The Biomass Systems and Synthetic Biology Center is part of the São Paulo State Bioenergy Research Center. The mission of BSSB is to produce scientific knowledge and technologies for the production of sustainable energy sources using plants, microorganisms and their combinations.
The convergence of Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology will generate the knowledge of the parts and the diagrams connections that will allow the creation of new organisms. The research groups at the Center will plan and develop projects in Genomics, Genetics, Cell Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology and Modeling, which will encourage the emergence of multidisciplinary collaborative research among the participating USP institutions.
It is in this context that the USP SynBio Center places itself in the frontier of knowledge, focusing on research that can lead into new applications in Bioenergy.
What are Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology?
The characterization of global circuits of organisms and the engineering of their capacity to produce chemicals derived from biomass is going to provide new alternatives for the petrochemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, among others. More importantly, the availability of biofuels and bio-based chemicals will assure the developing world the bricks of a sustainable society.
Synthetic Biology aims to design and construct new parts, devices and biological systems and to re-design of existing natural biological systems for human purposes. Synthetic Biology uses well-defined parts crafted by the evolution process to build artificial systems that can perform new functions.
Systems Biology aims to model and understand organisms in their totality, characterizing the dynamic functional inter-relation among their parts (genes, RNAs, proteins, metabolites, regulatory networks, environmental perception, adaptation mechanisms etc.).Read more: What are Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology?
Building the USP SynBio Center
BSSB proposes the construction of a new building in the São Paulo City campus to house approximately 20 research groups. The admission of new researchers and the building of a dedicated center will be essential to achieve the goals of the USP SynBio Center. Funds have been secured through an agreement between FAPESP, USP, UNICAMP, UNESP and the São Paulo State Government.
The Instituto de Biociências (IB) and the Institute of Chemistry (IQ) have a large research infrastructure in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Chemistry of Plants, Algae and Insects. The Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB), the Escola Politécnica (Poli) and the Instituto de Matemática e Estatística (IME) have large expertise in molecular genetics, bioinformatics, physiology of bacteria and yeast. IQ and IB are both going to contribute to consolidate the research on grasses, especially sugarcane. IQ groups that conduct research on bioprospecting and chemical synthesis of renewable compounds will join groups from Poli and ICB that research biochemical engineering of organisms.
The BSSB Center at São Paulo City campus will also be associated to groups from ESALQ in Piracicaba campus and from the USP Ribeirão Preto campus.