The Biotech Institute uses sequencing-based innovative technologies to decipher the molecular causes and mechanisms of AMR, including the big problem of co-infections. Our research assists in developing appropriate strategies to enable medical practitioners to provide more informed therapeutic decisions and provides a solid framework for comprehensive AMR stewardship programs. One of our current efforts is to disentangle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from the 'classical' AMR problem.
CRISPR/Cas systems are an ingenious system of molecular scissors that allows one to easily make desired changes in the gene of interest. Such ingenuity was noted by a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020. At The Biotech Institute our primary interest is in using CRISPR/Cas effector systems for target RNA manipulation and editing (rather than gene editing). By using type VIII systems we aim to regulate the differential expression of specific genes at the RNA level (alternative splicing) and thereby seek to control the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, cancers and neurodenerative disorders. We expect in the future to expand genomic modulation to agricultural applications as well.
In this area, we focus on identifying local plants hisorically, traditionally or locally used to treat specific ailments. We study the effect of the extracts on cells and isolate the active compunds. By means of a combination of cellular and biophysical studies, we aim to imprrove the effectiveness and efficacy of the isolated compounds by making relevant chemical substitutions. The end-goal is to add value to natural products and turn them into modern pharmaceutical products. Currently, the plant of particular interest is medicinal cannabis.
Enzymes are proteins that can be exploited to achieve a variety of biotechnological or biocatalytical applications. In our enzyme biotechnology sub-group, we employ biophysics, random mutagenesis and directed evolution to study and optimize enzymes for various purposes, in particular, increasing the nutrient-content in livestock feed and bio-degradation of plastics.