About us: Aims & Description

BioFIG forms an interdisciplinary platform that offers high-level training opportunities to researchers interested in different aspects of Biology. The broad scope of BioFIG and the facilities it has available are not easily found within a single institution. This spectrum of expertise will facilitate the innovative research anticipated, it will allow for fresh insights into research problems, and it will ensure that members will be exposed to interdisciplinary thinking and transferable knowledge (e.g. molecular biology, genomics, cell biology, developmental biology and computational biology).

BioFIG includes experts in fields as diverse as genomics, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, statistics and taxonomy with a tracking record of successful collaboration and knowledge transfer. BioFIG is organized into five teams corresponding to main research areas withh a network of research involvement which was defined for the partner groups. Thus a full involvement of the research teams in all thematic areas is expected, leading to an enhanced cross-linked network of research. This will ensure the accomplishment of the long-term objectives of each research area through the development of a specific set of key actions (Interactomics and Human health; Plant health and crop improvement; Biofactories and Bioremediation; Biodiversity and Genetic resources; Bioinformatics).

BioFIG also aims at pursuing an active technology transfer policy, serving the needs of national and international industries. The organization of partnering meetings, aiming at obtaining perception of the research data by the end users, namely with company and clinical stakeholders, will contribute for definition of research bottlenecks and strategic priorities.

 

Aims

Science in the next decade is faced with the need of research that will contribute to improve human and animal health, to control, aging and senescence, to increase food quality and quantity, and to promote sustainable agriculture and forestry while preserving the environment. These are the current and future challenges that life sciences and biotechnology have to meet so as to fulfill the society expectations. The aims of BioFIG are:

  • To develop research on genetics, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology and biotechnology. Special emphasis will be global or “omic” approaches like Genomics, Transcriptomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics with a focus on human diseases and plants and their causal biotic (nematodes, microbes, being bacteria or fungi and viruses) and abiotic (global changes derived stresses) agents.
  • To apply the newly generated scientific knowledge to the development of new biotechnological health related approaches, for the improvement of human health issues (namely better diagnostic and prognosis tools and improved treatments) and of species with economic relevance.
  • To carry out scientific training at the levels of MSc (2nd cycle) and PhD (3rd cycle), aiming at preparing a new generation of scientists capable of producing excellent research, in the intervention areas defined thus increasing Portuguese competitiveness.
  • To maintain, upgrade and renew the core-support facilities to serve the Center researcher members so as to perform cutting-edge research and training courses.
  • To transfer technology to other Portuguese laboratories and companies maintaining collaborations and a follow-up approach.
  • To promote events (e.g., formal and informal meetings, conferences & seminars) for an integrative discussion of results and their potential applications.
  • To generate joint ventures between BioFIG, other research centers and industrial Partners from Health and Agriculture for the further conversion of results into Biotech/Health industry applications.
  • To interact with EU partners through cooperation in R&D projects, coordination actions and EUREKA programs in order to pursue excellent and competitive research in national and European priority areas. To foster beneficial interactions with less developed countries, in particular the PALOP community.

 

Thus, the major research areas to be developed by BioFIG are:

  1. Molecular Biology and Integrative Genomics - Definition of gene function in human, plants and prokaryotes;
  2. Human health - Disease gene identification, novel molecular diagnostic methods, novel therapeutic approaches; nutraceuticals.
  3. Biotechnology - Organism improvement using biotechnological approaches (plant genetic resources, plants as bio-factories specially for production of pharmaceutical compounds, risk assessment of GM crops, soil, agro-food and air borne microbiology, yeast and bacteria as cell factories for food and non-food applications).
  4. Biodiversity and Genetic Resources – Identification, preservation and characterization of genetic resources in Mediterranean fauna and flora.

 

BioFIG also aims at pursuing an active technology transfer policy, serving the needs of national and international industries. The organization of partnering meetings, aiming at obtaining perception of the research data by the end users, namely with company and clinical stakeholders, will contribute for definition of research bottlenecks and strategic priorities.