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RA3: Biosciences/Biotechnology

The activities of the Research Area (RA) of Biosciences/Biotechnology at ICE-HT fall within the field of Biomolecular Science & Engineering, integrating interdisciplinary research, training activities and experimental facilities linking mainly three broad areas of biotechnology:

  • biosystems engineering & systems/synthetic biology, including the development of a core mass spectrometry metabolomics facility, multi-omic studies of cell, animal and plant systems, industrial biotechnology for environmental and energy applications;
  • precision/network medicine and tissue engineering/regenerative medicine, including development and application of computational tools based on biomolecular network analyses, development of biosensors and analytical devices, multi-scale modeling of membranes for biomedical applications and matrix biology in cancer research, and
  • nanomedicine and theragnostics, including design, development and in vitro/in vivo evaluation of drug delivery systems and biomaterial synthesis and advanced characterization.


Outline of the ICEHT activities in the Biosciences/Biotechnology RA

By nature, this RA integrates research laboratories that span traditional scientific backgrounds, approaching complex problems from multiple perspectives to speed up the pace of discovery. It combines engineering and physical sciences with life sciences to advance the science in biological process analysis and engineer new diagnostic tools, materials and technologies that improve (agro)biotechnology, human health and benefit the global environment. More specifically, the engineering research labs participating in this RA provide expertise in (bio)process and network design and control, metabolic & biosystems engineering, bioreactor engineering, biochemical pathway engineering, (bio)materials, molecular surface science & engineering, in vivo and in vitro tissue engineering, (bio)fluid dynamics and cellular biomechanics, molecular simulation, bioinformatics, nanotechnology. Chemistry research labs provide expertise in patterning surfaces, polymer synthesis and characterization, nanofabrication, separations, biosensors. Physics-focused laboratories emphasize on the optical properties of biomaterials. Collaborating faculty members from the biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences provide expertise in cellular physiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, medical molecular and functional genomics, biophysics, biological network analysis, novel drug delivery and targeting system design & development and their in vitro/in vivo evaluation (theragnostics). Collaborations with medical schools and university hospitals provide access to clinical applications.

FORTH/ICE-HT possesses both the experimental infrastructure, to allow for the development and application of experimental methods to understand the complexity of living cells (physiology, processes, development, disease, etc), to identify and correlate biomarkers with phenotypes, to validate biomarkers, to obtain reliable data for medical decisions, theragnostics and environmental monitoring, to monitor cell physiology in vivo and the computational infrastructure to allow for storage, processing, analysis and modeling of the acquired data to extract biologically relevant conclusions and accurately simulate biological functions and systems. Currently, FORTH/ICE-HT laboratories have access to analytical, microscopy, bioreactor equipment and scalable computing clusters for storage and processing of large amounts of data.

FORTH/ICE-HT research teams have had collaboration with pharmaceutical companies for the development of new drug formulations (e.g. Genepharm, Pharmex, Lavipharm) and for the application of novel technologies in cell culture engineering (Bayer HealthCare LLC). Based on its activities in this RA, FORTH/ICE-HT became a member of the national research infrastructures ELIXIR-GR (Biological Data Management and Bioinformatics), INSPIRED (Structural Biology and Drug Design), EATRIS-GR (Translational Medicine). In addition, it leads the Metabolomics and Protein Interactomics Pilot Study of ELIXIR-GR, it represents the Greek Node in the Metabolomics Community of ELIXIR-EU, participating in its first Implementation Study on Metabolite Identification and leading the efforts for its second on fluxomics, while it has been part of the Excellence Center of Metabolomics (EXCEMET) ( since 2015. Overall, the way in which this FORTH/ICE-HT RA is arranged enables the Institute to extend its competitiveness in this research area at the national, European and international arena, including excellence in science, tackling of societal challenges, creation of competitive frameworks, improvement of collaboration between Research Infrastructures and e-Infrastructures, enhancement of research-industry dialogue, and broadening the role of e-Infrastructures beyond research to other areas, e.g. energy, health, biotechnology.

Selected scientific achievements of this RA in the evaluated period 2013-2017 are:

  • Established a mass spectrometry metabolomics in systems biology core facility; developed specialized software suite for mass spectrometry based metabolomic analysis, M-IOLITE, supported by ELIXIR-GR; established metabolomic analysis protocol for industrial cell culture engineering (collaboration with Bayer HealthCare LLC, USA); first blood plasma metabolomic analysis on ART offspring (collaboration with Medical School, U. of Athens); plant leaf metabolic profiling supported the discovery of a currently unknown photosynthesis route (collaboration with Agricultural U. of Athens);
  • Developed standardized meta-database of the human protein interaction network, PICKLE (, enabling the systematic analysis of gene-disease & disease-drug associations and the integrated analysis of omic data, supported by ELIXIR-GR (collaboration with U. of Patras);
  • Developed targeted nanomedicines for drug delivery with capability to overcome current bottlenecks in therapeutics/diagnostics/tissue engineering (collaboration with U. of Patras);
  • Developed nanoparticle-based biosensors for DNA/RNA detection (collaboration with U. of Patras);
  • Developed an integrated simulator of the operation of modified hemodialysis membranes that are impregnated with activated carbon;
  • Synthesized nanostructured calcium phosphate bone cements with controlled porosity using biopolymers as pore forming agents (collaboration with U. of Patras);
  • Developed device/system to prevent from medical errors in the intravenous drug administration based on non-destructive, noninvasive, in-line spectroscopic analysis (collaboration with U. of Patras).


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