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Research groups

The basic module of MOSTMICRO-ITQB is the independent Lab, headed by a PI, who develops research and trains students and Post-docs, within the institutional academic framework of ITQB NOVA. The 34 independent Labs of MOSTMICRO-ITQB are organised into 10 Scientific Groups, each headed by one of the PIs. An additional group is devoted to supporting the Unit through Science Communication, Funding and Innovation activities. The Groups were formed based upon their scientific focus and expertise, and share natural connections (such as on-going collaborations, sharing of equipment and others). This form of organisation has proven to be efficient since its implementation in 2014. The Groups meet regularly to discuss scientific and practical issues.

 

G1-Metalloproteins and Bioenergetics

This Group contributes to MOSTMICRO through a comprehensive understanding of biological systems at the molecular level and by providing a bridge between atomistic/molecular approaches and cellular/systemic perspectives. In particular, we explore the molecular determinants of enzymes that govern redox catalysis and biological electron transfer, which form the backbone of most metabolic processes. Their detailed understanding provides the tools for the rational manipulation of microbial metabolism.

Miguel Teixeira Lab - Metalloenzymes and Molecular Bioenergetics (coordination)

Ricardo O. Louro Lab - Inorganic Biochemistry and NMR

Smilja Todorovic Lab - Raman Spectroscopy of Metalloproteins

 

G2-Molecular Modelling and Simulation

The Molecular Modelling and Simulation Group will study the molecular determinants of biological processes using physical computational methods.. The three Laboratories composing this Group study a variety of problems in diverse organisms, ranging from Eukaryotes to Prokaryots and viruses, complementing experimental studies but also providing a route when experimental characterization is lacking. The Group uses existing and new tailor-made methods to investigate both natural and synthetic biological molecules and ligands.

Cláudio M. Soares Lab - Protein Modeling (coordination)

Antonio M. Baptista Lab - Molecular Simulation

Manuel N. Melo Lab - Multiscale Modeling

 

G3-Pharmaceuticals and Small Bioactive Molecules

The Group pursues the synthesis of natural or novel molecules with biological activity, with a non-exclusive emphasis on Microbiology. Such molecules may have protective actions against bacteria or target other disease factors. Alternatively, molecules may also be produced from useful bacterial processes and the products intended for downstream use in biological, pharmacological and therapeutic processes. Thus, this research Group plays a major role within the Unit and the work carried out is key to developing new patentable technologies.

Carlos Romão Lab - Organometallic Chemistry (coordination)

Ana Petronilho Lab - Bioorganometallic Chemistry

Beatriz Royo Lab - Organometallic Catalysis

Chris Maycock Lab - Organic Synthesis

Rita Delgado Lab - Coordination and Supramolecular Chemistry 

Rita Ventura Lab - Bioorganic Chemistry 

 

G4-Structure and Function of Biomolecules

This group will contribute to the global Unit strategy through the comprehensive characterisation of fundamental systems and processes in living organisms at the atomic, molecular and supramolecular levels. Using a broad set of methodologies ranging from X-ray crystallography, SAXS and Cryo-EM to cell imaging using X-ray fluorescence, the Group aims to better understand selected biological processes by focusing on biomolecules with implications in health and disease. 

Pedro Matias Lab - Industry and Medicine Applied Crystallography (coordination)

Carlos Frazão Lab -  Structural Biology

Margarida Archer Lab - Membrane Protein Crystallography

 

G5-Dynamics of Macromolecular Complexes

The goal of this Group is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the assembly and structural dynamics of cellular multi-subunit macromolecular complexes. The Group aims to provide a detailed characterisation of complexes by studying their composition and conformational dynamics in isolation, in reconstituted minimal systems and within living cells. The Group combines expertise in NMR, SAXS, single molecule microscopy and spectroscopy, minimal in vitro systems as well as quantitative live cell imaging and optogenetics. Because of both the goal and technical expertise, this Group is a key element within the Unit, integrating information from structural biology, chemistry, computer modeling and genetics.

Federico Herrera Lab - Cell Structure and Dynamics (coordination)

Alvaro H. Crevenna Lab - Biomolecular Self-Organization

Tiago N. Cordeiro Lab - Dynamic Structural Biology

 

G6-Gene Expression and Stress Survival

This group addresses the control of gene expression and resistance mechanisms that provide cells with the plasticity to respond to various stress conditions. The Group studies the regulation of intracellular events including the involvement of transcription factors, the production and regulation of RNAs, detoxification enzymes, and metabolic pathways that promote cell survival in a variety of biological systems including bacterial pathogens, yeast, and Drosophila. The Group also studies the host-pathogen interactions of antibiotic-resistant human pathogens.

Ligia M. Saraiva Lab - Molecular Mechanisms of Pathogen Resistance (coordination)

Cecilia Arraiano Lab - Control of Gene Expression

Claudina R. Pousada Lab - Genomics and Stress Laboratory

Pedro Domingos Lab - Cell Signaling in Drosophila

 

G7-Metabolomics, Proteomics and Bioactivity

This Group has expertise in NMR and Mass Spectrometry, powerful technologies to characterise metabolic pathways and biological processes through metabolomics and proteomics approaches; also, there is strong know-how on structural and functional characterization of proteins, namely membrane enzymes. An unifying goal is the development of strategies to FIGHT BACTERIAL PATHOGENS with an emphasis on TUBERCULOSIS.

Helena Santos Lab - Cell Physiology and NMR (coordination)

Ana Coelho Lab - Proteomics of Non-Model Organisms

Manolis Matzapetakis Lab - Biomolecular NMR Laboratory

 

G8-Bacterial Cell Biology and Pathogenesis

The Group aims to unravel the mechanisms that enforce organisation of the bacterial cell during growth and division, morphogenesis and differentiation, and to use this knowledge to better understand antibiotic resistance and the strategies used by bacteria to colonise and infect their hosts and to spread.

Adriano O. Henriques Lab - Microbial Development (coordination)

Mariana G. Pinho Lab - Bacterial Cell Biology

Sergio R. Filipe Lab - Bacterial Cell Surfaces and Pathogenesis 

Zach Hensel Lab - Single Molecule Microbiology

 

G9-Microbiology of Human Pathogens

This Group investigates the evolution, molecular epidemiology, dissemination and antimicrobial resistance mechanisms of major human pathogens - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and Streptococcus pneumoniae. The labs collaborate with health institutions to translate research into targeted strategies to decrease antimicrobial resistance and the burden of infectious diseases.

Hermínia de Lencastre Lab - Molecular Genetics (coordination)

Maria Miragaia Lab - Bacterial Evolution and Molecular Epidemiology

Raquel Sa-Leão Lab - Molecular Microbiology of Human Pathogens

 

G10-Microbial Metabolism and Biocatalysis

The Microbial Metabolism and Biocatalysis (MMB) Group studies key metabolic pathways in health or in environmentally relevant microorganisms, and explores microbial cells and enzymes for the development of bioprocesses targeting a sustainable Bioeconomy. The Group focuses on applied studies, while keeping a strong focus on a molecular understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms.

Inês Cardoso Pereira Lab - Bacterial Energy Metabolism (coordination)

Cristina Silva Pereira Lab - Applied and Environmental Mycology  

Ligia O. Martins Lab - Microbial & Enzyme Technology 

 

G11-Science Communication, Funding & Innovation

Science is growing increasingly dependent on technological resources, complex funding systems, ethical and legal frameworks and a fast translation of results to the market and society. Hence, internationally competitive science needs structures to facilitate research and create value out of the knowledge produced. One key feature of the MOSTMICRO Unit when created was to value and invest in three strategic areas - Science Communication, Funding and Innovation, and to establish core in-house services to help research to excel.

Margarida Trindade - Science Funding Office (coordination)

Joana Lobo Antunes - Science Communication Office

Marta Ribeiro - Technology Transfer Office