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DUBENDORF, Switzerland

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2007-1.1-1 | Award Amount: 5.44M | Year: 2008

More than 50% of all drug targets are membrane proteins; new research tools to screen function of membrane drug targets are therefore expected to open up new avenues for original drug development. The proposed project addresses the need of the pharmaceutical industry for new technologies for reliable and efficient screening of membrane proteins as drug targets. Most critical current aspects of membrane protein assays are (a) the lack of reliable procedures to immobilize membrane proteins on sensor surfaces in a format suitable for label-free high-throughput screening of drug candidates; (b) the need for downscaling assay formats to accelerate functional screening; and (c) the feasibility of reading out the diverse functions of membrane proteins. The partners with highly complementary expertise and experience of working together will develop platforms for functional membrane protein assays by integration of the most recently gained knowledge and techniques. The key concepts of the platforms include (a) exploitation of nanoporous substrates to enhance the stability of supported proteolipid membranes and their integration in a sensor chip format; (b) nanoscale surface modifications for directed self-assembly of proteolipid structures on chip; and (c) self-assembly of proteolipid membranes onto nano-sized sensor structures from proteoliposomes, and demonstration of the functionality in quantitative drug candidate screening assays suitable for commercial applications. The project is expected to make a substantial contribution to (a) improved understanding of lipid membrane and membrane protein interaction with designed nanoenvironments; (b) development of prototype products and intellectual property related to membrane protein sorting and handling; (c) new compounds for functionalization of biosensor applications; (d) cost-effective array-based concepts for nanoplasmonic and electrochemical sensing; and (e) functional assays for membrane protein drug targets.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-2008 | Award Amount: 3.28M | Year: 2010

The main research goal of SEACOAT is to improve understanding of biointerfacial processes involved in the colonisation of surfaces by marine fouling organisms. Our vision is that this enhanced understanding will inform the future development of new, environmentally-benign materials and coatings for the practical control of marine biofouling. Our principal objective is to discover which nano- and micro-scale physico-chemical properties of surfaces influence the adhesion of fouling organisms, through the use of surface engineering technologies to fabricate coatings that vary systematically in relevant surface properties, and length scales. We will use advanced surface analytical methods to characterise test surfaces for relevant physico-chemical surface properties and how these change after immersion. Parallel adhesion bioassays using a range of representative marine organisms will test intrinsic antifouling properties of surfaces. The network is an interdisciplinary cooperative of chemists, physicists and marine biologists. Intersectoral aspects unite basic and applied scientists working in universities, a large company and an SME. The projects S&T objectives will be delivered through research in 4 main Work Packages: viz. WP1-Surface Engineering, WP2-Surface Analytics, WP3-Bioadhesion, WP4- Integration. Two additional Work Packages (WP5, WP6) will be concerned with the Dissemination of project results and the Management of the Network respectively. The aim of the Training Programme is to increase the knowledge base and experience of trainees in each of the Thematic Areas and to develop their transferable skills for future careers in industry or academia. Six training objectives will be delivered through a suite of 7 Core Skills Areas (Research Project, Advanced Training Courses, Project Conferences, International Winter Workshop, Career Development Plan, Generic Research Skills, Transferable Research Skills).

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