CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON TOXINS, IMMUNE-RESPONSE AND CELL SIGNALING (CeTICS)
Eleven research leaders of the Butantan Institute designed a plan to establish a new world-class center called the Center for Research on Toxins, Immune response and Cell Signaling (CeTICS). This initiative took advantage of the international reputation of the Butantan Institute and the infrastructure recently built by the former Center for Applied Toxinology (CAT), supported by FAPESP in the first edition of the RIDC Program.
Over the last 10 years, investigators of the CAT successfully isolated, chemically characterized and patented several novel protein and peptide toxins from natural venoms and animal secretions, which became promising starting points for the development of pharmaceutical innovations, in partnership with local industries. This emphasis on proteins and peptides led to the development of state of the art laboratories for proteomics, genomics, transcriptomics, molecular biology of recombinant DNA and peptide synthesis. More recently, studies of biochemical, molecular and cellular mechanisms of potential therapeutic toxins were initiated, aiming to establish proof-of-concept studies based on the analyses of molecular signaling networks. Thus, the CAT progressively moved towards Systems Biology-driven research, making the Butantan Institute ready to house a competitive interdisciplinary center of excellence in toxins, immune response and cell signaling.
The new CeTICS starts with an ambitious research plan focused on integration of subprojects, some biased towards scientific research and others motivated for technological innovation. In addition, this general plan includes guidelines to efficiently transfer research spinoffs to industrial settings by a process mediated by the Technology Transfer Office of Butantan Institute. Furthermore, it also includes specific objectives for education and knowledge dissemination, with innovative ideas to further explore the educational vocation of the Butantan Institute museums. To achieve all of these goals, the principal investigators assembled a large and diversified team of 70 researchers and students, complemented by a collaboration of 35 external senior scientists from both Brazilian and well known foreign Institutions.