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Name of Centre/Group:

Chemical and molecular microbial biotechnology research group 

Shortname/Acronym: CHIMERA

Members (current):

Dr Catherine Collins; Dr Sushanta Sah;; Dr Siobhan Moane; Dr Tanya Beletskaya: Dr Paudie Murray: 

Detailed Overview of Centre/Group

CHIMERA offers a multidisciplinary group of scienctists with demonstrated research excellence in all forms of microbial cell factory research including traditional microbial substrates (bacteria, yeast and fungi) but also in microalgal and cyanobacterial as well as tissue culture and mammalian cell culture technologies.

The aim CHIMERA research group is t o screen microbes (bacteria, fungi, yeast, microalgae, cyanobacteria etc.) from varied habitats for bioactive compounds with industrially relevant commercial opportunity. The search for novel biologically active compounds which can act as lead compounds for the development is an ongoing process for multinational biotechnological industries.  One of the most important sources of these novel biologically active compounds or secondary metabolites are microbes. For example one of the most important sources of these novel biologically active pharmaceutical compounds or secondary metabolites are fungi which produce a multitude of low molecular weight bioactive compounds.  The ability of filamentous fungi to assemble an incredibly diverse array of small molecule natural products from simple and ubiquitous precursors belongs to their most remarkable physiological traits. Approximately 38% of the 22,000 known bioactive, microbial metabolites are of fungal origin. Production of newly discovered bioactive compounds will be further investigated by studying their structure and genetic production. CHIMERA identifies, extracts, characterises and purify’s bioactive compounds from microbial life-forms (fungi, yeast, microalgae, bacteria etc.) with potential innovative applications.

Selected Projects include a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency funded, co-financed by Irelands EU Structural Funds program and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Application. ‘M-Factories’Development of commercialisation pipeline of Microalgal bioFACTORIES (Lead); FP7 funded Research and Innovation Action BAMMBO-‘Biologically active molecules of marine based origin’ (Lead); Horizon Europe funded Research and Innovation Action BIOiCEP led by AIT-‘ Bio Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastics (BioICEP)’ (Beneficiery).