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A new boost to the electronic cryomicroscope project

2021 July 15
  • The infrastructure is now being leveraged with a 312,000-euro investment for the purchase of ancillary equipment (high precision vitrifier)
  • The Basque Government is earmarking a total of 5.6 million euros for the purchase of the electronic cryomicroscope and its range of components

The Basque Government continues its commitment to promoting top-level scientific infrastructures. The Department of Education and the Presidency of the Government–through the innovation fund- have been working over the last few months on the installation of a new tool that will signify an important qualitative leap forward in a range of scientific fields.

To be more specific, the BERC (Basic Research Centre of Excellence) Biofisika Bizkaia will host the electronic cryomicroscope (CrioME), which is set to be launched before the end of 2021. Its implementation will mean a greater boost to the development of neurobioscience in the Basque Country in line with the objectives established in the IKUR 2030 Strategy.

The Basque Government has now given the go-ahead to the granting of new aid to provide this infrastructure with a new component, namely, a high pressure Vitrifier (EM ICE) and data infrastructure, which will allow the preparation of vitrified specimens and computer and computing systems for data processing and storage

Basque Platform Resource for Electron Microscopy (BREM)

The BREM platform, promoted by the Department of Education's scientific infrastructure generation programme, will be incorporating the aforementioned disruptive cutting-edge cryoME technology, something that research groups carrying out research in this field and that belong to other BERCs, scientific research centres, universities, Health Research Centres, and Technology and Innovation Centres, as well as companies in the sector will be able to access. The incorporation of this new technology will have a transformative impact on the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network (RVCTI), and will boost our technological development in biosciences and biomedicine as part of the RIS3 Euskadi 2030 strategy.

Accelerating innovation in biotechnology

The Basque Country already has more than 75 biotechnology companies applied to health and a score of entities specialising in research. More than 2,000 people currently work in the biotechnology sector, and it has a turnover of around 390 million euros per year. Due to its growing significance in the Basque economy, this sector has been identified as one of the priority areas of the Basque Government in its RIS3 Euskadi 2030 strategy. BREM will have a transformative impact on RVCTI, and will drive our development in biosciences, biomedicine and biotechnology applied to health as part of this strategy, generating new business opportunities and catalysing the attraction of private sector investment.

Biofisika Bizkaia

FBB - Fundación Biofisika Bizkaia, is a BERC research centre of excellence created in 2007 jointly by the Basque Government and the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea with the aim of promoting research of excellence in the area of biomembrane molecular and cellular biophysics. The Biofisika Bizkaia Foundation aims to promote a multidisciplinary cutting-edge research and translational excellence programme at both a molecular and cellular level in the field of biophysics and applied in areas of biotechnology and health.

The aim of the centre is to serve as a bridge to merge the interest of basic research in biophysics and the productive and service sectors of our society. Since its creation, this centre has retained a high level of scientific relevance the field of basic research on biophysical membranes, which is currently opening up to other fields such as cell and systems biophysics.

Biofisika Bizkaia currently hosts more than a hundred scientists from Ikerbasque, the UPV/EHU and CSIC, and has a solid international reputation. Its work focuses specifically on identifying the physical and chemical mechanisms underlying cellular metabolism, cell-to-cell communication and cell invasion by viruses, learning and memory in the brain, and the control of tissue remodelling during animal and human development. This knowledge allows the centre to research new therapeutic strategies such as the development of vaccines against HIV and, more recently, SARS-CoV-2, and the development of drugs against brain disorders such as epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases.

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