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The Medical Biotechnology Group > Fungi Biotechnology Research Unit

The Fungal Biotechnology Group started its activities in 2006 at the Biotechnology Research Center. There are 4 areas of research in this group.

1. Functional genomics of Aspergillus fumigatus to find new drug targets: In this group, molecular techniques as well as genetic instructions are used to discover and identify new candidate genes (Drug target). The classic gene knock out strategy through homologous recombination as well as new strategies such as RNAi are considered as important tools in this Group. Moreover, the location of the desired proteins is determined by using indicator proteins such as GFP. Analysis of the protein pattern of mutated strains (without the desired genes) through proteomics is also on the agenda of the group’s research priorities.

2. Production of recombinant proteins in fungal hosts: In this part of the research, important fungal hosts such as Pichia pastoris and Aspergillus niger are of importance. Industrial, medical and veterinary related-proteins are produced in these types of hosts. At the same time, the Fungal Biotechnology Group is attemting to increase the production of recombinant proteins in these hosts using genetic manipulation. In this regard, some genes that are likely to be active in the secretory pathway are being studied in the strains from the view point of their identification, elimination and overexpression.

3. Molecular epidemiology of pathogenic fungi in Iran: The purpose of this part of the study is to accurately identify pathogenic species such as Candida and Aspergillus fumigatus based on new molecular techniques such as MLST. This makes it possible to compare the Iranian strains with the other strains in the rest of the world. It is also noteworthy that obtaining such information plays an effective role in identification and controlling of these pathogens.

4. Determination of the action mechanism of antifungal drugs: One of the research areas of the Fungal Biotechnology Group is to identify the action mechanism of drugs with antifungal activity whose action mechanism is unknown. In fact, it is possible to identify the metabolic pathway by using molecular and biochemical techniques that this drug has inhibited. This area of the research is carried out in collaboration with the Drug Design & Bioinformatics Group.

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