Welcome to the Laboratory of Interfacial & Molecular Biotechnology (LIMB) in the Department of Biochemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University. LIMB was founded in 1991, and has developed rapidly since 1996 by the financial support from the ‘211’ Project of the Ministry of Education of China (MOE). Matching towards the development of biomolecular engineering in the 21st century, the laboratory has been extensively supported by the ‘985’ Project and the Changjiang Scholarship Program of MOE. By these financial supports, LIMB is extended to 800 m2 of laboratory space and well furnished with modern facilities for R&D in the interfacial and molecular biotechnology.
The research work of the laboratory is multidisciplinary, involving biochemical engineering, biochemistry, molecular biology, surface and polymer chemistry, and protein science. Current research in LIMB focuses on the following aspects. First of all, bioseparations engineering has been a traditional research area of the lab, and most aspects of bioseparations related to proteins, including protein refolding, have been extensively explored. However, current research in this area is primarily related to ion exchange chromatography with polymeric ligands. Instead, the research on biocatalysis is now rapidly growing. This area includes four aspects, namely, rational design and evolution of enzymes, fabrication of multi-enzyme systems, exploration of artificial biocatalytic photosynthesis, and enzyme modifications/immobilizations. The third research subject is on protein aggregation and its inhibition. The studies involve the design and development of inhibitors against protein fibrillogenesis that is related to human diseases, mostly Alzheimer's (beta-amyloid). The inhibitors include natural small molecules, peptides, functionalized proteins, and self-assembled nanoparticles. The research work in LIMB is carried out by both wet experiments and computations (molecular simulations) to explore the fundamentals in different scales of both time and space.
LIMB is now staffed with five faculties and post-doctoral fellows. The lab generally accommodates 15 PhD students, 30 MSc students and 10 year-four undergraduate students. The researchers are interdisciplinary, including chemistry, biochemistry, biological engineering, and chemical engineering.