Dr. Filipe Pereira I completed my Biology Degree in 2002 from the University of Porto, Portugal, and my Ph.D. in 2009 at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London, as part of the GABBA program. In London I was advised by Amanda Fisher and established the use of cell fusion and heterokaryons to study cellular reprogramming towards pluripotency. I implicated Polycomb repression as critical during the reprogramming process. In my postdoctoral studies at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, I was co-advised by Ihor Lemischka and Kateri Moore. I identified a small set of transcription factors that induce endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition in mouse fibroblasts. The induced hematopoietic cells resemble blood-forming stem cells. I received funding from EMBO to perform this research and patented the technology. Recently I was awarded a fellowship from the Revson foundation (New York, USA) to explore this programming approach as a possible source of human blood-forming stem cells for patient-specific transplantation. I am passionate to investigate how cell-types maintain and change their identity and how we can apply this knowledge in medicine for cell replacement therapy and regenerative medicine.
Dr. João Peça moved to Duke University in 2005 to pursue his Ph.D. in Neurobiology. There, he contributed to some of the early work in the field of optogenetics and applied this tool to dissect cortical circuits using optical-guided photostimulation. In 2011, he moved to MIT to better understand the mechanisms governing the neural basis of social behaviors. He characterized the Shank3 genetic mouse models of autism and uncovered a potential role for cortico-striatal dysfunction in social disorders. In 2013, João Peça started as an FCT Investigator at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology in the University of Coimbra. His present interests are centered on understanding how synaptic computations give rise to social behavioral programs. To achieve this, he his using a combination of molecular genetics, optogenetics and electrophysiological approaches.
Dr. Miguel Mano started his scientific career at the “Vectors and Gene Therapy” group at the CNC, where he finished his PhD in 2006. He then moved to the Molecular Medicine laboratory at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Trieste, Italy, where he worked as Post-doctoral fellow. In 2009, Miguel Mano was responsible for setting-up a High-Throughput Screening laboratory at the ICGEB, pioneering the application of this technology in Italy. Miguel Mano was responsible for coordinating multiple screening projects, which led to significant scientific contributions in the fields of cardiovascular biology, cancer and infection. In 2014, he was awarded a FCT Investigator Starting Grant and he is currently the Group Leader of the “Functional Genomics and RNA-based Therapeutics” at the CNC. His research is focused on the identification of novel cellular factors relevant to cardiac and neuronal regeneration and their translation into effective RNA-based therapeutic strategies.
Dr. Nuno Empadinhas got a Biology degree from the University of Coimbra (UC) in 1996. He joined ITQB – Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (1997-2000) to study the biosynthesis of stress solutes in hyperthermophilic microorganisms. In 2005 he got his PhD in Biochemistry with specialty in Microbiology from the University of Coimbra. As a Post-Doc at CNC – Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, he started a new line of research on the biogenesis of unique mycobacterial polysaccharides aiming at new tuberculosis (TB) therapies. He was invited assistant professor at the Life Sciences Department at UC (2008-2011) and he is currently Group Leader of the Molecular Mycobacteriology Group at CNC. In his career, he identified and added several novel enzyme families to the IUBMB nomenclature, including potential targets for new TB antibiotics, one of which will in 2015 be template for drug design with support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has secured funding from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Mais Centro/QREN and from the Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience. He is a co-author in 40 publications and inventor in 4 patent applications. Current projects: i) Function of novel TB proteins; ii) Prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria in hospital settings; iii) New enzymatic tools for diabetic foot infection diagnostics and iv) Parkinson’s disease onset and the gut microbiome.
Dr. Ricardo Rodrigues After his graduation in Biochemistry in 2002 by the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Ricardo J. Rodrigues performed his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Rodrigo Cunha at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, and in other internationally recognized centres (Department of Pharmacology of the University of Cambridge; Department of Physiology of the University College of London, Univ. Complutense Madrid; and Instituto Ramon y Cajal, Madrid, Spain) dedicated to the physio-pathological role of synaptic purinergic receptors, either directly or through the interaction with other receptor signalling systems. In 2007, he moved to Prof. Juan Lerma’s lab at the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (Spain) for a two-year postdoctoral training, where he could establish a new concept of hybrid ionotropic receptors composed by subunits from different and distant families of receptors, which represents a conceptual breakthrough in receptor signalling systems. In 2009, he was selected as a Young Investigator in the realm of the Juan de la Cierva programme of the Spanish Government. During this period, he dedicated his work to neuronal and brain development, raising kainate receptors as the key tether linking synaptic contact formation and neuronal maturation. In 2012, he joined CNC to implement a new line of investigation exploring brain disorders either from the perspective of the existence of a reactivation of developmental-related mechanisms in an attempt to recover from a toxic insult, but due to the inadequate context become deleterious, or evaluating the long-term impact of defects during brain development in the adulthood.
Dr. Ricardo Vieira-Pires received his degree in Biochemistry from the University of Coimbra in 2004. The same year he joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and started his doctoral work at the EMBL Grenoble Outstation, France. During his PhD, he characterized cellular protein complexes of the endosomal sorting machinery, central for membrane remodeling processes such as biogenesis of multivesicular bodies (MVBs) and enveloped virus budding. In 2008 he joined the research group of Dr. João Morais-Cabral at the Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC - Porto) as a postdoctoral fellow. Here, he worked on the structural and functional characterization of ion channels and transporters, namely by protein X-ray crystallography. He recently obtained a FCT Investigator position to start and independent line of research at CNC. His group (Structural Biotechnology), based at UC-Biotech - Cantanhede, aims to combine biochemical and structural biology tools to identify and characterize proteins and molecular assemblies involved in key processes of bacterial infectious diseases.
Dr. S. I. Gonçalves graduated in Physics in Instituto Superior Técnico. She obtained her PhD degree in Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering in the University of Lisbon in collaboration with the VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam. Her PhD work was awarded with the third place in the Young Investigators competition for best oral presentation during the 2nd European Medical & Biological Engineering Conference, Vienna. The major impact of her research work, however, is that of the papers she published on the very timely question of the relationships between EEG signal and functional MRI (BOLD) signals, thus contributing to the explanation of a very hot topic in clinical Neurosciences. For this work she was distinguished in 2005 with one of the four Medalhas de Honra L'Óreal Portugal para as Mulheres na Ciência awards. In 2009 she moved to the 3T MR unit in the Academic Medical Centre (AMC), Amsterdam where she led the development of novel pulse sequences at 3T using fast imaging in steady-state free precession. She is since January 2014 associate researcher at IBILI where she works on the development of MR based techniques for neuroscience. She is invited scientist at the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, where she collaborates on the development of new modalities for fast imaging in steady-state and she is currently co-supervising a PhD thesis there. She has been reviewer for several top brain imaging and biomedical engineering journals.
About the Center
The Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC) is a Research Institute committed to excellence in Bioscience and Biomedicine. It was the first Associated Laboratory in Portugal, and is part of the Network of European Neuroscience Institutes (ENI). The CNC is also involved in collaborations between the Portuguese government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School (HMS).
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: Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra
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