Instituto Universitario de Bio-Orgánica “Antonio González”
The Instituto Universitario de Bio-Orgánica "Antonio González" is a multidisciplinary research center located at the town of La Laguna, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999, and former capital of the Canary Islands of Tenerife. The geographical location in addition to its mild climate has made the Canary Islands to posses a variety of ecosystems with unique plants and animals. The IUBO-AG is the successor of the Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas of the Patronato "Juan de la Cierva". The Institute was founded in 1963 by Professor Antonio González González (1917-2002), Full Professor of Organic Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of La Laguna (ULL). Under the guidance of Prof. González (Don Antonio for his pupils), the Center evolved through diverse stages to what is known nowadays. Thus, the Centre was initially the Instituto de Productos Naturales Orgánicos of the Spanish Research Council CSIC. It was later transformed into the Centro de Productos Naturales, a hybrid of the Spanish Research Council and the University of La Laguna. In 1989, the Centre acquired its current name Instituto Universitario de Bio-Orgánica, being added later on the name of its founder Antonio González. At present, the Centre belongs exclusively to the University of La Laguna although the researchers belong to either ULL or CSIC.
At present, more than 100 persons are working at the IUBO-AG, among which 50 permanent academic and scientific staff members, approximately 50 scientific staff members (post-docs and post-graduate scientists) and 6 administrative and technical staff members. The University of La Laguna has outstanding facilities to support medicinal, ecological, and organic chemistry, including NMR spectroscopy at 400 and 300 MHz; state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, elemental analysis and X-ray crystallography, electron microscope, DNA sequencer, etc.
The main research lines that are being developed at IUBO-AG are :
Anticancer agents from natural sources: Several natural products and their semi-synthetic derivatives are produced within diverse joint projects for the development of new antitumor drugs with novel mechanisms of action. Some products have recently shown in vitro reversion of the resistance in multidrug resistant (MDR) tumors cell lines.
Genetic engineering: In vitro cultures of plants are developed in order to manipulate their biosynthetic pathways and induce the production in large scale of the secondary metabolites for diverse applications, including arthritis, rheumatism, and back pain.
Marine organisms and toxins: Dinoflagellates are marine organisms responsible for the red tides and food poisoning episodes. Among others, okadaic acid and yessotoxin are the most common toxins present in European shellfish. We develop culture systems to provide us with amounts of toxins large enough to perform biological studies.
Insecticide and repellents: Natural products are being isolated for their use against plagues, specially those affecting agriculture. These projects are run in collaboration with a number of public institutions and agrochemical companies throughout Europe and Latin America.
Fine chemicals and pharmachemicals: Our institute possesses large expertise in the field of organic synthesis devoted to the synthesis of medicinal substances, with special focus on asymmetric processes. Of particular interest is the development of new methodologies for the total synthesis of biologically active substances like polyether toxins, (un)natural amino acids, sphingosine analogs, alkaloids, etc.
Pharmacology and anticancer drug screening: The IUBO-AG have recently started screening programs in collaboration with the Canary Islands Hospitals and Research Centers. The outcome of this project is the finding of several leads that form the basis for current and future projects.