Our society faces since the last decades of the 20th century several challenges and threats which, now in the second decade of the 21st century, have only increased. By one side, humanity faces the the expiration of the non-renewable energy resources and, by the other, the impact of the greenhouse gases that have contributed to the global change with the serious outcomes stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and acknowledged in the Paris Climate Change Conference, organized by UN in November 2015.
Pollution caused by different agents and sources is also another problem: industrial toxic waste or plastic accumulation in the oceans are impacting on the ecosystems threatening the existence of unique animal and vegetal species, affecting the overall natural delicate balance.
The impact on our planet seems to reflect in the problems that affect the human kind today. Just as an example: in 2014, World Health Organization declared that the antibiotic resistance has reached critical levels and the lack or urgent responses to control this situation could leave the world unable to fight infections. Those diseases we used to consider of simple treatment and with a cure -such as those caused by superficial wounds- could become again lethal threats to human health. In addition, the medical science is still fighting for new and better therapies for pathologies that -until today- has no cure, such as cancer or aids.
How can we meet all these urgent needs? Biotechnology and Bioengineering are sciences working today in the development of answers to these and many other problems: biofuel production, bioactive compounds for new drugs, new material and non-contaminant processes development and effective treatments for toxic waste are only some of the many applications biotechnology and bioengineering can generate.
In the Centre for Biotechnology and Bioengineering (CeBiB) work scientists from different disciplines in five main research lines. This work will produce applications for the efficiency and optimization of processes (from industrial to digital ones), the obtention of high value compounds from diverse biomasses, the synthesis of new molecules of pharmacological interest and -in general- the achievement of avant-garde science that foster and fasten scientific and technological research in these and many other fields.
The unique territories Chile possesses are key for CeBiB’ s work. To address these natural national laboratories, CeBiB was created as a joint research centre leaded by University of Chile in association with University of Antofagasta, University of Santiago de Chile, University of La Frontera and University of Los Lagos. CeBiB’ s research lines go from north to south of Chile and include metabolomics, protein engineering, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics and eco-physiology, all having in common the work in biotechnology and bioengineering. In the north of Chile, we study the extremophiles adaptative behavior and abilities, in the center we analyze the microalgae potential for the production of biofuel and other high value chemical compounds, while in the south CeBiB studies the macroalgae genomics and eco-physiology, among many other research topics.
Our research lines are: