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Non ecotoxic biosurfactants can help on sea bioremediation? First steps for a new oil spill response strategy

Non ecotoxic biosurfactants can help on sea bioremediation? First steps for a new oil spill response strategy | iBB | Scoop.it

The use of Mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs), a group of biosurfactants with excellent biochemical properties, in bioremediation in marine and terrestrial environments has been envisioned. However, knowledge regarding their ecotoxicity is limited, and the current production costs are too high to make them competitive in the surfactant market. In an effort to facilitate the use of MELs for marine bioremediation purposes, the team from 2BRG/iBB studied MELs production using seawater in medium formulation as reported on “Towards Mannosylerythritol Lipids (MELs) for Bioremediation: Effects of NaCl on M. antarcticus Physiology and Biosurfactant and Lipid Production; Ecotoxicity of MELs”, published in Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The cells were exposed to different levels of NaCl during fermentation and the effects of increased salinity on the cells and their performance were monitored. In addition, the cells were briefly exposed to osmotic shock by introducing pure NaCl into the broth to measure their physiological responses. Although the overall effect of NaCl in the medium was negative, cells produced more lipases in these stress conditions. Furthermore, the changes triggered by osmotic shock caused changes in the cell surface and affected their hydrophobicity, reducing the levels of MELs adsorbed to the cells, which in turn led to an increase in the formation of MEL-rich beads. Marine-level salinity (3.5%) was found to be sufficient to enable the production of MELs under non-sterile conditions and to inhibit the introduction of bacterial contaminants. Finally, the toxicity levels of MELs in a model marine organism and plant model were lower than those of other biosurfactants and a commercial chemical dispersant used for bioremediation.

This publication has as first-author the (now former) PhD student Petar Kekovic of the MIT-Portugal Program in Bioengineering - and as a corresponding author Frederico Ferreira and Nuno Faria.  Additionally, the co-authors and a team from Sintef – Roman Netzer, Umer Farooq and Ariadna Szczybelski submitted a patent application for formulation of a novel MEL based oils spill response agent, reference number 117583.

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Hypothermic Preservation of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells as a Viable Solution for the Storage and Distribution of Cell Therapy Products

Hypothermic Preservation of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells as a Viable Solution for the Storage and Distribution of Cell Therapy Products | iBB | Scoop.it

Cell and gene therapies (CGT) have reached new therapeutic targets but have noticeably high prices. Solutions to reduce production costs might be found in CGT storage and transportation since they typically involve cryopreservation, which is a heavily burdened process. Encapsulation at hypothermic temperatures (e.g., 2–8 °C) can be a feasible alternative. In this study, we determined the ability of alginate encapsulation to maintain cell viability, identity, and function in the context of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-based therapy manufacturing. MSC encapsulation was proven possible for a remarkable 12 day period, showing its potential to act as a serious competitor to cryopreservation for short to medium time periods. This study developed at the Stem Cell Engineering Research Group (SCERG) at iBB was led by Dr. Ana Fernandes-Platzgummer and Prof. Cláudia Lobato da Silva and first-authored by PhD student André Branco.

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Non ecotoxic biosurfactants can help on sea bioremediation? First steps for a new oil spill response strategy

Non ecotoxic biosurfactants can help on sea bioremediation? First steps for a new oil spill response strategy | iBB | Scoop.it

The use of Mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs), a group of biosurfactants with excellent biochemical properties, in bioremediation in marine and terrestrial environments has been envisioned. However, knowledge regarding their ecotoxicity is limited, and the current production costs are too high to make them competitive in the surfactant market. In an effort to facilitate the use of MELs for marine bioremediation purposes, the team from 2BRG/iBB studied MELs production using seawater in medium formulation as reported on “Towards Mannosylerythritol Lipids (MELs) for Bioremediation: Effects of NaCl on M. antarcticus Physiology and Biosurfactant and Lipid Production; Ecotoxicity of MELs”, published in Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The cells were exposed to different levels of NaCl during fermentation and the effects of increased salinity on the cells and their performance were monitored. In addition, the cells were briefly exposed to osmotic shock by introducing pure NaCl into the broth to measure their physiological responses. Although the overall effect of NaCl in the medium was negative, cells produced more lipases in these stress conditions. Furthermore, the changes triggered by osmotic shock caused changes in the cell surface and affected their hydrophobicity, reducing the levels of MELs adsorbed to the cells, which in turn led to an increase in the formation of MEL-rich beads. Marine-level salinity (3.5%) was found to be sufficient to enable the production of MELs under non-sterile conditions and to inhibit the introduction of bacterial contaminants. Finally, the toxicity levels of MELs in a model marine organism and plant model were lower than those of other biosurfactants and a commercial chemical dispersant used for bioremediation.

This publication has as first-author the (now former) PhD student Petar Kekovic of the MIT-Portugal Program in Bioengineering - and as a corresponding author Frederico Ferreira and Nuno Faria.  Additionally, the co-authors and a team from Sintef – Roman Netzer, Umer Farooq and Ariadna Szczybelski submitted a patent application for formulation of a novel MEL based oils spill response agent, reference number 117583.

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Marine Sponge and Coral-Associated Bacteria Show Versatile Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis Potential and Inhibit Human Pathogens

Marine Sponge and Coral-Associated Bacteria Show Versatile Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis Potential and Inhibit Human Pathogens | iBB | Scoop.it

Marine microbiomes are prolific sources of bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical value. A new study, published in Marine Drugs, inspected two culture collections comprising 919 host-associated marine bacteria belonging to 55 genera and several unclassified lineages. The study identified numerous isolates with a potentially rich secondary metabolism and inhibitory activities towards human-pathogenic bacteria and fungi. These culture collections, available at iBB-IST and Aveiro University, are a valuable resource of understudied marine bacteria that hold promise for a future, sustainable production of novel drug leads. The work was developed within the SymbioReactor project (DGPM | Fundo Azul program), first-authored by MSc João Almeida and coordinated by Dr Tina Keller-Costa and Prof Rodrigo Costa. The study also involved PhD student Matilde Marques, Dr Dalila Mil-Homens, Prof Miguel Teixeira and Prof Arsénio Fialho from iBB as well collaborators from Aveiro University and Biocant.

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Portuguese Patent nº 115970, May 4 2022, Biological Process for the Production of Xylonic Acid

Portuguese Patent nº 115970, May 4 2022, Biological Process for the Production of Xylonic Acid | iBB | Scoop.it

Xylonic acid (XA) is on the list of the 30 platform chemicals to be produced from biomass, as identified by the US Department of Energy.

The group of researchers Maryna Bondar, Teresa Cesário and Manuela Fonseca (iBB-2BRG) was the first to report the capability of a bacterial species belonging to Safety Level 1, Paraburkholderia sacchari, at the time classified as Burkholderia sacchari, to produce large amounts of XA from xylose. XA is thermally stable and biocompatible, non-toxic, water soluble and non-corrosive, with properties similar to Gluconic Acid (GA). Its use in the pharmaceutical, food and chemical industries in general has been addressed with success.

While GA is produced from glucose, XA is obtained from xylose (sugar not used for human consumption). The invention relates to a biological process for XA production using xylose or lignocellulosic hydrolysates as substrate and a bacterial strain as biocatalyst. With this bioprocess, XA concentrations between 370 g/L and 390 g/L were obtained, corresponding to volumetric productivities from 4.8 g/(L.h) to 7.1 g/(L.h). The yield of XA on xylose ranged from 89% to 100%.

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Creation of CellAgri Portugal, the Portuguese Association for Cellular Agriculture Development

Creation of CellAgri Portugal, the Portuguese Association for Cellular Agriculture Development | iBB | Scoop.it

CellAgri Portugal, the Portuguese Association for Cellular Agriculture Development, is a recently created independent non-profit organization, headquartered at IST-TagusPark.

The mission of CellAgri Portugal is to facilitate and encourage the cooperative development of cellular_agriculture in Portugal as well as to inform the public about the industrial, scientific, and technological developments in the field involving the Portuguese community worldwide.

Joaquim Cabral is the president of CellAgri Portugal and Carlos Rodrigues is the executive director. CellAgri Portugal also counts with the iBB researchers Frederico Ferreira, Ana Fernandes-Platzgummer, Paola Alberte, and the iBB PhD students Diana Marques and Hélder Tavares.

iBB's insight:

You will find the most recent information about cellular agriculture, companies working in the field, research projects, job and collaboration possibilities on the CellAgri Portugal LinkedIn webpage, and you can e-mail cellagriportugal@gmail.com for more information and to register as a member.

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Bacterial contamination of coins

Bacterial contamination of coins | iBB | Scoop.it

Microbes are known to contaminate money. In the project CleanCoin, funded by INCM, Carla C.C.R. de Carvalho (iBB-2BRG), Telmo Santos (UNIDEMI, UNL) and Maria José Caramujo (cE3c, FCUL, UL), studied the bacterial population present at the surface of coins. In a recently published white paper, the research team and collaborators from INCM, present the results and compare the number of viable bacteria in coins with those found on other objects such as bank cards and mobile phones.

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MarineMetagenomeDB - curated and standardized metadata for marine metagenomes

MarineMetagenomeDB - curated and standardized metadata for marine metagenomes | iBB | Scoop.it

Metagenomics is an expanding field within microbiology and related disciplines. The number of metagenomes deposited in public databases is exponentially rising, but data mining and interpretation can be challenging due to mis-annotated metadata entries. The new Marine Metagenome Metadata Database (MarineMetagenomeDB) helps researchers to identify marine metagenomes of interest for re-analysis and meta-analysis and is a valuable resource for non-bioinformaticians to find marine metagenome samples with curated metadata. The study, published in Environmental Microbiome, was led by Dr Ulisses Nunes da Rocha and team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany), and counted on specialist guidance in marine metadata standardization from iBB/DBE PhD-student Sandra Silva and researchers Tina Keller-Costa and Rodrigo Costa. The user-friendly web app is publicly available at here.

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Workshop “Smart Valorization of Macroalgae for Food, Feed and Bioplastics“

Workshop “Smart Valorization of Macroalgae for Food, Feed and Bioplastics“ | iBB | Scoop.it

The workshop Smart Valorization of Macroalgae for Food, Feed and Bioplastics will take place in the framework of a national project “SMART SEAWEED“ funded by FUNDO AZUL. (DGPM). This workshop was co-organized by the iBB-IST team and the GreenCoLab – Associação Oceano Verde, and is scheduled on the 6 December between 14:00h -18:00h in room 02.2, Centro de Congressos of IST- Alameda. Please find the program in the flyer attached.  

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Invited keynote lecture on Sustainable Biomaterials by Prof. Vasco Bonifácio

Invited keynote lecture on Sustainable Biomaterials by Prof. Vasco Bonifácio | iBB | Scoop.it

Prof. Vasco Bonifácio, from the Bioengineering Department at IST, gave an invited keynote lecture in the American Advanced Materials Congress that took place in Miami (USA) from 29 October to 5 November 2022. The lecture “Sustainable Biomaterials” was focused on research developed by his research team in the last years at iBB-Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences (IST), including recent achievements and ongoing research using nanobiomaterials. The lecture highlighted the importance of the development of new sustainable protocols for the synthesis and formulation of nanotherapeutics as well as its impact on the design and production of novel biomaterials for regenerative medicine. This research is full aligned with the green transition, a social change strategy that will allow us to turn the current environmentally unsustainable global situation into a new sustainable paradigm. Also, it takes in account the European Green Deal that aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050 and boost the economy through green technology. In this congress, Prof. Vasco Bonifácio also chaired two scientific sessions.

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Mónica Galocha awarded the Best PhD Work in Research and Infectious Diseases by redeSAÚDE, ULisboa

Mónica Galocha awarded the Best PhD Work in Research and Infectious Diseases by redeSAÚDE, ULisboa | iBB | Scoop.it

Mónica Galocha was distinguished with the Best PhD Work in Research and Infectious Diseases by redeSAÚDE, University of Lisbon, at the 6th redeSAÚDE conference held at University of Lisboa on the 15th of November 2022. Mónica Galocha presented her research focused on unveiling new pathways of genomic evolution towards drug resistance in Candida glabrata, carried at iBB, under the supervision of Professor Miguel Cacho Teixeira.

iBB's insight:

Congratulations Mónica!

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The newest release of YEASTRACT+ offers modeling tools to optimize yeast cell factories and identify new antifungal drug targets

The newest release of YEASTRACT+ offers modeling tools to optimize yeast cell factories and identify new antifungal drug targets | iBB | Scoop.it

The YEASTRACT+ information system is a wide-scope computational tool for the analysis and prediction of transcription regulatory associations at the gene and genomic levels in 11 yeast species of biotechnological or human health relevance. Its newest release, orchestrated by a large team led by Isabel Sá-Correia, Miguel Teixeira, from BSRG-iBB, and Pedro Monteiro, from INESC-ID, has just described in the 2023 Nucleic Acids Research Database Issue, highlighting the availability of new regulatory-metabolic network modeling tools. These tools are expected to contribute to guide YEASTRACT+ users in the optimization of yeast cell factories of industrial relevance and the identification of new antifungal drug targets, to be used in advanced antifungal therapy. YEASTRACT+ is currently supported within the context of the Biodata.pt/Elixir.pt Research Infrastructure.

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Professor Martin Hof gave the talk on protein hydration and dynamics during his visit to BSIRG-iBB

Professor Martin Hof gave the talk on protein hydration and dynamics during his visit to BSIRG-iBB | iBB | Scoop.it

Professor Martin Hof, director of the J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry in Prague,  gave a talk on the topic "Protein hydration and dynamics seen by fluorescence: TDFS (Time-Dependent Fluorescence Shifts) and PET-FCS (Photo-induced Electron Transfer- Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy)” on November 4, 2022.

Professor Martin revisited some of the principles relevant for synthetic biology as well as the importance of TDFS and PET-FCS to study relaxation dynamics of polar solvents and to probe protein dynamics on short time scales, and their relevance for the elucidation of enzyme activity.

This talk was framed during Professor Martin´s scientific visit to the BSIRG.

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Microfluidic production of mRNA-loaded lipid nanoparticles for vaccine applications

Microfluidic production of mRNA-loaded lipid nanoparticles for vaccine applications | iBB | Scoop.it

During past years, lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) have emerged as promising carriers for RNA delivery, with several clinical trials focusing on both infectious diseases and cancer. More recently, the success of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for the treatment of severe diseases, such as acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is partially justified by the development of LNPs encapsulating mRNA for efficient cytosolic delivery. In a collaborative work with researchers from Hovione Farmaciência SA and INESC-MN, Pedro Fonte from iBB-BERG published an invited review paper in Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery addressing the production and formulation of LNPs by using microfluidic devices, the status of mRNA-loaded LNPs therapeutics and explored spray drying process, as a promising dehydration process to enhance LNP stability and provide alternative administration routes. It is foreseen this work may contribute to advances in the field in the upcoming years.

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First report on production of Mannosylerythritol Lipids, a biosurfactant, from microalgae oils

First report on production of Mannosylerythritol Lipids, a biosurfactant, from microalgae oils | iBB | Scoop.it

Biosurfactants, particularly mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs), have excellent biochemical properties and a wide range of potential applications. However, for use at an industrial level, it is necessary to develop more sustainable production processes, both in terms of the environment and economy. In this regard, the study “Production of mannosylerythritol lipids using oils from oleaginous microalgae: two sequential microorganism culture approach” led by 2BRG/iBB team, with Tiago Coelho, Miguel Nascimento, Nuno Faria, Frederico Fereira, together with LNEG team, Alberto Reis and Luísa Gouveia, was just published in Microorganisms journal. It reports, for the first time, the production of MELs using oils produced from microalgae. The bio-oil was extracted from Neochloris oleoabundans and evaluated for its use as a sole carbon source or as a co-substrate strategy, using D-glucose as an additional carbon source, on Moesziomyces spp. cultures to support cell growth and induce the production of MELs. Both M. antarcticus and M. aphidis were able to grow and produce MELs using algae-derived bio-oils as carbon sources and, interestingly, there were no significant differences in productivity when oils from microalgae or vegetable oils were used as carbon sources. These results provide new perspectives for the production of MELs in systems that combine different microorganisms.

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Advancing organoid design through co-emergence, assembly, and bioengineering

Advancing organoid design through co-emergence, assembly, and bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Human adult stem cells and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells represent promising tools to understand human biology, development, and disease. Under a permissive environment, stem cell derivatives can self-organize and reconstruct their native environment, resulting in the creation of organ-like entities known as organoids. Although organoids represent a breakthrough in the stem cell field, there are still considerable shortcomings preventing their widespread use, namely their variability, limited function, and reductionist size. In this recently published review article in Trends in Biotechnology, Miguel Tenreiro (Ph.D. student in Bioengineering), Prof. Margarida Diogo, and co-authors from SCERG-iBB highlight emerging technologies to fill in the gaps in organoid design and provide insights on how they can be best utilized to fulfill the potential of organoids.

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Can we use electricity to kill cancer and regrow tissues?

Can we use electricity to kill cancer and regrow tissues? | iBB | Scoop.it

Join us at the 2023 British-Iberian Bioelectronics Workshop (BIBio-e) on the 17th of February of 2023 at the Pavilion of Knowledge of Lisbon to learn how!

This workshop will host top scientists from the UK and the Iberian Peninsula to share their work and address future challenges in bioelectronics with a session dedicated to early-career researchers. BIBio-e will also feature a session dedicated at elucidating a roadmap for our bilateral cooperation and competitiveness in this area to address major societal challenges. See the full program below!

Participation at this workshop is free of charge, however registration is required as attendance is limited to encourage interaction between participants. To attend and/or submit and abstract, click here.

BIBio-e is organised by Frankie Rawson (University of Nottingham) and Paola Sanjuan Alberte (Instituto Superior Tecnico) with the support of the BBSRC Bilateral Research Fund.

iBB's insight:

https://form.jotform.com/paolaalberte/bibioe-registration

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Técnico’s 1st patent

Técnico’s 1st patent | iBB | Scoop.it

The December 16, 2022 Episode of 110 Stories | 110 Técnico objects is dedicated to Técnico’s first registered patent. That 1985´s  patent, entitled "PROCESS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF NATURAL SPARKLING WINES BY MEANS OF IMMOBILIZED YEAST" also belongs to the history of iBB. Indeed, iBB is the current research unit of the excellent lineage originating from the Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering/CEBQ-Center of Biological and Chemical Engineering. The first author was Júlio Maggiolly Novais, the founding director of that IST research unit. The other IST authors were Isabel Sá-Correia, Joaquim S Cabral and Manuela Cadete. In addition to IST, there were two other applicants: Instituto Superior de Agronomia (co-author: Prof Virgílio Loureiro) and Caves Raposeira LDA.
In this episode of the podcast, two of the authors intervened and explained the objectives and innovation related to the patent. The innovation consisted of immobilizing (sequestering in in an agar-agar gel) the yeast cells that carry out the secondary alcoholic fermentation in the bottle, typical of champagne production (to create the typical "bubbles" of CO2 gas). The objective was to make unnecessary the manual rotation of sparkling wine bottles, for three weeks, to remove the yeasts which, when free, accumulate in high concentrations making the drink very cloudy. During the podcast, it was also recalled the bottling carried out at Caves da Raposeira, applying the methods developed at the Técnico's laboratory to the reality of sparkling wine production. 

iBB's insight:

You can listen to the episode:  bit.ly/3W2yra3 | https://110.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/

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Marine Bioprospecting, Biocatalysis and Process Development

Marine Bioprospecting, Biocatalysis and Process Development | iBB | Scoop.it

Marine bacteria present enzymatic activities that result from extensive evolution necessary for cell survival under the harsh and continuously changing conditions found in the marine environment. Metagenomic techniques and cultivation of not-yet-cultured bacteria, combined with high-throughput screening techniques, have allowed the identification of new biocatalysts and the development of industrial processes. In a recently published paper, Carlos J.C. Rodrigues and Carla C.C.R. de Carvalho (iBB-2BRG) review the latest studies related to growth of marine bacteria under laboratorial conditions, screening techniques, and bioprocess development.

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Ana M Melo was nominated for the Management Committee of the COST Action ML4NGP

Ana M Melo was nominated for the Management Committee of the COST Action ML4NGP | iBB | Scoop.it

Ana M Melo participated as secondary proposer in the grant application of the COST Action: Non-globular proteins in the era of Machine Learning (ML4NGP). The action was recently funded and started in October 2022. Ana M Melo was selected to be part of the Management Committee and the first meeting already took place with decisions on the budget allocation/organization and future meetings. This COST-action is focused on non-globular proteins that comprise “intrinsically disordered regions, repeats, low-complexity sequences, aggregation-prone and phase-separating sequences, and are implicated in a range of age-related diseases”. The network combines both experimentalists and computational researchers. 

iBB's insight:

More details in https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA21160/#tabs+Name:Description.

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Challenges of Science in Contemporary Society: Science Funding

Challenges of Science in Contemporary Society: Science Funding | iBB | Scoop.it

The video of a recent conference on the “Funding of Science”, included in the Cycle of Conferences – Challenges of Science in Contemporary Society, was published on the YouTube of Academia de Ciências de Lisboa. The session was chaired by Professor Isabel Sá-Correia from BSRG-iBB - Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences . This theme touches deeply the scientific community. Undoubtedly, the scientific and technological development of a country, an institution, a research group requires, in addition to adequate and coherent policies, very costly investments, very significant and continuous funding. But, even if the funding of science is obviously critical, this is not limited to the funds that are made available, to the % of the Gross domestic product (GDP) that governments and private institutions dedicate to research and there is a lot of material for reflection.
The cycle of conferences dedicated to Science challenges in contemporary society is promoted by the Instituto de Alto Estudos of ACL. 

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The full program is here

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Recreating Human Heart Development in the Lab

Recreating Human Heart Development in the Lab | iBB | Scoop.it

The embryonic development of the human heart under healthy and pathological conditions is still very poorly understood. In a recently published Nature Communications paper, a SCERG-iBB team led by Margarida Diogo, in collaboration with Perpetua Pinto do Ó at i3S, engineered a unique organ-like model from stem cells that recreates several stages of embryonic development of the human heart. This humanized model opens now the path to study, in a tissue engineering lab, the development of congenital heart diseases, such as coronary vascular diseases and myocardium non-compaction cardiomyopathies, and can be further applied in drug screening and toxicology assays during embryonic heart development. This last topic is particularly relevant since pregnant women normally do not take part in clinical trials, making this human cell-based in vitro platform the only viable alternative to assess developmental cardiotoxicity. The work was a part of the PhD thesis in Bioengineering – MIT Portugal program of Mariana Branco, the first author of the paper, and was funded by the FCT project “Mini-Hearts - Organoid Engineering for Production of 3D Cardiovascular Microtissues from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Cardiotoxicity”.  

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Future antibiotics at IST

Future antibiotics at IST | iBB | Scoop.it

A pandemic can turn the world upside down. We recently had this hard experience, which made us reflect (a lot) on the importance of science and how it is the stronghold of our survival as a species (we have persisted for at least 200 thousand years!). Resistance to antibiotics and antifungals is nothing new and seems to have become commonplace (or despised). It is too serious a problem to be reassured, for several reasons. The evolution of multidrug resistance in bacteria and fungi (proven by genetic sequencing), associated with the disinvestment in new drugs by large pharmaceutical multinationals, converges in a (next) pandemic scenario of hypervirulent bacteria and fungi. Antimicrobial resistance is fundamentally based on the ability that bacteria and fungi have acquired to escape the action of available drugs, using mainly three strategies: enzymatic degradation of drugs, alteration of drug target proteins, and alteration of membrane permeability (expression of efflux pumps). Bearing in mind these strategies, a team of researchers from iBB-IST (led by Prof. Vasco Bonifácio) in collaboration with researchers from CQE-IST and ITQB-NOVA, designed, and produced antimicrobial polyurea pharmadendrimers, a new class of antibiotics and antifungals. These pharmadendrimers have excellent activity (in vitro and in vivo) against multidrug-resistant bacteria and fungi from clinical isolates collected in Portuguese hospitals and clinics. Their administration is safe as they have a very wide therapeutic window, in which they are not cytotoxic and do not cause hemolysis (the main problems of other analogues under investigation, such as antimicrobial peptides). On the other hand, its mechanism of action prevents the development of resistance, an almost impossible mission for bacteria and fungi because it requires a restructuring of their membrane. Antimicrobial pharmadendrimers have been patented, and an international patent application is pending. In an interview to the RTP TV channel, on the program “O Desafio do Superior em Portugal”, Dr. Rita Pires, a researcher on the team, talks about this invention (video). The research work was recently published in a high impact international journal.

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Electrically Conductive Hydrogels for Articular Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Electrically Conductive Hydrogels for Articular Cartilage Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

As current treatment options for cartilage degeneration remain ineffective, tissue engineering has emerged as an exciting approach to create cartilage substitutes. In particular, hydrogels seem to be suitable candidates for this purpose due to their high biocompatibility and customizability, being able to be tailored to fit the biophysical properties of native cartilage. Moreover, these hydrogel matrices can be combined with conductive materials in order to simulate the natural electrochemical properties of articular cartilage. In this recent review published in the journal Gels, SCERG-iBB researchers Filipe Miguel (MSc student in Biotechnology), Frederico Barbosa (PhD student in Bioengineering), Prof. Frederico Ferreira and Dr. João Silva highlight the most common conductive materials combined with hydrogels and their diverse applications, and discuss the current state of research on the development of electrically conductive hydrogels for cartilage tissue engineering.

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Insights into genetic diversity and drug resistance based on large-scale genome sequence analysis

Insights into genetic diversity and drug resistance based on large-scale genome sequence analysis | iBB | Scoop.it

Genome sequencing is a powerful tool that contributes to the advancement of drug resistance studies, population dynamics and evolution in fungal pathogens. In a paper just published in Microbial Cell, emerging from a collaboration between Miguel Cacho Teixeira’s team (BSRG) and Hiroji Chibana, MMRC, Japan, the analysis of nearly 100 genomes of globally distributed C. glabrata isolates enabled the identification of new effectors of azole and echinocandin resistance. Their genomic landscape was further explored to evaluate genetic variants specific to each drug resistance profile. Interestingly, the data concludes that changes in the most studied drug resistance genes only occur in a fraction of the resistant isolates, an observation that is expected to contribute to design more suitable antifungal therapeutic strategies.

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Thinking of doing a PhD?

Thinking of doing a PhD? | iBB | Scoop.it

"la Caixa" Foundation's Doctoral INPhINIT Fellowships support talented researchers of the future like you!

iBB is hosting 10 PhD Incoming INPhINIT Fellowships in the field of Life Sciences.

For more information on how to apply for your fellowship go to https://fundacionlacaixa.org/en/inphinit-doctoral-fellowships-call and apply by 25 January 2023.

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