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The electron microscopy center will be in Braga-Sciences

The electron microscopy center will be in Braga-Sciences

Today INL – Iberian International Nanotechnology Laboratory announced that the center to be installed in Braga will act as the central node of the National Advanced Electronic Microscopy Network for Health and Life Sciences (CryoEM-PT), Allowing this network to start.

In INL, a cryogenic electron microscope of the latest generation will be installed, prepared for characterization of biological and pharmaceutical samples, and the research to be conducted is related to the study of cancer, as well as viral infections, where SARS-CoV2, or the new coronavirus, is of utmost importance. The range of research topics at this center include bacterial resistance to antibiotics, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as drug design, development and management.

In a statement, INL indicated that work has already commenced to prepare for the arrival of the new microscope. The process of acquiring and installing new equipment valued at around € 2.1 million has already started, following the recent approval of funding under the Portugal 2020 program. The total investment estimated for the approved project is estimated at € 2.5 million.

It should be noted that the International Laboratory was established in 2008, by the governments of Portugal and Spain, and has extensive experience in applying electron microscopy in the field of materials sciences, as well as in the areas of life and health sciences.

“INL has an infrastructure with unique characteristics, not only in terms of spaces with physical and technical specifications suitable for the installation of the latest generation of cryogenic electron microscopy, as well as the presence of specialized panels for the installation and related maintenance, factors that were considered crucial for allocating the necessary funds for the acquisition of new equipment and the establishment of the National Center. For electronic cryo testing, “the statement said.

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“This new tool will have a profound impact, not only in research in the fields of life sciences and health,” says Paulo Ferreira, in charge of INL’s Center for Advanced Microscopy, Image and Spectroscopy and Coordinator of the CryoEM-PT Network.

“ CryoEM-PT, being the only one of its kind in Portugal, will allow the realization of projects with a high scientific, technological and societal impact, but also on the national economy, especially in the northern region, by allowing a quantum leap in scientific research, and by establishing its position as a reference research center. He distinguished himself in these fields for universities, research centers and companies, ”says the researcher, citing INL.

According to the shared information, the new center will allow the creation of new institutional cooperation with funding from the national (Science and Technology Foundation), European (European Research Council, Marie Curie, EMBO) and international (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Bell and Melinda Gates Foundation) in addition to strengthening the existing ones.

The national network CryoEM-PT was started in 2018 and included the participation of scientists from 12 universities and national institutes from north to south Portugal: Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Institute for Health Research and Innovation (i3S, University of Porto), Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, INL – Iberian International Laboratory of Technology Nano, University of Minho, University of the Algarve, University of Coimbra, Institute of Molecular Medicine – João Lobo Antunes, University of Beira Internship, University of Evora, National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo George and Champalimaud Foundation.

In addition to these scientists and organizations, the Institute for Experimental Biology and Technology (iBET) and several Portuguese companies including Bluepharma and Bial have, from the start, expressed their support and interest in the future use of this center, with the aim of promoting them. Capacity in drug development with the integration of studies with cryogenic electron microscopy in its current and future projects.

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