Newly funded Twinning project on protein biophysics will support innovation in biomedicine and biotechnology
The project is coordinated by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal (Ciências ULisboa), in collaboration with University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and University of Tel Aviv (Israel), and in partnership with University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).
The project “Twinning for excellence in biophysics of protein interactions and self-assembly“ (TWIN2PIPSA) started October 2022 and is coordinated by Cláudio M. Gomes, Professor at Ciências ULisboa and researcher at the BioSystems & Integrative
Sciences Institute - BioISI.
According to Cláudio Gomes and Patrícia Faísca, the two scientists who envisioned and promoted the grant application, setting up this project was a unique opportunity to leverage research and competences of a local cluster of researchers at Ciências ULisboa which have different backgrounds but share a common interest in proteins and protein folding. However, the development of the much needed biomedical and biotechnological applications - that include therapeutics for protein folding diseases and diagnostic tools for protein biomarkers or novel protein-based biological adhesives - requires a new type of collaborative multidisciplinary approach and specific scientific and methodological competences which are now accessible by twinning with leading institutions.
TWIN2PIPSA will organize multiple collaborative activities, including staff exchanges, advanced training schools, conferences and workshops between academia and industry to foster partnerships and translate research into applications. For this, the experience of partners in the valorization of knowledge is critical and Ehud Gazit from the Tel Aviv University stresses that the project will “contribute to the promotion of innovation and technology transfer at the University of Lisbon and Portugal at large”.
Twinning also includes an exploratory research project based on two lines of research: one related to biomedicine, focused on aggregation in protein-folding diseases, and the other related to biotechnology centered on protein-based bioadhesive materials. For Michele Vendruscolo, partner at the University of Cambridge, this collaboration “will enable a range of interdisciplinary activities to be initiated and strengthened at the University of Lisboa through sharing expertise and resources for the benefit of all”.
According to the coordinator Cláudio M. Gomes, “these activities have a strong impact in the training of young researchers and are an opportunity to expand our know-how, contributing to cutting-edge research in these scientific areas and to generate knowledge with societal impact, in an international and network perspective”. Partners are thrilled with this angle: “I look forward to helping train junior researchers to continue this effort in many years to come”, concludes Kresten Lindorff-Larsen from the University of Copenhagen.
This project is funded by the European Union (EU) in the amount of €1,228,957, within the scope of Twinning (HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03).