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Benzyl Alcohol Production in Stirred and Packed Bed Reactors

Benzyl Alcohol Production in Stirred and Packed Bed Reactors | iBB | Scoop.it

The ocean is an excellent source for new biocatalysts due to the tremendous genetic diversity of marine microorganisms, and it may contribute to the development of sustainable industrial processes. In a recent paper published in Microorganisms, Carlos J.C. Rodrigues and Carla C.C.R. de Carvalho (iBB-BERG) used a marine bacterium for the conversion of benzaldehyde to benzyl alcohol, which is an important chemical employed as a precursor for producing esters for cosmetics and other industries. A stirred reactor, using a fed-batch approach, enabled a 1.5-fold increase in benzyl alcohol productivity when compared with batch mode. However, product accumulation in the reactor hindered the conversion. The use of a continuous flow reactor packed with immobilized cells enabled a 9.5-fold increase in productivity when compared with the fed-batch stirred reactor system.

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Characterization of a New Blastobotrys navarrensis Strain

Characterization of a New Blastobotrys navarrensis Strain | iBB | Scoop.it

A BSRG-iBB research paper just published in International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology reports the isolation, identification, and morphological and phylogenetic characterization of Blastobotrys navarrensis IST 508. The isolation of this yeast strain from a soil sample collected underneath an olive tree in Ferreira do Alentejo was essential to propose the taxonomic separation of B. navarrensis, so far represented by the single strain CBS 139.77, from Blastobotrys proliferans, which until this study was considered a synonym species. Molecular and phylogenetic data was used to propose B. navarrensis as an independent species and not a later synonym of B. proliferans. An emended description of B. navarrensis was also proposed. This research paper has as first- and corresponding- author Dr. Margarida Palma, who coordinated the investigation with contributions by Professor Isabel Sá-Correia. The article is also co-authored by former Master students Érica Vieira and Margarida Pataco, both from MSc in Biotechnology, IST.

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Modeling the Full Metabolism of the Human Pathogen Candida parapsilosis

Modeling the Full Metabolism of the Human Pathogen Candida parapsilosis | iBB | Scoop.it

Understanding the behavior of human pathogens is both a challenge and a need, if we are to address infectious diseases with the best possible tools. Genome-scale metabolic models are a way to meet this task, which was just used for the second most prevalent Candida species in Europe, Candida parapsilosis. The construction and validation of a global stoichiometric model describing the whole metabolic network in this human pathogen, as well as its exploitation in drug target discovery, stemming from a collaboration between researchers from BSRG/iBB (Miguel Cacho Teixeira), ITQB-NOVA (Isabel Rocha) and CEB-UMinho (Óscar Dias), was just published in Genes.

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Ana Melo Receives a 2022 Biophysical Travel Award

Ana Melo Receives a 2022 Biophysical Travel Award | iBB | Scoop.it

Ana M. Melo was a recipient of a 2022 Biophysical Travel Award for Scientists within 10-years after completing the PhD. She was honored during the Travel Awardee Reception by the Society’s Committees for Inclusion/Diversity and Professional Opportunities for Women. This highly competitive award covered her travel expenses to San Francisco, California (US).

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iBB Contributes to the Move2LowC Project

iBB Contributes to the Move2LowC Project | iBB | Scoop.it

The project Move2LowC, led by A4F, Algafuel, S.A., is mobilizing Universities, R&D Institutes, SMEs and Large Companies, to cooperate with the objective of increasing the use of aquatic biomass (microalgae), residual forest biomass and industrial effluents for the production of biofuels, in a circular economy logic. It also aims to reduce waste by reducing, reusing, recovering and recycling materials into energy vectors. IBB's contribute is geared towards the selection of unconventional yeasts for the production of microbial oils produced by heterotrophic fermentation of hydrolysates from residual lignocellulosic biomass.

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Detection of mcr-1 gene in Vibrio Species Isolated From Clams

Detection of mcr-1 gene in Vibrio Species Isolated From Clams | iBB | Scoop.it

Pathogenic Vibrio species are responsible for human and animal illness and one of the main causes of human infection is related to the ingestion of undercooked seafood. Due to their filter-feeding habit, marine invertebrates, such as clams, are known to be a natural reservoir of specific microbial communities. In a recently published study carried out by researchers of ESTM, Polytechnic of Leiria, and Carla C.C.R. de Carvalho (BERG-iBB), the profile of antimicrobial resistance and the presence of virulence genes in the bacterial isolates from clams were evaluated. The presence of the mobilisable colistin resistance gene mcr-1 in three Vibrio spp. isolates highlights a potential threat to public health.

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Special Issue on "Yeasts for a Sustainable Circular Bio-Based Economy" for The Journal of Fungi

Special Issue on "Yeasts for a Sustainable Circular Bio-Based Economy" for The Journal of Fungi | iBB | Scoop.it

Together with Dr. Naseem A. Gaur, prof. Isabel Sá-Correia is organizing a special issue for The Journal of Fungi. This special issue is focused on the new circular bio-based economy. The development of large-scale bioprocesses for the bioconversion of biomass resources into environmentally friendly biofuels, chemicals, and materials is required to answer timeless societal challenges. Cost-effective microbial conversion processes of renewable feedstock into biofuels and biochemicals are of utmost importance for the establishment of a robust bioeconomy. Therefore, the transition to a sustainable bio-based economy requires further scientific research and innovation to reach those goals. Integrated yeast biorefinery processes have recently gained relevance in envisaging the conversion of forest and agro-industrial residues into environmentally friendly products currently produced by the petrochemical industry. For all these reasons, this is a very active and exciting area of R&D. Deadline for new manuscript submissions is August 31, 2022.

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A CBM-Hexapeptide Fusion Confers Antimicrobial Properties to Cellulose

A CBM-Hexapeptide Fusion Confers Antimicrobial Properties to Cellulose | iBB | Scoop.it

A new strategy to modify cellulose with the short antimicrobial hexapeptide MP196 (RWRWRW-NH2) is proposed by BERG and BSIRG researchers that uses fusions of Cys-terminated derivatives of MP196 and a carbohydrate binding module (CBM). CBM3-MP196-modified cellulose hydrogels displayed antibacterial activity that was significantly higher when compared with controls. This versatile concept offers a toolbox for the functionalization of different cellulose materials with a broad choice in peptides. the paper was published in Acta Biomaterialia. The work was funded by project CBM-X.

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Optimization of the Brewing Parameters on Coffee Extraction Using a Central Composite Rotatable Design

Optimization of the Brewing Parameters on Coffee Extraction Using a Central Composite Rotatable Design | iBB | Scoop.it

When an idea in a coffee break in an international meeting turns into a paper, Pedro Fonte from BERG-iBB in collaboration with researchers from UFVJM, Brazil just published a work in JSFA Reports performing an optimization of the brewing parameters on coffee extraction using a central composite rotatable design. The effects of extraction time, particle size of ground coffee, extraction temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, stirring on caffeine yield, and soluble solids on caffeine concentrations were studied. Optimized parameters showed 45 min sufficed to perform a cold extraction at 4°C and 24°C. The parameters selected for validation were 24°C, 30% coffee-to-water ratio, a stirring of 400 rpm resulting in 3.98 mg/ml of extracted caffeine, 11.20 °Brix, and 93.9% of caffeine yield. The smaller particle size (595 μm) displayed the higher caffeine extraction of about 4 mg/ml. This study reveals the high efficiency of cold brew extraction and its potential at the industrial scale, decreasing costs with energy and extraction time, and producing a coffee rich in caffeine and soluble solids.

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The Effect of Recombinant Protein Production in Lactococcus lactis Transcriptome and Proteome

The Effect of Recombinant Protein Production in Lactococcus lactis Transcriptome and Proteome | iBB | Scoop.it

Lactococcus lactis is a food-grade, and generally recognized as safe, bacterium, which making it ideal for producing plasmid DNA (pDNA) or recombinant proteins for industrial or pharmaceutical applications. A paper published in Microorganisms by Sofia Duarte and Gabriel Monteiro from BERG-iBB reviews the major findings from L. lactis transcriptome and proteome studies, with an overexpression of native or recombinant proteins. These studies provide important insights on how to engineer the plasmid vectors and/or the strains in order to achieve high pDNA or recombinant proteins yields, with high quality standards. 

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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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Microchromatography Integrated with Impedance Sensor for Bioprocess Optimization

Microchromatography Integrated with Impedance Sensor for Bioprocess Optimization | iBB | Scoop.it

The development of new scale-down models for accelerated and cost-effective biopharmaceutical process development has been receiving considerable attention in the last decade. Microfluidic systems have emerged as a particularly attractive candidate by offering miniaturization, parallelization, and allowing continuous and precise pumping and online monitoring possible. In a collaborative work, published in Journal of Chromatography A, BERG-iBB researchers Ana Azevedo and Amin Javidanbardan, together with INESC-MN researchers João Pedro Conde and Virginia Chu, propose a simple and cost-effective method for developing microfluidic chromatographic systems with integrated sensors. Fabrication and integration of microsensors, in this case, an impedance sensor, in each microcolumn provided the possibility of parallelizing experiments with separate online monitoring. The work was performed under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 812909 CODOBIO, within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks framework.

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A Neofunctionalized Transcription Factor Controls Azole Resistance in C. glabrata

A Neofunctionalized Transcription Factor Controls Azole Resistance in C. glabrata | iBB | Scoop.it

The prevalence of antifungal resistance in Candida glabrata, especially against azole drugs, results in difficult-to-treat and potentially life-threatening infections. In this study, the role of a newly described transcription factor, Mar1, in azole susceptibility was explored. Using RNA-sequencing, its role in the transcriptome-wide response to fluconazole is assessed, leading to the elucidation of its role in modulating azole susceptibility, dependent on membrane sphingolipid incorporation, membrane permeability, and intracellular drug accumulation. Altogether, a regulatory pathway modulating azole susceptibility in C. glabrata is proposed, resulting from what appears to be a neofunctionalization of a Hap1-like transcription factor. These results obtained by an international team led by Miguel Cacho Teixeira, BSRG-iBB, just published in Journal of Fungi, are expected to contribute to maintain the usability of this drug in antifungal therapy.

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Greener Strategy for Lupanine Purification from Lupin Bean Wastewaters Using a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer

Greener Strategy for Lupanine Purification from Lupin Bean Wastewaters Using a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer | iBB | Scoop.it

Lupanine is used as a building block in the synthesis of sparteine, a chiral selector in drug synthesis. This alkaloid is found in wastewaters derived from the debittering process that makes lupin beans edible. In a recently published work, carried out by researchers of the Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy from the University of Lisbon, and Teresa Esteves, Frederico Ferreira, Flávio Ferreira and Ana Mota from BERG-iBB, a computational chemistry approach was taken to design molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) selecting itaconic acid, a biobased building block, as a functional monomer that can provide higher affinities for lupanine. In this work, lupanine was concentrated from lupin bean wastewater by nanofiltration, extracted with ethyl acetate, and purified using the synthesized MIP, which was able to selectively recognize lupanine and improve its purity to 88%, with 82% recovery of the alkaloid, showing the potential application of this strategy to render the industrial process more sustainable.

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Additive Manufactured PCL-Graphene Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Additive Manufactured PCL-Graphene Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Understanding the mechano–biological coupling mechanisms of biomaterials for tissue engineering is of major importance to assure proper scaffold performance in situ. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to establish correlations between biomaterials, their processing conditions, and their mechanical behaviour, as well as their biological performance. In a collaborative work between CDRSP-Politécnico de Leiria and SCERG-iBB  (João C. Silva and Frederico Ferreira), it was possible to infer a correlation between the addition of different concentrations of graphene nanoparticles (GPN) in three-dimensional poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)-based scaffolds, their extrusion-based processing parameters, and the lamellar crystal orientation observed in the different scaffolds through small-angle X-ray scattering experiments. Moreover, in vitro cell culture studies performed at SCERG-iBB demonstrated the suitability and potential of these novel 3D PCL/GPN scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. The results of this study were just published in Polymers.

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Recent Developments in Enzyme Immobilization for Food Production

Recent Developments in Enzyme Immobilization for Food Production | iBB | Scoop.it

Greener, cost-effective methodologies for food processing and production have been actively looked after because of increased demand due to growing population. Enzymes, as green and highly efficient catalysts, have been a mainstay of food technology. However, the advantageous features of enzymes are negatively impacted by their long-term instability, harsh industrial operational conditions and challenges for enzyme recovery and reuse. Immobilized enzyme formulations have been developed to address these limitations. In a recently published book chapter, Filipe Carvalho and Pedro Fernandes (iBB-BERG) present the latest finding and trends on the design and application of immobilized enzyme for food production and processing. The chapter was published in the book Value Addition in Food Products and Processing using Enzyme Technology, published by Academic Press.

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Ana Melo Presents and Co-chairs at the 66th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting

Ana Melo Presents and Co-chairs at the 66th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting | iBB | Scoop.it

Ana Melo from BSIRG-iBB delivered an oral presentation at the 66th Biophysical Society Annual (BPS) Meeting, San Francisco, California (February 2022). The focus was on the characterization of the distinct conformational signatures of the flanking polyQ regions in the membrane-bound state of Huntington exon 1, and its implications in Huntington´s disease. Ana was also invited by the Scientific Committee to co-chair the Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs) section together with Martin Fossat from Washington University (St Louis). The BPS meeting is the largest and most reputed worldwide Biophysical Meeting, and this year was attended by biophysicists from 46 countries. In Ana´s section, researchers from Univ. Cambridge, Yale Univ., Washington Univ. St Louis, Univ. of Copenhagen and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute presented research focused on distinct biophysical features of IDPs associated with function and dysfunction.

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Cellulose-based LFA for Detection of Cystatin C

Cellulose-based LFA for Detection of Cystatin C | iBB | Scoop.it

The relevance and impact of Lateral Flow Assays (LFA) as point-of-care devices has been amply demonstrated with the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. However, and despite their usefulness, drawbacks like low sensitivity, low specificity, and lack of quantitation are often associated with LFAs. In a paper published in Scientific Reports, Miguel Prazeres from BERG-IST and colleagues from the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) propose a new LFA architecture that combines nitrocellulose strips with layered cellulose, ZZ-CBM3 fusions and fluorescently labeled Fab fragments. The system was successfully applied to the the quantitative, fluorescence-based detection of the kidney biomarker cystatin C. The work was funded by project CBM-X.

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Piezoelectric Nanofibers for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering

Piezoelectric Nanofibers for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Osteochondral (OC) tissue disorders, particularly osteoarthritis, number among the most prevalent and debilitating diseases in the adult population worldwide. However, despite the recent achievements in the field, no satisfactory clinical treatments have been developed to date to resolve this unmet medical issue. Notably, while the piezoelectric nature of the OC tissue has been extensively reported in different studies, this feature keep being neglected in the design of novel biomaterial scaffolds for OC regeneration. Thus, piezoelectric electrospun scaffolds capable of both recapitulating the piezoelectric nature of the tissue’s fibrous extracellular matrix and of providing a platform for electrical and mechanical stimulation of cells/tissues are promising platforms to promote OC regeneration. In a recent publication in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, SCERG-iBB researchers MSc Frederico Barbosa, Prof. Frederico Ferreira and Dr. João Silva review and discuss the current state of the art of such piezoelectric biomimetic scaffolds for OC tissue engineering strategies.

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Insights into Nanomedicine for Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Insights into Nanomedicine for Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment | iBB | Scoop.it

Head and neck cancers rank sixth among the most common cancers today, and the survival rate has remained virtually unchanged over the past 25 years, due to late diagnosis and ineffective treatments. These cancers affect areas of the body that are fundamental for the five senses. Therefore, it is necessary to treat them effectively and non-invasively as early as possible, to not compromise vital functions, which is not always possible with conventional treatments (chemotherapy or radiotherapy). Nanomedicine involves using nanocarriers to deliver drugs to sites of action and reducing the necessary doses and possible side effects. In a paper published in Materials, Pedro Fonte and co-workers from BERG-iBB performed an overview of the applications of nanocarrier systems to the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer. Herein, several types of delivery strategies, radiation enhancement, inside-out hyperthermia, and theragnostic approaches were addressed.

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Genome Sequence and Analysis of the Flavinogenic Yeast Candida membranifaciens

Genome Sequence and Analysis of the Flavinogenic Yeast Candida membranifaciens | iBB | Scoop.it

A BSRG-iBB research paper just published in Journal of Fungi (special issue “New Trends in Yeast Genomics”) reports the isolation of Candida membranifaciens strains from soil, their physiological characterization and comparison regarding the production of riboflavin (vitamin B2). The first annotated genome sequence of C. membranifaciens IST 626 is provided, as well as the comparative genomic analysis with other relevant yeast species. This research work is first-authored by Dr. Margarida Palma, who coordinated the investigation with Professor Isabel Sá-Correia. The work has contributions from Master students Mariana Pereira and Érica Vieira and researchers from Joint Genome Institute, Berkeley, USA.

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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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Crosstalk between Yeast Cell Plasma Membrane Ergosterol Content and Cell Wall Stiffness

Crosstalk between Yeast Cell Plasma Membrane Ergosterol Content and Cell Wall Stiffness | iBB | Scoop.it

A BSRG-iBB research paper just published in Journal of Fungi (special issue “Yeast Biorefineries”) provides a comprehensive view of the effect that the content of ergosterol at yeast plasma membrane, associated to membrane ABC transporter Pdr18 activity, influences cell wall biophysical properties under acetic acid-induced stress,  as part of a coordinated response to counteract the deleterious effects of this important stress factor in lignocellulosic biorefineries. This research work is first-authored by the PhD student of the PhD programme in Biotechnology and Biosciences Ricardo Ribeiro (FCT_DP AEM fellowship), performed under the supervision of Isabel Sá-Correia and is also co-authored by Cláudia P. Godinho, also from the BSRG-iBB team. This is a collaborative study with Fábio Fernandes (BSIRG-iBB) and Mário S. Rodrigues and his team (BioISI, Faculty of Sciences, ULisboa).

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Development of 3D High-Quality PDMS Microfluidic Chips Based on Micromilling Technology

Development of 3D High-Quality PDMS Microfluidic Chips Based on Micromilling Technology | iBB | Scoop.it

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in exploring the potential of micro-and mesoscale milling technologies for developing cost-effective microfluidic systems with high design flexibility and a rapid microfabrication process that does not require a cleanroom. Nevertheless, the number of current studies aiming to fully understand and establish the benefits of this technique in developing high-quality microsystems with simple integrability is still limited. In a recent paper published in Micromachines, BERG-iBB researches, Ana Azevedo and Amin Javidanbardan, in collaboration, with João Pedro Conde and Virginia Chu from INESC-MN, describe a systematic methodology for developing 3D high-quality thermoplastic-based molds for microfluidic structures based on micromilling technology. The work was performed under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 812909 CODOBIO, within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks framework.

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Marta Mota Delivers Oral Presentation at Microbiotec’21

Marta Mota Delivers Oral Presentation at Microbiotec’21 | iBB | Scoop.it

Marta Mota, a PhD student of the Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, PhD program in Biotechnology and Biosciences, (FCT doctoral programme in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (DP_AEM)), presented her work during the symposium on “Microbiotech for a Sustainable Future” of Microbiotec’ 21 Congress taking place online from 23-26 November. The presentation was entitled “Promising Genetic Determinants of Methanol Tolerance for Yeast Robustness Engineering for Biorefineries”. This work was performed in the Biological Sciences Research Group of iBB - Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, under Professor Isabel Sá-Correia’s supervision.

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