H.C. Schröder's area of special interest is the mechanism of biomineralization in aquatic invertebrates, especially the mechanism of biosilicification in marine and freshwater sponges. He has a long-term experience in sponge molecular biology. In addition, he has experience in cell biology (apoptosis, signal transduction, cell-cell-interaction) and biochemical characterization of natural products. In the past, this group was engaged in the discovery of several cDNAs/genes involved in biomineralization in sponges. H.C. Schröder is Professor at Mainz University. He has the possibility to work at the Marine Station of the Institute Ruder Boskovic at Rovinj (Adriatic Coast, Croatia), where he established, together with partner P5, a sponge mariculture for sustainable production. The results of his work are summarized in over 300 publications in refereed international journals. H.C. Schröder is member of the German Center of Excellence on Marine Molecular Biotechnology “BIOTECmarin” (coordinator: W.E.G. Müller).
The Laboratory of Biochemistry and Mass Spectrometry belongs to the Italian Ministry of Instruction, University and Research (MIUR) Center of Excellence for Biomedical Research (CEBR), and the Marine Biotechnology Laboratory belongs to the Advanced Biotechnology Center (Genova). The historical scientific interests of this group are on biomedical research, but in the last 6-7 years a specific research task in the field of marine biochemistry and marine biotechnology was activated and financially supported by MIUR, CNR and Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF). One aim of this activity is the study of silicon metabolism in sponges. The researchers involved in this project have experience in biochemistry of proteins, molecular biology, inorganic chemistry, sponge biology, and mass spectrometry.
NNL is a cross-disciplinary nanotechnology facility for nm-scale research and technology. The centre has 4000 sqm laboratories. The target of the centre is the development of new concepts and new nano-systems, exploiting either the “bottom-up” (self assembling and molecular engineering for hybrid organic/inorganic systems) or the “top-down” approaches (state-of-the-art lithography techniques applied to organic and inorganic nanostructures) in the same mainframe. Great attention is paid to the technological potential of the research on new materials, processes, architectures and instrumentation. Most of the work done in the last few years generated applications, presently a matter of collaboration with world-leading companies such as Agilent Technologies, STMicroelectronics, and within different European projects.
C.C. Perry has a long-term interest (more than 20 years) in biosilicification and in the role played by macromolecules in structure direction. Her studies in this area have been published in chemical, biochemical and biological journals. She was the first to discover intrasilica structure directing proteinaceous macromolecules in higher plants and has pioneered the use of aqueous model systems in the study of matrix mineral interactions. She is active in the study of (super) hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces produced by chemical and lithographic routes and into the effect of chemistry and topography on protein and cell interactions for the development of new materials that are compatible with the human body.
BIOTECmarin GmbH is a young innovative biotechnology enterprise, which is specialized in marine biotechnology. This SME was founded by fourteen scientists from seven universities and research institutions in 2001, to transfer and develop the results obtained in frame of the German Center of Excellence "BIOTECmarin" (supported by BMBF, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) and other national and international research projects to commercially applicable products. The aim of BIOTECmarin GmbH is the development and sustainable production of bioactive compounds including biomaterials from marine organisms, whose immense potential as a source for a variety of novel compounds for pharmaceutical industry ("lead structures") and other industries (enzymes for production of biosilica) has not been used so far. Prof. Dr. W.E.G. Müller who is the general manager of BIOTECmarin GmbH but also head of the German Center of Excellence on Marine Molecular Biotechnology “BIOTECmarin”.
S.I. Belikov is specialized in molecular biology, bioorganic chemistry, genetic engineering, and molecular evolution. His team is involved since more than 10 years in the investigation of evolution of Baikalian endemic animals, in particular sponges. The main field of the present research of this group is the molecular mechanism of biosilicification and its evolution in endemic sponges from Lake Baikal. This group is also involved in studies of the molecular biology of transport of silicon in freshwater diatoms. S.I. Belikov and his team have also great knowledge in the ecology and systematics of Baikalian endemic sponges and their taxonomic position relative to other freshwater sponges. The group has cDNA libraries of endemic freshwater sponges Lubomirskia baicalensis and Baikalospongia intermedia and the genes of silicateins have been partially analysed. The Limnological Institute employs more than 300 scientists, technicians and engineers. The institute has a research station on Lake Baikal and several research vessels.