Partnership between CNPEM, UFPA, and Biotec-Amazônia searching for molecules of pharmaceutical interest in Amazonian microorganisms
A poster presenting research to isolate bacteria from soils found in the Amazon region and explore the possibility of producing new pharmaceuticals from the molecules synthesized by these bacteria was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Genetics and Microorganisms category at the 2023 edition of the Brazilian Congress of Genetics, which was held September 12–15 in Ouro Preto. The study was conducted within the Biological Engineering Laboratory at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), in partnership with the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), a social organization linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).
Ana Carolina de Oliveira, a doctoral researcher responsible for the study, explains that she spent nine months as an intern in the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio) at CNPEM in Campinas, São Paulo, where she was able to conduct experiments in genomics and metabolomics under the supervision of CNPEM staff member Daniela Trivella, who acted as coadvisor for the research. This partnership is the result of a cooperation agreement between CNPEM and the social organization BioTec-Amazônia.
The project involves prospecting for bacteria in soil from the Amazon region and evaluating potential biotechnological and pharmaceutical interest in the molecules these bacteria produce. Some strains of bacteria were initially assessed within the genomic and metabolomic context using DNA sequencing and mass spectrometry, respectively. “Integration of these tools allowed us not only to investigate the capacity of these bacteria to produce various potentially new molecules, but also to evaluate pharmaceutical potential that has not yet been explored, which is where this project is currently focusing,” stated Oliveira about how the study benefited from the various methods and scientific exchange between institutions.
Rafael Baraúna, who also advised the study and is part of the Graduate Program in Genetics and Molecular Biology at UFPA, reinforces the importance of this research being conducted within a state conservation unit. “Through this project, it will be possible to access the genetic heritage of microorganisms from Amazonia and add value to sustainable applications of biotechnology,” he notes.
With a sophisticated and vibrant environment for research and development that is the only one of its kind in Brazil and found in only a few scientific centers in the world, the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) is a private, non-profit organization overseen by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI). The Center operates four national laboratories and is home to Sirius, the most complex project in Brazilian science and one of the world’s most advanced synchrotron light sources. The CNPEM is home to highly specialized multi-thematic teams, globally competitive lab infrastructure that is open to the scientific community, strategic lines of research, innovative projects in partnerships with the productive sector, and training for researchers and students. The Center is an environment driven by research into solutions that impact the areas of health, energy and renewable materials, agri-environmental, and quantum technologies. In 2022, with support from the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC), the CNPEM expanded its activities with the opening of the Ilum School of Science. This interdisciplinary undergraduate program in science, technology, and innovation implements innovative ideas to provide a high quality free and full-time educational opportunity immersed in the research environment at the CNPEM. The CNPEM 360 Platform provides visitors with a virtual immersive visit to the Center’s main environments and activities. Visit at: https://pages.cnpem.br/cnpem360/.