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Carla Carvalho Awarded Scientific Prize by ULisboa/CGD

Carla Carvalho Awarded Scientific Prize by ULisboa/CGD | iBB | Scoop.it

The research performed by Carla Carvalho from BERG-iBB was recognized in this year's edition of the ULisboa/CGD Scientific prizes. Carla won the first prize for her work in the category "Biology, Biological Engineering, Biochemistry and Biotechnology". Her research is focused on understanding the role of lipids in bacterial adaptation and biofilm formation, and on the development of bioprocesses using marine bacteria and their enzymes.

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Congratulations Carla!

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Research on Valorisation of Macroalgae Wins "Mares Circulares" Award

Research on Valorisation of Macroalgae Wins "Mares Circulares" Award | iBB | Scoop.it

Teresa Cesário from BERG-iBB won one of the awards of "Mares Circulares", an iberian competition that supports projects that tackle the problem of marine waste and litter. The competition is part of the Mares Circulares wider initiative designed to preserve the oceans that was launched in 2018 by the Coca-Cola European Partners. The project submitted by Teresa is focused on the valorization of whole and residual macroalgae into bioplastics and protein ingredients. The competition was organized and coordinated by the Association Chelonia with the support of Liga para a Proteção da Natureza (LPN).

 

Photo: Underwater McMurdo Sound, NSF/USAP photo by Steve Clabuesch; Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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Congratulations Teresa!

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Design and Synthesis of Novel Quinic Acid Derivatives for Glioblastoma Treatment

Design and Synthesis of Novel Quinic Acid Derivatives for Glioblastoma Treatment | iBB | Scoop.it

Quinic acid (QA) is a cyclic polyol exhibiting anticancer properties on several cancers. However, the potential role of QA derivatives against glioblastoma is not well established. Pedro Fonte from BERG-IBB in a joint collaboration with Tampere University, Lady Doak College, University of Aveiro, Faculty of Pharmacy-University of Lisbon, and the Institute for Systems Biology proposed a new strategy for quinic acid delivery for glioblastoma treatment in a recent publication in Future Medicinal Chemistry. Sixteen novel QA derivatives and QA-16 encapsulated poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles (QA-16-NPs) were screened for their anti-glioblastoma effect. The presence of a tertiary hydroxy and silylether groups in the lead compound were identified for the antitumor activity. QA-16 displayed 90% inhibition with the IC50 of 10.66 μM and 28.22 μM for LN229 and SNB19, respectively. The induction of apoptosis is faster with the increased fold change of caspase 3/7 and reactive oxygen species. Overall, it was observed the QA-16 and QA-16-NPs shows similar cytotoxicity effect, providing the opportunity to use QA-16 as a potential chemotherapeutic agent.

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Oxidative Stress Response Pathway Promotes Virulence

Oxidative Stress Response Pathway Promotes Virulence | iBB | Scoop.it

Candida glabrata’s ability to cause persistent human infections is tightly linked to its impressive ability to overcome host immune system defenses. The molecular basis of virulence in this pathogen are far from being clarified, as it lacks many of the typical pathogenesis features displayed by other Candida species. In this study, the transcription factor Tog1 was found to play a key role in the transcriptome-wide response to oxidative stress, enabling higher proliferation upon phagocytosis and increased virulence. The knowledge gathered through this study, by an international team led by Miguel Cacho Teixeira, BSRG-iBB, and just published in Virulence, is expected to contribute to guide the design of more successful therapeutic approaches.

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Amin Javidanbardan Wins Best Video-poster Award at IST´s  PhD Open Days

Amin Javidanbardan Wins Best Video-poster Award at IST´s  PhD Open Days | iBB | Scoop.it
Amin Javidanbardan, Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher of the ITN action “CODOBIO”, won the best video-poster award at IST´s  PhD Open Days with a presentation entitled “Microfluidic Chromatography Columns for Design and Development of Continuous Biopharmaceutical Products”. Amin is enrolled in the PhD program of Biotechnology and Biosciences and is being supervised by Ana Azevedo (iBB-BERG) and João Pedro Conde (INESC-MN), both from the Department of Bioengineering.
Congratulations Amin!
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iBB and TechnoPhage Collaborate on Bacteriophage Purification

iBB and TechnoPhage Collaborate on Bacteriophage Purification | iBB | Scoop.it

Phages offer an alternative solution to antibiotic–based strategies in the fight against multidrug-resistant bacteria. The implementation of phage therapy must be accompanied by the development of phage biomanufacturing processes. Within the framework of a collaboration with the company Technophage and of the Phage4BacID project (LISBOA-01-0247-FEDER-033603), BERG-iBB researchers led by Ana Azevedo have contributed extensively with analytical data for the refinement of bacteriophage purification techniques. Of particular note, the know-how in chromatographic methods was key to to support not only the project itself, but also the scientific information that integrated Tecnophage's successfull submission of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the US Food and Drug Administration for the company's proprietary product TP-102, which targets diabetic foot infections. Clinical trials are expected to start soon.

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David Botequim to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

David Botequim to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

David José Roxo Botequim will be defending his PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico, Wednesday the 18th of November 2020, at 10:30 am (https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/89168693131). During the last years, and under the supervision of Pedro Paulo from CQE and Miguel Prazeres from BERG-iBB, David studied fluorescently-labeled DNA probes conjugated onto gold nanoparticles for the improved detection of nucleic acids. The title of his thesis is “Fluorescently-labeled DNA Probes Functionalized onto Gold Nanorods for Signal Enhancement in Nucleic Acids’ Detection”.

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Comparative Evolutionary Patterns of Burkholderia cenocepacia and B. multivorans During Chronic Co-infection of a Cystic Fibrosis Patient Lung

Comparative Evolutionary Patterns of Burkholderia cenocepacia and B. multivorans During Chronic Co-infection of a Cystic Fibrosis Patient Lung | iBB | Scoop.it

During chronic respiratory infections of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, bacteria adaptively evolve in response to the nutritional and immune environment. A research paper from iBB-BSRG researchers, just published in Frontiers in Microbiology (part of the Research Topic: Evolutionary Mechanisms of Infectious Diseases), contributes to the understanding of shared and species specific evolutionary patterns of B. cenocepacia and B. multivorans evolving in the same CF lung environment. Results support the idea that positive selection might be driven by the action of the host immune system, antibiotic therapy and low oxygen and iron concentrations. This research work, coordinated by Prof. Isabel Sá-Correia, results from the PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences (BIOTECnico program) of A. Amir Hassan. Dr. AA Hassan is currently working at the Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Ghent University, Belgium.

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Tailored Cytokine Optimization for ex vivo Expansion of Human Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells

Tailored Cytokine Optimization for ex vivo Expansion of Human Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells | iBB | Scoop.it

Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is an accepted and appealing alternative source of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) for hematopoietic cell transplants. However, low UCB volume recovered from births results in an unsatisfactory cell dose for transplants in adults, having initially limited transplants of a single UCB unit to pediatric patients. Ex vivo expansion of HSPC based on the addition of exogenous cytokines.has been pursued to address this problem. Notably, selection of individual cytokines and their concentrations for an expansion cocktail has differed between existing strategies. To improve the effectiveness of these platforms, namely targeting clinical approval, iBB researchers optimized the cytokine cocktails in two clinically relevant expansion platforms for HSPC, a liquid suspension culture system (CS_HSPC) and a co-culture system with bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (CS_HSPC/MSC).. The tailored and novel optimized cocktails determined made it possible to individually maximize cytokine contribution in both studied platforms, leading to an increase in the expansion platform performance, while allowing a rational side-by-side comparison between them and enhancing our knowledge on the impact of cytokine supplementation on the HSPC expansion process. The results achieved were published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Stem Cell Systems Bioengineering section.

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Mycobacterium vaccae adaptation to disinfectants and hand sanitisers

Mycobacterium vaccae adaptation to disinfectants and hand sanitisers | iBB | Scoop.it

In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of disinfectants and hand rubbing solutions became widespread. However, the use of such mixtures may influence bacteria that live/survive in human skin and surfaces, and increase their tolerance/resistance to e.g. antibiotics. In a study recently published in Antibiotics, Carla CCR de Carvalho, Raquel Teixeira and Pedro Fernandes (BERG-iBB), showed that Mycobacterium vaccae, which is being considered as an adjuvant to antituberculosis therapy, is being tested for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, and as an anti-depressive agent, adapted to disinfectants and hand rubbing solutions, and increased tolerance towards levofloxacin, thioridazine, and omeprazole. The use of disinfectants, especially those aimed at healthcare facilities, by the general public on a daily basis should probably be prevented.

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Half-Sandwich Cyclopentadienylruthenium(II) Complexes: A New Antimalarial Chemotype

Half-Sandwich Cyclopentadienylruthenium(II) Complexes: A New Antimalarial Chemotype | iBB | Scoop.it

The effectiveness of antiplasmodial drugs against the blood stage of infection is increasingly threatened by the emergence and spread of drug-resistant parasites. Here a small library of “half-sandwich” cyclopentadienylruthenium(II) compounds of the general formula [(η5-C5R5)Ru(PPh3)(N-N)][PF6] was screened for activity against the blood stage of CQ-sensitive 3D7-GFP, CQ-resistant Dd2, and artemisinin-resistant IPC5202 Plasmodium falciparum strains and the liver stage of Plasmodium berghei. We showed that some of the compounds are potent dual-stage antiplasmodials, displaying Plasmodium falciparum-selective accumulation in infected erythrocytes. The study was coordinated by researchers from Faculdade de Farmácia with collaboration of researchers from IHMT, IMM and iBB-IST (Sandra Pinto). The results were published in Inorg. Chem. 

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Mafalda Cavalheiro to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Mafalda Cavalheiro to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

Mafalda Banazol de Santa Rita Cavalheiro will be defending her PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico, Monday the 12th of October 2020, at 2pm (https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/97930626637). During the last years, and under the supervision of Miguel Cacho Teixeira from BSRG-iBB, Mafalda studied molecular and biophysical properties that enable the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata to cause recalcitrant life threatening infections, based on its ability to evolve towards a drug resistance phenotype or to establish stable biofilms. The title of her thesis is “Deciphering Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Candida glabrata: in the Crossroad Between Drug Resistance and Virulence”.

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Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae

Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae | iBB | Scoop.it

Macroalgae are an emerging alternative source of various chemicals and materials due to their unique structure, biochemical composition and high photosynthetic rates. They are promising feedstocks for the sustainable supply of commodities and specialties for food, feed, materials and energy. BERG researchers are heading the project "Smart Seaweed: Smart Valorization of Macroalgae" that aims at (i) the development of new products of biotechnological origin such as fermented seaweed, bioplastics and ectoines from marine resources and (ii) the utilization of by-products of the sea industries. Check the project web site here.

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International Microorganism Day 2020

International Microorganism Day 2020 | iBB | Scoop.it

Stay tuned.

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Applications for PhD Scholarships Within iBB are Open

Applications for PhD Scholarships Within iBB are Open | iBB | Scoop.it

Institutional applications to PhD scholarships within iBB are open in the areas of Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Biosciences and Chemistry until the 15th December. Click on the programme name to learn more.

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Production of Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Bioreactors

Production of Extracellular Vesicles Derived from Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Bioreactors | iBB | Scoop.it

Cell-based therapies have been showing unprecedented therapeutic potential, already changing the landscape of medical care. Extracellular vesicles are nanoparticles naturally secreted by cells, which are important mediators of intercellular communication in our organism and are able to mediate therapeutic effects from their cells of origin. These vesicles can also be used as drug delivery vehicles to target multiple diseases. In a paper recently published in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, iBB researchers in collaboration with iMM Lisboa, CQE-IST and the companies PBS Biotech and AventaCell Biomedical, developed a new strategy for the robust and scalable production of extracellular vesicles from mesenchymal stromal cells, using bioreactors and an animal serum-free cell culture supplement. This strategy, developed within the frame of the PhD Program in Bioengineering of Miguel de Almeida Fuzeta, is a relevant step towards the large scale production of extracellular vesicles form different human tissue sources, which are promising tools for the development of new therapies against a variety of diseases, from cardiovascular diseases to cancer.

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Carla Carvalho Awarded Scientific Prize by ULisboa/CGD

Carla Carvalho Awarded Scientific Prize by ULisboa/CGD | iBB | Scoop.it

The research performed by Carla Carvalho from BERG-iBB was recognized in this year's edition of the ULisboa/CGD Scientific prizes. Carla won the first prize for her work in the category "Biology, Biological Engineering, Biochemistry and Biotechnology". Her research is focused on understanding the role of lipids in bacterial adaptation and biofilm formation, and on the development of bioprocesses using marine bacteria and their enzymes.

iBBs insight:

Congratulations Carla!

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Spray-Drying of Protein-Loaded Polymeric Nanoparticles for Dry Powder Inhalation

Spray-Drying of Protein-Loaded Polymeric Nanoparticles for Dry Powder Inhalation | iBB | Scoop.it

While pulmonary delivery is highly attractive due to its non-invasive nature, large surface area, possibility of topical and systemic administration, and rapid absorption circumventing the first-pass effect, the absorption of therapeutic proteins is still ineffective, largely due to the immunological and physicochemical barriers of the lungs. Most studies using spray-drying for the nanoencapsulation of drugs focus on the delivery of conventional drugs, which are less susceptible to bioactivity loss, compared to proteins. In a recent publication in the journal Pharmaceutics, Pedro Fonte from BERG-iBB reviewed the development of polymeric nanoparticles by spray-drying for the delivery of therapeutic proteins with an emphasis on its advantages and challenges, and the techniques to evaluate their in vitro and in vivo performance. The protein stability within the carrier and its features were also addressed.

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Unravelling the Immunotoxicity of Polycaprolactone Nanoparticles

Unravelling the Immunotoxicity of Polycaprolactone Nanoparticles | iBB | Scoop.it

Poly-ɛ-caprolactone (PCL) is a biodegradable polyester that has FDA and CE approval as a medical device. Despite PCL-based NPs being widely studied in the biomedical field for their advantages as controlled drug delivery systems, little data describe PCL NPs’ toxicity, particularly immunotoxicity. In a recent publication in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology,  Pedro Fonte from BERG-iBB in collaboration with colleagues from the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra describe the safe-by-design development of nanoparticles for nanomedicine applications. It was concluded that generalizations among different PCL NP delivery systems must be avoided, and that immunotoxicity assessments should be performed in the early stage of product development to increase the clinical success of the nanomedicine.

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Global Evaluation of S. cerevisiae Regulatory Network: Challenging Previous Concepts

Global Evaluation of S. cerevisiae Regulatory Network: Challenging Previous Concepts | iBB | Scoop.it

Understanding the rules that govern complex transcriptional regulation has been attempted for many years. In this study, the full network of transcriptional regulatory associations currently known for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as gathered in the latest release of the YEASTRACT database, was topologically evaluated. Overall, our analyses challenge previous results, pointing out towards the paucity of experimental evidence to support theories. This study, that stems from a collaboration between researchers from BSRG/iBB (Miguel Cacho Teixeira), INESC-ID (Pedro Monteiro) and IGC (Claudine Chaouiya), was just published in Scientific Reports.

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The celebration of the International Microorganism Day 2020

The celebration of the International Microorganism Day 2020 | iBB | Scoop.it

On the 17th of September, the International Microorganism Day was celebrated as a virtual event, with live broadcasting for 24 hours! The programme featured speakers and topics presented in all time zones, filled with lectures, discussions and webinars with participants from around the world. Thousands of spectators from all continents were online, and the approval and congratulations marked the public's enthusiasm for the initiative. The recording of the event can be watched here and more inform can be accessed here.

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The ABC Transporter Pdr18 is Required for Yeast Thermotolerance

The ABC Transporter Pdr18 is Required for Yeast Thermotolerance | iBB | Scoop.it

A new paper by researchers from iBB-BSRG describes, for the first time, the involvement of a plasma membrane multidrug/multixenobiotic resistance (MDR/MXR) ABC transporter in yeast thermotolerance. The expression of the ABC transporter Pdr18, required for pleotropic drug resistance and involved in ergosterol transport at the plasma membrane level, is related with decreased plasma membrane permeabilization induced by a supraoptimal growth temperature. Ergosterol biosynthesis and plasma membrane ergosterol content were implicated in yeast response and capacity to overcome stress induced by supraoptimal growth temperatures. These results support the notion that MDR/MXR transporters perform biological activities other than their accepted role as drug/xenobiotic exporters. Cláudia Godinho is the first author of this research work, coordinated by Isabel Sá-Correia and published in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

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Eduardo Brás Defends PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Eduardo Brás Defends PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

Eduardo Brás defended his PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences on Tuesday the 15th september 2020 (14:30 H). During the last years, and under the supervision João Pedro Conde from INESC-MN and Pedro Fernandes from BERG-iBB, Eduardo explored how microfluidic technology and microfabrication could be coupled with enzymes with goal of developing biosensing in different fields of application. The title of the thesis is “Biocatalysis in Microfluidic Systems: Biosensing and Rapid Screening Applications”.

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A Promising Platform for Drug Target Prediction in C. albicans

A Promising Platform for Drug Target Prediction in C. albicans | iBB | Scoop.it

New drugs are highly needed to treat human candidiasis. The ability to find interesting new drug targets is now expanded by the construction and validation of a global stoichiometric model describing the whole metabolic network in the human pathogen Candida albicans. This application of Systems Biology to tackle pathogenesis is highly innovative, and stems from a collaboration between researchers from BSRG/iBB (Miguel Cacho Teixeira), ITQB-NOVA (Isabel Rocha) and CEB-UMinho (Óscar Dias). The description of this model and of its potential have just been published in Journal of Fungi.

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International Microorganism Day 2020

International Microorganism Day 2020 | iBB | Scoop.it

We are, again, counting down to the International Microorganism Day (IMD) celebrated on September 17th. In a year in which a viral pandemic is plaguing the world, it is even more important to highlight the role that a multitude of microscopic living beings play in our health, environment and quality of life, as well as their biotechnological potential.

This year it is not possible to repeat the same multiple festive activities from previous celebrations that were already taking place in several countries. For this reason, the FEMS (Federation of European Microbiology Societies) and the Portuguese Microbiology Society (SPM) have joined forces to organize a 24-hour online microbiology marathon, with videos, lectures and live discussions, to promote Microbiology and celebrate the 2020 edition of the International Day of the Microorganism! In this organization, FEMS and SPM counted on the collaboration of the Biological Sciences group of the iBB-Institute of Bioengineering and Biosciences and the Department of Bioengineering of the Instituto Superior Técnico. Professor Isabel Sá Correia, President of SPM, the PhD researcher Cláudia Godinho and the PhD student in Biotechnology and Biosciences Nuno Bourbon Melo, are part of the team in charge of organizing and publicizing the event.

The Microbiology marathon will be broadcasted online during the 24h of the 17th of September (Lisbon time) and made accessible from the IMD website, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. The provisional program is now available and includes the participation of renowned speakers, science communicators, young researchers and PhD students, distributed across the globe, with an important national and Técnico participation. Celebrate with us this day and contribute by publishing opinions and materials related to IMD with the hashtag #internationalmicroorganismday! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Structure and Lateral Organization of Phosphatidylinositol 4,5- bisphosphate (Cover of Molecules)

Structure and Lateral Organization of Phosphatidylinositol 4,5- bisphosphate (Cover of Molecules) | iBB | Scoop.it

Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2) stands out from other plasma membrane lipids as one of the most important regulators of membrane-associated signaling events. PI(4,5)P2 is able to engage in a multitude of simultaneous cellular functions that are temporally and spatially regulated through the presence of localized transient pools of PI(4,5)P2 in the membrane. These pools are crucial for the recruitment, activation, and organization of signaling proteins and consequent regulation of downstream signaling. A review published by the PhD student Luís Borges-Araújo (from the Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics Doctoral Program)  and Fábio Fernandes showcases some of the most important PI(4,5)P2 molecular and biophysical properties, as well as their impact on its membrane dynamics, lateral organization, and interactions with other biochemical partners. The review was published in the Molecules Journal and was selected as the cover of the September issue.

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