Spanish National Center of Biotechnology (CNB) is located in Madrid and forms part of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The center stands out for its broad and interdisciplinary approach, combining gene-based technologies with frontier research in computational, structural, cell and synthetic biology, to discover novel biological entities, decipher their functional interplay in individual organisms and larger communities, ranging from virus and bacteria to plants, animals and humans.
Microbial Biotechnology. Microbiologists at the CNB aim at gaining knowledge on key aspects of microbial biology with environmental, clinical or biotechnological relevance through approaches that include molecular genetics, genomics, proteomics, metagenomics and synthetic biology. The subjects studied include environmental microbiology, microbial responses to hostile environments, microbial pathogens, microbial engineering, microbial resistance to antibiotics and search for new antimicrobials.
Plant Molecular Genetics. Research in this area aims at elucidating signaling pathways in growth and adaptive responses of plants to environmental changes and pathogenic diseases. Besides the intrinsic fundamental interest in understanding key biological processes in plants, the ultimate goal is to develop new tools and methods to improve crop production and quality. Biotechnological applications such as the use of plants as biopharmaceutical factories or as tools to fight environmental problems arising from spillages and the accumulation of toxic substances are also being studied.
Systems Biology. A more recent focus of research at the CNB is on the application of emerging concepts and tools in the fields of systems biology, evolutionary biology, computational biology and synthetic biology to biologically relevant questions. The biotechnological side of this approach includes novel strategies to re-program bacteria for the efficient production of chemicals, biodegradation of toxic pollutants or as biosensors to monitor the presence of given chemicals. Metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and mathematic modeling techniques are used to evaluate changes in composition, function and activity of bacteria in response to environmental perturbations, as well as to determine the conditions that favor combinations of species for specific tasks in biotechnological, clinical and ecological scenarios.