Department of Biotechnology
The Department of Biotechnology was founded in 1985 and evolved from the research group of genetic engineering in the Department of Biochemistry. The former directors were Prof. Huan-Lou Li and Prof. Yuan Li, successively, and the current director is Prof. Bin Hong. Based on the Department of Biotechnology, the Key Laboratory of Biotechnology of Antibiotics, the National Health Commission (NHC), China, was established in 1986. The main research of the Department of Biotechnology has focused on the discovery and development of novel antibiotics and other microbial secondary metabolites through application of biotechnology. In the last decades, our investigations have been broadly expanded to multiple stages of drug discovery.
The major research directions pursued now include identification and characterization of the biosynthetic and regulatory mechanisms of novel antibiotics and other microbial secondary metabolites (e.g., Lidamycin, Ebosin, Sansanmycin, Chuangxinmycin, etc.). Based on these mechanisms the producing strains have been improved and novel “non-natural” microbial secondary metabolites have been discovered or developed through synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. On the other hand, serial new drug screening models for anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerosis activities have been established and screened for active compounds, mainly from microbial secondary metabolites. The molecular mechanisms of action of some active compounds are elucidated, and potential drug candidates are further evaluated. For the new drug development, a new anti-inflammatory microorganism extracellular polysaccharide Ebosin has completed preclinical studies.
The Department of Biotechnology has not only gained remarkable achievements in research and development (R&D) in the microbial drug field but also cultivated a lot of senior professionals in this area over the past 35 years. Currently, the Department of Biotechnology is dedicated to the application of synthetic biology and other new technologies in microbial pharmaceutical discovery and development, to address the challenges that are inherent in all approaches to innovative drugs.