The Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences (IBB) is a research unit at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade de Lisboa (UL), aiming at cutting edge research and strategic advanced education in fundamental and applied biological sciences, biotechnology and bioengineering, by responding to the challenge of exploring innovative approaches to key scientific and technological questions in biosciences and bioengineering and of transforming scientific knowledge into tangible innovation.
The Institute was created in 2013, by the integration of the BioEngineering Research Group (BERG) and the Biological Sciences Research Group (BSRG), two research groups established at IST in 1991.
The mission of IBB is to promote cross-disciplinary research, development and education encompassing the biological and engineering disciplines, in order to design more efficient and sustainable bioprocesses, create innovative products and provide useful services specifically targeted to the industrial, health and environmental biotechnology sectors.
In education, the focus of IBB is to train a diverse pool of scientists and bioengineers at post-graduate level to address the nation’s research needs and to shape the future leaders and professionals to support the advancement of the Biotechnology field.
IBB aims to create a research and educational environment with international impact and to produce the next generations of leaders in Biotechnology.
The excellent institutional relations and strong collaborations of IBB with top national and international partners positions IBB as a motor for fostering translation of groundbreaking research into technological advances with high impact in the economy and human wellbeing. The specific goals set by IBB to successfully accomplish its mission are:
1) To conduct excellent quality and competitive research in Bioengineering and Biosciences, by bridging disciplines and establishing cross-disciplinary collaborations between the Engineering and Life-sciences areas, capturing funding from national and international agencies and programs and attracting top students and researchers.
2) To address specific challenges and needs of the industrial, environmental and health sectors and to transform scientific discoveries into products, by developing mutually beneficial relationships with industry, engaging into collaborative R&D programs and consulting activities, and harnessing funds available to promote innovation-related activities (e.g. piloting, demonstration, test-beds).
3) To develop advanced (PhD) educational and training programs in Bioengineering and Biosciences.
4) To have a beneficial impact in society from the discoveries and skills of IBB members, by disseminating these to all audiences, registering patents, establishing licensing deals and providing training programs, services and consulting to third parties.
IBB research activities are developed within two research groups, the BioEngineering Research Group (BERG) and the Biological Sciences Research Group (BSRG).
The BioEngineering Research Group (BERG) overall goal is to explore novel engineering approaches to address unmet technological challenges and to translate the knowledge gained in molecular and cellular mechanisms into a rational development of efficient processes and applications of biological systems relevant to the Industrial and Healthcare sectors. The research activities of BERG activities are centered on four core Research Programs on: Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, Bioseparation Engineering, Molecular Bioengineering, and Stem Cell Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine.
The Biological Sciences Research Group (BSRG) develops research activities in Molecular and Cellular Microbiology, Microbial Biotechnology and Functional and Comparative Genomics and Bioinformatics. Interdisciplinary programs are developed involving molecular biosciences across disciplines, from molecules to systems, to understand how biological systems orchestrate multiple functions, envisaging the exploitation/control of their activities in Industrial, Health, Environmental and Agro-Food Biotechnology.
The IBB strategic program for the period 2015-2020 is focused on advancing knowledge, developing innovative tools, technologies and materials, solving pressing challenges and training human resources within four specific thematic lines:
1) Stem Cell Engineering: Tools and Applications;
Post-Genomic Technologies to boost Biological Sciences and
Bioengineering Research; and
and Resistance to Environmental Challenges.
The focus of the Stem Cell Engineering: Tools and Applications thematic line is on the development of bioprocesses to cultivate and purify stem cells and their derivatives targeting their application in Regenerative Medicine settings and toxicology/pharmacological testing.
The Advanced Bioprocess Engineering thematic line is focused on i) solving current industrial bottlenecks associated with biologically based manufacturing and on ii) developing new bioprocess engineering methodologies to translate recent scientific developments into new products and processes.
The focus of the Post-Genomic Technologies to boost Biological Sciences and Bioengineering Research thematic line is the consolidation of our intervention in the fields of Functional and Comparative Genomics and Bioinformatics and the implementation of systems and synthetic biology strategies and microbial metagenomics to gain full understanding of biological systems and to enable their redesign and construction in order to display functions unknown in nature and more suited to specific biotechnological applications.
The main focus of the Response and Resistance to Environmental Challenges thematic line is on uncovering the complexity of cellular responses to new situations, in particular to stress, which might be instrumental to improve biotechnological processes performance, food preservation and crop protection actions, and to control drug resistance and microbial pathogenicity.