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Lines of Research



Master of Science and Doctor of Science


General lines of action of the PPBE in research and teaching:


1. Bioengineering of Cellular and Tissue Systems

This line of research investigates cellular responses (animal and plant cells) to the chemistry and mechanics of the extracellular environment. The faculty-advisors associated with this line develop research on the following topics:

i) Systemic biology studies using tools for the analysis of functional genomics, cell structure and ultrastructure, as well as the biochemistry of cell physiology. The models currently studied are parasitic and free-living protozoa, endemic vector insects and mammalian cells. These research topics are developed within the scope of the Department of Biosystems Engineering at UFSJ.

ii) Molecular-genetic, physiological and morphological studies aiming at the identification of genes and mechanisms of tolerance to abiotic stresses, resistance to biotic stresses and characterization of plant production, for genotype manipulation via transgenics and/or assisted selection. These research topics are developed at the Center for Applied Biology of EMBRAPA Corn and Sorghum (Sete Lagoas, MG), and Ecological Bioengineering is integrated, since the most adapted and productive genotypes are fundamental for the establishment of sustainable agricultural systems.

2. Neuronal Bioengineering

The investigation of the joint behavior of neurons and glia that constitute neuronal tissues, according to a certain architecture, is the central objective of this line of research. Seeking to understand brain functions, the line of research takes the phenomena of epilepsy and spreading depression as objects and strategic models of investigation. Amenable to experimental reproduction, with “in vivo” or “in vitro” induced models, these phenomena can be monitored and quantified. To understand its basic mechanisms, electrophysiological and imaging techniques have been developed or improved, as well as computational models that simulate, through mathematical equations, brain tissues and their activities.

The comparative analysis of experimental records with computer simulations allows to unravel and predict cellular and tissue mechanisms, from neurons and glia, dissociated from specific regions of the brain. This type of analysis has proved to be a valuable methodology to assess the minimum necessary composition of nervous tissues that give them essential characteristics for inducing and sustaining these phenomena. Strategies for obtaining new neuronal tissues are also very promising: i) genetic deletion or inclusion, to study the effect of certain tissue components on tissue functionality and ii) neuronal tissue culture, using biotissue engineering techniques.

3. Ecological Bioengineering

The Bioengineering of Ecological Systems, or Ecological Bioengineering, aims at the manipulation of natural and agricultural ecosystems, terrestrial or aquatic. biotics, populations, organisms, physiological, cellular and even biomolecular systems. Its approach is essentially interdisciplinary and is based on the principle that the functioning of each biosystem is the result of interactions in its underlying systems.

Associated with Ecological Bioengineering are: [1] the restoration of natural ecosystems that have been disturbed by global and local human activities, such as alteration in biogeochemical cycles, pollution and land use, and [2] the development of ecologically sustainable production systems, such as agricultural, forestry and animal production systems. Ecological Bioengineering covers specific topics as diverse as [a] habitat manipulation for pest control and sustainable agricultural production, [b] reconstruction and restoration of degraded areas, [c] exploration, management and conservation of ecosystems terrestrial and aquatic, as well as [d] the minimization of the effects of anthropic activities on natural ecosystems.

Ecological Bioengineering, in this proposal, aims to promote the development of new technologies for manipulating natural and agricultural ecological systems, but it also intends to promote advances in the fundamental knowledge of the functioning of these systems at their various hierarchical levels of organization. In this context, the line of research aims to develop new techniques aimed at [a] the recovery and management of impacted natural ecosystems and [b] the implementation of ecologically and economically sustainable agricultural systems.

Última atualização: 13/05/2022