Hungarian researchers develop new microfluidic and microscopic methods

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Since 2017, a consortium of researchers from the ELKH Biological Research Centre (BRC) and the University of Debrecen (DE) has been investigating how the genotype and the environment of cells determine their observable properties within the framework of the Széchenyi 2020 programme's "Excellence in Strategic R&D Workshops" tender. The project "How do the genotype and the environment of cells determine their observable properties? System-level microfluidic analysis with the iChamber platform" has received more than HUF 980 million in funding from the European Union.

In recent years, there have been huge advances in the miniaturization of microscopy and biological testing methods. These new technologies make it possible to track individual cells and manipulate their environment in the laboratory, ultimately helping to understand how the environment and heredity shape cell behaviour.

The researchers have combined single cell technologies in a novel way to create new microfluidic and microscopic techniques. These have been applied in cutting-edge scientific areas such as rapid characterisation of drug molecules, the study of tumors, the interaction of cells involved in immune response, understanding the relationship between photosynthesis and cell division in algae, characterising coral-forming algal cells and understanding the evolutionary role of harmful mutations in single-cell brewer's yeast.

The ground-breaking results of the project have been published in more than 40 scientific publications, many of them in the most prestigious journals (e.g. Nature Communications, PNAS, Plant Physiology, Molecular Biology and Evolution).

The project funded by grant No. GINOP-2.3.2-15 , with a total budget of HUF 980,184,000, was launched on 1 March 2017 and will be completed on 30 November 2021.

For more information on the project, please visit www.brc.hu.