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Education

MirNat is working closely with academic institutions to  design academic courses in Nutraceutical Sciences.
The course aims to bring the students to evaluate the contribution and the perspectives of biotechnology in the formulation of ingredients/foods with potential functional effects.

  • provide basic knowledge on the digestion, absorption, metabolism and activity of different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and bioactive compounds (carotenoids, glucosinolates, polyphenols);
  • familiarise with the scientific evidence about the role of diet and dietary components in the modulation of risk factors associated with chronic diseases (e.g cardiovascular diseases)
  • understand the concept of functional foods and their role in the human health and well-being.

Shaping next generation scientists

Education and training of students has always been a priority. In the context of a 6 years long partnership with the University of Rome Tor Vergata, MirNat supervised the training of Bachelor, Master and PhD students. Here we list some of the most interesting and challenging projects:

  • Bachelors in Biological Sciences (2014-2015) // microRNAs-mediated, anti-cancer activity of M. oleifera leaves extract

  • Bachelors in Biological Sciences (2020-2021) // Quantification of anti-inflammatory microRNAs in COVID-19 patients for the development of new therapeutic approaches.

  • PhD in Immunology, Molecular medicine and Applied biotechnologies (2020-2021) // Traditional medicine innovation: identification of microRNAs in Moringa oleifera undifferentiated cells and effects on breast cancer development in vitro and in vivo

  • PhD in Immunology, Molecular medicine and Applied biotechnologies (ongoing) // Potential Therapeutic Approaches of microRNAs for COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities

  • Qualitative and quantitative analysis of miRNAs extracted from a leguminous plant (Medicago sativa) with beneficial effects on hypertension and metabolic disorders.
  • Preliminary study of miRNAs extracted from a Mediterranean plant (Olea europaea) with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Expression analysis of plant miRNA168a using oligonucleotides with LNA technology (Locked Nucleic Acids)
  • MiRNA based therapeutics: current state in preclinical or clinical trials and in miRNA business for biopharmaceuticals companies

We created an important partnership with the University of Edinburgh (led by Prof. Ted Hupp) in the context of the Doctorate Training Programme in Precision Medicinesupported by the Medical Research Council.

An high-talented candidate has been selected by a mixed academic-industrial scientific committee and is now attending the Industrial PhD.  She is carrying out an innovative research project focused on “plant microRNAs, cancer and hypoxia”.

MirNat is also collaborating with the Evangelical University of Camerun and the “Le Bon Samaritain” University Hospital in N’Djamena, Ciad.