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Molecular Cell Biology

Molecular Cell Biology Department

Molecular Cell Biology

Protein homeostasis is fundamental for cell function and survival because proteins are critical facilitators of  all cellular processes. Our goal is to better understand the processes that maintain the fine balance between newly synthesized and old or misfolded proteins, preserving the protein homeostasis and preventing various diseases. Current projects in the laboratory are focused therefore on  processes regulating protein lifetime:  protein  folding and maturation, trafficking, subcellular localization and degradation. Our research explores new ways of investigating the quality control process occurring in the endoplasmic reticulum that facilitates protein secretion towards the Golgi apparatus whilst regulating degradation  of misfolded proteins by ERAD pathways.

Protein processing with focus on antigen processing and presentation is currently investigated and aims at determining the exact role of ERAD components  in the generation of tyrosinase-derived tumour antigens.  Understanding of basic  mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation to T cells will provide valuable clues to enhance the efficacy of peptide-based cancer vaccines.  Deciphering the pathways mediated by the  tyrosinase-related antigen, TRP-2 is another focus of our group aiming at uncovering the potential implications of this antigen in the prognostic and therapy of malignant melanoma.

We develop new tools to extend our knowledge on the role of ERAD in the endoplasmic reticulum of secretory cells. Proinsulin matures in the  endoplasmic reticulum of  pancreatic β−cells and depending on the ER folding capacity is either secreted or destroyed. Our  hypothesis is  that up-regulation of ERAD enhancers may alleviate the ER burden in pancreatic β−cells by recruiting misfolded proteins for degradation. To verify this hypothesis we use model β−cells, intact primary  islets and animal models with modified ERAD and test the insulin secretion upon glucose-stimulation.

In the next years our research will focus on the molecular mechanisms of the folding and intracellular transport of soluble and membrane bound glycoproteins. In particular, melanoma proteins will be investigated in terms of  maturation, degradation and antigen presentation.

Stefana-Maria Petrescu, Dr.
Stefana-Maria Petrescu, Dr.

Director of Institute, Head of Department

Dr. Petrescu graduated from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Bucharest and obtained a PhD in Biology from the Romanian Academy. She was a DAAD fellow and FEBS fellowship recipient at University of Wurzburg, Germany, during 1990. She followed postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK. She obtained three consecutive Wellcome Trust Grants in collaboration with the University of Oxford from 1995- 2004. She investigated the glycobiology of tyrosinase from melanoma cells contributing to the fundamental mechanisms of calnexin associated folding and quality control of glycoproteins. She proposed tyros More...

Adriana-Alina Rus, PhD student
Adriana-Alina Rus, PhD student

Adriana-Alina Rus is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Adriana-Alina is currently working in Molecular Cell Biology in the Molecular Cell Biology.

Cristina Stefana Orobeti, MSc
Cristina Stefana Orobeti, MSc

Research assistant

2012-2016: Bachelor degree on Applied Engineering Sciences, Biomaterials and Medical Devices Specialisation, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Polytechnic University of Bucharest Romania. 2017-present: Master student at More...

Elena Ganea, Dr.
Elena Ganea, Dr.

Senior Researcher (CS I)

TBA More...

Florentina Pena, PhD
Florentina Pena, PhD

Researcher

PhD (2006), University of Bucharest postdoctoral studies (2006-2008) - Utrecht University, Ineke Braakman group, the Netherlands since 2009 researcher at the Institute of Biochemistry, Stefana's Petrescu laboratory Gr More...

Gabriela Negroiu, Dr
Gabriela Negroiu, Dr

Senior Researcher degree I

EDUCATION AND TRAINING Dr. Gabriela Negroiu has graduated from University of Bucharest, Faculty of Biology, Speciality Biochemistry. Her PhD training program focused on the pathological degradation of the cartilage ECM a More...

Gabriela Chiritoiu, Ph.D.
Gabriela Chiritoiu, Ph.D.

Scientific Researcher

Gabriela Chiritoiu is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Gabriela is currently working in Molecular Cell Biology in the Molecular Cell Biology.

Ioana Militaru, PhD Student
Ioana Militaru, PhD Student

Ioana Militaru is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Ioana is currently working in Molecular Cell Biology in the Molecular Cell Biology.

Ioana Popa, PhD
Ioana Popa, PhD

CSIII

1998 BSc degree in Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology- University of Bucharest, 2000 MSc degree in Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biology- University of Bucharest 2000-2001 Research assistant- Institute of Biochemistry Ph More...

Laura-Georgiana Manica, PhD Student
Laura-Georgiana Manica, PhD Student

PhD Student

2016 - present: Ph.D. Student at Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy; 2016 - present: Resident Pharmacist in Pharmaceutical Laboratory at Emercency University Hospital Bucharest; 2011 - 2016: M.Sc. and B.Sc More...

Livia Sima, Dr.
Livia Sima, Dr.

Research Scientist III

Livia Sima studied biochemistry at the University of Bucharest from where she obtained her bachelor degree in 2003. After graduation she started working at the Institute of Biochemistry where she was accepted to participat More...

Mari Chiritoiu, Dr.
Mari Chiritoiu, Dr.

Reseacher

Dr. Chiritoiu graduated from Faculty of Chemistry, University of Bucharest (2004-2008) and received her Ph.D. in Biology from the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy in 2014, under the supervision of dr. Stef More...

Petruta Alexandru, Dr.
Petruta Alexandru, Dr.

Research Scientist

Petruta Alexandru is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Petruta is currently working in Molecular Cell Biology in the Molecular Cell Biology.

Simona Ghenea, Dr.
Simona Ghenea, Dr.

Researcher

Simona Ghenea is a researcher in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy. Simona is currently working in Molecular Cell Biology in the Molecular Cell Biology.

Year
Gerontomics: Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions 2016-2021
Acronym: Gerontomics
Project director: Robi Tacutu

Starting 02.09.2016, the Institute of Biochemistry of the Romanian Academy is implementing the project “Multi-omics prediction system for prioritization of gerontological interventions”, co-funded through European Fund for Regional Development, in accordance with the funding contract signed by the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research. The total funding for the project is 8.524.757,50 lei, of which 8.502.557,50 lei represent non-reimbursable funding. The project’s duration is 48 months.

Dezvoltarea infrastructurii de cercetare a Institutului de Biochimie in vederea cresterii competitivitatii in domeniul proteomicii biomedicale 2010-2012
Acronym: PROCERA
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Scopul PROCERA este de a dezvolta infrastructura IBAR pentru cresterea capacitatii de cercetare-dezvoltare C-D in domeniul biochimiei si biologiei moleculare pe plan national, precum si a competitivitatii cercetarii stiintifice romanesti la nivel european.

Biotehnologii Celulare si Moleculare cu Aplicatii in Medicina 2010-2013
Acronym: Programul Postdoctoral
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Programul Postdoctoral "Biotehnologii Celulare si Moleculare cu Aplicatii in Medicina", se adreseaza tinerilor cu diploma de doctor in biologie, chimie, fizica, medicina si informatica - interesati de burse de cercetare Post Doctorala la standarde europene.

In vitro evaluation of potential biomedical strategies aimed to prevent bone loss during spaceflight 2017-2019
Acronym: SPACEBONE
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

Bone loss represents one of the most important health problems experienced by Space travelling astronauts. Microgravity produces deterioration of the skeleton due to lack of mechanical loading thus affecting both muscle and bones. Tendons stiffness decreases, muscle fibres atrophies and attenuates their metabolic capacity, whileprogressive cartilage loss occurs.

Microfluidic assay of FGF2 therapeutic administration for bone regeneration 2017-2019
Acronym: μFGF2bone
Project director: Gabriela Chiritoiu

Musculoskeletal disorders affect 1 in 7 people and fractures alone affect 1 in 50 people annually while 10% of bone injuries fail to heal. Our present proposal aims to test for the first time the potential of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2), to be administered as a stimulatory drug to enhance bone regeneration.

Platforma robusta pentru descoperirea de medicamente anti-diabetice 2016-2019
Acronym: PLATFORMDIAB
Project director: Florentina Pena

Societatea contemporana se afla in mijlocul unei epidemii globale de diabet zaharat tip 2. Aceasta boala este caracterizata de concentratii patologic crescute de glucoza in sangele pacientilor datorita productiei, secretiei si utilizarii inadecvate a insulinei - hormonul principal care regleaza concentratia de glucoza serica. Ne propunem sa generam linii reporter stabile ce pot fi utilizate pentru cuantificarea insulinei secretate.

Development of a fluorescence-based technology to screen for RAGE-ligand binding inhibitors 2016-2020
Acronym: FLUORORAGE
Project director: Ioana Popa

The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) and its ligands are important players in pathological conditions such as diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers. RAGE is a cell surface molecule of the immunoglobulin superfamily. Alternatively spliced variants lacking either only the intracellular domain or both the intracellular and the transmembrane domains are also expressed in some tissues.

Role of the ERAD pathway in the degradation of tyrosinase and production of antigenic peptides in human melanoma 2012-2015
Acronym: TYRPRES
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

A detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation is essential to optimize cancer vaccination. known as Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation (ERAD). Non cytosolic misfolded proteins, synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum are degraded to peptides by a complex machinery Cancer immunotherapy aims at harnessing the resources of the immune system to treat cancer.

Selectia cailor de degradare a proteinelor in patogeneza bolilor umane 2013-2015
Acronym: PRODEGRAD
Project director: Stefana-Maria Petrescu

A considerable fraction of all newly synthesized secretory polypeptides fail to attain their native conformation due to mutations, transcriptional and translational errors, folding defects or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress conditions.

Mass spectrometry based investigation of the oxidative stress as a potential key-player in the immunobiology of melanoma 02/05/2018 - 30/04/2020
Acronym: IMUNOPEP
Project director: Cristian Munteanu

A promising approach of the therapeutic strategy in melanoma is immunotherapy. One of the most promising melanoma antigens is tyrosinase, which was frequently found as overexpressed in melanomas. It wash shown that this protein undergoes unproductive folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leading to the selection of the incorrectly folded molecules for degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome system. The current project aims to obtain epitopes with potential increased clinical outcome.