Coordinator: Ana Cecília Roque
The Thematic Line (TL) (Nano)Bioengineering bridges efforts of UCIBIO research groups to develop basic and applied research in the fields of Bioengineering (Nanomedicine, Biomaterials & Biomedical Devices) and Biotechnology (Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology & Blue Biotechnology). It is fully justified according to UCIBIO´s goals, by targeting the synergy between basic and applied research, and the promotion of science and technology transfer to meet societal grand challenges.
The focus of the TL (Nano)Bioengineering has a strong societal impact, and arises from interdisciplinary research teams from 4 existing Research Groups (RG) of biologists, biochemists, engineers, theoreticians, and chemists. The strong patent portfolio, existing industrial collaborations, as well as established spin-off companies will certainly elicit new opportunities and support the goals of the TL and Research Unit. It is expectable that these groups will strengthen their connections and collaborate in a synergistic way. This will have a direct input on developing biomedical devices for personalized medicine in diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as on finding new bio-based solutions for industrial and environmental biotechnology, with impact in sustainable, bioeconomy and circular economy.
The RGs which mostly contribute for the (Nano)Bioengineering TL are: Bioengineering (BENG), NanoImmunoTech (NIT), Theoretical & Computational Biochemistry (TCB) and Toxicology (TOXI).
Researchers from BENG, NIT and TOXI with a stronger focus in bioengineering, combine knowledge on nano- and micro-technologies and biological components to create: i) biomedical devices for nanomedicine (e.g. nanoconjugates for diagnostics and for therapy by exosome trafficking); ii) non-invasive diagnostic tools for cancer and infectious diseases based on artificial olfaction; iii) innovative therapies to fight cancer progression and metastasis, including immunotherapies.
Researchers from BENG, TCB and TOXI also contribute in the fields of marine, industrial and environmental biotechnology. In particular, BENG and TOXI researchers use marine organisms as a source of bioactive compounds (e.g. biofouling paint), biotoxins (e.g. bactericides or apoptosis inducers) and optically active proteins and compounds (e.g. for bioimaging). The TCB team has greatly contributed to elucidate the catalytic mechanism of several enzymes with industrial relevance, therefore opening possibilities to engineer and improve such biocatalysts, in particular the enzyme DszD with potential for biodesulfurization of petroleum and derivatives. BENG is also strongly engaged in the development and patenting of green and resource-efficient technologies for the production of biopolymers based on the use of food and industrial by-products, and on the link of these processes with wastewater treatment.
Research Groups involved in the Thematic Line
- Theoretical & Computational Biochemistry - TCB
- Toxicology - TOXI
- NanoImmunoTech - NIT
- Bioengineering - BENG