The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology group from the Centre in Biological Engineering at University of Minho has extensive experience in the development of algorithms and computational tools for metabolic engineering.
The University of Minho aims to be a University without walls, focusing on the regional, national and international socioeconomic environment. International activities are quite intense, with a range of countries from all continents. UMINHO is a research University, engaged in the valorization of the chain Knowledge-Research, Development and Innovation – as evidenced by a series of indicators. The ratio between PhD students and academic staff is over 1; the fraction of postgraduate students in the total student population is over 20%; the ratio between research projects and PhDs is over 0.5; around 150 PhDs are awarded every year; the average yearly production of refereed papers in scientific journals is impressive for an eclectic University: above 2/FTE/year; citations are strongly increasing every year; 250 R&D contracts are signed yearly with companies.
The Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB), designated as “Excellent” by FCT, is a research unit located at UMINHO that develops its activities on 4 interdisciplinary thrust areas covering molecular, cellular and process scales, corresponding to the following thematic strands: (i) Industrial Biotechnology and Bioengineering, (ii) Food Biotechnology and Bioengineering (iii) Environmental Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and (iv) Health Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
CEB currently aggregates 130 PhD researchers of which 24 are faculty members of UM and 20 are faculty scientists. The outcomes of CEB in the last 5 years include 1250 peer-reviewed papers (23% in ISI D1 journals), 35 edited books, 177 book chapters and 89 PhD thesis concluded. The income budget derived from research projects (including industry research income) and from external funding bodies turns in the average income around 5 M€/year. CEB also supported the formation of more than 15 spin-off and startup companies and has 15 patents conceded. CEB is widely recognised in the field of Biotechnology and Bioengineering and has all the laboratory facilities available that are relevant to this project.
The team participating in this project is integrated in the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology research lab within CEB, which has been developing computational tools for metabolic model reconstruction, simulation and optimisation, which include opensource projects such as OptFlux and Merlin. An important topic deals with the development of Evolutionary Algorithms for strain optimisation. Other topics relate to database integration, omics data analysis and mining through machine learning algorithms. The main applications include the identification of targets for metabolic engineering, aiming at the construction of improved cellular factories for the production of succinic, fumaric or amino acids.
Find out more about the University of Minho here.
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