Spanish National Center of Biotechnology (CNB)

This fellowship must be completed not later than November 2024


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, immunology, oncology, 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. As well as understanding the molecular basis of mammalian gene expression and control of cell processes in normal and pathological conditions.

Research proposals

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.

Structural Biology. The CNB stands out for its critical mass of research in 3D-electron and X-Ray microscopy, ranging from cryo-electron microscopy to 3D single particle reconstruction, tomography and correlative methods, together with in-house development of imaging software. Groups focusing on X-Ray crystallography, functional proteomics and biophysics complete the coverage of key areas in structural biology. Research in this area is transversal and connects with biochemists and cell biologists who apply leading-edge biophysical approaches to resolve biological questions, such as the molecular mechanisms of virus assembly, DNA repair, cell division or protein homeostasis.

Cellular and Molecular Biology. Research groups in this area cover two broad, but closely interwoven topics. The first topic is molecular virology and comprises multidisciplinary efforts to dissect viral replication mechanisms and structural studies of key viral proteins, as well as virus-host interactions of relevant human and veterinary pathogens. The second topic is regulation of gene expression, with a focus on the networks that control the function of mammalian genes with critical roles in normal and pathological processes, including developmental defects, cognitive disorders, neurodegeneration and rare diseases.

Immunology and Oncology. Biomedical research groups in this area address various key aspects of innate and adaptive immunity, as well as immunotherapy, with special emphasis on characterizing the molecular mechanisms that underlie inflammation, the processes that drive tissue-specific tumor development, as well as tumor immunology and the relationships among stem cells, inflammation and cancer. A broad and multidisciplinary approach to study these diseases integrates knowledge ranging from cell biology and immunology to nanomedicine and stem cell biology, as well as input from clinical research through a network of collaborations with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

Amigos/as de la fundación