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Best Practices

Infrafrontier GR/Phenotypos: The Hellenic Research Infrastructure for Molecular and Behavioral Phenotypical Analysis of Biological Model Organisms for Chronic Degenerative Diseases of Man [22/10/2020]

The Infrafrontier GR/Phenotypos project is implemented by the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre "Alexander Fleming" within the framework of the EPANEK Action "Strengthening Research and Innovation Infrastructures" and aims to provide integrated, standardized services in biomedical research. The infrastructure had already successfully participated in the programming period 2007 – 2013 in the Operational Program "Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship" (EPAN II) in order to support and expand Greece's participation in the respective European Infrastructure and to increase the capacity of the units to meet the needs of the research community.

Infrafrontier GR contributors are internationally recognized for the production, characterization, and exploitation of animal models of human diseases, both as tools supporting cutting-edge research to understand the mechanisms governing diseases, and as innovative platforms for drug development. Greece has played a leading role at European level in this area and there is a critical mass of excellence and the investment made so far in the context of smart specialization has paid off.

What is the scope of Infrafrontier: it provides standardized control procedures either for gene function or for the creation of drugs that are tested on mouse models and simulate human diseases. These are preclinical studies (tests), which are necessary to produce human-safe medicines. Infrafrontier designs and implements specific protocols, which test new drugs and new therapeutic targets for inflammatory, cardiovascular, metabolic, behavioral, and neurodegenerative diseases as well as for aging and cancer.

In addition, the project supports the expansion of the accessibility of infrastructure to production, hosting, archiving and marketing services in a range of national regions, "open access" to academic and industrial users who need a central Research Infrastructure for the development of their scientific and innovative portfolios. It supports biomedical entrepreneurship projects and strengthens Greece's participation in the pan-European infrastructures of the European Biomedical Research Infrastructure Charter (ESFRI/BMS).

Infrafrontier GR has already developed strategic partnerships with the private sector. The infrastructure enhances local and regional development by providing innovative research services to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies active in the field of drug development and production. The project, with a budget of EUR 4,000,000, is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and national resources under the EPANEK (ESPA 2014-2020)

Within the framework of the jobs required for its implementation - InfrafrontierGR/Phenotypos has attracted specialized staff, which manages the new facilities and implements the development of new activities (unit managers, technical staff, postdoctoral fellows, etc.).

Finally, it supports the creation of a range of new technology products and research services, such as:

1. New more faithful animal models that simulate human diseases

2. New or optimized methodologies for controlling the potency of medicinal products at preclinical level

3. Pre-formalised drug evaluation platforms

4. Optimized rapid genetic modification services (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9)

5. Innovative animal models through the integration of human genes/biomarkers

Platforms for tissue-specific, cellular and molecular analysis of pathological parameters for the detection of new biomarkers.