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Agenda IB

Marcelo Alves da Silva Mori

The main purpose of our lab is to identify and characterize molecular mechanisms involved in the aging process and in response to dietary interventions. We pay particular interest to understand how metabolism contributes to the genesis of age-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. We focus on the fat tissue - an important site of metabolic integration in multicellular organisms - and ask ourselves how this tissue responds to changes in energy balance and signals to other tissues to inform them about these changes. If not adjusted, this mechanism leads to several chronic diseases, especially in middle aged and elderly individuals. We identified that this control is at least in part exerted by changes in microRNA biogenesis in adipose tissue. When regulated, this process affects animal susceptibility to oxidative stress and influences lifespan.

Elizabeth Bilsland

The current COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of our society to infections diseases. Whilst the current media focus is centered on SARS-CoV2, we must be prepared for the threat posed by drug-resistant parasites, fungi, and bacteria. The Synthetic Biology Laboratory (LaBS) was established in 2016 and is based on synthetic biology as a tool for drug discovery, using yeast and bacteria as hosts for heterologous expression and a platform for genome-wide screens. We have 3 well-established lines of investigation, which can further be improved and rapidly yield results. We are also introducing a novel highly ambitious line of research, taking advantage of our strong international collaboration network, for the development of novel antimicrobials inspired by secondary metabolites from native actinomycetes, filamentous fungi, or plant species.

Marco Aurélio Ramirez Vinolo

The aim of our research is to identify the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota contributes to health. In this context, we are particularly interested in bacterial metabolites called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs, acetate, propionate and butyrate). These molecules are generated by the fermentation of dietary fibers and play an important role in regulating host metabolism and immunity, being recognized as one of the microbiota-host interaction links.