Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens

Company Profile

Established in 2003, BRFAA supports basic science and clinical research through its research programs in immunology, gene expression, cell biology, stem cells, cancer, metabolic diseases, development and also the function of the cardiovascular and the nervous systems. There are two Basic Sciences Centers focusing on the understanding of basic aspects of biological pathways and Centers for Immunology and Transplantation, Neurobiology, Experimental Surgery, Clinical Research and Environmental Health. 

Research Directions 

  • Regulation of Gene Expression (basic molecular mechanisms, gene networks)
  • Cardiovascular system (physiology-pathology, development, cell death)
  • Neurobiology (development, neurodegenerative diseases, memory and learning)
  • Inflammation - Tissue Remodeling (asthma, COPD, interstitial lung diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure)
  • Cancer Biology (Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis, Novel Markers, Pharmaceutical Treatment, Animal models)
  • Biology of Stress (metabolic diseases, diabetes obesity)

New Research Directions 

  • Nanomedicine (micro-robotic systems for the diagnosis and therapy of diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders)
  • Systems Biology (systematic study of complex interactions of biological systems)

Relevant Know-How and Infrastructures 
BRFAA will expand its capabilities in translational research within the next three years by constructing an additional building of 20,000 square meters including among other three new research centers (Cancer Biology, Systems Biology and Nanomedicine), a new animal house (80.000 mice), the Greek National Biobank and additional facilities to support cutting edge translational research. BRFAA has a number of infrastructures that will contribute to translational research. 

Whole Body Imaging using Positron Emission Tomography/Computerized Tomography (PET/CT). Combined with unique capabilities for visualizing inflammatory lesions and tumours in human patients and experimental animal models as small as rats, this facility can easily be extended for imaging mice. BRFAA possesses unique clinically-relevant equipment for the investigation of mouse physiology, particularly useful for the study of cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and metabolic complications. The state of the art and rapidly expanding animal house will accommodate the mice used locally in Infrafrontier-GR activity. 

The Transgenics and Gene targeting Facility generates transgenic mice via Pronuclear Injection-Founder Generation and is involved in embryo rederivation and storage of mutant mouse strains as well as a gene targeting facility for the development of mutant mice and mouse animal models. 

The Genomics unit offers analysis of gene expression in experimental animal model and human specimens and provides support to academic and industrial partners. The Unit is equipped with microarray experimentation, including an Affynetrix GeneChip Scanner 3000 7G Targeted Genotyping System, a Genomics solutions spotter, a Perkin Elmer ScanArray Express 4-laser scanner, three Real time PCR machines and dedicated experienced personnel involved in operation of equipments and data analysis. An Illumina Genome Analyzer platform is also operational. 

The Proteomics unit uses advanced technologies for the advancement of biomarker discovery. Technologies include diverse mass spectrometry platforms such as Matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry with high-throughput protein identification capabilities, Liquid chromatography-quadruple ion trap tandem mass spectrometry with nano-electrospray interface, liquid chromatography- Quadruple time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry with nESI interface and liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole LC-ESI- QqQLIT. The proteomics group has extensive experience in quantitative proteomic profiling (iTRAQ) of biological samples by multi-dimensional liquid-chromatography. 

The ISO17025 accredited Pharmacology-Pharmacotechnology Unit is engaged on the discovery of bioactive compounds/drugs and their therapeutic efficacy. Mass spectrometry technology is employed on projects focusing on quantification of biomarkers, drug metabolism and mechanisms of drug action. 

Participation in Grant programs - Research Achievements 

  • Large number of high impact publications in scientific journals (Average impact factor for 2008: 6.7)
  • 20 European, 22 international and 32 national competitive research grants. Total amount of competitive funds 14M €, 9 industrial grants. Total amount: 0.65M €
  • two of its researchers are members of EMBO
  • one of its researchers has been awarded the prestigious ERC Starting Grant. Total amount: 1.1M €
  • strong presence in EU training networks for students (4 grants)

Technologies / Services offered or sought

  1. Use of mouse models of cancer for in vivo testing of novel therapeutics (Laboratory of genetics and gene therapy)
  2. A unique human alpha-synuclein inducible neuroblastoma cell line - patented (Division of Basic Neurosciences, lab. for Neurodegenerative Diseases)
  3. Metabolism of peptide hormones/ drugs. Stability ranking and SAR information (Division of Pharmacology - Pharmacotechnology)
  4. Quantification of bioactive peptides/proteins by mass spectrometry: Applicability to pharmacokinetics or biomarker validation (Division of Pharmacology - Pharmacotechnology)
  5. Directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells (Division of Developmental Biology)
  6. Drug screening assays using zebrafish (Division of Developmental Biology)
Postal Address
4 Soranou Ephessiou Str.
115 27 Athens