EU co-funded projects and EU consortia

EEA Grants (2014-2021): Next Generation Viral Hepatitis B and C vaccine development in plants and algae using advanced biotechnological tools; ‘’Dezvoltare de vaccinuri de ultima generatie anti Virusurile Hepatice B si C in plante si alge, utilizand metode biotehnologice avansate’’
europe EU co-funded 2019-2023
Acronym: SmartVac
Budget: 1.500.000 EUR
Project director: Norica Nichita

We aim to produce high yields of novel HBV/HCV antigens with superior immunogenic properties in plants and mammalian cells, based on innovative molecular design and establish in premiere an advanced biotechnological platform for production of best vaccine candidates antigens in algae.

Impact of Early life MetaBolic and psychosocial strEss on susceptibility to mental Disorders; from converging epigenetic signatures to novel targets for therapeutic intervention
europe EU co-funded 2019-2022
Acronym: EMBED
Project director: Robi Tacutu

Starting 01.06.2019, the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy is implementing the EMBED project, funded by UEFISCDI (contract 103, from 01.06.2019), through the ERA-NET COFUND-NEURON III grant call. The project aims to assess the shared molecular links between pre- and post-natal, metabolic and psychosocial stress, and the risks of depression later in life, and its duration will be 36 months.

Gerontomics: Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions
europe EU co-funded 2016-2021
Acronym: Gerontomics
Project director: Robi Tacutu

Starting 02.09.2016, the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy is implementing the project “Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions”, co-funded through European Fund for Regional Development, in accordance with the funding contract signed by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research. The total funding for the project is 8.524.757,50 lei, of which 8.502.557,50 lei represent non-reimbursable funding. The project’s duration is 48 months.

Development of a cost effective Romania-Norway joint plant-based technology platform for production of vaccines against Human Hepatitis viruses B (HBV) and C (HCV)
europe EU co-funded 2014-2017
Project director: Norica Nichita

Hepatitis B (HBV) and C viruses (HCV) are important human pathogens resulting in more than 500 million people being currently carriers. Sadly, Romania has the highest prevalence of HBV/HCV infections among the EU countries (up to 7% of the population). Chronically infected patients of HBV and HCV are at high risk to develop severe liver diseases, such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Identification of host factors involved in hepatitis C virus assembly and characterization of their potential role in vivo
europe EU co-funded 2014
Project director: Costin-Ioan Popescu

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important human pathogen that infects the liver and establishes chronic infection in the majority of cases, leading to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma over the course of many years. Despite recent progress, details of the HCV life cycle are still missing, with the HCV assembly process being particularly poorly understood.

Real-time imaging of the viral modules during Hepatitis C Virus assembly
europe EU co-funded 2014
Acronym: HCVAsmImage
Project director: Costin-Ioan Popescu

HCV is a major cause of chronic hepatitis worldwide. A better understanding of the HCV life cycle is needed to develop new treatments against this virus. A peculiarity of HCV is the crucial role played by both structural and non-structural proteins in the assembly process. Indeed, practically all HCV proteins have been shown to be involved in the virion assembly process. The present project aims to characterize the spatial and temporal relationship between all the viral proteins during viral assembly.

Biotehnologii Celulare si Moleculare cu Aplicatii in Medicina
europe EU co-funded 2010-2013
Acronym: Programul Postdoctoral
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Programul Postdoctoral "Biotehnologii Celulare si Moleculare cu Aplicatii in Medicina", se adreseaza tinerilor cu diploma de doctor in biologie, chimie, fizica, medicina si informatica - interesati de burse de cercetare Post Doctorala la standarde europene.

Dezvoltarea infrastructurii de cercetare a Institutului de Biochimie in vederea cresterii competitivitatii in domeniul proteomicii biomedicale
europe EU co-funded 2010-2012
Acronym: PROCERA
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Scopul PROCERA este de a dezvolta infrastructura IBAR pentru cresterea capacitatii de cercetare-dezvoltare C-D in domeniul biochimiei si biologiei moleculare pe plan national, precum si a competitivitatii cercetarii stiintifice romanesti la nivel european.

Intarirea capacitatii administrative a Institutului de Biochimie
europe EU co-funded 2010
Acronym: ICAIB
Project director: Anca Roseanu

Începând cu data de 16.06.2010, Institutul de Biochimie beneficiază de asistenţă financiară nerambursabilă pentru implementarea proiectului “Întărirea capacităţii administrative”, în baza contractului de finanţare nr. 167/16.06.2010 semnat cu Organismul Intermediar ANCS Bucureşti.

Structure, Regulation, and Biological Function
europe EU co-funded 2007-2011 Framework program 6, Marie Curie Research Training Network
Acronym: PTPNET
Budget: 145.231,18 euro
Project director: Stefan Szedlacsek

Enzymatic characterization of both mEya3 and hEya1 to identify the similarities and differences between these two proteins with relatively low sequence homology.

Structure, Regulation, and Biological Function

International collaborations

Novel radiolabeled affibodies for targeted imaging and therapy
international International 2019-2022
Acronym: Bilateral agreement no.3698/13.09.2018 Romanian Academy- Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Project director: Stefan Szedlacsek

The project is agreed as a joint collaboration among IBAR and ATOMKI, UD and IFIN-HH is a cost free participant. There are two main directions envisaged by the proposed project: receptors mapping and therapy, using an affibody against HER2 receptor, combined with an adequate radioisotope. In this respect, the specific objectives are: a) expression and purification of affibodies; b) establish labeling procedures; c) ex vivo and/or in vivo testing of optimal compounds.

National grants

Molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation and unconventional secretion in the context of inflammation and neurodegenerative disorders
romania National 2021-2023
Acronym: AggrInflam
Budget: 431.900 RON
Project director: Marioara Chiritoiu-Butnaru

This project aims to understand the molecular events associated with protein aggregation and how a Golgi located protein along with the UPR pathway modulate this process. Model proteins such as IL-1β and α-synuclein, previously shown to aggregate will be employed for these studies. Achieving the objectives of this project should facilitate the understanding of the signaling pathways and the sequence of events correlating the stress sensing machinery with cytoplasmic proteome instability.

Identification of new molecules involved in melanoma associated antigens production
romania National 2020-2022 PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2019-1278/PD183
Acronym: ImmunoMOD
Budget: 246,950 RON
Project director: Gabriela Chiritoiu

This project aims to develop new strategies to improve the capacity of antigen presenting tumor cells to activate cytotoxic T cells and hamper immune escape mechanisms in cancer.

Gene Transcriptional Signatures in Healthy Ageing and Related Pathologies
romania National 2020-2022
Acronym: GeT-SHARP
Budget: 431,900 RON
Project director: Robi Tacutu

The project aims to analyze and compare the age-related transcriptomics signatures in variuos tisues, both in healthy and pathological individuals, in order to identify shared or unique aging signature that drive aging or age-related diseases.

High-throughput screening platform for small-molecules with anti-inflammatory potential
romania National 2020-2022
Acronym: HTS-IL-1β
Budget: 600.000 RON
Project director: Marioara Chiritoiu-Butnaru

This project aims to develop a sensitive high-throughput screening platform by generating an endogenously tagged interleukin-1β reporter cell line by CRISPR-Cas9 technology, able to monitor stimulated IL-1β secretion with the purpose to identify new chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory activity that will be validated in primary macrophages and a mouse model for sepsis.

Context-dependent therapeutic targeting of ovarian cancer metastasis using TG2 small molecule inhibitors
romania National 2020-2022 PED
Budget: 600,000 RON
Project director: Livia Sima

The principal goal of this project is the development of a new class of small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) targeting TG2-FN interaction, which is currently in the phase of lead optimization, translatable to clinical use for prevention of ovarian cancer dissemination, either alone or in combinations.

Role of TG2 in cancer tumor microenvironment for guiding metastasis prevention therapeutic approaches
romania National 2020-2022 TE
Acronym: TG2TARGET
Budget: 431,900 RON
Project director: Livia Sima

The overall goal of the current project is to understand the impact of tissue transglutaminase (TG2) targeting in the context of ovarian cancer (OC) tumor microenvironment (TME). Our aproach is aimed at testing the hypothesis that interventions in targeting TG2 in the OC TME will disrupt pro-tumorigenic signaling cross-talk within tumors.

Automated Nematode Screening for Neurodegenerative Diseases
romania National 2020-2022
Acronym: ANS-ND
Budget: 600,000 RON
Project director: Robi Tacutu

The project aims to experimentally develop an integrated and automated solution for screening drugs and genetic interventions for neurodegenerative diseases, using the nematode C. elegans and ageing-related data.

Molecular mechanisms of hepatitis B virus egress
romania National 2018-2020
Project director: Catalin Lazar

In vitro evaluation of potential biomedical strategies aimed to prevent bone loss during spaceflight
romania National 2017-2019
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Bone loss represents one of the most important health problems experienced by Space travelling astronauts. Microgravity produces deterioration of the skeleton due to lack of mechanical loading thus affecting both muscle and bones. Tendons stiffness decreases, muscle fibres atrophies and attenuates their metabolic capacity, whileprogressive cartilage loss occurs.

Microfluidic assay of FGF2 therapeutic administration for bone regeneration
romania National 2017-2019
Acronym: μFGF2bone
Project director: Gabriela Chiritoiu

Musculoskeletal disorders affect 1 in 7 people and fractures alone affect 1 in 50 people annually while 10% of bone injuries fail to heal. Our present proposal aims to test for the first time the potential of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2), to be administered as a stimulatory drug to enhance bone regeneration.

Structure Assisted Investigation of Critical Protein Families Involved in Plant Immunity
romania National 2017-2019
Project director: Andrei-José Petrescu

This project aims to address a number of structural aspects related to key elements of the plant immune system and its pathogen interactors using a combined approach intricating experimental and computational steps. To this end we intend to build on our previous results in the field and further develop experimental, bioinformatics and molecular modeling methods appropriate for solving the specific problems implied by this proposal.

Development of a fluorescence-based technology to screen for RAGE-ligand binding inhibitors
romania National 2016-2020
Project director: Ioana Popa

The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) and its ligands are important players in pathological conditions such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers. RAGE is a cell surface molecule of the immunoglobulin superfamily. Alternatively spliced variants lacking either only the intracellular domain or both the intracellular and the transmembrane domains are also expressed in some tissues.

Platforma robusta pentru descoperirea de medicamente anti-diabetice
romania National 2016-2019
Project director: Florentina Pena

Societatea contemporana se afla in mijlocul unei epidemii globale de diabet zaharat tip 2. Aceasta boala este caracterizata de concentratii patologic crescute de glucoza in sangele pacientilor datorita productiei, secretiei si utilizarii inadecvate a insulinei - hormonul principal care regleaza concentratia de glucoza serica. Ne propunem sa generam linii reporter stabile ce pot fi utilizate pentru cuantificarea insulinei secretate.

Selectia cailor de degradare a proteinelor in patogeneza bolilor umane
romania National 2013-2015
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

A considerable fraction of all newly synthesized secretory polypeptides fail to attain their native conformation due to mutations, transcriptional and translational errors, folding defects or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress conditions.

Role of the ERAD pathway in the degradation of tyrosinase and production of antigenic peptides in human melanoma
romania National 2012-2015
Acronym: TYRPRES
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

A detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation is essential to optimize cancer vaccination. known as Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation (ERAD). Non cytosolic misfolded proteins, synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum are degraded to peptides by a complex machinery Cancer immunotherapy aims at harnessing the resources of the immune system to treat cancer.

“Reconstruction of Ancestor of Receptor Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Catalytic”
romania National 2011-2016 PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0743
Acronym: PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0743
Budget: 1499990
Project director: Stefan Szedlacsek

Synthesis of the catalytic domain of ancestral PTP and its characterization both in vitro and in vivo.

Mass spectrometry based investigation of the oxidative stress as a potential key-player in the immunobiology of melanoma
romania National 02/05/2018 - 31/08/2020 PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2016-1528
Budget: 250 000 RON
Project director: Cristian Munteanu

Defining novel potential therapeutic targets in melanoma immunobiology using a combined proteome-immunopeptidome mass-spectrometry based analysis
romania National 01/09/2020-30/11/2022 PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2019-1242
Acronym: OXPROT
Budget: 246 950 RON
Project director: Cristian Munteanu


Compound for inhibition of certain signaling processes related to the evolution of the cognitive processes
sponsorship Sponsorship 2017-2018
Acronym: Ctr.327/27.03.2017/Company CRU SRL, Medical Services Company/ Dunakesz, Hungary
Budget: 70.000 euro
Project director: Stefan Szedlacsek

Molecular modeling of a set of peptides that can disrupt the GluA2-Cterm complex with STEP (Complex A) or BRAG2 (ComplexB).

Compound for inhibition of certain signaling processes related to the evolution of the cognitive processes
Microsoft Azure Research
sponsorship Sponsorship 2017-2018
Acronym: ML for Aging Research
Project director: Robi Tacutu

The Systems Biology of Aging team is grateful for the "Microsoft Azure for Research" sponsorship awarded to our group. We have received cloud computing resources worth the equivalent of 20,000$ credits, and this has greatly helped us to speed up some of our research projects.