Research directions and activities

Report
Department of Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology Today
Facts &
Achievements
"Biochemistry brings molecular science to life"
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Contents
Introduction
Education and Research – organizational structure
Educational offer
National and international visibility
Resources
Research directions and activities
Our labor markets partners
Perspectives
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Introduction
Since its establishment, 38 years ago, the Department has contributed to the
teaching of numerous generations of undergraduate and post-graduate
students in the fields of Biology. The Department of Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology (DBMB) ensures annually the training of more than 100
undergraduate students and 40 PhD and Masters students. Our
predecessors, including the most recent Heads – Prof Dr Ioan F Dumitru,
Prof Dr Dana Iordachescu - have forged a unique spirit and promoted
outstanding research. As our predecessors we continue to uphold excellence
in the Department while maintaining its strength and competitiveness.
Mission Statement & Commitment
Our Mission Statement
Our Mission is to increase current knowledge of the biochemical and
molecular bases and to train highly qualified scientists who, through
research, teaching and service, will continue to provide new insights into
the biochemical, and molecular aspects.
Why us?
Biochemistry is a vibrant field of study that exists as a program at the
interface of Biology and Chemistry in the effort to understand the molecular
basis of life. Today, Biochemistry serves as the dynamic interface for various
fields of the Life Sciences and the Physical Sciences in the 21st Century.
Our Commitment
To excel in Research, Teaching and Training of undergraduates,
postgraduates and postdoctoral fellows in the field of Biology, Biochemistry
specialization.
What are the objectives of the DBMB?
The prevalent objectives of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular
Biology are:
 To increase the quality level of educational process in the field of
biochemistry and molecular biology;
 To offer theoretical and practical education;
 To promote and implement quality in the research area;
 To offer high level competence and scientific expertise;
 To promote, apply for and manage research grants;
 To create a climate of scientific cooperation within the academic
community based on decisional transparency and periodical evaluation of
activities in the department.
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Education and Research –
organizational structure
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology
Teaching Unit
Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology
Research Center
Research Projects and
Structural Funds
Management Unit
Quality assurance
division
for research and
teaching
Genetic
Biodiversity,
Molecular
Phyologeny,
Genotyping
(Microsatelites
DNAmt)
Molecular
characterizati
on of varrious
human cancer
pathologies:
Dystrophinopat
hies, Aging,
Autoimmune
diseases,
Pulmonary
fibrosis
Molecular
Toxicology
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Tissular
Engineering,
Biomaterials
Biocompatib
ility
Molecular
Biotechnology
Educational offer
The whole structure of the curricula has been translated
according to the Bologna process. According to the University
of Bucharest strategy, the education structure offerd by DBMB
meets the following rule:
 three years for the undergraduate level
 two years for master studies level,
 three years for PhD level.
Our department has achieved the objectives of the Bologna
process, and has created an educational structure fostering a
strong research infrastructure.
The realization of these programs is achieved with the
collaboration of members of the academic and teaching staff of
the University of Bucharest or/and the collaboration of
specialists, visiting professors, research fellows, when and if
this is considered necessary, according to the needs and the
characteristics of each course.
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
provides many opportunities for students to get involved in
research. Thus, postgraduate students (MSc, PhD) and outside
researchers/ teachers can participate as researchers and, in
some cases, graduate students can get involved in a project, as
research assistants.
After completing the curriculum for the 3-year Bachelor of
Science degree, qualified students can further pursue an
additional 2 years of Master of Science courses. They will then
graduate with a Master of Science degree in Biology with
specialization in Biochemistry and can continue thier formation
in the PhD program under the superving of the two PhD
coordinators. After completing a 3-years program they will be
graduate with the PhD diploma in Biology with specialization
in Biochemistry.
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Bachelor of Science Program
The undergraduate level is a study program which prepares
students for a future career in teaching, research and clinical
field.
It was conceived as a study cycle tightly connected to the labour
market by implementing practice stages and internships and
supporting students’ extracurricular activities.
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Master of Science Program
The Master of Science (MSc) degree program requires two
years of coursework, the completion of original research and
the preparation of a research based thesis.
Our masters program was restructured according to relevant
qualifications for the European labour market and for
increasing the mobility and the flexibility of masters graduates.
Typically, MSc students present their findings at national
meetings and publish their results in peer-reviewed journals.
Some continue on to advanced graduate study, while others
obtain research positions on the market.
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General and specific skills
acquired by the students

Professional skills acquired:
• the possibility to accumulate in-depth
specific, state of the art
biological and
biochemical notions;
• the possibility to understand and explain
concepts, processes and mechanisms specific
to the biological systems;
• the ability to utilize techniques and
instruments
of
identification
and
investigation of the biological systems.

General skills acquired:
• the capacity to analyze, synthesize,
organize and plan;
• the capacity to select and apply
laboratory methods;
• the capacity to solve problems and take
decissions;
• acquisition of elementary bioinformatic
skills.
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PhD Program
At PhD level, a student becomes a real researcher. His/ her
previous activity – results at national and international
competitions, publications – develops into research projects
which are the object of intense activity in research centers.
Our PhD program is part of the Doctoral School of Biology
which organizes all the activities provided for advanced
academic training program, connected with European
standards.
Qualified students will be trained in advanced research
techniques and conduct scientific research along with our
M.Sc. and researchers, under the mentorship of full-time
members of the departments.
The research attachments in our well-equipped state-of-theart laboratories offer our students many opportunities to
develop their organizing, analytical and problem-solving
skills. They will participate in seminars and presentations
aimed at developing communication and writing skills, and
present their work via poster presentation and submission of
a research PhD thesis at the end of the project.
During their stage the PhD
students
benefit
from
scholarships and residences in
national/
international
universities with which the
Department of Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology has
partnership agreements .
Their research activities are
financed from research projects
which are ongoing into the
Department and are under the
teachers/postdoctoral
researchers coordination.
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Resources
Human Resources
Depending on their activity the academic staff is represented by 3
different groups:
1. Teaching staff:
 3 Professors
 6 Associate professors
 4 Lectures
 2 Universitary assistants
Researchers staff:
 1 Scientific researcher II
 6 Scientific researchers III
 13 Assistant researchers
Non-teaching staff :
 1 Economist
 Chemical engineer
 5 Technical staff
Non-teaching staff is in charge with many activities or operational
area like administration and finance, education service, suport
activities for research, teaching organization, human resorces,
universitary evaluations.
In the last years, working together, the academic staff increase theier vizibility
by publishing the research activities results in pear-review journals and poster
presentation at many congresses/ conferences.
 Articles publised in pear-review journals with ISI cotation
115
 Articles publised in pear-review journals with CNCSIS cotation
47
 Brevets (including gene sequences)
108
 Citations of the published articles
81
 Articles published in pear-review journals with BDI cotation
11
 Monographies
7
 Articles published in the international conferences proceedings
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 Poster presentation at national/ international conferences
195
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Resources
Human Resources
Courses and research internships for academic staff
Courses organized by TATAA BIOCENTER
Courses organized by FEBS
Courses organized by EMBO
Courses organized by EBI Training
Quality Management courses
Project management
Research internship in the European laboratories
from:

Paris, Franta,

Padova, Italy,

Stockholm, Sweden,

Amsterdam, Holand

Budapest, Hungary

Trondheim, Norway
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Resources
Financial resouces
Since 1994 our main objective was to improve the laboratory
infrastructure in order to increase the quality of educational
process and research activity.
Tempus projects undertaken between 1992-1998 represented the
first step in improving teacher training for PhD and research
internships, and laid the foundations of a modern infrastructure
for education and research in biochemistry and molecular biology
at the University of Bucharest.
The open-mindedness was offered by the managerial vision of
Prof. Dr Dana Iordachescu, who sent colleagues to specialize in
the best European universities. The determination of those who
returned to the Department, together with the belief that they can
implement new concepts in education and research conducing to
an infrastructure which allow us to increase the Department
quality and visibility. Until 2010 the academic staff have been
developed many research and infrastructure projects financed by
National Authority of Research and Innovation, World bank and
Structural Founds. In 2002 was established the "Research and
training center in molecular biology” (BCUM-BM), under Prof. Dr
Marieta Costache coordination, us a self-sufficient unit with
organizing, exploitation, and utilizing autonomy of the material
and financial resources.
During years, the goals of the academic staff was to achieve a
qualitative leap in the research field in institutions from Romania
led to their striving to access further national projects (CNCSIS,
PNCDI, CEEX PNII). The total value of investment in
infrastructure is worth more than 8,890,000 lei (1.996.575 EUR) of
which 7,000,000 lei (1.555.555 EUR) between 2005-2009.
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Resources
Financial resouces
The 10 laboratories from which 4 laboratories are accredited ISO
17025/2005 are equipped with high tech equipment similar to
those from European laboratories and allow us to perform
research, consultancy and services at high level.
In the field of Genomics, Proteomics and Transcriptomics, the
Molecular Biology laboratories include infrastructure such as
genetic analyzers, PCR equipments, Real-Time PCR and
microarray platforms.
Cell biology, cultures and microscopy laboratories have dual
laminar flow hoods, CO2 incubators, microscopes, optical flow
cytometers, cryotome, microtome, direct and inverted
fluorescence microscopes, confocal, laser microdissection.
In the 3 biochemistry laboratories we undertake qualitative and
quantitative
specialized
analyses
with
UV/
VIS
Spectophotometers, electrophoresis,
blot, video/ photo
documentation, FPLC and HPLC systems, all belonging to the
latest generation.
Research activities oriented towards epigenomic and genomic
analysis (isolation and purification, molecular cloning, in vitro
amplification, sequencing, gene fingerprinting, methylation, SNPs
analysis by DNA Microarray and Real-Time) are interconnected
with the molecular diagnosis (LOH, MSI, MLPA).
High-performance facilities and staff specialization allowed the
orientation towards transcriptomics and proteomics by
combining modern techniques (RNA separation and purification,
Real Time RT-PCR, in vitro transcription and translation, RNA
interference, RNA microarray, HPLC, FPLC) with the collective
experience of the research team with classical approaches
(proteins and peptides purification, enzyme kinetics, single/ twodimensional electrophoresis).
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Research directions and activities
Knowledge is essentially the result of scientific research, one of
the most significant indicators for ranking a university/
department in a hierarchy based on quality and prestige.
Scientific research is meant to ensure knowledge in all sectors of
social activity. The results of such an activity ensure economic
growth and the vital knowledge transfer between the academic
and economic environment.
We are privileged to be part of the University of Bucharest,
university of which entire research activity is authorized, thus,
enjoying considerable advantages in developing MA and PhD
programs as well in increasing the eligibility degree for EU
grants.
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Research directions and activities
Now, we manage research grants from various sources
that are to be invested in research, educational, training,
and developmental projects, as well as other related
services or activities which contribute to the
establishment of linkages between education, research
and the production market.
A short analyses of our research activity reveals that
during 2004 – 212 we have been developed a number of
114 research grants from which:
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Research directions and activities
International research grants:
COST 844 - Apoptosis and programmed cell death: molecular
mechanisms and applications in biotechnology, 1999-2005
COST B19 - Molecular cytogenetics of solid tumors, 2002-2006
COST B23 - Oral facial development and regenation, 2003-2007
COST B35 - Lipid Peroxidation Associated Disorders – LPO,
2004-2010
COST TD 0901 - Hypoxia Sensing, Signalling and Adaptation
(2009 - 2013)
COST 0902 - Understanding and combating porcine
reproductive and respiratory syndrome in Europe (2009 - 2013)
MRE07/25 FP6 - Identification of men with genetic
predisposition to prostate cancer: targeted screening in
BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and controls (IMPACT study)
COBIL Romania –Grece, 2003-2005
COBIL Romania –Cypru, 2007-2009
COBIL Romania –Belgium Valonne Community ,2010-2012
Micro and Nanotechnologies to EASTern Europe through
NETworking (MINAEAST-NET FP6), Contract no: 510470,
EUREKA/ERA-NET 2008/030/Ro - Romania-Franta (2008-2011):
NanoBioAll: „Advanced Metallic Biomaterials, nano-structured,
for implantable medical devices”
Michigan State University - Evaluation of chemopreventive
activities of
botanical extracts and environmental tumor
promoters in rodent and human cell lines using gap junctional
intercellular comunication (GJIC) as a key biomarker
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Research directions and activities
Activities
Infrastructure investments
Between 1998-2012: 8.877.302 lei, out of which 7.000.000
lei between 2005-2009 wher used for laboratory
reconstruction and modernization, and equipment
acquisition
Molecular biology Laboratories
Sequencer,
PCR,
Real-time PCR
Microarray Equipments
Microscopy Laboratories
Microdissection,
Fluorescence
Confocal microscopes
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Research directions and activities
Activities
Biochemistry Laboratories
Cell Culture Laboratory
Laborator
Double laminar
aparatură
specialăflow hoods
CO2 incubators
Inverted light microscopes
fluorescence microscopes
Flow-cytometer
FPLC si HPLC
Spectrophotometers
Electrophoresis and
Electroblotting systems
and
Bioinformatics and
Documentation Laboratory
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Research directions and activities
Culture/ Apoptosis and Cell proliferation
Achievements:
• normal and pathological cells models :
 fybroblasts, keratinocytes,chondrocytes,
osteoblasts, tumor cells
 morphology, proliferation,
 metaloproteinases
• apoptosis:
 after retinoic acide, ceramide, H2O2 treatment
 in cancer
 melanoma (ISH)
 fish
 hepatocyte cultures
 apoptosis tests (ISH)
Techniques
• cell cultures
• PCR
• RT-PCR
• immunohistochemistry
• Elisa
• Western blot
• flow-cytometry
Perspectives
• expression of Bcl2, Bax, Bad, p53 proteins in
keratinocytes and fibroblasts cell cultures after
ceramides and retinoic acid treatment
• expression of p53, Ki67 in colorectal cancer, ISH
• expression of p53, Ki67 in breast cancer, ISH
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Research directions and activities
Cancer pathology
Achievements
• expression of tumoral markers APC, sPLA2 type
IIA, β-catenin, EGFR, E-cadherin, etc in epithelial
and skin cancer
o protein expression
o allelic disorders in human chromosomes
• cell models for studying sPLA2 type IIA :
o human cell cultures CHO
o insect cell cultures Sf21
o tumoral cell cultures
• purification of sPLA2 type IIA:
o cell cultures Sf21+
• PGp protein expression :
o biochemical characterization
o molecular characterization
Techniques
• immunohistochemistry
• cell cultures
• allelic disorders
• electrophoresis
• Western blot
• flowcytometry
Perspectives
• treatment improvement by personalized medicine
• probiotics effect on colorectal cancer.
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Research directions and activities
Aquatic ecotoxicology
Achievements:
• in vivo studies regarding apoptosis in Carassius auratus sp.:
 the effect of Mn2+,
 microscopic studies
 enzymatic assay of SOD, GST, GR, CAT, LDH
• cell models of studying oxidative stress in Carassius auratus
sp.:
 fish hepatocytes cell culture
Techniques
• histochemistry
• immunohistochemistry
• cell cultures
• methods of enzymatic assay
Perspectives
• in vitro studies regarding pesticides action on the
oxidative status in fish hepatocyte cultures
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Research directions and activities
Taxonomy/ Phylogeny
Achievements:
• taxonomic
biochemistry
in
different
species
(fish,
amphybians,invertebrates):histological
modifications,
enzymatic
profile, multiple molecular forms (LDH)
• transfferine polymorphism in carp
studies on the reproduction cycle in Polyodon spathula and Cyprinidae
molecular phylogenetic studies on Cyprinidae :
DNAmt, COX I and COX II, r RNA12S and 16S, Cyt b
Techniques
• histochemistry
• imunohistochemistry
• cell cultures
• methods of enzymatic assaycell culture
• RT-PCR
• sequencing
• FPLC
Perspective
• others genetic markers in fish
•molecular modification in reproductive cycle of Polyodon
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Research directions and activities
Tissular Engineering, Biomaterials and Biocompatibility
Achievements:
• Analyses of implant materials from:
•Metal and metal alloys
•Nitrogen – implanted Ti and Ti alloys
• Ceramics
•Natural polymers
• Evaluation of cellular survival
• Microscopic evaluation of cell spreading and morphology
• Investigation of cell adhesion
• Organization of cytoskeleton proteins
• Cell proliferation potential
• Promotion of cellular differentiation
• Extracellular matrix turnover
• Tissue engineering from stem cells
Techniques
• histochemistry
• imunohistochemistry
• cell cultures
• methods of enzymatic assay cell culture
• RT-PCR
• sequencing
• FPLC
Perspective
• analyses of other matrix that can be used in therapy - hydrogel
•Stem cell cultivation in order to achieve a tissue structure
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Our labor markets partners
The graduate/ MSc/ PhD students from the department of
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology have the opportunity to continue
apply their professional skills on various companies from market.
The graduate/ MSc students can be employed by:

Primary and High School in the field of Biology

Companies for reagents and equipments distribution

Clinical laboratories
Or, can continue their formation in prestigious universities and
research centers from Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany,
Holland, Great Britain, Greece, Portugal, Spain
The researchers can by employed by:
 Other national
universities
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and
foreing
 Research
laboratory
national institutes
from
 Research
industry
from
laboratory
Perspectives
Master in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in English for
foreign students
ERASMUS-MUNDUS
Doctoral School
PROJECTS for Master Degree and
Interregional and cross-border collaboration
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Contact :
University of Bucharest
Faculty of Biology
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
91-95 Splaiul Independenţei
050095 Bucharest, 5 sector
Phone: +40 21.318.15.75
Fax:+ 40 21 318.15.72
www.bio.unibuc.ro;
www.dbbm.bio.unibuc.ro
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