An interview with the BioMoBil Coordinator

An interview with the BioMoBil Coordinator

What is BioMoBil and why is it known as a Centre of Excellence?

The Centre of Biosafety Research and Molecular Biomedicine (BioMoBiL) is formed by research groups from the University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk, and is coordinated by the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology. This unique Faculty was founded in 1993 thanks to support by the TEMPUS program and promotes scientific integration with the academic communities of the TriCity area of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia.

The scientific staff has national experts from several fields of molecular biology and biotechnology, such as DNA replication, tumour cytogenetics, restriction enzymes, pathogenic parasites, and plant biotechnology. Basic and applied research performed in the Centre covers the areas of molecular biotechnology, biomedicine and environment protection. The Polish State Committee for Scientific Research classified BioMoBiL research groups within their top category.

The Centre has an excellent record in attracting grants from various competitive sources such as the Polish State Committee for Scientific Research, the Foundation for Polish Science, INCO-Copernicus and Framework Programs of the European Union, Swiss National Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Polish-US Skłodowska-Curie Fund, European Molecular Biology Organization, Wellcome Trust. This has, for example, allowed the construction of new laboratory facilities in 1997 to accommodate research groups of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology as well as the construction of a modern animal facility, at the highest safety and ethical standards, to be opened in 2004.

The Centre is also involved with the national and regional community through the organisation of a series of biotechnology summer schools, student scientific conferences as well as technology transfer initiatives in the region such as conferences, seminars and study projects. BioMoBil staff are active in the design and implementation of projects involving authorities of the Pomeranian Region and cities of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia, aiming at the creation of infrastructure for technology transfer in the Tri-City network.

What is BioMoBil’s objective?

The main objective of BioMoBiL is to create a regional Centre, which will provide expertise in biosafety and molecular biomedicine. The final effect will be the implementation of novel methods in molecular diagnostics with the genomics approach. The project will promote awareness of safe biotechnologies oriented for diagnosis and treatment of humans, animals, plants and environment through higher education and dissemination of knowledge to the society. The Centre will aim also to create the infrastructure for the commercialization of scientific results by implementation of technology, which will be supported by creating structural links between the Centre and the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park.

Which projects are realised within FP6 and NATO Science Programme ?

The Centre is already successfully involved in 5 FP6 programmes including ‘Port Check’ for the development of “on site” molecular diagnostics and ‘EST’, which will design a molecular test system for toxicological and eco-toxicological risk assessment. There are a number of other projects still undergoing evaluation and negotiation procedures.

What will be the future direction for BioMoBil?

It should be pointed out that the BioMoBiL Centre was established at the university research units and its biggest achievements concern basic sciences. However, in the advent of Poland accession into the EU our applicative research starts to be a paramount aim. The promising results and patents pending on animal disease vaccines and modern diagnostics for human hepatitis, salmonellosis and other invasions are our assets. Production of useful plant cultures resistant to microbial invasions and extraction of valuable plant substances are also ready to commercialize. The whole set-up for a battery of methods to detect toxicity and eco-toxicity of old and new chemical compounds is under way.

Interview conducted by Konrad Kleszczyski, ScanBalt Polish Webeditor, May 2004.

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