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History

Toxinology and regulation of the lmmune-response are two interconnected classical areas of scientific investigation around which the Butantan Institute historically built its strong international reputation. Indeed, it is deeply rooted in the culture of Butantan lnstitute, the notion that toxins are components in complex venoms, which were selected by evolution to exert concerted systemic biological effects through highly specific biochemical, molecular and cellular mechanisms. As a corollary to this notion, isolation and chemical characterization of venom components very likely can yield novel toxin molecules with high therapeutic potential.Following this historical tradition, in the last 10 years, investigators of the Center for Applied Toxinology (CAT CEPID project) successfully isolated, chemically characterized and patented several novel protein and peptide toxins, which became starting points for development of pharmaceutical innovations in partnership with local industries. This emphasis on proteins and peptides led to deployment of state of the art laboratories for proteomics, transcriptomics, molecular biology of recombinant DNA and peptide synthesis. More recently, studies of biochemical, molecular and cellular mechanisms of hopeful therapeutic drugs were initiated, aiming to establish proofs of concept.Thus, the CAT project has progressively paved the way towards a systems biology oriented center of toxins, immune-response and cell signaling at Butantan lnstitute. The present proposal aims to establish the new Center of Toxins, lmmune-response and Cell Signaling – CeTICS - as a world class center of excellence, taking advantage of the Butantan lnstitute historical international reputation and, also, the research successes and infrastructure legacy of the CAT CEPID project. To this end 10 investigators, representative of the most competitive leaders of research in the Butantan lnstitute, designed a Center's ambitious research plan focused on integration of subprojects biased towards scientific research and subprojects motivated for technological innovations. A large group of senior scientists from Butantan lnstitute, from other Brazilian institutions and, also, from well-known foreign institutions are collaborators of the Center.

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