Structural Biotechnology

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

IgY Avian Antibodies


Virulence Factors

Membrane Proteins


Ricardo Pires


Research lines

Antimicrobial resistance mechanisms

Anti-infective Immunotherapies

Avian IgY antibodies

Biologics and Biopharmaceutical drugs

Antibody Biotechnology to Health and Food Sciences


The Structural Biotechnology Group aims to explore alternative strategies to combat infectious diseases with a strong focus on research and development of protein and antibody-based antimicrobial and antiviral solutions. The group envisages namely the design of novel strategies to target surface-exposed virulent factors, including membrane transporters, channels and enzymes, responsible for infections and diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms and viruses. We integrate biochemical and biophysical approaches for the structural and functional characterization of such proteins and protein complexes with a direct role in pathogenic processes.

A prominent approach of the group is to explore avian antibodies as alternative biological drugs to target microbial and viral pathogens. This is a reemerging approach in the pharmaceutical industry since the use of hens enables generation of highly robust and specific polyclonal antibodies and importantly provides a scalable, low-cost, high-yield production system due to antibody deposition in hen eggs. Moreover, generation of combinatorial antibody phage-display libraries from avian sources is simplified over mammalian systems given the unique organization of avian immunoglobulin genes, thus favoring screening and engineering strategies to develop target-specific monoclonal antibodies for therapy. Importantly, the group coordinates the logistics and activities of CNC AVIAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIT (CNC-ATU), a unit fully designed to support translational and applied research and development on the competitive and fast-growing field of Biologicals and Biopharmaceutical drugs.

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