186 Projects, page 1 of 38
The project „BioCat“ investigates electron uptake mechanisms of electroactive bacteria catalyzing reduction processes on biocathodes at the protein membrane level. Thus, the project will significantly contribute to the basic understanding and optimization of microbial electrosynthesis. The driving force for the increasing interest in microbial electrosynthesis is the intriguing capacity of this technology to produce high value chemicals from carbon dioxide and electricity. This conversion addresses carbon capture and storage issues of renewable power sources and will contribute to a carbon neutral economy and society. The project will be conducted at the Inorganic Biochemistry and NMR group (IBN) of the ITQB NOVA in Lisbon with a secondment at the University of Tübingen at the Laboratory of Prof.Dr. Lars Angenent. BioCat is divided into three main objectives. First of all a basic understanding of the role of c-type cytochromes and the indirect or direct nature of the electron transfer will be investigated with Shewanella oneidensis. Subsequently Sporomusa ovata and its membrane proteins carrying out electron transfer are studied, while the production of acetate from CO2 is monitored. Both will be analyzed as a function of operating parameters (electrode potential and pH). To round up the project, an optimized continuous run prototype reactor will be operated and characterized. The project will enable the researcher Joana Madjarov to get trained in the whole chain of basic to applied research. The main focus lies in the fundamental biochemical research, but the project directly links the findings to application relevant acetate production yields and efficiency.
Human societies are sustained by flowering plants in different ways but especially as a key food supplier. However, it is known that increasing global temperatures strongly affect plant reproduction and the growing human population will require more food in short-middle term. Thus, to create new crop varieties more resistant to heat stress and with enhanced yield, a deeper understanding of the mechanism of plant sexual reproduction will be crucial for increasing the efficiency of plant breeding programs. Plant reproduction relies on a double fertilization process, in which two sperm cells from a pollen grain reach the ovule and one fertilize the egg cell while the other the central cell. In some species with dimorphic sperm cells a preferential fertilization of each sperm cell has been described, but for Arabidopsis thaliana as well as for many economically important crops with isomorphic sperm cells this question remains unclear. The main goal of this project is to identify by single cell RNA-seq analysis potential transcriptomic differences between the two Arabidopsis sperm cells. To do that, individual sperm cells from pollen tubes growing through female stylar transmitting tissue (semi in vivo) will be isolated by micromanipulation using a specially designed microfluidic chamber on an inverted microscope. The identification of differentially expressed genes would enable for the first time the creation of a sperm single-cell marker line to eventually explore a hypothetical preferential fertilization in Arabidopsis. These results can be adapted for plant breeding programs to develop impactful biotechnological tools, like haploid inducer lines with genetically modified sperm cells to specifically deliver components in the egg cell to induce in vivo gynogenesis. Additionally, the results will be a valuable scientific resource to address other topics beyond the preferential fertilization, like exploring hybridization barriers based on gamete recognition.
Quorum sensing allows bacteria to synchronise and regulate their behaviours. Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) is a particularly relevant signaling molecule able to promote inter-species communication. In the mammalian gut microbiota, a therapeutically relevant niche, interference of AI-2-mediated signaling has been shown to influence the balance of the major phyla after antibiotic treatment. Still, the mechanisms involved in this process are not known. We propose to establish novel chemical and structural based approaches to decipher the mechanisms involved in the response of the gut microbiota to AI-2 and identify mechanisms that promote beneficial responses by the symbionts while inhibiting virulence in gut pathogens. For this, we will construct chemical tools that will function as AI-2 prodrugs to orally deliver intact AI-2 to the gut. AI-2 is a highly functionalised molecule, very reactive and unstable at high concentrations, thus a prodrug strategy will protect AI-2 until its release in the gut. To gain a molecular understanding involved in response to AI-2 we will identify AI-2 sensing mechanism (receptors) in commensal and pathogenic members of the microbiota belonging to the Clostridiaceae. For that, new AI-2 fluorescent probes will be designed and synthesised. The Clostridiaceae family are relevant members in the mammalian gut. These organisms include both beneficial as well as pathogenic members and we want to identify strategies to promote the beneficial response while inhibiting the pathogenic ones to promote a healthy microbiota community. Our hypothesis is that synthetic AI-2 can help in the recovery of a healthy bacterial phyla ratio after a distress, like antibiotic treatment.
Cell therapies are foreseen as the next generation therapeutics for some of the chronic diseases with highest global economic and social burden. The market for human cell therapies has been estimated to be 8 B€ in 2021 with an expected annual growth rate of 26% until 2028. The key aspect for the success of a cell therapy is the preservation of cells. Currently, cells must be cryopreserved using a cryoprotectant agent (CPA) at -196ºC, in a liquid nitrogen tank. The gold standard CPA is a chemical organic compound, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) highly toxic. Despite this it has high success rates and continues to be the industry gold standard CPA. Inspired by Nature, CryoDES was developed. CryoDES is a cryoprotectant agent, non-toxic and composed of generally regarded as safe components. These systems have proven to be able to replace the gold standard CPA, presenting the same or better performance indicators. One of the major advantages of these systems is the fact that it allows the storage of cells at -20 ºC, in a conventional freezer, vastly outperforming DMSO. The CryoDES team is composed of researchers and entrepreneurs who are passionate about science. Together, the CryoDES team has been working on this technology for the four years and envisage now to bring it to the next level towards a commercialization strategy. To achieve this, in this PoC the team intends to perform technical feasibility studies of the product; evaluate the commercial value of the product; perform a market assessment study and draft the plan for commercialization.. Albeit projects and results related to Life Sciences and Biopharmaceuticals require time to become a reality due to the need of the respective pre-clinical and clinical trials, this PoC Action will have as immediate outcome the creation of a start-up able to commercialize CryoDES for research purposes, for which there is also a large market. With CryoDES we will allow cleaner and safer cell therapies for all.
Few legal phenomena have been so relevant to premodern southern Europe societies as entails, a specific strategy that evolved to protect family inheritances, thus enabling the reproduction of elite social status. The VINCULUM project aims to explain how entailment became possible, how it functioned, and why it lasted for so many centuries. The project rests on the innovative theoretical claim that entails, as corporate bodies, functioned as a key social agent, created and acting within societies for which non-personal legal subjects were normal. Building on the Portuguese-Iberian case, and on the extensive research already carried out by me and my team, I propose to study 'entailment' as a diverse but pivotal practice, one embedded in law, aristocratic discourse, and kinship-based organization, and to carry out comprehensive analysis that explores this global nature. The research approach systematically breaks with traditional research frontiers: cases will extend from the 14th to 17th century in both continental and Atlantic spaces, and include both comparative perspectives and the study of later social reconfigurations. VINCULUM will be anchored in extended research in public archives and on unprecedented access to extensive private family archives, which have been opened to research by the ARQFAM program I have led since 2008. Data collection will allow for the construction of a large database, gathering all documents relating to each entail, under a theoretical model that seeks to reconstruct past information systems, thus testing a novel methodology developed in my previous research. The database that will gather c.7000 thousand entails, enabling systematic inquiries organized around the new conceptual definitions proposed by the project. The research will be strongly interdisciplinary, engaging with historical anthropology and archival science in order to construct a proper theoretical model for understanding this crucial legal and social phenomenon.