The National University Complex for Biomedical and Translational Research (NUCBTR) is a strategic network of infrastructures for fundamental and translational biomedical research and includes partners from two of the largest medical universities in Bulgaria, the Medical University of Sofia and the Medical University of Plovdiv, as well as a number of hospital and research centers. At the core of the University Complex is the unification of the largest biobanks for the storage of biological material and clinical data in the country
The strategic network covers infrastructures for fundamental and applied biomedical research from MU-Sofia and MU-Plovdiv, as well as associated partners - hospitals and research centers. It includes some of the largest biobanks for genetic and tissue material in the country, such as those of the Center for Molecular Medicine and the National Genetic Laboratory, in parallel with this infrastructure.
The role of the consortium is to connect the existing resources, achieving a critical mass of experts and technological capabilities, to create conditions for the development of research in molecular medicine, "omix" technologies and translational medicine in Bulgaria in the post-genomic era, providing access to latest technologies and expert assistance of scientists and research organizations.
The scientific infrastructure is built in several stages. Initially, with the support of the European Commission (FP6, INCO17147, 2005-2008, MMCBG), the construction of a Molecular Medicine Center (MMC) was funded as a university research infrastructure of MU-Sofia. Subsequently, with the support of the National Science Fund, the MES continues to equip the SNP genotyping and expression analysis sector (DRI15 / 2006-2008) and to establish the MMC as a Center of Excellence in Functional Genomics, Transcriptomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics (CVP01 / 0123, 2008-2010), equipped with an infrastructure project by the Council of Medical Sciences, MU-Sofia (8I / 2009).
In 2009 MU-Sofia and MU-Plovdiv started the construction of the National University Complex for Biomedical and Translational Research (NUCBTR) as an infrastructure project funded by the NSF, MES (DUNK01-2 / 2009-2019).
The scientific infrastructure has been part of the National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures since its establishment, undergoing an international evaluation in 2009 and 2014. In 2016, a business plan was prepared and an external independent evaluation was made.
Ensuring the maintenance, modernization, and sustainable development of NUCBTR, with the participation of Bulgaria in the European Infrastructure for Biobanking (BBMRI-ERIC), is under the program "National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure 2017-2023", MES.
In 2018, Bulgaria joined BBBMRI-ERIC, as MU-Sofia through the Molecular Medicine Center and its biobank is the national coordinator of BBMRI.bg and begins the construction of a national hub and network of biobanks.
The infrastructure units of NUCBTR are distributed on the territory of several departments of MF, MU-Sofia, MF, and FF, MU-Plovdiv. Units have been set up offering services and expert assistance in the field of biobanking, omix technologies, bioinformatics, cell, and tissue culture; biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, molecular genetics; clinical laboratory and immunology, clinical pharmacology; physiology.
Over the years, NUCBTR has established itself as a leading scientific infrastructure, providing access to scientists and organizations to the equipment and creating opportunities for multidisciplinary research projects, both national and international.
NUCBTR participates in the development of a modern educational program in medicine and biomedical sciences, practical and postgraduate training. The university complex creates an attractive environment for scientific development for young scientists and doctoral students and provides career development.
The scientific groups, using the NUCBTR scientific infrastructure, generate a significant share of the scientific production of the two medical universities.
A key activity of NUCBTR is the establishment of strategic partnerships with international scientific infrastructures, academic centers and innovative biopharmaceutical enterprises in order to accelerate the integration of Bulgarian biomedical science in the European Research Area.
MU-Sofia has a long-term cooperation agreement with University Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology „Majchin dom” providing the Laboratory of Clinical Genetics, University Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology „Majchin dom” access to the equipment of MMC for genetic research.
NUCBTR offers and performs services for external organizations and individuals. Since 2016, the Laboratory of Genomic Diagnostics has been registered, part of MMC, MF, MU-Sofia, which is the only state medical diagnostic laboratory offering diagnostic genomic tests by microarray analysis and next-generation sequencing for diagnosis of genetic diseases, as well as and concomitant diagnostics in targeted therapies and biomarker testing.
NUCBTR, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, participates in promoting the role of personalized medicine by assisting in its application in the health system.
NUCBTR provides a platform for open access and dissemination of scientific achievements among scientists, promotion of innovations among administrative structures, the public, patient organizations and companies.