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BIOTECnico PhD Alumni Seminar: Pedro Pais

BIOTECnico PhD Alumni Seminar: Pedro Pais | iBB | Scoop.it

Pedro Pais will be giving a talk entitled "Unveiling the complex regulatory network governing antifungal drug resistance in Candida glabrata: from new regulators to new effectors", Tuesday the 16th february at 16:00 h via zoom. Pedro obtained his PhD in Biotechnology and Biosciences in 2019 and is currently an Assistant Researcher at iBB.

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Development of Anti-Fouling Materials that Reduce Microbial Pathogen Adhesion

Development of Anti-Fouling Materials that Reduce Microbial Pathogen Adhesion | iBB | Scoop.it

The attachment of bacteria and other microbes to natural and artificial surfaces leads to the development of biofilms, which can further cause nosocomial infections. Thus, an important field of research is the development of new materials capable of preventing the initial adhesion of pathogenic microorganisms. In this work, novel polymer/particle composite materials were developed and characterized with respect to their mechanical, chemical and surface properties. Both S. aureus and C. glabrata exhibit a reduced capacity to adhere to the newly developed nanomaterials used in this study, thus showing their potential for bio-medical applications. This study, led by researchers from LAAS-CNRS, Toulouse, and co-authored by Mafalda Cavalheiro and Miguel Cacho Teixeira from BSRG-iBB, was just published in Nanomaterials.

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BSRG-iBB Researchers Participate in the 1st Microbiome PT Summit

BSRG-iBB Researchers Participate in the 1st Microbiome PT Summit | iBB | Scoop.it

Microbiome research has grown considerably in the past few years, producing large amounts of data to address current and future societal challenges. ELIXIR, the European Infrastructure for Biological Data, and BioData.pt, the Portuguese node of Elixir, are assembling a national microbiome community to address these challenges and promote data findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reuse, as well as knowledge exchange, among Portuguese and European researchers. In this context, the 1st Microbiome Summit took place last February 4th 2021, and counted on contributions from several BSRG-iBB members, including doctorate researchers Nuno Borges and Tina Keller-Costa, PhD students Sandra Godinho Silva, Rúben Silva and Gracinda Sanches-Fernandes who all prepared short videos about their latest research, and Prof. Rodrigo Costa, who gave an invited talk entitled “The microbiome of marine sponges: diversity, function and biotechnology”.

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Multi-Enzyme Systems in Flow Chemistry

Multi-Enzyme Systems in Flow Chemistry | iBB | Scoop.it

Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the use of biocatalysts in flow reactors. This merging combines the high selectivity and mild operation conditions typical of biocatalysis with enhanced mass transfer and resource efficiency associated to flow chemistry. Additionally, it provides a sound environment to emulate Nature by mimicking metabolic pathways in living cells and to produce goods through the systematic organization of enzymes towards efficient cascade reactions. Moreover, by enabling the combination of enzymes from different hosts, this approach paves the way for novel pathways. In a recent paper published in the journal Processes, Pedro Fernandes and Carla de Carvalho (iBB-BERG) review the recent developments within the scope of flow chemistry involving multi-enzymatic cascade reactions. The paper was published in the Special Issue  "Biocatalysis, Enzyme and Process Engineering" edited by both authors.

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The Microbial Rare Biosphere and Ecosystem Functioning

The Microbial Rare Biosphere and Ecosystem Functioning | iBB | Scoop.it

It is now known that a significant fraction of the total microbial diversity in nature exists at low abundance, which has given rise to an increasing number of studies on the so-called rare biosphere. With the fast-paced improvement of novel molecular technologies, surveys on the dynamics of the rare biosphere across the three domains of life (Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya) and several environments are now possible. Importantly, this research field is transitioning from a taxonomy-driven to a functionally driven analysis, whereby the roles of rare microorganisms in boosting ecosystem functioning are addressed. In this context, a team formed by Prof. Rodrigo Costa (iBB-BSRG), Prof. Catarina Magalhães (CIIMAR-ECOBIOTEC), and PhD candidate Francisco Pascoal (Porto University), delineate the state of the art in our current knowledge of the microbial Rare Biosphere, highlighting the role of viruses in the regulation of low abundance microbial populations. The review article, published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology, also examines current concepts and methods employed in the study of the rare biosphere, integrating emerging knowledge of low abundance microorganisms into a larger ecological theory framework.

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Genetic Determinants of Methanol Tolerance for Robustness Engineering of Yeasts

Genetic Determinants of Methanol Tolerance for Robustness Engineering of Yeasts | iBB | Scoop.it

Methanol is a promising feedstock for metabolically competent yeast strains-based biorefineries. However, methanol toxicity can limit the productivity of these bioprocesses. For this reason, the identification of genes whose expression is required for maximum methanol tolerance is important for mechanistic insights and rational genomic manipulation to obtain more robust methylotrophic yeast strains. The chemogenomic analysis performed in this new BSRG-iBB study provided new valuable information on genes and potential regulatory networks involved in overcoming methanol toxicity in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The article was just published in the Journal of Fungi and belongs to the Special Issue “Yeast Biorefineries” (edited by Isabel Sá-Correia and Naseem A. Gaur). The article has as co-authors the PhD students of the IST Biotechnology and Biosciences PhD Programme ( FCT_DP Applied and Environmental Microbiology) Marta N. Mota (first  author) and Luís C. Martins, under Prof. Isabel Sá-Correia’s supervision. The gathered knowledge is an important starting point for the improvement of methanol tolerance in yeasts capable of catabolizing and copying with methanol concentrations present in promising bioeconomy feedstocks, including industrial residues.

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Minicircle Biopharmaceuticals: An Overview of Purification Strategies

Minicircle Biopharmaceuticals: An Overview of Purification Strategies | iBB | Scoop.it

Minicircles are non-viral delivery vectors with promising features for biopharmaceutical applications. These vectors are obtained in vivo in Escherichia coli by the intramolecular recombination of a parental plasmid, which generates the minicircle of interest and an unwanted miniplasmid. Several strategies have been proposed over the years to meet the challenge of purifying and obtaining high quality minicircles. The characteristics of the strain and parental plasmid used have a high impact and strongly affect the purification strategy that can be applied. In a review published in Frontiers in Chemical Engineering, Cláudia Alves, Miguel Prazeres and Gabriel Monteiro from BERG-IST summarize the different methods developed so far, focusing not only on the purification method itself but also on its dependence on the upstream production strategy used.

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BIOTECnico PhD Alumni Seminar: Amir Hassan

BIOTECnico PhD Alumni Seminar: Amir Hassan | iBB | Scoop.it

Amir Hassan will be giving a talk entitled "Adaptation of Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria to the cystic fibrosis lung: focus on lipopolysaccharide O-antigen and cell wall physical properties", Tuesday the 19th january at 16:00 h via zoom. Amir obtained his PhD in Biotechnology and Biosciences in 2020 and is currently at the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

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Rogério Gaspar Appointed Director of Regulation and Prequalification of WHO

Rogério Gaspar Appointed Director of Regulation and Prequalification of WHO | iBB | Scoop.it

Rogério Gaspar from BERG-iBB has been apointed Director of Regulation and Prequalification of the World Health Organization (WHO). The RPQ Department is part of the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division of WHO, which works with Member States and partners to improve the access to safe, quality assured, efficacious and affordable medicines and health products and to promote that these are used rationally. Rogério will inititate his new duties in Geneva in the early 2021. Read more here.

iBB's insight:

Congratulations Rogério!

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Lipid-based Carriers for Food Ingredients Delivery

Lipid-based Carriers for Food Ingredients Delivery | iBB | Scoop.it

Encapsulation in the food industry has gained relevant importance, mainly due to its contribution to solve food problems by reducing the loss of nutrients, prolonging the shelf-life, and improving food quality and safety. Lipid-based delivery systems as microemulsions, liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles and nanostructured lipid carriers are widely used to deliver food ingredients due to their ability to protect and deliver it, enhancing its functionality and bioavailability. Despite the benefits on delivering food ingredients the toxicity profile of such carriers is usually neglected. The encapsulation advantages and disadvantages, and microencapsulation techniques used to obtain lipid-based carriers for food ingredients delivery are discussed in a review paper just published in the Journal of Food Engineering by Pedro Fonte from BERG-iBB and colleagues from the Federal University of Valleys of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri, Brazil. More importantly, the different types of lipid-based carriers used for food ingredients delivery are thoroughly scrutinized, as well as their application in foods and possible toxicity concerns.

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Cláudia Godinho Awarded First Prize in “Science Communication in Microbiology”

Cláudia Godinho Awarded First Prize in “Science Communication in Microbiology” | iBB | Scoop.it

Cláudia P. Godinho, PhD researcher at iBB-BSRG, was awarded 1st place in the “GENERAL” category of the competition “Science Communication in Microbiology”, promoted by the Portuguese Society of Microbiology (SPM) to commemorate the International Microorganism Day 2020. The competition aims to encourage and facilitate communication of relevant topics and research fields in ​​microbiology to the general public in a concise, clear and attractive way, through the presentation of an image and respective explanatory summary. The winning entry, entitled “Contribution of microbial diversity to a circular Bioeconomy”, draws attention to the role that yeast biodiversity can play in the production of a wide range of bioproducts, from agro-industrial residues.

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Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings | iBB | Scoop.it

With best wishes for the Holiday season and the coming year!

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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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AntiMicrobial Peptide Resistance Conferred by a Polyamine Transporter: a New Virulence Mechanism

AntiMicrobial Peptide Resistance Conferred by a Polyamine Transporter: a New Virulence Mechanism | iBB | Scoop.it

Cellular components that contribute to both pathogenesis and drug resistance are among the most promising drug targets in human pathogens. In this study, the uncharacterized drug:H+ antiporter CgTpo4 was shown to play a role in Candida glabrata virulence in the infection model G. mellonella. The underlying mechanism was demonstrated to include a role in AntiMicrobial Peptide (AMP) resistance, compatible with the observed immune response deployed by G. mellonella upon C. glabrata infection. These results, emerging from a collaboration between BSRG members, led by Miguel Cacho Teixeira and including Arsénio Fialho and Dalila Mil-Homens, were just published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences and are expected to contribute to design more suitable antifungal therapeutic strategies.

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Plasmid Replicons for the Production of Biopharmaceuticals by Lactococcus lactis Cell Factories

Plasmid Replicons for the Production of Biopharmaceuticals by Lactococcus lactis Cell Factories | iBB | Scoop.it

While Lactococcus lactis is traditionally associated with the fermented food industry, applications of these bacteria have been spreading to the pharmaceutical industry. The goal is to use L. lactis as cell factories for the production of added-value recombinant proteins and plasmid DNA (pDNA) for DNA vaccination, as a safer and industrially profitable alternative to the traditional Escherichia coli host. In a recent review in International Molecular Sciences, Sofia Duarte and Gabriel Monteiro from BERG-iBB critically systematize the plasmid replicons available for the production of pharmaceutical-grade pDNA and recombinant proteins by L. lactis. The work is funded by the LactoSynt project.

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Six iBB Researchers are Among the Most Cited Top Scientists in the World

Six iBB Researchers are Among the Most Cited Top Scientists in the World | iBB | Scoop.it

Six iBB researchers are among the most cited top scientists at the top 2% of their areas. Portugal is represented in this list compiled by Stanford University with 385 scientists affiliated to national institutions. The rankings are based upon a researcher’s citations for both a single year (2019) and cumulative across their careers. Titled “Updated science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators,” the list uses algorithms that quantify and systematically rank individuals into consistent scientific fields. The scores are provided  with and without self-citations to lessen the impact of self-citations or the use of citation farms (small clusters of researchers massively citing each other’s work). Ranked within the careerlong citation impact list are these iBB researchers: Joaquim Cabral, Isabel Sá-Correia, Mário Berberan Santos, Miguel Prazeres, Carla Carvalho, also along with Carina Crucho in the
2017 single-year citations list.

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Galleria mellonella as an Animal Model to Test the Activity of Synthetic Phages Against P. aeruginosa Infections

Galleria mellonella as an Animal Model to Test the Activity of Synthetic Phages Against P. aeruginosa Infections | iBB | Scoop.it

Bacteriophages have emerged as a promising therapeutic approach to deal with the problem of antibiotic resistance. In a study led by researchers from University of Minho and co-authored by Dalila Mil-Homens and Arsénio M Fialho from BSRG-iBB, the advantages of using a non-mammalian animal model - the larvae of the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella) - to test the efficacy of bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections was demonstrated. Specifically, the animal model was used to assess the antibacterial efficacy of wild-type and synthetic phages with reduced Genomes against the bacterium P. aeruginosa. This model of infection was implemented at our laboratory and efforts are continually being made to improve and turning it more accurate and robust. The work was published in Scientific Reports.

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Probiotics in Fish Aquaculture

Probiotics in Fish Aquaculture | iBB | Scoop.it

Aquaculture is the fastest-growing sector in food production worldwide. BSRG-iBB researchers Nuno Borges, Tina Keller-Costa, PhD candidate Gracinda Sanches-Fernandes and Prof. Rodrigo Costa, together with colleagues from the University of Aveiro, have recently published a review in Annual Review of Animal Biosciences examining molecular studies of bacterial diversity, function, and host immunity modulation at early stages of fish development, where microbial infections cause important economic losses. The authors uncover host colonization and virulence factors from a synthetic assemblage of fish pathogens using comparative genomics and address the use of probiotics and paraprobiotics as disease-prevention strategies in fish larval and juvenile rearing. They also propose guidelines for future microbiome research of presumed relevance to fish larviculture.

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Special Issue on “Advanced Polymeric Scaffolds for Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine”

Special Issue on “Advanced Polymeric Scaffolds for Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine” | iBB | Scoop.it

João Carlos Silva and Frederico Castelo Ferreira from SCERG-iBB are guest-editing a special issue for the open-access journal “Polymers” entitled “Advanced Polymeric Scaffolds for Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine”. Polymer scaffolds play a crucial role in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications since they can closely mimic the architecture of a native extracellular matrix (ECM) and improve the biological performance of cells both in vitro and in vivo. This Special Issue welcomes full research papers, communications and reviews on recent exciting developments of polymeric scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.

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What Makes S. boulardii probiotic? A Transcriptomics View

What Makes S. boulardii probiotic? A Transcriptomics View | iBB | Scoop.it

Saccharomyces boulardii has been widely used, for more than 50 years, as a human probiotic. Nonetheless, the molecular basis underlying its mode of action is scarcely understood. In this study, global gene expression analysis, resorting to Illumina- based RNA-sequencing, was conducted to analyze differential gene expression patterns in S. cerevisiae and S. cerevisiae var. boulardii in GI- tract like medium. Additionally, based on the construction of an S. cerevisiae var. boulardii database, a global comparison between gene promoter sequences in S. cerevisiae and S. cerevisiae var. boulardii strains was conducted. The obtained results shed light into the molecular basis of the differential probiotic phenotypes displayed by these two closely related yeasts. The knowledge gathered through this study, by a team led by Miguel Cacho Teixeira, BSRG-iBB, and Pedro T Monteiro, INESC-ID, and just published in Genomics, is expected to contribute to guide the design of more rationale, probiotic-based, therapeutic approaches.

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BIOTECnico PhD Program Seminar Cycle 2021

BIOTECnico PhD Program Seminar Cycle 2021 | iBB | Scoop.it

The BIOTECnico PhD program will initiate a cycle of alumni seminars on the 19th of January 2021. Until the 30th of March, every 2 weeks, on Tuesdays at 4 pm, BIOTECnico alumni will deliver a 20 min presentation describing the main achievements of the PhD projects they developed at iBB, as well as their current professional activities and institution. The seminars will be delivered via zoom and the full list can be found here.

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Why do Fireflies Shine?

Why do Fireflies Shine? | iBB | Scoop.it

Vasco Bonifácio was invited to participate in the program “Explain me as if were 5 years old”, an IST initiative that consists of informal conversations about science for curious children and adults. In this program, which was broadcast live on Facebook on the afternoon of November 28, 2020, Vasco presented the session “Why do fireflies shine?”. In this session, chaired by Joana Lobo Antunes (Communication and Public Relations Office of IST), Vasco Bonifácio explained the phenomena of bioluminescence, chemiluminescence and phosphorescence and how these physical-chemical processes are related to research in the area of cancer treatment that he has been developing in recent years. There was also time to carry out live experiments, which delighted the young audience and to answer many questions! The program was recorded and is available on the program's website (Episode 12).

iBB's insight:

https://explicame.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/episodio-12.html

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Modeling Rett Syndrome With Human Patient-Specific Forebrain Organoids

Modeling Rett Syndrome With Human Patient-Specific Forebrain Organoids | iBB | Scoop.it

Engineering brain organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) is a powerful tool for modeling brain development and neurological disorders. Rett syndrome (RTT), a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, can greatly benefit from this technology, since it affects multiple neuronal subtypes in forebrain sub-regions. SCERG-iBB researchers have recently established dorsal and ventral forebrain organoids from control and RTT patient-specific hiPSCs recapitulating the 3D organization and functional network complexity of this brain region. The data obtained revealed a premature development of the deep-cortical layer, associated to the formation of TBR1 and CTIP2 neurons, and a lower expression of neural progenitor/proliferative cells in RTT dorsal organoids. Moreover, calcium imaging and electrophysiology analysis demonstrated functional defects of RTT neurons. Additionally, assembly of RTT dorsal and ventral organoids revealed impairments of interneuron’s migration. Overall, these models provide a better understanding of RTT during early stages of neural development, demonstrating a great potential for personalized diagnosis and drug screening. The paper was published in Frontiers in Cell Development Biology.

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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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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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