Cibinong –BRIN Public Relations. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) consistently provides facilities and infrastructure to support research activities. One of them is the CryoEM (Cryo Electron Microscopy) device investment plan. In the future, this device will serve as the main tool to perform prioritized research activities in the fields of biotechnology, molecular engineering, especially health and medical research, so as to obtain protein information and complex protein structure from biological samples.

For this reason, BRIN through the Directorate of Laboratory, Research Facilities and Science and Technology Area Management – Deputy for Research and Innovation Infrastructure again held a Series-4 Webinar under the theme “Cryo Electron Microscopy Accelerate Vaccine Development and Biodiversity Research”, on Thursday (10/2)

This activity is the last series of National CryoEM Seminar, the webinar series which discuss hot issues regarding Cryo Electron Microscope technology for research and innovation in the fields of structural biology, vaccine development, health, and biodiversity.

BRIN’s Acting Head of Bio Sciences Research Organization, Dr. Iman Hidayat in his welcoming speech said that there are program policies at BRIN that are needed to accelerate the development of research for drugs and vaccines. “Every country relies on two main factors, namely human resource assets and natural resource assets. These two assets are important and are the key to the progress of each country. In its development, human resources will develop technology on how to use natural resources,” he explained.

He further explained that BRIN’s strategy in managing research and innovation related to biodiversity includes three points, namely discovery, utilization, and conservation. “These three points underlie the emergence of scientific collections which are currently stored at the Cibinong Campus as scientific collection facility, among others the Zoologicum Bogoriense Museum, Herbarium Bogoriensis and Indonesian Culture Collection,” said Iman.

“There are three collections of biodiversity, namely plants, animals and microorganisms. These are assets for the current and future development of the nation which are expected to give economic value. Our job as researchers and engineers is how to transform it so that it generates economic value,” added Iman.

Iman further explained that infrastructure is one of important keys in developing research. Infrastructure is not only in the form of buildings but also other supporting facilities, such as adequate and competitive instruments, building human resources (capacity building), developing human resources who understand and master infrastructure tools for the purpose of developing accelerated development of domestic drugs and vaccines.

“BRIN has prepared a scheme to accelerate development of human resources, along with adequate research funding and supporting programs. In addition to rumah program (program house), BRIN through the Life Sciences Sciences Organization in 2022 will set up 25 research stations throughout Indonesia. We will work together not only researchers at BRIN but also in synergy with other researchers outside BRIN,” said Iman.

Iman also said that BRIN will take extreme steps, namely setting up three BSL-3 (Biosafety Level 3) facilities, animal BSL-3, animal CGMP and BSL-2 supports for pre-clinical and human resource development and the tools to move forward. ” he asserted.

The webinar presented resource persons who are competent in their fields both from within and outside BRIN, namely Dr. Rer. Nat. Wien Kusharyoto as BRIN’s Acting Head of Molecular Biology Research Center, Dr. Ashihara Masamichi, a Senior Product Specialist for APA Pharma, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Dr. James Bouwer, the General Manager of Cryo Electron Microscopy Facility, University of Wollongong, Australia.

“The challenge in structure-based vaccine design is preparation of samples to get protein with the desired characteristics, starting from designing protein and its coding DNA, then determining mutations and amino acid substitutions needed to get optimal antigen candidates: expression level, stability, immunogenicity, and proving safety, immunogenicity and antigen efficacy through in vitro and in vivo tests,” stated Wien in his presentation.

On the same occasion, Masamichi said that CryoEM can help accelerate the development of vaccines and drugs including single particle analysis and give a structural insight for structure-based drug invention, especially in optimization. “CyroEM helps accelerate our structural understanding of SARS-coV-2 and vaccine development at an unprecedented speed since the outbreak of the disease. Cryo-Em is not only for 3D structural solution, but also for critical methods for quality control of vectoral viruses and lipid nanoparticles,” he said further.

Meanwhile, Bouwer explained that the multi-disciplinary approach to collaborative large data and its workflows include biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, basic sciences, health and medicine, software, industry, and high-performance computing. On the other hand, James provided information on education and training and services for CryoEM scientists, high-performance computing infrastructure and research network at the University of Wollongong and biological challenges. The expectation and output of this seminar is that BRIN provides opportunities for global collaboration between domestic and foreign researchers in the fields of biotechnology, molecular engineering, as well as translational research and innovation in the health sector and provides solutions to the country’s resilience in the health sector and responds to the issues of biodiversity conservation for the recovery of the national economy. (yl ed sl)