Prize for transdisciplinary publication of the year 2020 to INBioPharm

The Digital Life Norway transdisciplinary prize of the year 2020 is awarded to the antibiotics project INBioPharm at SINTEF and NTNU. In the award-winning paper the researchers have explored the metabolism of the genetically modified bacterium that they use to produce bioactive compounds from marine microorganisms – an important step towards optimisation of drug production.

Trygve Brautaset, Snorre Sulheim and Alexander Wenzel with check
Scientific director Trygve Brautaset in the Centre for Digital Life Norway handed over the prize – a NOK 50 000 check – to PhD student Snorre Sulheim, SINTEF/NTNU, who is first author of the award-winning paper, and project leader of INBioPharm Alexander Wentzel, SINTEF. Congratulations! (Photo: Liv E. Falkenberg).

The project INBioPharm receives the Centre for Digital Life Norway prize for transdisciplinary publication of the year 2020 for the paper "Enzyme-Constrained Models and Omics Analysis of Streptomyces coelicolor Reveal Metabolic Changes that Enhance Heterologous Production". The paper was published in the open access journal iScience in September 2020

Develops technology platform for exploration of compounds

INBioPharm is short for integrated novel natural product discovery and production platform for accelerated biopharmaceutical innovation from microbial biodiversity. The researchers in the project are developing a new technology platform that enables them to discover compounds with antibiotic properties. 

They are hunting for bioactive compounds in marine microorganisms in the Trondheim fjord. The genes of the most interesting compounds are transferred to the host organism Streptomyces coelicolor that is easy to grow and control and can produce large amounts of the compounds for further exploration. 

The INBioPharm project is a collaboration between SINTEF and NTNU and international partners from the US, Germany and Netherlands with experts in microbiology, molecular biology, systems biology, bioinformatics, mathematics and chemistry.

Integration of experimental and computational work

In the work behind the award-winning paper, they have studied how different genetic modifications affect the metabolism of a specific strain of Streptomyces coelicolor. The work covers a broad range of disciplines in biotechnology, including cultivation, sampling and analysis of transcriptomics, proteomics and exometabolomics. The data are analysed separately, but also used to tailor genome-scale metabolic models according to specific strains and time-steps. It is truly an effort where experimental and computational work is integrated, fully in line with the ambitions of the Centre for Digital Life Norway (DLN). 

InBioPharm has been a central DLN project since the centre started in 2016 and the current publication fully demonstrate that they have generated high quality transdisciplinary scientific results in line with the Digital Life Norway ambitions, says scientific director Trygve Brautaset.

Next Wednesday is another big day for Snorre Sulheim. He will defend his PhD thesis “Assembly and application of genome-scale metabolic models to study Streptomyces coelicolor and Prochlorococcus” 24 March. The topic of his trial lecture is  “The relative merits of deep learning and more mechanistic models in systems biology”.

About the award and former winners

The transdisciplinary prize is given to research projects in the Centre for Digital Life Norway that have published studies resulting from highly transdisciplinary research efforts. In addition, to stimulate visibility of the DLN research, there is a strict criterium for that the awarded publications clearly states its connection to the centre. 

The grant of NOK 50 000 will be transferred to the project and can be spent within the frames set by governmental regulations.

Former winners

By Norunn K. Torheim
Published Mar. 16, 2021 12:36 PM - Last modified Mar. 16, 2021 1:04 PM