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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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Magnetic Particles for the Purification of DNA Scaffolds for Biomanufacturing DNA-Origami Nanostructures

Magnetic Particles for the Purification of DNA Scaffolds for Biomanufacturing DNA-Origami Nanostructures | iBB | Scoop.it

Asymmetric PCR (aPCR) is often used to generate single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) scaffolds, which can then be assembled into nanoobjects by the DNA-origami technique. The scaffolds are usually purified by agarose gel extraction, a laborious, time consuming, limited, and non-scalable technique that presents low recovery yields, delivers low-quality products. To overcome such pitfalls, Ana Silva-Santos, Rui Silva, Sara Rosa and Miguel Prazeres from BERG-iBB, in collaboration with Pedro Paulo from CQE developed a simple, fast, and potentially scalable affinity-based method comprising magnetic particles. Specifically, scaffolds were synthesized by aPCR and purifed using magnetic particles functionalized with a 20 nt oligonucleotide complementary to the 3′ end of the target. The purified scaffolds were used to assemble 31 and 63 bp edge length tetrahedra with short oligonucleotides and thermal annealing, demonstrating the potential of affinity-based magnetic beads in the production of DNA-origami nanostructures. The work was published in ACS Applied Nanomaterials.

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Density Gradient Selection of Silver Nanotriangles

Density Gradient Selection of Silver Nanotriangles | iBB | Scoop.it

Many metal nanoparticles exhibit plasmonic properties that can be explored in different applications. The synthesis of these nanoparticles often leads to a heterogeneous mixture in terms of sizes and shapes that needs to be fractionated to yield samples with narrow plasmon resonances. A simple method based on sucrose density gradient centrifugation has been proposed by BERG-iBB researchers and colleagues from Centro de Química Estrutural and Universidade de Aveiro for the fractionation of colloidal silver nanotriangles. The method affords particle fractions with surface plasmon resonances spanning from red to infrared spectral ranges that could be used to tune optical properties for plasmonic applications. The work is part of the PhD thesis of Rui Oliveira Silva and was published in Nanomaterials.

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Featured Photo: Carbon Dots-Shining Bright Like a Diamond

Featured Photo: Carbon Dots-Shining Bright Like a Diamond | iBB | Scoop.it
Description: A suspension of carbon dots seen under UV light, featured photo by Rui Pedro Oliveira Silva, Copyright BERG-iBB 2017. 

Context: BIOTecnico PhD student Rui Pedro Silva, under the supervision of BERG-iBB researcher Miguel Prazeres, is developing highly fluorescent, small carbon nanoparticles (< 10 nm) for applications in biosensing and bioimaging. The work is being performed in the context of iBB's Strategic Area 2: Advanced Bioprocess Engineering.
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Monitoring Proteolytic Activity in Real-Time

Monitoring Proteolytic Activity in Real-Time | iBB | Scoop.it

Proteases play a pivotal role in biological processes, from digestion, cell proliferation and differentiation to fertility. Deregulation of protease metabolism can result in several pathological conditions (i.e., cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, etc). Monitoring proteolytic activity in real-time can ultimately help us understand the role of such enzymes within a certain condition. This may contribute to an early diagnosis, the follow-up of disease progression or the development of protease-targetted treatments (e.g. the current HIV treatment). In a recent paper published in Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Rui Oliveira-Silva and colleagues from BERG, CQE and University of Aveiro review the main approaches used to develop biosensors for monitoring proteolytic activity. A comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach is provided along with a discussion of their importance and promising opportunities for the integration of such sensors into Personalized Medicine.

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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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