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Mainz, Germany

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2013.2.2-2 | Award Amount: 2.28M | Year: 2013

The application of rapid prototyping techniques has become a new trend in the fabrication of customized scaffolds for tissue regeneration or repair. The aim of the proposed project is to provide novel solutions for bottle-neck problems currently faced in establishing the corresponding processing chain, which encounter, among others, the extraction of essential geometry data of the damaged tissue from medical images, e.g. CT and MRI, with a resolution sufficient enough to guide CAD/CAM-based materials manufacturing processes; the establishment of a feasible interfaces between medical imaging, CAD and CAM; and the fabrication, by rapid prototyping techniques, i.e. selective laser sintering, 3D printing and robocasting, of customized scaffolds based on an innovative morphogenetically active bio-inorganic polymer, bio-silica, either alone or in combination with another bio-inorganic polymer, bio-polyP, as well as smart micro-units. Customization of both external geometry and internal cellular architecture, and of the material properties of the scaffolds will be achieved. The main focus is the development of novel osteogenic scaffolds which obviate the need of exogenously added growth factors/cytokines in bone tissue engineering. The scaffolds made of the bioactive bio-inorganic polymers or their composites with traditional bio-ceramics will fulfil both mechanical and physiological requirements for the intended biomedical applications. In addition, this project will provide a new strategy for 3D printing of bone-forming cells by exploiting the unique advantages of cell-encapsulating bio-silica alginate hydrogels. The multidisciplinary consortium proposing this project comprises internationally top-ranked researchers in Europe and in China and includes an already established Joint Lab between European and Chinese partners providing the necessary infrastructure and competence to realize a fast integration and a proof-of-concept within the proposed 3-year funding period.

There is strong interest in the development of novel functionalized membranes which can be used as microsieves, as a component of integrated analytical systems, in food processing, drug discovery and diagnostic applications. This project is based on a combination of three break-through technologies, developed by the applicants in the past, with high impact for nano(bio)technological application: (i) the S-layer technology allowing the construction of nanoporous protein lattices, (ii) the biocatalytic formation of inorganic materials by silicatein, a group of unique enzymes capable to catalyze the formation of porous silica from soluble precursors, and (iii) the sol-gel technique for encapsulation (immobilization) of biomolecules serving as biocatalyst or as a component of sensors. The goal of this project is to design and fabricate - based on molecular biology inspired approaches - nano-porous bio-inorganic membranes with novel functionalities for industrial application. These membranes will be formed by S-layer proteins, which are able to assemble to highly ordered structures of defined pore-size, and recombinant silicateins or silicatein fusion proteins. The hydrated silica glass layer formed by silicatein will be used to encase biocatalysts (enzymes) or antibodies against small molecules as sample prep- or sensor components of integrated systems. The innovative type of the functionalized membranes developed in this project thus exploits two principles: (i) protein self-assembly and - and this has not been done before - (ii) enzymatic (silicatein-mediated) deposition of inorganic material used for reinforcement of the membranes as well as for encasing biomolecules, providing the membranes with new functionalities. The new technique will be exploited by three research-based SMEs and the enduser involved in the project, in microfluidics based sample processing and micro-array development, in industrial nanosieves, as well as in sensors in drinking water systems.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IAPP | Award Amount: 856.02K | Year: 2011

Core-shell materials are of enormous interest for many applications in nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Only recently, due to the achievements of the consortium, the generation of such nanoparticles by applying unique proteins from marine organisms has become possible. In this IAPP, based on a long-term and very successful cooperation between groups in Germany and Croatia, well known in the field of marine biotechnology of sponges and associated microorganisms, and now extended by an SME (NanotecMARIN GmbH) with a special focus on the exploitation of marine metal-oxide forming enzymes / proteins, a marine bacterial multicopper oxidase (MCO) and a sponge laccase, which are able to catalyze the oxidation of Mn(II) to Mn(IV), will be used to generate novel metal oxide nanocomposite materials. Enzymatically active MCO will be immobilized on magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles to enzymatically fabricate core-shell materials. In addition, MCO and laccase will be applied in combination with silica or other metal oxide-forming proteins (recombinant silicatein and silintaphin-1) to generate nanoparticles containing multiple shells of various materials, which can be doped with fluorescent dyes and proteins during their formation at mild conditions. These core-shell nanoparticles will be used in drug delivery, for removal of manganese or other heavy metals from contaminated aqueous solutions (remediation of contaminated environments), as well as for the development of antifouling strategies.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.2-01 | Award Amount: 8.15M | Year: 2012

Marine organisms, in particular sponges and their associated microorganisms, are an inexhaustible source of novel bioactive (lead) compounds for biomedical application. Industrial exploitation of this natural resource using traditional approaches is, however, hampered, with a few exceptions, by unsolvable supply problems - despite of numerous efforts in the past. Therefore, there is, very likely, only one way: to start from the genes encoding the bioproducts, or their biosynthetic pathways, to sustainably obtain the active molecules in sufficient amounts. The aim of the presented industry-driven integrating project is to combine the knowledge in marine genomics, chemogenetics and advanced chemistry to produce recombinantly prepared novel secondary metabolite (lead) compounds and analogous from them, as well as pharmacologically active peptides, and to bring them up to the pre-clinical, and hopefully also to the clinical studies. This ambitious approach is based on breakthrough discoveries and the results of previous successful EU projects of members of the applying consortium, including European leaders (or worldwide leaders) in marine (sponge) genomics, metagenomics (polyketide synthase clusters), combinatorial biosynthesis and marine natural product chemistry/structure elucidation. This multidisciplinary project, driven by high-tech genomics-based SMEs with dedicated interest in bringing marine-biotechnology-derived products to the market, will also involve the discovery and sustainable production of bioactive molecules from hitherto unexploited extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents and deep-sea sources, and the expression/scale-up of unique enzymes/proteins of biomedical and biotechnological interest. The molecular-biology-based strategies developed in this project for a sustainable exploitation of aquatic molecular biodiversity will further strengthen the international position and effectiveness of European (SME-based) blue biotechnology industry.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2010.3.2-01 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2010

The SPECIAL project aims at delivering breakthrough technologies for the biotechnological production of cellular metabolites and extracellular biomaterials from marine sponges. These include a platform technology to produce secondary metabolites from a wide range of sponge species, a novel in vitro method for the production of biosilica and recombinant technology for the production of marine collagen. Research on cellular metabolites will be based upon our recent finding that non-growing sponges continuously release large amounts of cellular material. Production of biosilica will be realized through biosintering, a novel enzymatic process that was recently discovered in siliceous sponges. Research on sponge collagen will focus on finding the optimal conditions for expression of the related genes. Alongside this research, the project will identify and develop new products from sponges, thus fully realizing the promises of marine biotechnology. Specifically, the project will focus on potential anticancer drugs and novel biomedical/industrial applications of biosilica and collagen, hereby taking advantage of the unique physico-chemical properties of these extracellular sponge products. The consortium unites seven world-class research institutions covering a wide range of marine biotechnology-related disciplines and four knowledge-intensive SMEs that are active in the field of sponge culture, drug development and nanobiotechnology. The project is clearly reflecting the strategic objectives outlined in the position paper European Marine Strategy (2008); it will enhance marine biotechnology at a multi-disciplinary, European level and provide new opportunities for the European industry to exploit natural marine resources in a sustainable way. In particular the biotechnological potential of marine sponges, which has for a long time been considered as an eternal promise, will be realized through the SPECIAL project.

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