biomimetic Scaffolds

Regeneration of Periodontal Tissues with Hierarchical Biomimetic Scaffolds | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "DentalBioMatrix: Exploiting the power of decellularized extracellular matrix to fabricate hierarchical biomimetic scaffolds to regenerate functional periodontal tissues" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2020 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of DentalBioMatrix is to develop novel bioengineering strategies to regenerate periodontium, by engineering hierarchically designed compartmentalized systems to meet the different characteristics of the tissues involved in periodontal defects. Decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) will be used to create complex dECM-derived scaffolds to recreate the different niches of periodontium. Collectively, this approach will potentially provide the opportunity to harness the properties of periodontal tissue ECM, recreating a local niche at the tooth interface that can promote periodontal regeneration, especially important for osteoporotic and older patients with compromised ECM. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Medical Biotechnology, is headed by Marta Carvalho from SCERG-iBB.

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Urease Next-generation Inhibition Therapy

Urease Next-generation Inhibition Therapy | iBB | Scoop.it

The project URE-LOCKERS - Urease next-generation inhibition therapy, was recently awarded to Nuno Martinho (PI, BSIRG) and Vasco Bonifácio (Co-PI, BSIRG). This project, with a total funding of 243 k€, was funded by FC&T Portugal (Ref. PTDC/MED-QUI/3542/2020). The current excessive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics is leading to a rising health concern of bacterial resistance. Finding novel approaches that target specific microbial pathways is therefore highly desirable, particularly for non-immediate life-threatening infections. URE-LOCKERS proposes a novel nanotherapeutic approach against Helicobacter pylori infections, alternative to conventional antibiotics, based on especially designed polyurea dendrimers.

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FCT-2020 Call for SR&TD Project Grants

FCT-2020 Call for SR&TD Project Grants | iBB | Scoop.it

FCT has opened a call for scientific research and technological development (SR&TD) project grants to support innovative ideas in all research domains that may make significant contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge. The deadline for submission of proposals is the 31st march. Click here to learn more.

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Grant Awarded to iBB for the Sustainable Production of Bioactive Metabolites from the Sea

Grant Awarded to iBB for the Sustainable Production of Bioactive Metabolites from the Sea | iBB | Scoop.it

A new research project “SymbioReactor - Sustainable production of bioactive metabolites from microbial symbionts of marine sponges and corals” was recently awarded 178k EUR funding by the Fundo Azul programme from the Ministry of the Sea (Blue Biotechnology call 5/2017). SymbioReactor aims to uncover the antibacterial, antifungal and antitumor properties of an existing culture collection at BSRG-iBB comprising a yet uncharted panel of 1,000 bacterial symbionts from marine sponges and corals. The project’s overarching goal resides in the exploration of marine symbiotic communities to develop customized, effective tools that lead to the sustainable production of pharmacologically applicable metabolites from the seas. The project is headed by Rodrigo Costa and Tina Keller-Costa from BSRG-iBB and involves two public research institutions (University of Aveiro and Centro de Neurociências e Biologia Celular), an industrial partner (Biotrend) and an international consultant (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology). It also counts with the support of the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve and the Straw Patrol initiative for scientific dissemination.

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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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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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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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Engineeering of Mini-Hearts

Engineeering of Mini-Hearts | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "Mini-Hearts: Organoid Engineering for Production of 3D Cardiovascular Microtissues from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Cardiotoxicity" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of "Mini-Hearts is to  develop an innovative model of cardiovascular tissue from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) for drug screening, toxicology assays, disease modeling and potentially for Regenerative Medicine applications. The work will explore the new paradigm of organoid engineering by targeting the simultaneous differentiation of hiPSCs into all the cell types of the human myocardium. This will potentially allow the reproduction of the heterogeneity, complexity, maturity and functionality of cardiovascular tissue. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Medical Engineering, is headed by Margarida Diogo from SCERG-iBB.

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Cerebellar Organoids for Ataxia Research

Cerebellar Organoids for Ataxia Research | iBB | Scoop.it

Cerebellar ataxias are characterized by progressive neurodegeneration of the cerebellum. Current knowledge about the disease is based on postmortem studies and animal models that do not fully recapitulate the features of human ataxias. The development of disease models is thus an important unmet medical need. The goal of the project "CEREBEX", which has recently been approved for funding by PORLisboa, is to generate 3D cultures of mature cerebellar neurons to investigate ataxia mechanisms and therapeutic strategies. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Medical Biotechnology, is headed by Joaquim Cabral from SCERG-iBB and involves the collaboration with the Institute for Molecular Medicine. The proposal "CEREBEX - Generation of gene-edited cerebellar organoids for ataxia research" was submitted in the context of the 2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants.

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ChiCoBionts: Chitinases from the Octocoral Microbiome

ChiCoBionts: Chitinases from the Octocoral Microbiome | iBB | Scoop.it

ChiCoBionts, a new FCT-funded research project, exploits the octocoral microbiome in the search for novel chitinases of relevance to global biogeochemical cycling, food waste management, and the smart production of added-value molecules. The project starts in January 2022, is funded with 50,000 euros, and aims to discover, express, and characterise novel chitinases and chitinolytic microbes with the potential to outperform current commercial enzymes and to foster the development of blue biotechnology for chitin waste. The ChiCoBionts team joins iBB scientists from BSRG and BERG, including Tina Keller-Costa (PI), Ângela Taipa (Co-PI), Carla de Carvalho and Rodrigo Costa, in addition to ITQB researcher Nuno Borges and collaborators from the University of Brussels, Belgium.

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Seabass Fillets from 3D-Printed Cells

Seabass Fillets from 3D-Printed Cells | iBB | Scoop.it

The project Algae2Fish led by Frederico Ferreira from SCERG-iBB has received funding from the Global Food Institute with the aim of developing a boneless cultivated seabass fillet. 3D printing technology will be used to produce scaffolds that will give the fillet structure, replicating the fibrous texture of fish. The scaffolds will be formed using material from algae and plants, with the algae contributing valuable omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in conventional fish. Read more about the project here.

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Urinary Bladder Bioprinting for Transplantation

Urinary Bladder Bioprinting for Transplantation | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "UROPRINT: Urinary bladder bioprinting for fully autologous transplantation" has been recommended for funding by the EU. The goal of UROPRINT is to laser print fully functional immunocompatible urothelial tissue ex vivo and in vivo for bladder augmentation and replacement. The project is led by the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens and involves iBB-SCERG, Asphalion SL, Institute of Comunication and Computer Systems, Optics11 BV and METATISSUE/JFCC-Biosolutions, LDA.

 

Photo details: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Stem cell Manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence-based Modeling

Stem cell Manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence-based Modeling | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "SMART:New technologies and strategies for Stem cell Manufacturing bioprocess monitoring and ARTificial intelligence-based modeling" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2020 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of SMART is to develop new monitoring and modeling strategies envisaging more efficient bioreactor-based processes for the manufacturing of human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived cardiomyocytes for biomedical applications, using artificial intelligence to integrate bioprocess monitoring data with biological data. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Chemical Engineering, is headed by Carlos Rodrigues from SCERG-iBB.

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Fast Detection of SARS-CoV-2

Fast Detection of SARS-CoV-2 | iBB | Scoop.it

The project “Rapid, low-cost, low-complexity test for SARS-Cov-2 RNA detection” was approved for funding in the FCT call aimed at finding solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, involving researchers from FFUL (João Gonçalves, PI of the project), IRS/DBE/IST (João Sanches), and iBB(BERG)/DBE/IST (Carla de Carvalho), will use a colourimetric assay, and image acquisition and analysis techniques, to rapidly evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in human samples.

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COST Action on Non-Conventional Yeasts for the Production of Bioproducts

COST Action on Non-Conventional Yeasts for the Production of Bioproducts | iBB | Scoop.it

The COST Action proposal CA 18229 “Non-Conventional Yeasts for the Production of Bioproducts”, submitted to the Open Call of 2018 (OC-2018-2), has been approved for funding. Prof Isabel Sá Correia from iBB-BSRG is one of the proponents of this European research network under the EU funded COST (The European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Programme. The iBB-IST contribution will essentially be in the context of WG3: Nonconventional yeasts capabilities and molecular biology and WG4: Bioproducts generation from the sugars platform by nonconventional yeasts.

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Grant Awarded to iBB for the Smart Valorization of Macroalgae

Grant Awarded to iBB for the Smart Valorization of Macroalgae | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae" has just been awarded with 178 k€ by Fundo Azul  Smart Seaweed aims at (i) the development of new products of biotechnological origin such as fermented seaweed, bioplastics and ectoines from marine resources, i.e. macroalgae and marine bacteria and (ii) the utilization of by-products of the sea industries, namely Gelidium sesquipedale residues after agar-agar extraction. The project is headed by Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB and involves two industrial partners (IBERAGAR and SPAROS) and one public Institute (IPIMAR). The proposal was submitted to the Blue Biotechnology call 5/2017 of Fundo Azul (Ministery of the Sea).

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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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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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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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Lactic Acid Bacterial Factories

Lactic Acid Bacterial Factories | iBB | Scoop.it

The project "LactoSynt: Lactic Acid Bacteria as Cell Factories: a Synthetic Biology Approach for Plasmid DNA and Recombinant Protein Production" has been recommended for funding by FCT (2017 Call for SR&TD Project Grants). The goal of LactoSynt is to engineer lactic acid bacteria and plasmid vectors in order to develop a flexible platform for biomolecule production. Applications in the pharmaceutical field (DNA vaccines, recombinant proteins) are envisaged. The project, which falls within the scientific area of Medical Biotechnology, is headed by Gabriel Monteiro from BERG-iBB and Leonilde Moreira from BSRG-iBB.

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