News: Bioteknikhttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyTue, 13 Feb 2018 10:42:12 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Pernilla-interviewed-in-Swedish-radio.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Pernilla-interviewed-in-Swedish-radio.aspxPernilla interviewed in Swedish radio<p><b>​Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, professor and Head of Division of Chemical Biology, was interviewed in “Swedish radio”.</b></p>​She talked about her research, the possibility for a future cure for Parkinson’s disease and much more. Here’s a <a href="http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=104&amp;artikel=6876280">link to the interview (in Swedish)</a> and also a link to the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/P4SRGoteborg/videos/10156033419578529/?hc_ref=ARQlrlaj8v9mRhExkB48gSboD_VFAM38BHww5GZdoPNbASLPc7-r4vVNwIV1SH_uksk&amp;pnref=story">Facebook video</a>.<br /><br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg<br />Photo: Per Dahlberg/Sveriges RadioTue, 13 Feb 2018 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Future-fuels-are-based-on-bakers-yeast.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Future-fuels-are-based-on-bakers-yeast.aspxFuture fuels are based on baker’s yeast<p><b>​Perfumes, flavours and biofuels from regular baker’s yeast. Now Chalmers makes further breakthrough in the search for more sustainable industrial chemicals.</b></p>Fatty acids form the basis of many industrial chemicals and are included in most plastics, flavours and perfumes, solvents and fuels. While fossil oils, animal fats or plant oils are traditionally used in the chemical production of those types of products, we have, since a few years back, experienced the transition towards more sustainable alternative such as using cell factories, e.g. the regular baker’s yeast, to obtain the necessary fatty acids. However, a common bottleneck arising from these alternatives remains the insufficient production of fatty acids to meet levels of the petrochemical industry. <br /><br />A problem to which Chalmers researchers Paulo Teixeira and Raphael Ferreira in Jens Nielsen’s team at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology are now one step closer to solve. <br /><br />– We have found a way to remove and modify the genes in the yeast cells to start producing large amounts of fatty acids, says Paulo Teixeira. <br />– It was amazing when I saw the first graphs about the amount of fatty acids that we now can bring out. I barely thought it was true! says Raphael Ferreira. <br /><br />While other researchers often invest in adding genes to increase fatty acid production, Paulo Teixeira and Raphael Ferreira have instead chosen to remove certain genes, thus reprogramming the lipid metabolism of the yeast. Paulo Teixeira describes how it works. <br />– Imagine that lipid metabolism is like roads and crossroads and the fatty acids are cars. A car can drive along different roads and come to different places. But by closing certain roads, as we do when we remove certain genes, we force the cars to only drive along the roads we leave open and thus all the cars – the fatty acids – end up in the same place, he says. <br /><br />Now as a confirmation on their pioneering research, their paper is published in the prestigious scientific journal “Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” – PNAS. <br /><br />– I was super happy when our paper was accepted! says Paulo Teixeira. <br />– Our research proves that you do not necessarily need to add genes. But by modifying and deleting certain genes you can achieve amazing results. <br /><br />– The great thing about this is that these new yeast cells that we created can now be used by other people together with other successful strategies to build even better yeast cells to produce fatty acids and one day reach those industrial levels we all want, says Raphael Ferreira. <br /><br />Read more in the scientific article in PNAS: <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/01/18/1715282115">Redirection of lipid flux toward phospholipids in yeast increases fatty acid turnover and secretion</a><br /><br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg <br />Photo: Martina Butorac Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/The-Swedish-Research-Council-believes-in-Chalmers-and-Fudan.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/The-Swedish-Research-Council-believes-in-Chalmers-and-Fudan.aspxThe Swedish Research Council believes in Chalmers and Fudan<p><b>​Can specific dietary fiber protect against cardiovascular disease? This becomes a worldwide issue as Chalmers receives money from the Swedish Research Council and intensifies the cooperation with Fudan University in Shanghai.</b></p>​Chalmers and the leading Chinese Fudan university has already begun a study on the importance of dietary fiber for health and disease prevention. Now the Swedish Research Council has allocated SEK 3 million to Professor Rikard Landberg and his research team at the Division of Food and Nutrition Science to develop and deepen the project together with Fudan, who receives the same amount of money from the Chinese Research Council.<br />– The study is based on a previous project where we have already observed that bioprocessed rye fibers (rye bran fermented with a specific bacterial strain) have interesting effects on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, for example the inflammatory marker CRP and on blood lipids, says Rikard Landberg.<br />– With the funding from the Swedish Research Council, we will now move on to investigate whether the effects we have  found can be linked to changes in gut microbiota. In a new study, we will also investigate whether we can find biomarkers in the blood that tell us how individuals respond to a diet rich in dietary fiber that can easily be utilized by the intestinal bacteria. The goal is to be able to use such biomarkers to guide people to a personalized diet optimal for them.<br /><br />The project will run for three years and involve 10-15 researchers at different levels from China and Sweden. The Chalmers- team will hire a postdoc to work closely with a corresponding researcher at Fudan, both via the internet and on site in China and Sweden.<br /><br /><strong>What does this funding mean for you and for Chalmers?</strong><br /><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/rikard_200.jpg" alt="" style="height:195px;width:148px;margin:5px" />– It is very rewarding that we received funding from the Swedish Research Council to continue developing the cooperation we have built with Fudan University. Through this collaboration we get opportunities to do large human studies where we can test our hypotheses in people; which is otherwise very costly to implement in Europe. And because we have already collaborated, we know that everything works and how to deal with different parts of such investigations, which could otherwise be a major challenge in this type of project, says Rikard Landberg.<br />– In addition, the project also enables Chalmers to reach the world and strengthen cooperation with China, not least to attract talented young researchers to Sweden and Gothenburg. I also believe that the project can have major positive benefits for parts of the Swedish food industry that have participated in previous projects and which will now benefit from the results generated by the project.<br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg<br />Photo: pixabay.com and Martina Butorac<br /><br />Mon, 08 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Swedish-Cancer-Society-funds-researchers.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Swedish-Cancer-Society-funds-researchers.aspxSwedish Cancer Society funds researchers<p><b>​Unique biomarkers for cancer and individualized medication can become reality with Chalmers research. Now, the Swedish Cancer Society supports Chalmers for the first time in more than a decade.</b></p>​The Professors Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede and Jens Nielsen, as well as Associate Professor Fredrik Westerlund at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, have received SEK 2.4 million each. And they are pleased that the Swedish Cancer Society is supportive of their research.<br />– Funding from the Swedish Cancer Society emphasizes that Chalmers is working with cancer research and it has a strong symbolic value, says Jens Nielsen.<br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Livsvetenskaper/Cancerfonden_200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br />The three researchers have different approaches to the fight against cancer. Jens Nielsen's project focuses on the new biomarker that he has identified and now wants to verify, both on a larger group of patients and on different types of cancer. Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede studies copper transport proteins and their role in the emergence of tumors, which in the long term can lead to a whole new way of attacking cancer. Fredrik Westerlund’s project is already ongoing and he is working on a method to predetermine a patient-adapted medicine dose before starting the cancer treatment.<br /><br />And all three researchers see the Swedish Cancer Society participation as a token that Chalmers biological research is important for curing more forms of cancer in the future.<br />– This is great for Chalmers! says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede.<br />– We have spent a long time investing in Life science, and this proves that Chalmers is conducting high-quality cancer research today. To me, it is also proof that the Swedish Cancer Society, as a cancer expert, believes in me and my research group, even though we come from the mechanistic biophysical angle, she says.<br /><br />In addition to the grants making him able to develop his own project, Fredrik Westerlund also hopes that the funding from the Swedish Cancer Society can give the outside world a broader and more diversified view on Chalmers different specialties.<br />– It's great if it makes more people aware that Chalmers doesn’t only just focus on technology but is also conducting outstanding biological research, he says.<br />– And I also hope that more researchers at Chalmers will see that you can apply for this type of grants.<br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg<br />Photo: Cancerfonden/Scandinav/Leif Johansson<br />Wed, 20 Dec 2017 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Rikard-Landberg-new-Head-of-division.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Rikard-Landberg-new-Head-of-division.aspxRikard Landberg Head of division<p><b>​Making Chalmers biological food and nutrition research world famous, develop new forms of cooperation ways to cooperate and sharpen the research. Those are a few things that professor Rikard Landberg wants to focus on as he enters in his new position as Head of Division of Food and Nutrition Science.</b></p><p>​Rikard Landberg is taking over as Head of Division of Food and Nutrition Science by January 2018 as professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg turns 67 in March. And he is looking forward to this new role.<br />– It feels good and and it’s a natural consequence from me being recruited to Chalmers. I have been preparing for this the passing year and have had time to get my research group settled in before I now make plans for the whole department, says Rikard Landberg.<br /><br />Rikard Landberg has been a professor in Food and Health at the department of Biology and Biological Engineering since 2016 when he was recruited from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences with the position of Head of division in sight. A quite complicated task.<br />– Ann-Sofie has built this area of research from the bottom up at Chalmers and she is the body and soul of the division which I am now to develop, says Rikard Landberg.<br />– She has also developed a very large network at Chalmers and in Gothenburg through her many important positions throughout the years. So, it's with a great deal of humility that I take over from Ann-Sofie.<br /><br />Ann-Sofie Sandberg is confident that Rikard Landberg will develop the division in the right direction.<br />– I’m stepping down from the position as Head of division with mixed feelings, naturally. The division has been my baby. But I have worked with Rikard during the last year and he’s well prepared for the task. I really feel that the division is in good hands! And I am hoping to get to spend more time on my own research, says Ann-Sofie Sandberg.<br /><br />Rikard Landberg will focus on sharpening the research and the education of the division even more, and he wants to make Chalmers famous for its food and nutrition division worldwide.<br />– I will also study how we work internally to make sure that all coworkers have a distinct aim and that they get adequate input and feedback on their work, says Rikard Landberg.<br />– It’s also very important that we recruit and incubate good young researchers.<br />Furthermore, he wants to focus on establishing interaction with the other actors in the region, for example with Sahlgrenska.<br />– Not that many places in Sweden have Food and Nutrition, Microbiology, Medicine and Systems and Synthetic Biology in the same area and I want to take advantage of that, says Rikard Landberg.<br />– Right now we are learning how to create a toolbox for personalized nutrition that may lead to personalized dietary guidelines. Chalmers has a golden opportunity to contribute to the absolute front of this area.</p> <p><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg</p>Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Yeast-can-be-engineered-to-create-protein-pharmaceuticals.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Yeast-can-be-engineered-to-create-protein-pharmaceuticals.aspxYeast can be engineered to create protein pharmaceuticals<p><b>​It took several years, but a research team headed by Professor Jens Nielsen at Chalmers University of Technology has finally succeeded in mapping out the complex metabolism of yeast cells. The breakthrough, recently published in an article in Nature Communications, means a huge step forward in the potential to more efficiently produce protein therapies for diseases such as cancer.</b></p>​The market for pharmaceuticals that mimic the body’s own proteins – protein-based therapeutics – is exploding. Some of them are relatively simple to manufacture in yeast-based cell factories. Insulin and HPV vaccine are two examples that are already under production, but other therapies, such as antibodies to various forms of cancer, are significantly more difficult to manufacture.<br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/news201712_JN.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" width="130" height="159" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“They are currently produced using a cell factory based on a single cell from a Chinese hamster. It’s an extremely expensive process. If we can get yeast cells to do the same thing, it will be significantly cheaper – perhaps 10% of what it costs today. Our vision is to eventually be able to mass-produce and supply the entire world with therapies that are too expensive for many countries today,” says Jens Nielsen, professor of systems biology.<br /><br /><span><span><span><span><span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/news201712_DP.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" width="130" height="160" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></span></span></span></span></span>In collaboration with Associate Professor Dina Petranovic and Mathias Uhlén’s<span><span></span></span> research<span><span><span></span></span></span> team at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Jens Nielsen has been mapping <span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span>out th<span></span>e complex metabolism of yeast cells for four years.<br /><br />“We’ve been studying the metabolism of a yeast that we already know is a good protein producer. And we found the mechanisms that can be used to make the process even more efficient. The next step is to prove that we can actually produce antibodies in such quantities that costs are reduced.”<br /><br />The discussion has mainly been about cancer, but there are many other diseases, for example Alzheimer’s, diabetes and MS, that could potentially be treated by yeast-based protein therapies. How distant a future are we talking about?<br /><br />“Our part of the process is fast, but pharmaceuticals always take a long time to develop. It could be a possibility in five years, but should absolutely be on the market in ten,” Nielsen says.<br /><br />Jens Nielsen has been making headlines the past few months. In addition to his publication in Nature Communications, he has recently received three prestigious awards.<br /><br />On 31 October he received the world’s biggest award for innovation in alternative fuels for transportation – <a href="http://www.fuelchoicessummit.com/Award.aspx" target="_blank">the Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize</a>, in Israel. Alternative fuels? Yes, plain old yeast can be used for a lot, and Nielsen’s award was for his contribution to processes for producing hydrocarbons from yeast, which will advance new biofuels. Earlier in October he received the prestigious <a href="/en/news/Pages/Energy-award-to-Jens-Nielsen-for-biofuels-from-yeast.aspx" target="_blank">Energy Frontiers Award from the Italian oil company Eni</a> for the same type of research. And just a week before he left for Israel, he was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)’s gold medal for innovative and creative research in systems biology.<br /><br />“Yeast is a superb modelling system. Almost everything in yeast is also found in humans. We have complete computer models of the metabolism of yeast, and we use the same type of models to study human metabolism,” Nielsen explained when he received the IVA award. <br /><br /><strong>More about making the metabolism in yeast more effective</strong><br />The protein production of yeast cells comprises more than 100 different processes in which proteins are modified and transported out of the cell. Around 200 enzymes are involved, which makes it a very complex system to engineer. In order to optimize protein production, it is necessary to chart how these 200 enzymes function and work. In the study, this has been done by altering the genetic set of certain key genes, using advanced screening methods in combination with modern genome sequencing techniques.<br /><br />Read more about how in the scientific article in Nature Communications: <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00999-2" target="_blank">Efficient protein production by yeast requires global tuning of metabolism</a><br /><br />Text: Christian BorgMon, 11 Dec 2017 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Prizes-rain-down-on-Jens-Nielsen.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Prizes-rain-down-on-Jens-Nielsen.aspxPrizes rain down on Jens Nielsen<p><b>​End of October Chalmers professor Jens Nielsen was awarded the Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize – the world’s largest prize for research into alternative fuels. This completed a full hat-trick of prestigious accolades for Nielsen this October.</b></p>​Nielsen was handed his third and final prize of the month by the Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis during an official ceremony in Tel Aviv on 31 October. The Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize has been awarded for five years to researchers who lead the world in the development of alternative fuels. Nielsen, who is Professor of Quantitative Systems Biology at Chalmers, was rewarded for his work on the production of hydrocarbons from yeast, thus developing new biofuels. He shared the $1 million prize money with this year’s other prize-winner: Jean-Marie Tarascon from the Collège de France.  <br /><br />“My research team has had great success in redirecting the metabolism in ordinary baker’s yeast to produce chemical components that can be used in biofuel for cars, diesel for trucks and jet fuel for aircraft. Our research covers the entire spectrum, which I think played a significant role in the winning of this award,” says Nielsen. <br /><br />Earlier in October he was presented with the “Energy Frontiers Award” by the Italian oil company ENI for the same type of research. And only a week before the trip to Israel he was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) for his innovative and creative research in systems biology. Three prestigious prizes in one month. A complete hat-trick – how does it feel?<br /><br />“It’s fantastic, so overwhelming that you can’t put it into words. I found out that I was going to be awarded the Israeli prize a month or so ago. It all went really quickly.” <br /><br />He also thinks that the yeast-based production of new biofuels, which could compete with petroleum-based fuels, could be brought to the market relatively rapidly.<br /><br />“We’ve got quite far with our research. Industrial implementation is more dependent on political decisions and economics than on technological development. If a decision were made to do this, we could have a product out on the market in five to eight years,” he says.  <br /><br /><strong>Read more: </strong><br /><a href="http://www.fuelchoicessummit.com/Award.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />The Eric and Sheila Samson Prize 2017</a><br /><a href="https://www.iva.se/en/published/anders-scharp-tilldelas-ivas-stora-guldmedalj/"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Press release about IVA’s Great Gold Medal 2017</a><br /><a href="/en/news/Pages/Energy-award-to-Jens-Nielsen-for-biofuels-from-yeast.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Energy award to Jens Nielsen for biofuels from yeast</a><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Jens-B-Nielsen.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Jens Nielsen</a><br /> Fri, 24 Nov 2017 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/A-step-closer-to-a-cure-for-adult-onset-diabetes.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/A-step-closer-to-a-cure-for-adult-onset-diabetes.aspxA step closer to a cure for adult-onset diabetes<p><b>​In healthy people, exosomes – tiny structures secreted by cells to allow intercellular communication – prevent clumping of the protein that leads to type 2 diabetes. Exosomes in patients with the disease don’t have the same ability. This discovery by a research collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology and Astrazeneca takes us a step closer to a cure for type 2 diabetes.</b></p>​Proteins are the body’s workhorses, carrying out all the tasks in our cells. A protein is a long chain of amino acids that must be folded into a specific three-dimensional structure to work. Sometimes, however, they behave incorrectly and aggregate – clump together – into long fibres called amyloids, which can cause diseases. It was previously known that type 2 diabetes is caused by a protein aggregating in the pancreas.<br /><br />“What we’ve found is that exosomes secreted by the cells in the pancreas stop that process in healthy people and protect them from type 2 diabetes, while the exosomes of diabetes patients do not,” says Professor Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, who headed the study whose results were recently published in the <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/114/42/11127.abstract">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS</a>.<br /><br />What we know now is that “healthy” exosomes bind the protein that causes diabetes on the outside, preventing it from aggregating; however, the results do not explain why. We also don’t know if type 2 diabetes is caused by “sick” exosomes or if the disease itself causes them to malfunction.<br /><br />“The next step is to make controlled models of the exosomes, whose membranes contain lipids and proteins, to understand exactly what component affects the diabetes protein. If we can find which lipid or protein in the exosome membrane leads to that effect, and can work out the mechanism, then we’ll have a good target for development of treatment for type 2 diabetes.”<br /><br />The study is actually a part of industrial doctoral student Diana Ribeiro’s thesis work, and a collaboration between Chalmers and Astrazeneca.<br /><br />“She came up with the idea for the project herself,” says Wittung Stafshede, who is also Ribeiro’s academic advisor at Chalmers. “She had done some research on exosomes before and I had read a bit about their potential. It’s a fairly new and unexplored field, and honestly I didn’t think the experiments would work. Diana had access to pancreatic cells through Astrazeneca – something we’d never had access to before – and she conducted the studies very thoroughly, and this led us to our discovery.”<br /><br />This is the first time that Wittung Stafshede has worked with Astrazeneca.<br /><br />“We ought to collaborate more. It’s beneficial to them to understand what molecular experiments we can carry out, and it’s valuable for us to be able to put our research into a wider medical-clinical perspective. In the search for a future cure for type 2 diabetes, it’s also good for us to already be working with a pharmaceutical company.”<br /><br />Read the article in PNAS:<br /><a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/114/42/11127.abstract">Extracellular vesicles from human pancreatic islets suppress human islet amyloid polypeptide amyloid formation</a><br /><br />Text: Christian Borg<br />Photo: Anna-Lena LundqvistTue, 24 Oct 2017 10:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Energy-award-to-Jens-Nielsen-for-biofuels-from-yeast.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Energy-award-to-Jens-Nielsen-for-biofuels-from-yeast.aspxEnergy award to Jens Nielsen for biofuels from yeast<p><b>​Professor Jens Nielsen is awarded the prestigious &#39;Energy Frontiers Award&#39; by the Italian oil company ENI for research on the engineering of microorganisms that open new solutions for the production of fuels and chemical products from renewables.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">&quot;It is a very prestigious award to receive. Among the earlier winners are Nobel Prize laureates, and I am extremely proud to receive this prize for the research on how to produce hydrocarbons in yeast,&quot; says Jens Nielsen, professor in systems biology at Chalmers University of Technology.</span><div><br /></div> <div>To create a society that can do without fossil fuels, it is necessary to make it possible to sustainably produce chemicals that can be used as fuel for cars, trucks and aircraft. Biotechnology offers the opportunity to design microorganisms for the production of such chemicals, which can be integrated directly into the existing energy infrastructure of our society. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Professor Jens Nielsen’s research on yeast in renewable fuel and chemical production has shown that through the engineering of the metabolism of baker’s yeast – already used industrially for bioethanol production – it is possible to improve the traditional production process, but also to produce chemicals that can be used as drop-in fuels for use with diesel and jet fuel. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We have succeeded in redirecting the metabolism in yeast so it can produce these new compounds in small scale, suitable for the production of jet fuel and other fuels, but also antibiotics, dietary supplements and other chemicals interesting for the food and life science industry,” says Jens Nielsen.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>A technical-economic analysis has shown that biotechnology-based production of new biofuels could, if developed further, compete with petroleum-based fuels and make a significant contribution to the development of future energy solutions and a more sustainable society, according to the prize jury.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">About the Eni Award</h5> <div>The prestigious ENI Award has been handed out by the Italian oil company ENI since 2007. Reflecting the ongoing energy transition the award is from 2017 given in eight different categories, with focus on research projects aiming at sustainable use of resources, reducing CO2 and promoting natural gas and renewable energy. <a href="https://www.eni.com/en_IT/innovation/eni-award.page">Read more about the Eni Award​</a></div> Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Biomarkers-in-the-blood-prove-strong-role-of-food-for-type-2-diabetes.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Biomarkers-in-the-blood-prove-strong-role-of-food-for-type-2-diabetes.aspxBiomarkers in the blood prove strong role of food for type 2 diabetes<p><b>​A pioneering method, developed at Chalmers University of Technology, has demonstrated its potential in a large study showing that metabolic fingerprints from blood samples could render important new knowledge on the connection between food and health. The study finds that diet is one of the strongest predictors of type 2 diabetes risk in older women.</b></p>​Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have found that several diet and nutrient biomarkers – molecules that can be measured in blood that are related to diet – are linked with both risk to have type 2 diabetes and future risk of developing diabetes. <p>The study, published in the leading nutrition research journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was carried out on 600 women from Gothenburg where diagnosis of diabetes was made at the start of the study, at their age 64, and again after 5 ½ years.<br /><br /></p> <p>The results underline that diet is an important factor when it comes to risk for developing type 2 diabetes, with fish, whole grains, vegetable oils and good vitamin E status found to be protective against type 2 diabetes, while red meat and saturated fat increased the risk for developing the disease. <br /><br /></p> <p>“What is really important is that we were able to reach these conclusions without having any additional information on diet from the subjects”, said lead author Doctor Otto Savolainen, who works at the Division of Food and Nutrition Science and the Chalmers Mass Spectrometry Infrastructure at Chalmers University of Technology.<br /><br /></p> <p>The blood samples were analysed at Chalmers, where a unique metabolic fingerprint, including many different diet biomarkers, could be linked to each woman at the specific time the sample was taken. Using this method it was possible for the first time to objectively determine the impact of key dietary components on future type 2 diabetes risk, as well as to find differences in dietary patterns between women with and without type 2 diabetes.<br /><br /></p> <p>“Collecting information about diet can be complicated and time consuming, and is always biased by what people remember and think they should report. Dietary biomarkers don’t have this problem, and highlight that dietary recommendations to avoid red meat and saturated fat and increase intake of plant-based oils and whole grains do seem to hold true, at least in this group of women”, says Associate Professor Alastair Ross, responsible senior researcher at Chalmers, at the Division of Food and Nutrition Science.<br /><br /></p> <p>“The new method has allowed us to measure several markers of diet and nutrient status at the same time in a large number of people, which we believe is the first time this has been done”, he says.<br /></p> <p>Although the role of diet is often discussed as a preventative measure for developing type 2 diabetes, this new research provides strong support for dietary guidelines, and underlines the importance of changing diet to improve health. <br /><br /></p> <p>“New methods such as ours will help to improve how we measure diet and understand in more detail how dietary patterns relate to disease”, says Alastair Ross.<br /> <br /><strong>Video: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL_myF3Fbh0" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">We know what you eat!</a></strong><br />See short video on researchers’ new ability to objectively measure what people eat, and the impact this cutting edge technology may have for individuals, researchers and society at large: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL_myF3Fbh0" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">We know what you eat!</a></p> <p><strong><br />More about this research</strong><br />Read the article published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: <a href="http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2017/09/13/ajcn.117.152850.abstract" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Biomarkers of food intake and nutrient status are associated with glucose tolerance status and development of type 2 diabetes in older Swedish women</a> </p> <br />The study was made in the Diwa cohort (Diabetes and Impaired glucose tolerance in Women and Atherosclerosis), an earlier study run by Björn Fagerberg and Göran Bergström, Institute of Medicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. <br /><br /><br /><br />Text: Christian Borg<br />Photo: Johan Bodell Thu, 14 Sep 2017 15:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Fuels,-medicine-and-chemicals-may-be-sustainably-engineered-from-yeast.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Fuels,-medicine-and-chemicals-may-be-sustainably-engineered-from-yeast.aspxFuels, medicine and chemicals may be sustainably engineered from yeast<p><b>​Yeast have become increasingly interesting as paths to address several societal challenges over the last years. Verena Siewers explains how, here – and at the KAW jubilee symposium Metabolism – The Foundation of Life.</b></p><div>​The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is celebrating its 100-year anniversary with a series of symposia in various university cities around Sweden. The one in Gothenburg will focus on metabolism and will be held 28 September in Conference Centre Wallenberg. Anybody with an interest in the topic is invited to attend.</div> <div> </div> <div>At the symposium, young promising researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology will be paired with internationally renowned experts in the respective fields. The young researcher will present his or her research and introduce the international guest. </div> <div> </div> <div>Verena Siewers, researcher at the department Biology and biological Engineering, will talk about the use of yeast for the production of chemicals.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Why is yeast interesting for the production of chemicals?</strong></div> <div>– Many of these chemicals are currently derived from petroleum or other non-sustainable sources. Therefore the aim of this research is to provide a sustainable source for a number of compounds that are used for example as fuels, lubricants, polymer building blocks, cosmetics, food ingredients or pharmaceuticals, says Verena Siewers.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>You will be introducing Christina Smolke, Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University. Tell us about her!</strong></div> <div>– Christina Smolke is a world-known synthetic biologist who has constructed artificial control devices based on RNA that are able to regulate microbial metabolism. She is probably most famous for her research on transferring complex biosynthetic pathways to yeast and by this enabling yeast to produce pharmaceuticals such as opioids.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>What are the main challenges in your research field right now?</strong></div> <div>– There have been numerous proof-of-concept examples in the past years (both by academia and industry), where microbes are engineered to produce certain chemicals. However, only a relative small number has made it to industrial-scale production so far. A major challenge is therefore the closing of this gap.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Christian Borg</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div>September 28 the jubilee symposium <strong>Metabolism – The Foundation of Life</strong>, is held to celebrate Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation’s 100-year anniversary. <a href="/en/about-chalmers/calendar/Pages/Metabolism-–-The-Foundation-of-Life.aspx">More information and registration &gt;&gt;</a> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Read</h2> <div><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Symposium-on-Metabolism-the-Foundation-of-Life.aspx">Symposium on Metabolism - the Foundation of Life</a><br /></div>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Symposium-on-Metabolism-the-Foundation-of-Life.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Symposium-on-Metabolism-the-Foundation-of-Life.aspxSymposium on Metabolism - the Foundation of Life<p><b>​The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is celebrating its 100-year anniversary with a series of symposia in various university cities around Sweden. The one in Gothenburg will focus on metabolism and will be held 28 September in Conference Centre Wallenberg. Anybody with an interest in the topic is invited to attend.</b></p><div>​At the symposium, young promising researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology will be paired with internationally renowned experts in the respective fields. The young researcher will present his or her research and introduce the international guest.</div> <div> </div> <div>–When we were offered the opportunity to host a symposium in Gothenburg, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences had already selected the topic. Gothenburg has a long tradition of strong research in the area of metabolism, and the symposium request is a recognition of that, says Sven Enerback, professor of medical genetics and one of the scientists in the programme committee.</div> <div> </div> <div>In addition to Enerbäck, the programme committee consists of Professor Maria Falkenberg from the University of Gothenburg and Professor Jens Nielsen from Chalmers University of Technology. Each committee member has chosen two topics, invited appropriate top scientists and teamed them up with promising young researchers from Gothenburg.</div> <div> </div> <div>–In order to understand the importance of metabolism, let me put it like this: Where there is a metabolism, there is life. Where there is no metabolism, there is no life, says Enerbäck.</div> <div> </div> <div>He explains that the scientists in the field are interested in much more than just the diseases typically associated with metabolism. In fact, the study of metabolism may concern anything from diabetes and how to programme yeast to produce medicines to intestinal microbiota and cell mitochondria.</div> <div> </div> <div>–We know that interference with this process leads to many different types of diseases, like cardiovascular illness, obesity and diabetes, but also cancer. Tumours modify their metabolism to benefit their own growth. This knowledge may help us find ways to block the metabolism of cancer cells and eventually be able to offer treatments and medicines. Even dementias may partly be due to a faulty metabolism. Metabolism is a vital function for all cells. If they don’t get the energy they need, they die, says Enerbäck.</div> <div> </div> <div>Anders Rosengren is a researcher at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology. He will present his research and introduce Professor Christina Smolke from Stanford University.</div> <div> </div> <div>–I’m going to talk about our latest findings from connecting bioinformatics with studies on pancreatic beta cells to explore the underlying disease mechanisms in type 2 diabetes. I will also describe examples of how beta cell research can be transferred to the treatment of patients.</div> <div> </div> <div>Doctor Valentina Tremaroli is one of the young scientists of the University of Gothenburg who will present her research as an introduction of Director Ruth Ley from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen. Valentina Tremaroli will talk about the human microbiota and how it influences human physiology and in particular metabolism.</div> <div> </div> <div>–After weight loss, we have seen alterations to the gut microbiota, indicating that specific modulation might be helpful for the treatment or prevention of metabolic diseases. I will talk about how the gut microbiota can contribute to metabolic regulation, says Valentina Tremaroli.</div> <div> </div> <div>Enerbäck points out that the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation provides invaluable support to Swedish research and has been immensely important.</div> <div> </div> <div>–The Foundation’s 100-year anniversary is a big deal. Over the years, it has granted huge amounts of money to research projects that in various ways have been “beneficial to Sweden”. Considering the size of the country, having a foundation that provides such strong support to research is totally unique.</div> <div> </div> <div>The symposium will be held in English. Although it is open to the public, it is not a popular science event.</div> <div><a href="/en/about-chalmers/calendar/Pages/Metabolism-–-The-Foundation-of-Life.aspx">Read more and register &gt;&gt;</a> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">International scientists, see top picture</h2> <div><strong>Sir Doug Turnbull,</strong> Professor, Mitochondrial Research Group, Newcastle University</div> <div><strong>Ruth Ley</strong>, director, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen</div> <div><strong>Bruce M. Spiegelman</strong>, professor, Spiegelman Lab, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University</div> <div><strong>Christina Smolke</strong>, professor, Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University</div> <div><strong>Sekar Kathiresan</strong>, doctor, Center for Genomic Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital</div> <div><strong>Dame Frances Ashcroft</strong>, professor, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">About the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation</h2> <div>The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation supports long-term, free basic research beneficial to Sweden, mainly in medicine, technology and the natural sciences. This is achieved through long-term grants to free basic research of the highest international standard.</div> <div>In the 100 years since its establishment, the Foundation has granted SEK 24 billion to excellent Swedish research and education. Recent annual grants of SEK 1.7 billion make the Foundation one of the largest private funders of scientific research in Europe.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Carina Elmäng</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Read</h2> <div><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Fuels,-medicine-and-chemicals-may-be-sustainably-engineered-from-yeast.aspx">Fuels, medicine and chemicals may be sustainably engineered from yeast</a></div> Mon, 11 Sep 2017 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Pernilla-Wittung-Stafshede-elected-to-Council-of-Biophysical-Society-.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Pernilla-Wittung-Stafshede-elected-to-Council-of-Biophysical-Society-.aspxPernilla Wittung-Stafshede elected to Council of Biophysical Society<p><b>​Chalmers Professor Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede is the first Swede for over fifty years to be elected to the Council of the International Biophysical Society.</b></p>​Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede was somewhat sceptical when she got an unknown US phone call. Was it a marketing call? But it turned out to be the president of the Biophysical Society who wanted to give her the news in person that she was one of four Society members that had just been elected to the Council.<br /><br />“I was very delighted. I am very much involved in academic research and science policy here in Sweden, but I would also like to make a contribution at the international level,” says Wittung-Stafshede.<br /><br />She is the second Swede and the first Swedish woman ever to have been elected to the Council of the Biophysical Society – a major, well-established society whose focus matches Wittung-Stafshede’s research interests well. The field of biophysics is involved in mapping the biological world all the way down to the molecular level. The Biophysical Society was founded in 1958 to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics. It does so through its many programs, including its meetings, publications, and committee outreach activities. It has over 9000 members.<br /><br />“In my research group, we try to understand the molecular mechanisms of life and various diseases by performing biophysical and biochemical experiments on various strategic proteins,” explains Wittung-Stafshede.<br /><br />Among the issues she plans to emphasize during her three years on Council are gender issues, something she has already been involved in through one of the Biophysical Society’s committees. She would also like to try to get more young researchers interested in pursuing biophysics research, and she will make sure a range of topics are included in the program at the Society’s annual conference.<br /><br /><strong>Text</strong>: Ingela RoosWed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Better-cell-factories-for-the-drugs-of-the-future.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Better-cell-factories-for-the-drugs-of-the-future.aspxBetter cell factories for the drugs of the future<p><b>​Pharmaceuticals based on proteins are promising candidates for the treatment of cancer and other severe diseases, but they can be hard to produce. In a new research project, Chalmers researchers will develop new genetically modified cells, so-called cell factories, which can produce the desired proteins.</b></p>​The market for pharmaceutical drugs based on human proteins, so called protein drugs, is continuously increasing.<br /><br />&quot;Protein drugs give a more targeted effect and less side effects than traditional drugs based on small molecules,&quot; explains Jens Nielsen, Professor of Systems Biology at Chalmers.<br /><br />The hope is that one will be able to treat a very wide range of diseases, for example different types of cancer, diabetes or multiple sclerosis. The proteins are produced by the so-called cell factories – cells that are genetically modified to produce and secrete the desired protein. The problem is that it is difficult at present to produce some of these proteins.<br /><br />&quot;Some proteins are straightforward to produce, but with others it does not work at all. And we do not really know why,&quot; says Jens Nielsen.<br /><br />Now, the Chalmers research groups of Jens Nielsen and Associate Professor Dina Petranovic, with researchers at KTH, have received a grant of SEK 34 million from the Foundation for Strategic Research to investigate protein production by a human cell line and by yeast cell factories, which the group has very much experience with.<br /><br />&quot;We want to understand why it doesn’t’ work sometimes, so that we can learn to modify the cell factories to produce more different types of protein,&quot; says Jens Nielsen.<br /><br />Cell factories based on human cell lines are not yet commercially available. Today, most of pharmaceutical proteins are produced primarily by hamster cell lines. Pharmaceutical proteins produced in non-human cell lines can be identical to human proteins, or have very small differences which in some patients, the difference may give rise to a response from the immune system.<br /><br />&quot;With cell factories based on human cells, we aim to get completely identical proteins which would not induce such reactions,&quot; says Jens Nielsen.<br /><br />The long-term vision is to be able to produce all the desired proteins with cell factories, so that the needed protein pharmaceuticals come more quickly onto the market.<br /><br />Read more:<br /><a href="/sv/institutioner/bio/nyheter/Sidor/Proteinforskning-Jens.aspx">Pharmaceutical products based on human proteins </a>(in Swedish)<br /><br />Text: Ingela Roos<br />Photo: Johan BodellThu, 22 Jun 2017 17:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/BIO-researcher-new-in-chemical-society.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/BIO-researcher-new-in-chemical-society.aspxBIO-researcher new in chemical society<p><b>​Eva Albers, reseacher at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, have been elected a new member in The Swedish Chemical Society. She hopes to contribute with her broad competence in an environment filled with chemistry enthusiasts.</b></p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/IndBio/Eva_Albers17_220.jpg" alt="" style="height:278px;width:200px;margin:5px" /><strong>​Hello Eva Albers, what do you have to do to be nominated to The Swedish Chemical Society’s committee of nomenclature?</strong><br />– I was contacted by a person from the election committee, working here at Chalmers, who thought that I have a suitable complementary competence.<br /><br /><strong>What do the committee do – what will be your task?</strong><br />– Nomenclature is the terms and denominations used in a certain field, like chemistry. The committee of nomenclature translates new words to Swedish, ensures a good dialogue regarding important language topics and answer questions about nomenclature in the field of chemistry. I will contribute with my competence in biochemistry.<br /><br /><strong>How does it feel to be a new member?</strong><br />– This will be fun, I’m looking forward to be part of the society and to gain new contacts in the “Chemistry sphere” of Sweden.<br /><br /><strong>What will be your contribution?</strong><br />– I have a broad competence within biochemistry and biotechnology, which I hope will be of use in the committee of nomenclature.<br /><br />Note: Read more about the <a href="http://kemisamfundet.se/">chemical society on their web page </a>(in Swedish).<br /><br /><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Annika Söderpalm, Vera kommunikationWed, 31 May 2017 11:00:00 +0200