You are here: Home / News / ITQB NOVA scientists distinguished with Medal of Scientific Merit

ITQB NOVA scientists distinguished with Medal of Scientific Merit

Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education recognized the contributions of Maria Arménia Carrondo and Cândido Pinto Ricardo to Portuguese science.

The Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, today awarded researchers Maria Arménia Carrondo and Cândido Pinto Ricardo with the Medal of Scientific Merit. The medal recognises the contribution of the ITQB NOVA's Lab Heads to Portuguese science, especially in the fields of structural biology and plant biochemistry, respectively. “The ITQB NOVA community is proud of the contribution our two Principal Investigators for science in such different fields”, says Claudio M. Soares, Dean of the institution. “This award is a testimony of the interdisciplinarity of the research done at the institute since its inception, which Maria Arménia Carrondo and Cândido Pinto Ricardo represent so well.”

Maria Arménia Carrondo is the head of ITQB NOVA’s MX Unit and of the Structural Genomics Laboratory. She was the president of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, the Portuguese science funding agency, from 2015 to 2016. She has also served as vice-rector of NOVA (2007-2013) and as Vice-Dean at ITQB NOVA (1996-2005). Throughout her career, she has served in numerous scientific committees and evaluation boards. Among other national and international awards, she received the European Medal for Bioinorganic Chemistry in 2004 and the Prémio Câmara Pestana 2008. The researcher was also elected as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2000, and is currently the Portuguese representative for the ESFRI, Instruct-ERIC scientific infrastructure.

“It is a great honour to be recognized for my research, and to have it considered as having contributed to the development of Portuguese Science”, says Maria Arménia Carrondo. “This work was only possible due to the collaboration of several researchers and students who throughout the years have been part of the MX Unit, and the support of those I have collaborated with in science management and administrative roles.”

Cândido Pinto Ricardo has been the head of ITQB NOVA’s Plant Biochemistry laboratory, which studies the OMICS in plant development and stress responses. He has also been, for long, concerned with the climatic stress to cork oak, a tree of crucial importance both for the ecology of Western Mediterranean and the Portuguese economy. In order to study cork oak genomics, in 2009 he coordinated the launching of the FCT 10 projects initiative aimed at characterizing cork oak ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags). In a further step, he has been involved since 2013 in the genome sequencing of this tree. He is also a champion for science communication to society, participating in several initiatives such as the Fascination of Plants Day, the Open Day and the mapping of plant diversity existing in the Municipality of Oeiras, including the ITQB NOVA/INIAV Campus.

“Portuguese science has undergone substantial changes in the last few decades, and it has been an honour to take part in it.”, says Cândido Pinto Ricardo. “I believe there is much more work to be done in plant science, and especially in the cork oak, to unveil adaptation mechanisms to increasing desertification. I dedicate this medal to my students and collaborators, who will continue to carry out research.”

The Medal of Scientific Merit was awarded today during Ciência 2021, the national scientific meeting, which takes place until next Wednesday, 30 June, at the Lisbon Congress Centre (CCL). The awardees received the medal from the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and the State and Presidency Minister, Mariana Vieira da Silva.