Bio Open Lab selected for funding for greater impact in the area of health, nutrition, quality of life

On the 13th of March, 2019, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) published the ranking list of the projects submitted for the concession of funding towards the strengthening of research infrastructures, in the frame of the Action line II.1 of the National Operational Programme (PON) for Research and Innovation 2014-2020.

The call foresees the allocation of 285mln EUR for the funding of projects having the goal to strengthen the research infrastructures which have been targeted by MIUR as a priority in the National Programme for Research Infrastructures 2014-2020.

CERIC and its Italian representing entity, Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, successfully collaborated with Area Science Park in the preparation of a proposal in response to the call, and will benefit from 12.325.000,00 EUR funding from the MIUR for the expansion of its technological capabilities, through the upgrade of facilities at University of Salento and the University of Salerno, in southern Italy, which may in the medium-term add to the already existing CERIC offer.

The call specifically targeted RIs that are considered a priority in the frame of ESFRI, and that have a high impact on the objectives set by the Smart Specialization Strategy towards the capacity building and long-term sustainability of RIs in those Italian regions defined as “less developed” or “in transition”.

The submitted project “Bio Open Lab” aims to have a significant impact in the area of “Health, nutrition, quality of life”, and specifically in the following domains:

  • E-health, advanced diagnostics, medical devices and mini-invasiveness
  • Regenerative, predictive and personalized medicine
  • Biotechnology, bioinformatics and pharmaceutical development

The aim of the proposal is to upgrade the CERIC-ERIC distributed infrastructure in the life sciences and precision medicine sectors, through the involvement and upgrade of facilities located at the University of Salento and the University of Salerno. CERIC-ERIC has already made available to its users a set of techniques and infrastructures for biomedical sciences, ranging from protein production for structural investigation, to crystallographic, nuclear magnetic resonance and low-angle X-ray diffraction analyses for the determination of the atomic structure of macromolecules, and to imaging and characterization techniques for biological samples using the SISSI, SYRMEP and TWINMIC beamlines of Elettra.
However, new scientific and technological developments in the fields of structural biology, genomics and mass spectroscopy require expansion of the existing infrastructures, in order to provide a cutting- edge offering, adapted to the new emerging needs.

The purchase of an electron microscope for the preliminary analysis and three-dimensional reconstruction of macromolecules, the constitution of an infrastructure for holographic microscopy, the installation of a facility for the analysis of proteins in tissues by mass spectrometry and a next-generation sequencing platform will greatly expand the capabilities of CERIC-ERIC. These platforms require the storage and processing of large amounts of data and will therefore be supported by the installation of a powerful data centre, capable of making the most of produced data.