Institute of biomolecular chemistry (ICB)


The ICB is an updated technological hub for the research and development of small molecules and biotechnological processes. For the pharmaceutical sector, the activities dedicated to the analysis, synthesis, and biological evaluation of small bioactive organic molecules are able to support studies of lead compounds and preclinical development of lipids, natural products, peptides, and biomarkers for oncology, immunology, and neuroscience. In this frame, an emerging point of excellence is the research of vaccine adjuvants by the activation of the innate immune system through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and small molecules and glycoconjugates. The Institute makes available a collection of molecules and extracts, and a database with information on molecules discovered in our laboratories. The ICB also harbors impactful research on the endocannabinoid signaling system and on the pharmacological potential of cannabis. In biotechnology, the Institute conducts research in the development and implementation of processes based on extremophilic and whole-cell enzymes for the biological mitigation of CO2 and for the production of biofuels, hydrogen, food ingredients, and functional and/or bioactive compounds from the conversion of natural matrices and agro-food residues.

Here you will find only a few examples of experimental activities relevant to the mission of ICB and to its lines of research

i) study of marine natural products: structure, reactivity, biological functions and potential pharmacological applications;
ii) study of chemical signalling systems and lipid mediators at the basis of the mechanism of action of natural products from medicinal plants: functional activity and therapeutic potential of their pharmaceutical and nutraceutical modulation;
iii) design and synthesis of organic molecules of biotechnological interest also through the use of biocatalysis;
iv) identification, characterisation, structure-activity relationships and in silico design of enzyme and receptor modulators;
v) study of pharmacological chaperones for the treatment of genetic disorders: development of new drugs and identification of new targets;
vi) characterisation, production and applications of endo- and exo-polysaccharides, lipids and proteins from extremophile microorganisms;
vii) production of microbic and algal biomasses and technological valorisation of vegetable wastes for applications in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, agricultural and renewable energy sectors;
viii) development and application of new methodologies and protocols for the identification of new therapeutic molecular and new biomarkers of human diseases;
ix) development of molecular systems able to reach and selectively recognize pathologic targets relevant to human pharmacoresistance, cancer diagnostics and therapy, angiogenesis, etc., also through the use of nanotechnologies.