Research

BIOCEL: Cell biology and plant development

This field of research aims to define how metabolic pathways and subcellular compartments act in an integrated way, both to regulate plant life and their response to environmental stresses, and to determine the accumulation of proteins and metabolites for food and human health. Part of these investigations are: 1) the identification of genes involved in determining the architecture, trafficking and metabolism of plant cell, also in response to external stimuli; 2) the characterization of the functional and physiological role of the encoded proteins. These studies are carried out through experimental approaches that use in vivo, in vitroand in silico models.

Projects

In progress

Climate change: risk mitigation for sustainable development
Start date: 01/11/2019   End date: 31/12/2022

MIUR

Milano, Lodi, Pisa
Emanuela Pedrazzini

Project duration:
01/11/2019 - 31/12/2022
Financing Body:
MIUR
Project research leader:
Emanuela Pedrazzini
Headquarters:
Milano, Lodi, Pisa

Climate change: risk mitigation for sustainable development


The project includes:

  • Climate change impact on the sustainability and productivity of agricultural systems and adaptation strategies.
  • Use of genetic diversity of agricultural species for adaptation to climate change.
  • Production of new germplasm with enhanced drought tolerance, maintaining plant productivity and seed quality.
  •  The knowledge of the mechanisms involved in plant response to climate change will allow the development of strategies aimed at contrasting adverse environmental conditions.
  • Obtaining/identifying genotypes and genetic determinants for tolerance to abiotic (better water use efficiency, resistance to high temperatures) and nutritional (better nitrogen use efficiency) stresses.
  • Sustainability of farming systems and identification of genomic regions with an effect on adaptation in animals.
Structure-function relationship of EDEM: PDI, the ERAD checkpoint enzyme
Start date: 01/02/2022   End date: 31/01/2023

CNR-DiSBA

Milano
Pietro Roversi

Project duration:
01/02/2022 - 31/01/2023
Financing Body:
CNR-DiSBA
Project research leader:
Pietro Roversi
Headquarters:
Milano

Structure-function relationship of EDEM: PDI, the ERAD checkpoint enzyme


Heat and drought stress plants. An important role in resistance to this stress is played by an enzyme called Endoplasmic Reticulum Degradation Enhancing Mannosidase (‘EDEM’). This enzyme exists in a heat-resistant form in a thermophilic fungus originally discovered in a pile of horse manure that fermented in the sun at around 60-65 °C. The first part of the project will test the stress resistance of plants expressing that thermoresistant fungus’ EDEM. Such a transgenic plant could be useful for extracting heavy metals and/or inducing the degradation of organic compounds in contaminated soils (phytoremediation) or in agriculture, to increase agricultural productivity under hostile conditions (heat stress or water shortage during flowering and pollination). The second part of the project aims to obtain a 3D model of EDEM – by X-ray crystallography and/or transmission electron cryomicroscopy. This model will help to understand how EDEM works and to design molecules to modulate its catalytic activity. In addition to the structure, the activity of the enzyme will be characterised in vitro, in cellula and in planta.

Enhancing Photosynthesis
Start date: 30/11/2021   End date: 31/10/2023

Regione Lombardia

Milano   Sito web

Stefano Santabarbara

Project duration:
30/11/2021 - 31/10/2023
Financing Body:
Regione Lombardia
Project research leader:
Stefano Santabarbara
Headquarters:
Milano
Website :
Sito web

Enhancing Photosynthesis


La fotosintesi è il processo mediante il quale la luce solare è convertita in potenziale chimico, utilizzabile dagli organismi, e rappresenta pertantp il sito primario si produzione energetica nella biosfera. In condizioni ottimali le relazioni di foto-conversione procedono con una resa quantica estremamente elevata (80-99%). Lo studio di questi sistemi biologici può quindi rappresentate un paradigma utile per l’implementazione di materiali e strategie che li imitino per applicazioni fotovoltaiche e fotocatalitiche. D’altro canto, in condizioni naturali, a causa di variabilità e fluttuazioni ambientali, la resa fotosintetica è generalmente più bassa di quella ottimale e questo può portare a una riduzione della produttività, soprattutto per quanto riguarda le colture agricole. Pertanto, lo studio dei processi, come la raccolta della luce e il controllo dell’efficienza di raccolta, potrebbe portare ad un miglioramento della produttività delle colture ed essere quindi vantaggioso dal punto di vista sociale.

Il progetto “Enhancing Photosintesi” si propone di affrontare alcuni di questi aspetti, studiando sia i fattori che influenzano la produttività delle colture/piante, sia i loro meccanismi molecolari, sia i meccanismi fondamentali di conversione dei fotoni nei fotosistemi con l’obiettivo di trasferire alcune delle loro caratteristiche in sistemi biomimetici artificiali.

Il progetto prevede inoltre lo sviluppo di una piattaforma spettroscopica (ottica) per lo studio dei processi fotosintetici sia in(super)complessi clorofilla-proteina isolati, sia in sistemi fotosintetici intatti così come in sistemi sintetici artificiali (anche allo stato solido). La strumentazione coprirà oltre ad un ampio intervallo temporale (dai femto ai millisecondi) anche una ambia banda spettrale (dal vicino UV al vicino IR). Questa piattaforma sarà basata sia su strumentazioni già esistenti presso il CNR Milano e al PoliMI,  le cui caratteristiche saranno sostanzialmente estese/implementate per renderle adatte allo studio di campioni molto diversificati e complicati da studiare a causa dell’elevata dispersione della luce che presentano. E’ fine del progetto rendere questo “hub” spettroscopico aperto che rappresenti una struttura di duratura che possa aggregare e promuovere la ricerca in fotosintesi, e su argomenti strettamente correlati, a livello regionale e possibilmente nazionale.

PREP-IBISBA - Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator - Preparatory Phase
Start date: 01/01/2020   End date: 31/12/2023

H2020-EU.1.4. - EXCELLENT SCIENCE - Research Infrastructures

Milano   Sito web

Emanuela Pedrazzini, Aldo Ceriotti

Project duration:
01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023
Financing Body:
H2020-EU.1.4. - EXCELLENT SCIENCE - Research Infrastructures
Project research leader:
Emanuela Pedrazzini, Aldo Ceriotti
Headquarters:
Milano
Website :
Sito web

PREP-IBISBA - Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator - Preparatory Phase


EU-IBISBA is a distributed research infrastructure concept that will deliver translational research and innovation services to the research community and industry alike. Its aim is to accelerate the movement of knowledge and early stage research results towards maturity and uptake for further development by industrial R&I. EU-IBISBA’s expertise is within the field of industrial biotechnology and focuses on the integrated development of bioprocesses, using a multidisciplinary approach and advanced technology such as synthetic biology.

PREP-IBISBA intervenes just after the addition of EU-IBISBA on the ESFRI roadmap and as a follow-up to an ongoing H2020 INFRAIA starting community project entitled IBISBA 1.0. The aim of PREP-IBISBA is to create the conditions to launch EU-IBISBA. It will deliver all the conceptual elements necessary to finalize the science and technology case and define the business model, establish a long range financial plan and identify alternative legal frameworks suitable to deliver EU-IBISBA. Overall, the work will lead to the creation of a legal entity, preferentially either an ERIC or another suitable legal instrument.

Completed

PlanOVac - Plant-based bio-encapsulation strategies for oral veterinary vaccines
Start date: 01/03/2019   End date: 01/07/2019

IBISBA 1.0

Milano   Sito web

Emanuela Pedrazzini

Project duration:
01/03/2019 - 01/07/2019
Financing Body:
IBISBA 1.0
Project research leader:
Emanuela Pedrazzini
Headquarters:
Milano
Website :
Sito web

PlanOVac - Plant-based bio-encapsulation strategies for oral veterinary vaccines


The project involves optimization of strategies to encapsulate vaccine and drug using storage proteins from maize seeds (zeins) as scaffolds. Zeins are generally considered safe and can also provide adjuvant effects for vaccines.
VaTEP - Vacuolar Transport Equipment for Growth Regulation in Plant
Start date: 01/10/2006   End date: 30/09/2010

Unione Europea

Milano   Sito web

Emanuela Pedrazzini

Project duration:
01/10/2006 - 30/09/2010
Financing Body:
Unione Europea
Project research leader:
Emanuela Pedrazzini
Headquarters:
Milano
Website :
Sito web

VaTEP - Vacuolar Transport Equipment for Growth Regulation in Plant


The tonoplast (the membrane of the plant vacuole) plays a central role in plant growth and cellular homeostasis. The VaTEP research network has focused on the role of tonoplast channels and transporters to identify their specific functions with respect to plant development and growth processes. The studies were carried out in an interdisciplinary manner by the various participating groups, and particular attention was given to the training of young researchers.
Synthesis and accumulation, in plant cells, of chimeric proteins for biotechnological uses
Start date: 31/03/2019   End date: 31/07/2019

Arterra Bioscience S.R.L.

Milano
Emanuela Pedrazzini

Project duration:
31/03/2019 - 31/07/2019
Financing Body:
Arterra Bioscience S.R.L.
Project research leader:
Emanuela Pedrazzini
Headquarters:
Milano

Synthesis and accumulation, in plant cells, of chimeric proteins for biotechnological uses


Protein engineering service: Production of engineered constructs (plasmids) and verification of synthesis and accumulation, in plant cells, of chimeric proteins for biotechnological purposes.
BIO-ECO "Bioeconomy”
Start date: 01/01/2020   End date: 31/12/2021

MIUR

Milano, Pisa, Roma
Anna Paola Casazza

Project duration:
01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021
Financing Body:
MIUR
Project research leader:
Anna Paola Casazza
Headquarters:
Milano, Pisa, Roma

BIO-ECO "Bioeconomy”


The BIO-ECO project, coordinated by the Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences of CNR, involves a multi-disciplinary team of researchers belonging to nine Institutes spread all over the country. IBBA activities cover:

  • efficient use of natural resources and improvement of photosynthesis / resistance and tolerance of crop plants to abiotic stress (WP2);
  • development and application of agricultural decision support systems (WP3);
  • production of bioactive molecules from plants, microbes and plant cell cultures (WP4);
  • aquatic freshwater plants and microalgae as alternative food sources (WP7).
Istituto

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