Biotechnology Center Of Ho Chi Minh City


Thursday - 13/07/2023 16:02
Medical biotechnology
The Medical Biotechnology Department was established in September 2008 on the basis of separation from the Technical Department of the Center. The number of researchers in the department is 14 people including 2 doctors, 5 masters, 5 bachelors and 2 doctoral students studying in Japan. In addition, the department also collaborates with 3 highly experienced scientists both domestically and internationally.
The function and mission of the Medical Biotechnology Department is to conduct basic and applied research, develop biotechnology products to serve the field of medicine for humans and animals.
Research content:
1. Research group on Immunity and Immunotherapy focuses on conducting research to develop biological drugs applied in the treatment of autoimmune and allergic diseases such as IL-33, IL-1, TNF-α inhibitory proteins, lymphocyte inhibitory proteins… The research group is also developing monoclonal antibodies and researching the creation of rapid test strips for disease diagnosis based on immunochromatography techniques. In addition, the group is developing recombinant interferon products for use in the prevention and treatment of viral diseases in animals.

2. Cancer Research Group conducts research on the function of some new proteins in signaling pathways that promote the survival, proliferation, and metastasis of cancer cells (such as blood cancer, colorectal cancer) to find cancer cell inhibitory therapies. In addition, the group also conducts research to demonstrate the effectiveness and mechanism of anticancer activity of natural or synthetic compounds.
3. Molecular Diagnosis Research Group focuses on conducting research to develop processes and kits for detecting infectious agents (HBV, HCV, HPV…), detecting DNA mutations for early diagnosis and support of cancer treatment, or diagnosing genetic diseases in humans. The tools used by the research group are PCR, realtime PCR, digital PCR, Sanger sequencing and NGS sequencing.
4. Structural Biology Research Group conducts research on the structure and function of proteins, the mechanism of interaction between proteins and other molecules to develop new drugs for application in the treatment of human and animal diseases. Currently, the research group is interested in screening to detect new proteins from marine organisms with antibacterial and cytotoxic activity.

Aquacultural  Biotechnology
The Aquacultural Biotechnology was established in September 2008 on the basis of separation from the Technical Department of the Center for Aquatic Sciences. The number of personnel in the department is 17 staff including 1 doctorate, 9 masters, 5 bachelors/engineers and 2 research students studying in the UK and Japan.
The mission of the Aquacultural Biotechnology Department is to conduct basic and applied research, develop biotechnology products to serve the aquaculture industry. Receive, deploy and transfer modern technical processes on aquatic biotechnology to serve production.
Research content:
1. Research and development of vaccines for aquatic diseases
This is the main research direction of the Department, in which the development of live attenuated vaccines for Edwardsiella ictaluri-induced enteric septicemia disease on catfish is a top priority. The Aquacultural Biotechnology Department also conducts research and development of attenuated vaccines for hemorrhagic septicemia on fish caused by Aeromonas hydrophila. In addition, the Department also approaches the research direction of creating vaccines for white spot disease in shrimp. In addition to vaccine development research, vaccine processing procedures in aquaculture are also implemented.

2. Research and development of Kits for detecting pathogens causing diseases in aquatic animals
The Aquacultural Biotechnology Department researches and develops PCR - realtime PCR Kits to detect many pathogens causing diseases on shrimp such as white spot disease (WSSV), hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (IHHNV), monodon baculovirus (MBV), pancreas and spleen inflammation disease (HPV); on fish such as Edwardsiella ictaluri bacteria causing enteric septicemia disease. In addition, the Department also develops LAMP Kits (Loop-mediated isothermal amplification) to detect viruses causing white spot disease and Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria causing acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease AHPND on shrimp. Many Kits of the Aquacultural Biotechnology Department have been commercialized.

3. Research on creating fish that express fluorescent proteins
To serve the ornamental fish development program of Ho Chi Minh City, the Aquacultural Biotechnology Department has conducted research and successfully created Soc-Medaka fish (Oryzias curvinotus) and Angel Fish that express fluorescent proteins in green and red. The research direction of creating new ornamental fish breeds with value is being strongly implemented at the Department.

4. Research on creating biological products applied in aquaculture
The Aquacultural Biotechnology Department researches and develops biological products (recombinant proteins, microorganisms, mixtures of herbal ingredients…) applied in aquaculture to increase survival rates and resistance to diseases in aquatic animals. The Department also isolates, preserves and rapidly propagates some common diatom strains (Skeletomena costatum, Chaetoceros spp.) used as food in aquaculture.

Microbial Technology
The Microbial Technology Department was established in 2010 based on the development of the Microbial Group formed since 2009. The Microbial Technology Department currently has 17 permanent researchers including 2 PhDs, 7 Masters (including 1 PhD student studying in Italy) and 7 Bachelors/Engineers (including 1 PhD student studying in Japan and 6 domestic postgraduate students).
The function and mission of the Microbial Technology Department is to conduct basic and applied research in microbiology, develop products serving agriculture, environment, food and medicine.
Research content:
1. Building a microbial strain collection for research, agricultural and aquaculture production and environmental treatment
The Microbiology Department focuses on researching the diverse microbial resources of Vietnam: collecting, identifying and studying the classification system to create strain collections such as:
Trichoderma fungal strain collection
Parasitic gland fungus strain collection
Bacillus bacterial strain collection and similar bacterial groups
Nitrogen-fixing and phosphate-dissolving bacterial strain collection
Oil-degrading microbial strain collection
Heat-resistant radiation bacterial strain collection
Insect parasitic fungus strain collection
Lignin-degrading fungus strain collection
Plant symbiotic fungus and microbial strain collection
Edible mushroom strain collection
2. Research on the physiological and biochemical characteristics of microorganisms
On the basis of a collection of strains of microorganisms, the Department surveys the characteristics of strains such as: the ability to secrete extracellular enzymes and use recalcitrant carbon sources, suitable living conditions, nutrient transformation processes… as a basis for applied research.

3. Research on the interaction between VSV/VSV and between VSV/other organisms
The Department focuses on studying symbiosis and parasitism between fungi and plants, especially the main harmful fungi groups such as Collectotrichum, Fusarium, Phytophthora… Surveying the parasitism between fungi and animals: parasitic fungi of salivary glands, insect-parasitic fungi that harm crops. In addition, the Microbiology Department also studies the antagonism between Bacillus bacteria and plant pathogenic fungi, as well as the antagonism between beneficial microorganisms and bacteria that cause diseases in aquatic animals.
4. Survey the structure and dynamics of microbial communities such as symbiotic fungal communities in primary forest ecosystems, planted forests, industrial plantations such as coffee, rubber, pepper… to propose tools for predicting climate change and changes in cultivation conditions.
5. Research on microbial genetics In this research direction, the Microbiology Department mainly conducts research on the genetic recombination of single-strain lines (monokaryon mating) of edible fungi, applied in mushroom breeding. In addition, research on protein recombination on the basis of biological diversity sources to serve agriculture and the environment is also emphasized.
6. Applied research directions: Based on the platform of native microbial strains, the Microbiology Department conducts many applied researches to develop products.
6.1. Products applied in industry: The Department focuses on the application of bacteria-cellulose for industrial applications such as biological membranes, biological sutures, biological frames… Researching industrial fermentation conditions to produce products from biomass/compounds of microbial origin on an industrial scale.
6.2. Products applied in agriculture: Developing nutrient-enhancing products for soil and plant protection products. Developing green cultivation processes on developing existing microbial sources in soil in each cropping system combined with available products.
6.3. Products applied in the environment: The Microbiology Department develops products - cultivation processes to limit greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural production. The Department also researches the application of microorganisms in environmental treatment (focusing on receiving and applying technology from abroad).
Plant biotechnology
The Plant Biotechnology Department was established in 2008 on the basis of separation from the Technical Department of the Center. Currently, the Plant Biotechnology Department has a total of 8 personnel, including 1 graduate student, 3 masters, 4 bachelors - engineers.
The function and task of the Plant Biotechnology Department is to carry out basic and applied research in the field of plant biotechnology to create new crop varieties with high productivity and good quality; control epidemics and collect secondary active biological ingredients.
Research content:
1. In vitro propagation and collection of secondary compounds
Research to improve in vitro propagation process of many orchid species, ornamental plants using tissue culture techniques. The Department is also developing a rapid biomass propagation process for some medicinal plants such as red perilla, Codonopsis pilosula, and Uncaria rhynchophylla to collect secondary compounds.
2. GMO product analysis technique and crop disease diagnosis
Research on developing diagnostic procedures for diseases caused by viruses, bacteria on crops; detecting genetically modified plants and products using molecular biology techniques

3. Crop selection, breeding
3.1. Pollen culture, pollen bag culture for new hybrid breeding
Research on developing pollen culture and pollen bag culture techniques of crops to create purebred lines for hybridization and new variety selection.
3.2. Application of molecular markers in plant identification and breeding
Research on building the process of identifying and evaluating plant genetic diversity using molecular markers; applying molecular markers in searching for beneficial gene sources, while supporting analysis and evaluation of results in new variety hybridization.
 3.3. Creating new crop varieties using gene transfer method
Research on gene transfer to create new crop varieties with high productivity and quality, resistant to diseases and unfavorable environmental conditions.

The Plant Laboratory
The Plant Laboratory was established on 01/3/2014 according to Decision No. 15 / QD-CNSH of the Director of the Biotechnology Center, based on separation from the Plant Biotechnology Department. The personnel of the Department consists of 35 people, including 17 researchers (2 PhDs, 3 Masters, 12 bachelors/ engineers), 7 technicians and 11 workers working in the greenhouse and orchid production garden.
The function and task of the Plant Laboratory is to research, apply, test, select and breed crops, in vitro crop propagation, biological technical measures, crop cultivation in greenhouses and outside fields.
Research content:
1. Collecting, preserving and storing rare flower and ornamental plant varieties
This is a regular and important activity of the Plant Laboratory with the long-term goal of building a rich collection of high-value flower and ornamental plant varieties for economic and scientific purposes. This collection is where diverse gene sources are stored, providing materials for seed production as well as for new flower and ornamental plant hybridization. The Department has built an orchid collection consisting of 360 varieties with 136 rare forest orchid species; a foliage plant collection consisting of 124 varieties; and a flowering plant collection with 77 varieties belonging to different genera.

2. New breed selection studies
Based on the orchid collection, the Plant Laboratory focuses on conducting new breed selection studies using cross-breeding methods. The laboratory has successfully crossbred 37 orchid hybrids, of which 19 hybrids (Dendrobium) are being evaluated and selected at the flowering stage. The top 20 elite plants from five of the Dendrobium hybrid combinations above are in the rapid multiplication stage to produce seedlings for evaluation of stability in morphological characteristics and flower color.

Besides that, the Department also uses gamma rays (Co60 source) to randomly mutate to create new flower species. The objects that are being mutated by the Department in this direction are forest orchids; such as, Hoàng Thảo Thái Bình (Dendrobium pulchellum), Hoàng Thảo Thủy Tiên Trắng (Dendrobium farmer) and Gloxinia speciosa flowers.
In addition, the Department is also conducting research to create pure lines and develop new varieties of watermelon and tomatoes.

3. In vitro propagation of new varieties of ornamental flowers
The Plant Research Laboratory has perfected the in vitro propagation process for many types of flowers and ornamental plants (orchids, bells, coins, sea holly, ten thousand fortunes, celestial dragons, etc.). These processes have been applied to the production of seedlings supplied to the market.
In particular, the Laboratory has successfully applied the temporary immersion system (TIS) to the production of tissue-cultured seedlings with high productivity

4. Research on cultivating hair roots and cells of precious medicinal plants to collect secondary biomass and active ingredients.
This is an important research direction of the Plant Laboratory. The laboratory has successfully researched gene transfer to create Ngoc Linh ginseng hair roots (Panax vietnamensis Ha et Grushv.) using Agrobacterium rhizogenes bacteria. Some Ngoc Linh ginseng hair root lines with saponin active ingredients have been selected and mass-produced on a bioreactor system. In addition, the laboratory also conducts research on single cell culture of Ngoc Linh ginseng on liquid medium.

Animal Biotechnology
The Animal Biotechnology Department was officially established in October 2015 on the basis of upgrading from the Animal Biotechnology Department formed since June 2012. The number of personnel of the Animal Biotechnology Department is 8 officials including 3 doctorate, 4 masters and 1 bachalor.
The function and task of the Animal Biotechnology Department is to carry out basic and applied research in the field of human and animal cell biology, develop biological technology products for medical and agricultural purposes.
Research content:
1. Research on reproductive technology in dairy cows
The Animal Biotechnology Department focuses on researching the establishment of in vitro fertilization procedures for creating cow embryos in test tubes, as well as applying membrane escape techniques for cow embryos to increase the chance of successful pregnancy after transferring the embryos to recipient cows. In addition, to proactively determine the sex of the embryo before transplantation, the Department has successfully researched the process of oocyte biopsy and determined the sex from blastocysts using PCR technology.

2. Research direction on stem cells
The Animal Biotechnology Department approaches the field of stem cells by researching the isolation and cultivation of mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue and differentiating mesenchymal stem cells into bone and cartilage cells. In the field of tissue engineering, the Department is researching to cultivate and differentiate mesenchymal stem cells on 3D scaffolds for applications in regenerative medicine.
3. Research direction on animal gene transfer and experimental animal models
To create a foundation for the operation of the Experimental Animal Breeding Area which is being invested and constructed by the Center, the Animal Biotechnology Department approaches the research direction on animal gene transfer by creating mouse embryos that express fluorescent GFP. The long-term orientation of the Department is to create genetically modified animals with good characteristics for application in production and pathological animal models serving biomedical research.

4. Research on diagnosis and treatment of diseases in humans and animals
The department has successfully developed a monoclonal antibody against the VP28 protein of the white spot syndrome virus on shrimp and is currently building an ELISA kit to detect the white spot virus WSSV. The department is also studying the production of IgG antibodies that mark enzymes for research on fish diseases and immune responses in catfish. In addition, the department is also researching proteins from viruses that have anti-tumor activity.

Research activities of the Food Environment Biotechnology Organization
The Environment-Food Biotechnology Research Group was established in January 2013. The number of staff in the group is 8 people including 5 masters and 3 bachelors.
The function of the Environment-Food Biotechnology Research Group is to conduct basic and applied research, develop biotechnology products serving the environment-food sector.
Research content:
1. Research on pollution treatment from agricultural production.
The Environment-Food Biotechnology Research Group focuses on researching methods, developing products to treat sources of pollution arising in the process of agricultural production such as: treating sediment in catfish ponds to create organic fertilizer; developing a biological cushion model to treat odor in animal husbandry.

2. Research on converting agricultural by-products into useful products
In addition, the team is also interested in researching methods to convert agricultural by-products into useful products. For example, converting oil cakes into leaf bio-fertilizers using microorganism enzymes; building a process for producing biological soil for growing vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants; decomposing green biomass to create biogas.

3. Researching methods of food preservation and processing
In the field of food science and technology, the team focuses on researching and developing functional foods with good biological activity, typical of which is the tea product made from Ngoc Linh ginseng roots (Panax vietnamensis Ha et Grushv). In addition, the team also researches natural preservatives for safe food such as Nisin from Lactococus lactic.

Department of Biological Material and Nano Technology
The Department of Biological Material and Nano Technology was established since April 2016. The current number of personnel in the department is 7 officials including 1 Associate Professor, 5 Masters and 1 Bachelor.
The function and mission of the Department of Biological Material and Nano Technology is to carry out basic research and develop new materials, biological materials and nano materials as follows:
- Research on manufacturing nano materials by radiation techniques and other techniques.
- Research on cutting natural polysaccharide chains to create new biological materials with new activity and high applicability.
- Research on grafting modification and radiation chain stitching to create new materials with high applicability.
- Develop applications of nano materials to create products that meet social needs in agriculture, food, cosmetics, medicine and environment.
- Develop applications of new materials (including nano materials) and biological materials in agriculture, food, medicine, cosmetics and other fields.
Scientific activity:
1. Equipments:
Until now, the Department of Materials & Nano Science has been equipped with many modern devices serving basic research and applied research on biological materials, nano materials and radiation technology.

2. Research content:
* Research on cutting natural polysaccharides by irradiation method:
Research on cutting natural polysaccharides extracted from agricultural, industrial and food processing by-products (shrimp shells, crabs, seaweed, grapefruit peel and microorganisms, etc.) to create products with low molecular weight and oligosaccharides with rare characteristics applied in agriculture, animal husbandry, and aquaculture (promoting growth and disease prevention) towards high-tech and sustainable technology; in the food industry (food preservation and health protection to prevent and support the treatment of cancer, diabetes, blood fat, etc.); in cell culture; and microbiology technology.

* Research on radiation crosslinking modification to produce hydrogel and composite materials:
Research on crosslinking natural polymer chains (polysaccharides, proteins, minerals, etc.) to create hydrogel and composite materials applied in high-tech agriculture production and urban agriculture to meet the requirements of sustainable environmental development and climate change adaptation; in cosmetics for making gel and face masks; in medicine for making wound healing membranes; in biological technology for immobilizing biological and microbial agents; and in animal cell culture technology for making scaffolds.

* Research on manufacturing nano materials:
Research on manufacturing nano materials (nano gold, nano silver, nano selenium, nano LDH, etc.) by irradiation and other methods applied in high-tech agriculture production of clean agricultural products (creating products for disease prevention and treatment for crops and livestock; surface disinfectants and biological pesticides); in food (creating health protection products); in cosmetics (creating antibacterial products such as shower gel, mouthwash, sanitary gel etc.); in environmental treatment (creating microbial agents for disease prevention in water and soil); in medicine (creating dry disinfectants, throat sprays and diagnostic and cancer treatment support products); and in industry (creating antibacterial paint products and antibacterial resins etc.).

* Research on creating mutations using irradiation and combination:
Research on creating mutated plant and microbial strains using irradiation and applying tissue culture techniques, molecular biology combined with traditional methods to select promising strains for developing new crop and microbial strains with good quality and ability to adapt to climate change.

Author: Truong Minh Dung

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