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INCT 2014: in Photonics Applied to Cell Biology

Grant number: 14/50938-8
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: July 01, 2017 - June 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biology
Cooperation agreement: CNPq - INCTs
Principal Investigator:Hernandes Faustino de Carvalho
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas, SP, Brazil


In the last five years, INFABiC has benefited Brazilian science with high-impact research in cellular biology, which is considered the epicenter of the next scientific-technological revolution. This was accomplished by the ultramodern infrastructure of equipments and accessories coupled with complete technical and scientific support from a muldisciplinary team. The host university (UNICAMP) counterpart by hiring two PhDs to assist INFABiC research activities, not restricted to equipment operation, was essential to the institute success. Their joint effort along with coordinators and advanced users, allowed the fast transfer of successful strategies to all INFABiC users. Microscopy techniques such as TPEF, SHG, FLIM, FRET are now routine for several researchers in life sciences. More than 60 research groups from four geographic regions (NW, CW, S and SE) had unlimited access to INFABiCs facilities, in a collective learning curve. The three INFABiC annual workshops had over 300 attendees, who later assisted to determinate the acquired knowledge within the scientific community outside INFABiC. The synergy among the users was achieved in response to the use of a multimodal platform under the INFABiC structure, which avoided fragmented and technically isolated research activities. This integrated multimodal photonic microscopies platform is unique in Brazil and includes multi-photon fluorescence microscopy, FLlM, FRAP, FRET, FCS, spinning disk confocal microscopy for acquisition rates up to 1000 frames/second; non-linear optical techniques such as SHG, SFG, THG and CARS, AFM/tip enhancement near field super resolution, and optical tweezers for biomechanical handling, measuring and laser sectioning. INFABiC also installed a Zebrafish unit (Danio Core) for the deposit, handling and experimentation on these animals, particularly important to intravital microscopy. The whole setup and organization attracted senior and very promising young scientists, altogether interested in getting support for more audacious research proposals on dynamic, quantitative and mechanistic aspects of cells, organelles and single molecules in different biological models. In this new application, we intend to foster the interaction between research subgroups in the larger team and thus to leverage the research in key fronts within Cell Biology, particularly (1) cell cycle/cancer (2) vascular biology/angiogenesis and (3) microbiology. These themes brings us close to translational research, in line with our partnership with other INCTs in the medical area. In this application, we seek to stimulate the use of dynamic and integrating models, such as cell culture (20 and 3D) and the zebrafish. These models are also an alternative to the use of mammals in animal experimentation. We also want to function as a depositary to preserve and quickly distribute vectors, fluorescent protein constructions, recombinant proteins, and transgenic animals to the team members and others. In order to perform research at the state-of-the-art on the different fronts and in the context of photonics and cell biology, we plan to extend our technological capabilities acquiring one super resolution microscope capable to track single molecules in the 3-D space to address single molecule studies, a new area in Brazil. We also plan to have an increased number of studies on molecular interactions using the sophisticate FRET-FLlM approach as well as on using FCS and tip-enhancement approaches to monitor chemical reactions in diluted solutions and on surfaces, respectively - whenever possible coupled with the use of optical tweezers to perform in singulo biochemistry. Furthermore, the inclusion of new expertises in our research team, in areas such as engineering, chemistry, and pharmacy, allows the use of new tools such as modeling, synthesis of organic compounds and new drugs, microfabrication and microfluidics, to address issues of interest of the group, thus encouraging approaches to more complex problems. INFABiC will act transformatively in the associated laboratories, aggregating dynamic cell biology concepts and instrumentation, solving bottlenecks and leveling up the quality in microscopic image acquisition, processing, and quantification, while using them as local advertisers of INFABiC’s principles, best practices and results. We will also encourage the formation of subnetworks to increases significantly the interactions between team members and their mobility among associated laboratories, and will supply some of the associated laboratories with essential techniques, in order to relieve the overload of complex equipments, which are equipped with sophisticated and dedicated accessories. We pretend to increase the activities related to teaching and training in optics, photonics cell and molecular biology, image analysis, science philosophy and scientific methods at the different levels of formal education are outreach; for that, we will make use of new didatic tools and distance e-Iearning to cover the whole country. These activities will be coordinated at the level of the Campinas Advanced Cell Biology Virtual Network to be launched in the first year of activities. The choice of the “mechanisms in molecular and cell biology” as the structuring axis of this application made it possible to assemble a multidisciplinary team in research areas and expertise, overcoming geographical and institutional barriers; this team is capable to integrate research interests and expertise to jointly solve common questions and to produce high quality results, in the literal sense of synergism and network collaboration. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FIORE, ANA PAULA ZEN PETISCO; SPENCER, VIRGINIA A.; MORI, HIDETOSHI; CARVALHO, HERNANDES F.; BISSELL, MINA J.; BRUNI-CARDOSO, ALEXANDRE. Laminin-111 and the Level of Nuclear Actin Regulate Epithelial Quiescence via Exportin-6. CELL REPORTS, v. 19, n. 10, p. 2102-2115, JUN 6 2017. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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