Isu - Laboratory of Pharmaceutical biotechnology Laboratory of Pharmaceutical biotechnology

Fields of study:

Biomedicine, Neurophysiology, Biotechnologies, Food Biotechnologies, Agricultural Technologies


Ongoing projects:

  1. Screening of new antioxidants, analgesics, neuroprotectors and inducers of neurogenesis

  2. Experimental truffle growing and bryology for neurophysiology and biomedicine

  3. Development of modern biofertilizers and growth stimulants

  4. Pilot production of mycoprotein

  5. Development of effective and susceptible biomonitoring methods

  6. Biological engineering


Screening of new natural compounds inhibiting the adverse effects of reactive oxygen species is a prevalent scientific task

It is primarily due to an increase in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Pick's and Parkinson's diseases, spinal muscular atrophy, and etc. Oxidative stress plays an essential role in the etiology and development of these diseases. Natural compounds with antioxidant activity can interact with free radicals and suppress the oxidation processes of cellular structures. Thus, antioxidants can participate in the prevention and treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases, provide protection to nerve cells and act as stimulators of neuronal growth.

The World Health Organization predicts that in 20 years, neurodegenerative diseases will prevail over deaths from cancerous tumors. In the near future, neurodegenerative diseases will become the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular diseases.

The research team under the leadership of Dr. Denis V. Axenov-Gribanov is implementing a President’s Grant on topic "Translation of the potential of psychrophilic microorganisms of Lake Baikal for neurophysiology". The project aims to search for new natural compounds with antioxidant and neurogenic activity to develop drug prototypes. Bacteria synthesize about 70% of all-natural compounds that are important in medicine, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Therefore, microorganisms of ancient ecosystems are of particular interest for exploratory research. One of these ecosystems is Lake Baikal. Lake Baikal’s ecosystem is characterized by a high percentage of endemic organisms, a low concentration of mineral salts, a low water temperature and a high degree of oxygen saturation. Such environmental conditions allowed microorganisms to form protective mechanisms to the increased oxygen content in the environment. Therefore, the translation of the potential of molecules to protect human nerve cells in the coming years will lead to the discovery of new molecules – active substances for new drugs.

The project is implemented in collaboration with the Helmholtz Center for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (Germany, Saarbrucken).

Truffle growing is one of the most important and urgent problems of modern mushroom farming

Currently, the number of true truffles collected in the wild is decreasing. In this regard, plantations specializing in the growing of truffles are increasingly being laid. These farms are located in Italy, France, New Zealand, the USA and China.

These mushrooms are often considered a gastronomic delicacy.  Truffles are grown in the soil in close symbiosis with various trees, while attention to its medical significance is practically not paid. Considering the high cost of fruit bodies, the long growing season, and the technical impossibility of cultivating these microorganisms in Siberian conditions, one of the most important breakthrough technologies is cultivating truffle mycelium under controlled laboratory conditions. In the era of screening of new producers of biologically active substances, the assessment of the biotechnological potential of these fungi is of great importance.

The research team under the leadership of Dr. Denis V. Axenov-Gribanov is implementing a project of the Russian Science Foundation on the topic "Siberian truffle growing and evaluation of the biotechnological potential of laboratory cultures of various truffle strains". This project aims to develop a technology of cultivating true truffles – marsupial mushrooms of the genus Tuber sp. The expected results are the proven technology of cultivation of fungi of the genus Tuber sp. under controlled conditions and the analysis of the symbiont communities of the truffle, the assessment of its biotechnological potential, the development of everyday food products based on the mycelium of this fungus.


Achieved results:

  • During 2020-2021, the research team formed new scientific directions for research at Irkutsk State University. During the same period, 4 modern laboratories were put into operation. As a result, a collection of psychrophilic and oxyphilic microorganisms of Lake Baikal is being formed. The biotechnological and genetic potential of more than 100 microbial strains were described.
  • A project dedicated to the biotechnology of the Russian truffle is being implemented on ISU. During the project, the basic technology of truffle cultivating was developed. In addition, it was shown that the mycelium of truffle contains natural compounds that cause a feeling of euphoria.
  • The head and main executors of the projects have successfully implemented more than 50 scientific projects funded with the support of budgetary and extra-budgetary foundations (RSF, RFBR, CRDF, etc.).
  • The laboratory staffs are fellows and laureates of all-Russian and international competitions (the competition of fellows of the President and the Government of the Russian Federation, V. Potanin, the round of the Russian Federation Presidents grants, research scholarships of the German Academic Exchange Service, etc.).
  • Materials of researches are presented in 35 international issues and >100 Russian publications.

The list of top scientific publications

Primary investigator

Ph.D (Biology)
Axenov-Gribanov Denis

Leading researcher

Do what seems right - and come what might

- Expert in Russian Science foundation

- Expert in Russian academy of Sciences

- Expert in Federal Research Center for Project Evaluation & Consulting

Internships and work experience abroad:


Helmholtz institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (Saarbrücken)

Saarland university

>3 years during 2014-2021


Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Bremerhaven)

>1 year during 2011-2014

Scientific interests:

Biotechnology, Fermentation, Chemistry of natural compounds, Neurogenesis, Biological engineering



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