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HOUTEN, Netherlands

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH.2011.2.3.1-2 | Award Amount: 16.04M | Year: 2011

Antibiotics are essential therapeutics in the treatment of bacterial infections. However, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics has led to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria that pose a major threat to human health as options for treating infections by these bacteria have become limited. The evolution, emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance genes are still only poorly understood and expanding our knowledge on these aspects will provide novel leads to combat the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The EvoTAR consortium gathers a multi-disciplinary group of leading European researchers in the fields of antibiotic resistance, microbial genomics and mathematical modelling. In addition, three research-intensive SMEs participate in EvoTAR, two of which are involved in the development of novel approaches to minimize the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. The purpose of EvoTAR is to increase the understanding of the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens. EvoTAR will characterise the human reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (the resistome) by investigating the dynamics and evolution of the interaction between resistant and non-resistant bacteria from the human microbiome and the interrelations of the human resistome with non-human reservoirs of resistance genes. Novel methods will be used to quantify resistance transfer under controlled conditions in gene exchange communities. Mathematical modelling will be applied to predict gene flow between different reservoirs and to predict future resistance trends. Novel in vitro and in vivo models will allow the study of the efficacy of novel therapeutics aimed at reducing selection and spread of antibiotic resistance. The EvoTAR project will generate novel insights into the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance genes and thereby create opportunities for the development of novel interventions to curb the rising tide of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2009-3-6-03 | Award Amount: 3.91M | Year: 2010

BIOMONAR develops multiplexed nanoarray biosensors for environmental targets, i.e. pollutants and pathogens. The innovative approach engineers three sensor platforms (surface, liposomal, living cell) which exploit a panel of periplasmic binding proteins (PBPs) as the common selective element. The nanoarrays are integrated into a microfluidics system for in-situ monitoring. The strategy allows for selective and sensitive detection of target compounds in complex environmental mixtures. The sensor platforms probe different aspects in the exposure to effect chain of processes: each responds to a certain proportion of the total target concentration and has a characteristic dynamic window. The sensor signals are quantitatively interpreted and represented in terms of the spectra of reactivities and fluxes of the target compounds. This level of sophistication, coupled with the common PBP selective component, allows a coherent elucidation of the link between dynamic target speciation and predicted ecotoxicological impact. The optimisation and dedication of the sensors for environmental monitoring inherently involves physicochemical characterisation of the various bio/nonbio and bio/bio interfacial processes at nanoscale. The ensuing knowledge on the interaction of nanostructured surfaces with biological systems facilitates design of sensors for new targets, thus providing technical opportunities for the biosensor industry.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2010.3.5-04 | Award Amount: 7.74M | Year: 2011

There is a strong need for new thermostable hydrolases with appropriate performance and/or novel functionalities that could provide huge savings in time, money and energy for industrial processes. The HotZyme project aims to identify such enzymes from hot terrestial environments, using metagenomic screening methods. New bioinfomatic tools will be developed to facilitate function prediction of genes from metagenomes that show low or no sequence homology to enzymes of known function. A range of high-throughput screening technologies will be employed to identify novel hydrolases. The consortium is composed of 13 partners from 10 European countries plus one partner from USA. The strong expertise in Microbiology, Moleculary Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Geochemistry, Nanotechnology and Bioinformatics from our partners will be integrated in the project to ensure the fulfilment of the proposed tasks. Importantly, the five industrial partners, including three SMEs, will seek to commercialize the project results, thus ensuring a European wide impact, post project.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.2-02 | Award Amount: 11.97M | Year: 2012

Marine microorganisms form an almost untapped resource of biotechnological potential. However, its use is hindered by the low success rate of isolation of novel microorganisms and often by poor growth efficiency. Hence, the vast majority of marine microorganisms has not been cultivated and is often considered as unculturable. MaCuMBA aims at improving the isolation rate and growth efficiency of marine microorganisms from conventional and extreme habitats, by applying innovative methods, and the use of automated high throughput procedures. The approaches include the co-cultivation of interdependent microorganisms, as well as gradient cultures and other methods mimicking the natural environment, and the exploitation of cell-to-cell communication. Signaling molecules produced by microorganisms may be necessary for stimulating growth of the same or other species, or may prevent their growth. Signaling molecules also represent an interesting and marketable product. MaCuMBA will make use of high throughput platforms such Cocagne, using gel micro-droplet technology, or MicroDish in which many thousands of cultures are grown simultaneously. Various single-cell isolation methods, such as optical tweezers, will aid the isolation of specific target cells. Isolated microorganisms as well as their genomes will be screened for a wide range of bioactive products and other properties of biotechnological interest, such as genetic transformability. Growth efficiency and expression of silent genes of selected strains will be increased also by using the clues obtained from genomic information. MaCuMBA is targeted to SMEs and industry and they make a significant part of the consortium, ensuring that the project focuses on the interests of these partners. Moreover, MaCuMBA has adopted a comprehensive and professional exploitation, dissemination, implementation, and education strategy, ensuring that MaCuMBAs results and products will be directed to end-users and stakeholders.

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