The Institute of Biochemical Drugs Research (IIFB), belongs to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical and Biochemical Sciences, of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, located at Avenida Saavedra No 2224, Miraflores.


The IIFB was created with the purpose of having a structure that allows the development of scientific and technological research from a multi-interdisciplinary approach to natural products and biotechnology applied to plants and microorganisms, which are part of various ecosystems, and contribute to the training of human resources of high academic level for the research and execution of projects associated with sustainable development (biological control of pests), the environment (bioremediation and biodegradation) and traditional medicine (traditional pharmacopoeias), through programs of :

  • Formative Research: It is carried out with the chairs in coordination and advice of the IIFB. The main objective is the training of human resources in the field of research.

  • Generative Research: Generate knowledge and answers to the problems of the country and region in which to make health, biotechnology and the environment.





We work in the isolation, partial characterization, maintenance and fermentation of microorganisms obtained from samples of various ecosystems, in order to support the agricultural, environmental, mining, industrial, among others, through the development of pest control (microbial ) in crops of economic interest (potato, bean, chickpea, pea, banana, palm and citrus fruit among others), as well as providing application solutions in related sectors.

We support the development of Bachelor, Master and Doctorate Thesis, as well as to provide a solution to various requirements of Bolivian society.

Our Units

    1. Environmental Microbial Biotechnology

      The development of solutions for environmental application is carried out, so we have:


      - Bioremediation and Biodegradation of organic and inorganic compounds

- Wastewater treatment

- Biological control of pests

- Renewable energy production

- Biohydrometallurgy Biominery / Microbial treatment of mining effluents


  1. Industrial Microbial Biotechnology

    The purpose is the development of solutions for industrial application, so we have:

    - Extremophiles and Extremezymes

    - Bioconversion and Biotransformation

    - Fermentation Technology

    - Biopolymers and Biomaterials

    - Green Chemistry

    - Supports for biomolecules and biofilms

    - Food biotechnology

    - Antioxidants and food additives

    - Polysaccharides obtained from microbial cultures

    - Bacteriocins and molecules with probiotic activity

  2. Fungal Microbial Biotechnology

    The main objective is the development of solutions for agricultural application, so we have the biocontrollers, identification of phytopathogenic fungi, among others.



The area of ​​Molecular Biochemistry belongs to the IIFB, where molecular taxonomy studies have been carried out in bacteria, fungi, microalgae, parasites and plants in the framework of the development of different research projects, different pre, post-grade thesis work, publications were carried out national and international and different techniques were optimized: FISH-RNA, PCR-ITS, PCR-RFLP among others. Projects are currently being carried out in the Evaluation of the water quality of tributaries that supply the Achachicala treatment plant, with the chair of Molecular Biology of the FCFB financed with HDI resources, in addition to the Study of the effect of climate change on microbial biodiversity of soils where Chenopodium quinoa Willd crops are grown. financed with resources of the SDC in coordination of the chair of Molecular Biology of the FCFB, UMSS and the cooperation of the Faculty of Agronomy of Viacha, different molecular techniques will be applied, such as gel electrophoresis with gradient denaturation (DGGE), Hybridization in Fluorescent situ (FISH) and amplification of genetic material by PCR to determine the genetic diversity of different microorganisms from different ecological niches and thus be able to apply this methodology according to the needs of the field of Biotechnology.



The Institute of Biochemical Drugs Research (IIFB) is made up of four Thematic Areas that work in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical and Biochemical Sciences (FCFyB) of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA). One of these is the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Area (AQF), where research is carried out related to the discovery and development of new alternative treatments for parasitic diseases, based on traditional pharmacopoeias and local biodiversity, using biodirected chemistry as opposed to evidence. Biological in vitro. The AQF is composed of four units with specific tasks.

  1. Natural Products Chemistry Unit (QPN)

    Its purpose is to extract, isolate and characterize the active metabolites present in the plants under study.

  2. Biological Evaluation Unit (EB)

    Its purpose is to maintain, in vitro, viable and permanent cultures of parasite strains of Leishmania spp, Trypanosoma cruzi, Giardia spp and Plasmodium falciparum, and carry out molecular studies and biological evaluations of all samples produced in the QPN unit and samples of external researchers with whom we maintain collaborative research (CYTED).

  3. Traditional Pharmacopoeia Research Laboratory Unit (LIFT)

    Its purpose is to develop pharmaceutical formulations based on plant extracts and / or pure active ingredients, to carry out clinical studies and / or field of efficacy as part of the validation strategies of traditional medicine.

  4. Plant Biotechnology Unit (BV)

    Its purpose is to maintain viable, in vitro, viable cultures of cells of plant species and to carry out production studies and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites of traditional pharmacopoeia plants.

Bolivia is included among the mega-diverse countries of the world, and its territory is occupied by diverse ethnic groups that have an intimate knowledge of their natural environment, knowledge that is threatened by the problem of extinction linked to the acculturation of indigenous societies and of the destruction of the environment. Local ethnic groups use plant species in semi-elaborate preparations, with unknown dosages, often, these medicinal plants acquire a magical status and orally transmitted knowledge, from adults, to younger generations, is lost. Since 2000, the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (ASDI) has been collaborating with the UMSA with an Institutional Strengthening program and the AQF, since 2013 it has been a beneficiary as part of the “UMSA-ASDI Program (2013-2017) Biomolecules of Medicinal and Industrial Interest (antiparasitic) ”. This program allows us to carry out a systematic study of the TACANA Pharmacopoeia, for which we have letters of intentions for collaboration and a calendar of activities, for field and cultural work, with the Indigenous Council of the Tacana Peoples (CIPTA) and the Indigenous Council of Tacana Women (CIMTA). As part of the investigations of the AQF-IIFB, between 2007-12, clinical studies have been carried out in the validation of the use of the species Evanta (Galipea longiflora) in the treatment of leishmaniasis and intestinal parasitosis in school-age children. Currently, we are still looking for new antiparasitic agents among the plants used by the Tacana ethnic group, based in the Bolivian Amazon.

Biological Evaluation Unit

Natural Products Chemistry Unit



It has the units of:

  1. Pharmacological Trials

  2. Toxicity - Genotoxicity

  3. Natural product development and quality control

Lines of investigation:



Research in DIABETES, are linked to conducting scientific studies of plants and / or foods as a source of new therapies for type 2 diabetes, which involve preclinical studies in animal and cell models, and concomitantly clinical studies. The development of the research is carried out in a multidisciplinary way and jointly with the Karolinska Institute - Sweden and Laboratorios Agronat SA, there is funding from the Swedish cooperation ASDI (2013-20127), and IDH resources (2015-2016).






    The treatment of chronic joint diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and others, is of the palliative type, which relieves the symptoms of the disease such as pain, helps improve aspects such as the conservation of mobility and minimizes disability. The most commonly used drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), however these present serious adverse effects especially at gastric level (Harrison, 2002). Gastric ulcer, gastric cancer and gastritis also have Helbacter pylori as the main etiological agent, an infection that worldwide has a prevalence of approximately 50% and the effectiveness of therapy for eradication is 90% although recurrences are described after treatment

    These lines of research are developed based on projects obtained through several funders (AECID-PCI, 2007-2011; IDH, 2008, 2009; ASDI-SAREC-UMSA, 2008-2009, OAS, 2008-2010, Ministry of Health de Español - Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2003-2005; International Foundation for Science, 2003-2005 (IFS); CYTED, 2004); FEMCIDI / OAS 2007-2010; HDI, 2014-2015; and seeks new, more effective and suitable alternatives for the treatment of chronic joint diseases and for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.

    Approximately 35 plants with anti-arthritic and anti-ulcer potential have been studied in a preliminary manner, which have been tested for anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, ulcerogenic, analgesic activity (Alconini et al., 2008; Fernandez et al., 2008; Abad et al., 2006; Gonzales et al., 2005; Gonzales et al., 2002; Gonzales et al., 2001, Rocabado et al., 2009; Siñani, 2009). According to the results, 7 species have been selected for antiarthritic evaluation in animal models (Xanthium spinosum (dry love); Urtica urens (nettle-itapallo); Smilax aspera (grill sauce; Verbena officinalis (verbena); Sambucus peruviana (elderberry) ); Senecio graveolens (Chachacoma); Budiaja coriácea (kiswara), the results show 5 species with an interesting antiarthritic activity, of which the studies with Xanthium and Urtica have continued. (Uria, 2005; Apaza et al., 2008 ; Apaza, 2009; Gonzales et al., 2009).

    Similarly, based on the preliminary study, 6 species have been selected for evaluation of the antihelycobacter pylori activity (Verbena officinalis (Verbena); Plantago major (plantain); Bolivina Satureja (Khoa); Piper angustifolium (matico); Calendula officinalis (calendula) ; Rubus boliviensis (khari-khari); the results show 3 species with an interesting profile of antihelicobacter pilory activity (Claros et al., 2007; Quisbert, 2009; Claros, 2006). The active principles reported and responsible for the activity of Clinopodium and Piper are the terpenoids sitosterol, stigmasterol and phytol and flavonoid vitexin (Flores, 2007; Miranda, 2001; Quílez et al., 2010; Gonzales, 1998; Tzakou et al., 2003).
    Studies of anti-inflammatory activity of the genus Baccharis begin with B. rubriaculis and B. genistelloides (Gonzales, 1998), then expand to 8 more species of the genus, observing interesting activity in B. latifolia and B. papillosa, which resulted in the continuation of studies in a multidisciplinary way with the Institute of Chemical Research of the Fac. Pure and Natural Sciences and the subsequent obtaining of an Anti-inflammatory Cream produced by LABORATORIOS LAFAR that is in the National pharmaceutical market for sale.

    Preclinical toxicity studies (Herrera et al., 2008; Loza, 2009; Lopez, 2010; Neri, 2010) and genotoxicity (Jimenez, 2009; Fernandez et al., 2008, Levandro, 2009) are performed for the Xanthium species, Urtica, Clinopodium, Piper through trials in animal models and in Drosophila, and preformulation and development studies (Gutierrez et al., 2008; Limachi, 2009; Gutierrez, 2009) of gels for both topical and oral routes, which are in their final phase.



    The studies in Plagues of the area begin with the project CENTER OF RESEARCH AND BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF PLAGAS, whose main objective is to implement a laboratory for the Control of Plagues that affect Mango, in the town of La Plazuela - Irupana (Prov Sud Yungas - La Paz) that allows to benefit the producers of the region, obtaining better volumes of MANGO production without diseases, surpluses of production orienting them to regional agribusiness, thus achieving their best income and quality of life.

    Initially the research works in the area are oriented to the biological control of the Fruit Fly that attacks MANGO.




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