Laboratory of Biotherapeutic Agents
The main focus of our research is the study and development of biotherapeutic agents including probiotics, prebiotics, symbiotics and molecules with biological functions, like selenium mainly on gastrointestinal disorders, but also on other disorders such as arthritis, asthma, atopic dermatitis and diseases related to the vaginal ecosystem. The focus is not only on the development and study of these agents, but also on their mechanisms of action, with an emphasis on immune modulation, barrier effect, and modification of microbiota in oxidative stress, among others. In recent decades, much attention has been given to the modulation of normal intestinal microbiota not only by probiotics (live microorganisms that when ingested in adequate amount confer a benefit to the health of the host), but also by prebiotics (nondigestible nutritional ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of one or more beneficial bacteria of the colon such as the bifidobacteria, improving the health of its host, mainly through the production of short chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate and propionate), synbiotics (a combination of probiotics and synbiotics) and yeasts enriched with selenium (converted in the form of seleno-methionine), among others, as probiotic vaccines. The interest in the use of these biotherapeutic agents has increased in the last years in order to prevent or treat a large number of disorders, mainly those of the gastrointestinal tract. The great advantage of the therapy using these agents is the lack of side effects, such as the selection of resistant bacteria, since the beneficial mechanisms of these microorganisms (in the case of probiotics) are basically the same as normal human microbiota. In this case, a large quantity of probiotics that have proven efficacy and may be natural constituents of the microbiota, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, or not, such as the yeast Saccharomyces boulardi, or prebiotics and symbiotics, is used. In order to develop new Brazilian strains of yeasts with proven probiotic effects, the focus of this research has been mainly on studies with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae UFMG-905, in addition to the enrichment of this yeast with selenium. This new strain can be made available to national companies interested in a probiotic bio product that does not depend on external sources, like S. boulardii, which is currently the only national and international commercially available yeast with proven probiotic properties in humans.
Professor Flaviano dos Santos Martins
Multiuser Support Laboratory
The Multiuser Support Lab with an area of 150m2, named after Professor José de Noronha Peres is where practical lab work and part of the experimental activities for dissertations and theses are carried out. The lab provides equipment such as PCR, different centrifugal machines, spectrophotometer, fermenter, scales, laminar flow and chemical fume cabinets, autoclave, ice machine, freezers, refrigerator, five computers, two printers, flow cytometry (Facscan), liquid chromatography-HPLC, and Vitek 2.1 (automation system for identification and antibiogram of bacteria and yeast culture in clinical samples). This lab is available 24 hours a day for students and teachers via biometric access and monitored by video camera.
Laboratory of cell biology of microorganisms
The Laboratory of Cell Biology of microorganisms (LBCM) focuses on the study of translation regulation mechanisms of pathogenic fungi, as well as on host-microorganism relationship, with an emphasis in Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Cryptococcus gattii and C. neoformans. Its specific objectives are:
1) study the structure and function of eukaryotic translation initiation factors ( eTIF);
2) study the structure and function of the kinases of eTIF;
3) characterize the translational regulation pathways in pathogens and during in vivo and in vitro infection;
4) establish new models for the study of translational regulation during infection by pathogenic fungi.
Professor Viviane Alves Gouveia (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Fátima Soares Motta Noronha
Laboratory of molecular biology of microorganisms
There are two groups in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Microorganisms. The Microorganisms Biology group has two lines of research:
1) 'Physiological and genetic determinants of pathogenicity and drug resistance' - aiming to study mechanisms of drug resistance and pathogenicity (virulence factors) in two sublines: a) includes projects related to bacteria: Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (periodontium-pathogen, development of experimental infection model in mice for periodontitis), Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas (nosocomial pathogens, determination of MIC and molecular characterization). b) encompasses projects developed in pathogenic fungi (Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gatii, Sporothrix schenckii, MIC determination, selection of resistant , new antifungal, and development of experimental models) and with Saccharomyces cerevisiae (biotechnological interest).
2) 'Molecular characterization of microorganisms' - aiming to develop methodologies for characterization and typing of microbial groups, through molecular approaches, employing techniques such as PCR with random (RAPD) or specific primers, analyses of polymorphisms of restriction fragment size (RFLP), sequencing gene portions and karyotyping by alternating pulse electrophoresis (PFGE) with gene mapping (hybridization) and characterization of mobile genetic elements, DNA transposons and retrotransposons, mainly in the genome of P. brasiliensis. The second group, called Host-microorganism interactions (HMI), led by Dr Daniele da Gloria de Souza, develops projects in research areas seeking to understand the mechanisms underlying the inflammatory phenomena and the importance of these phenomena to tissue function in several experimental models. The most important is the development of the Dengue model and the study of different aspects of the inflammatory response triggered by the viral agent.
Professor Patrícia Silva Cisalpino (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Elizabeth Espangler Andrade Moreira
Professor Sueli Diniz Lima
Professor Daniele da Gloria De Souza
Molecular and Computational Biology of Fungi Lab
Study of the fungal biology, at molecular organizational level, by both experimental and computational methods for low and high throughput analysis of DNA, RNA and protein sequences.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Aristóteles Góes Neto
Room: ICB J3 - 53
Laboratory of Ecology and Physiology of Microorganisms (LEFM)
Line of research: study of the surface and mucosa microbial ecology of humans and animals in health and disease in terms of composition, functions and modulation. Specific objectives: 1) to evaluate the microbiota balance in the associated ecosystems (surface skin, gastrointestinal mucosa, vaginal mucosa) in conditions of dysbiosis or eubiosis; 2) to determine the functions and influences of the microbial components of these ecosystems within the framework of interrelations with the host (functions of ecological protection, immunomodulation, nutritional contribution or pathogenic activities), 3) to develop methods of intervention in the installation, balance and function of the microbiota components to obtain benefits to the host (probiotics and prebiotics). Methodology: conventional microbiology techniques (in particular use of two anaerobic chambers), molecular biology techniques (PCR, DGGE), gnotobiotic animal model. National collaborations: microbiologists (Profs Queiroz DMM, Mendes EN, Magalhães PP), immunologists (Profs. Teixeira MM, Afonso LCC, Vieira LQ), nutritionist (Prof JIL Alvarez), microbial physiologists (Profs Brandão RL, Castro IM), veterinarians (Profs Oliveira AL, Cerqueira MMOP, Souza MR), pathologists (Prof Arantes MRE, Carmona DC), pediatricians (Profs Penna FJ, Péret LA, Figueiredo PP). International collaborations: Dr Czerucka D (Université de Nice, France), Dr Gatesoupe FJ (IFREMER, Brest, France), Dr. Fons M (Université d´Aix-Marseille, France), Dr. Le Loir Y (INRA, Rennes, France), Dr. Vinderola CG (Universidade Santa Fe, Argentina), Dr Martinez-Gomez, INT, Mexico). International commissioned research: Merck, Sharp Dohme (USA), Mead Johnson Nutritionals (USA), Christian Hansen (Denmark), Biocodex (France). National commissioned research: Merck SA (Rio de Janeiro), Geyer Medicamentos (Porto Alegre), Queiroz Galvão Alimentos SA (Natal). Major repercussions: obtaining information of interest to immunologists, parasitologists, pediatricians, gastroenterologists, gynecologists, dermatologists and veterinarians, and research and development of biotechnological processes and products.
Laboratory of Mechanisms of Fungal Infections
This laboratory deals with the development of biotechnological strategies which are expected to use:
1) Carbon nanostructures as control agents of fungal infections in plants.
2) Carbon nanostructures as support for enzyme immobilization for biodiesel production
3) Carbon nanostructures in building devices for bioremediation
4) Sensors for detecting micro-organisms of medical, agronomic and industrial interest.
5) Patterns of nanoparticles for benchmarking and validation of toxicological tests
6) Lichens as biomarkers for nanoparticles.
Professor Ary Corrêa Junior (Head of the laboratory)
Laboratory of mycology
The Mycology Laboratory works with these main lines of research:
- Epidemiology, diagnosis, molecular typing and susceptibility profile to antifungals causing mycoses in humans;
- Evaluation of new substances with antifungal activity;
- Physiological and genetic determinants of pathogenicity and antifungal resistance;
- Host response mechanisms triggered by pathogenic fungi.
The use of molecular biology techniques such as RAPD, PCR-RFLP and PFGE aims to:
1. Fast and accurate identification of species of molds and yeasts;
2. Understanding of the taxonomic interactions between them;
3. Characterization of the genetic polymorphism of fungal populations;
4. A quick and safe diagnosis and the control of infections caused by fungi, and
5. The training of human resources at undergraduate and graduate level. The determination of antifungal drug susceptibility profile aims to improve effectiveness in the treatment of fungal diseases. Students in the laboratory work on undergraduate research papers, dissertations and theses using phenotypic, molecular and immunological tests for evaluating new antifungal compounds and assessing the response of animal models in relation to fungi, dermatophytes fungi, dematiaceous fungi, Candida spp., Cryptococcus spp. and Paracoccidioides spp.
The Micology Laboratory has, at the moment, two professors:
Professor Maria Aparecida de Resende Stoianoff (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Daniel de Assis Santos
Laboratory of applied microbiology
The Laboratory of Applied Microbiology includes two working groups which work in the areas of environmental biotechnology, industrial, medical and food microbiology. The environmental and industrial biotechnology group develops studies focused at understanding the role of microorganisms in natural and artificial biological processes in terms of their functional, biochemical and genetic diversity. The aim is to use this knowledge in bioremediation projects, with emphasis on biodegradation of phenols, aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons; develop the technology of biossurfactants and emulsifying agents; control of biofilms in industrial systems; in addition to developing new products, such as ethanol, lipases and biossurfactants enzymes from industrial by-products. The work group coordinated by Professor Regina Maria Nardi Drummond develops studies in two research groups: Ecology and Physiology of Micro-organisms, and cervico-vaginal and urinary tract infections. The first group prioritizes research with emphasis on the following subjects: study of the diversity of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in gastrointestinal and vaginal ecosystems, and in naturally fermented foods; probiotic potential of LAB and Bacillus spp., including the study of the mechanisms of action in vitro and in vivo; purification, chemical and molecular characterization of antimicrobial substances including bacteriocins and biosurfactants produced by LAB and Bacillus spp.. The second group researched the potential of probiotic Lactobacillus crispatus and the resistance molecular mechanisms of quinolone in Escherichia coli.
Professor Regina Maria Nardi Drummond (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Vera Lúcia dos Santos
Laboratory of Oral Microbiology and Anaerobes
The Laboratory of Oral Microbiology and Anaerobes develops projects that address ecological, physiological and genetic aspects as well as those related to the virulence of aerobic, facultative anaerobic and obligatory anaerobic bacteria, in particular micro-organisms of clinical relevance. The studies address the following themes:
1) Micro-organisms associated with the pathogenesis of oral and dental infections: prevalence and characterization, in particular susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs.
2) Antibacterial activity, mainly antagonisms resulting from the expression of bacteriocins: biochemical and genetic characterization of the substances.
3) Clinically relevant bacteria recovered from patients with healthcare-associated infections: prevalence, virulence, environmental stress tolerance, resistance to antimicrobial drugs and genetic diversity, as well as systemic responses of the host.
4) Formation of biofilm in surgical instruments after exposure to organic and inorganic matter during surgical procedures and in experimental conditions.
5) Micro-organisms associated with nosocomial environments and waste management.
6) Proteome changes induced by environmental adversities, reflecting on the potential bacterial aggressor.
7) Biological and pharmacological activities of natural and synthetic products to treat patients with emerging infectious diseases.
8) Diarrheagenic bacteria: prevalence, susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs and genetic characterization.
Professor Luiz de Macêdo Farias (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Paula Prazeres Magalhães
Professor Simone Gonçalves dos Santos
Laboratory of Systematics of Fungal Biomolecules
The Laboratory of Systematics of Fungal Biomolecules (LSBF) develops studies related to molecular and morphological taxonomy, diversity, ecology and phylogenetic relationships of fungi from tropical ecosystems in Brazil and in the extremes of Antarctic. In addition, studies are conducted with all the fungi from this ecosystem regarding the production of biomolecules prototypes in order to develop new drugs. The work performed in the lab focus on:
1) Endophytic fungi associated with different plants from Brazilian ecosystems;
2) Fungi from different substrates in Antarctic ecosystems;
3) Fungal biomolecules active against bacteria, fungi, viruses, human tumor cells and parasites of the genus Leishmania (leishmaniasis) and Trypanosoma (Chagas disease).
Professor Luiz Henrique Rosa (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Susana Johann
Laboratory of Taxonomy, Biodiversity and Fungi Biotechnology
Studies related to the ecology, taxonomy and biotechnology use of yeasts and filamentous fungi are developed in this laboratory. Therefore, the works focus on:
1) Characterizing the biodiversity of yeasts associated to plants, insects and aquatic ecosystems in Brazil and other South American countries;
2) Studying the diversity of yeasts and filamentous fungi from the Antarctic ecosystem;
3) Selecting starter yeasts able to produce traditional beverages made by fermentation; and
4) Selecting yeasts from the Brazilian biodiversity capable of fermenting hydrolyzed lignocelulolitics to produce second-generation ethanol.
Professor Carlos Augusto Rosa (Head of the laboratory)
Laboratory of Basic and Applied Virology
The projects developed in the Laboratory of Basic and Applied Virology (LVBA) focus on the study of viruses of human and veterinary clinical significance, their interactions with the host, diagnostic methods, viral infections control and treatment, particularly Poxvirus, Flavivirus, herpes virus and retroviruses. Some of the current projects at LVBA include: molecular biology and viral characterization; virus-host interaction studies; analysis of induced immune responses during infections; development of diagnostic methods and experimental vaccines using recombinant viral vectors based on modified ankara vaccinia virus (MVA), nanocomposites, and chimeric recombinant proteins.
Professor Flavio Guimarães da Fonseca (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Edel Figueiredo Barbosa Stancioli
Laboratory of Virus
The lab is located in the Department of Microbiology, block F4, room 258, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, MG. The laboratory has infrastructure facilities to work with virus and recombinant protein technology for diagnostic purposes, and vaccine therapy. The staff is comprised by four professors, postdoctoral students, doctoral students, master students, and undergraduate students. Research with Interferons, Poxviruses, Dengue virus and Bunyavirus are among the most important.
The Signal Transduction Group studies the mechanisms of cellular responses triggered by viruses and cytokines.
Professor Erna Gessien Kroon (Head of the laboratory)
Professor Claudio Antônio Bonjardim
Professor Paulo Cezar Peregrino Ferreira
Professor Giliane de Souza Trindade
Professor Jonatas Santos Abrahão