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Cristina Silva Pereira Lab


The Applied and Environmental Mycology group aims to enlarge filamentous fungi biotechnological potential. Research ranges from fundamental studies on fungal biology to applications in bioremediation and biocatalysis, also highlighting ionic liquids higher interest.

Cristina Silva Pereira
Associate Professor, ITQB NOVA
PhD in Biochemistry, 2004, ITQB NOVA

Phone (+351) 211157786 | Extension 1786
Email | Lab website

Research Interests

It has been estimated that up to one quarter of the world’s biomass is of fungal origin. This comprises ~1.5 million species, with only 700 thousand identified up to now (of which in turn 75 % belong to the Ascomycota phylum). Fungi are vital for the ecosystem functions, segregating a broad range of hydrolytic enzymes that can break down complex biopolymers and producing chemically and structurally diverse secondary metabolites. Fungal secondary metabolites are a virtually unlimited source of probes for fungal biology, including some signalling in cell-to-cell communication pathways which control e.g. pathogenicity. Some fungal secondary metabolites are now clinically significant drugs.

The Applied and Environmental Mycology group aims at producing scientific knowledge which essentially highlights Ascomycota fungi biotech added-value. The research plan was set in order to tackle challenging global problems, such as pollution and sustainable biotechnological processes. Inspired by this scientific vision, we are investigating the persistent toxicity of halogenated pollutants and the remedial potential of particular filamentous fungi. Aiming to propose solutions for waste management, we have also pioneered the merging of biology and ionic-liquid chemistry and show that benign ionic liquids can be remarkable solvents. The potential of these solvents in processes aimed at extracting or modifying a broad range of natural products, including complex bio-polyesters, is currently under development.

Biochemistry and functional genomics are being used to screen the response of fungal individuals and/or communities to natural and anthropogenic stress. To better understand the transduction pathway that connects chemical stimulus to cellular response, the studies are focussing on two model Ascomycota fungi: Neurospora crassa and Aspergillus nidulans. In this context, some early findings form the foundation of a growing interest in the genetics and functioning of fungal secondary metabolism.


Group Members

  • Ângela Pinheiro Research Fellow
  • Artur Bento, Post-Doc
  • Carlos Moreira, PhD student
  • Daryna Piontkivska, PhD student
  • Isabel Martins, Post-Doc
  • Joana Pais, Post-Doc
  • Patrícia Gonçalves, Lab Manager
  • Patrícia Sequeira, PhD student
  • Maika Rothkegel, PhD student
  • Rúben Rodrigues, PhD student
  • Tiago M. Martins, Post-Doc
  • Vanessa Correia, Post-Doc

Invited Members

  • Adelia Varela - Research Collaborator at INIAV
  • Celso Filipe Ferreira Martins - Post-Doc at Lausanne University, Switzerland
  • Diego de Oliveira Hartmann - Researcher (PhD) at Sea4us
  • Paula Alexandra Rodrigues Guedes - Researcher (PhD) at CENSE FCT NOVA


Selected Publications

  1. Do Hartmann, M Petkovic, Silva Pereira C (2016) Ionic Liquids as Unforeseen Assets to Fight Life-Threatening Mycotic Diseases. Front Microbiology. 7: 111.

  2. DO Hartmann, K Shimizu, F Siopa, Leitão MC, CAM Afonso, JN Canongia Lopes and C Silva Pereira (2015) Plasma membrane permeabilisation by ionic liquids: a matter of charge. Green Chemistry. 17: 4587-4598.

  3. H Garcia*, R Ferreira*, C Martins, AF Sousa, CSR Freire, AJD Silvestre, W Kunz, LPN Rebelo and C Silva Pereira (2014) Ex-situ reconstitution of the plant biopolyester suberin as a film.

    Biomacromolecules. 15: 1806–1813. *equally contributing authors


Laboratory's Website

For further information please visit the laboratory's website


Micologia Ambiental e Aplicada (PT)

Os fungos estão presentes em todos os ecosistemas e asseguram funções essenciais. Há mais de 70000 espécies descritas, mas segundo algumas estimativas o número de espécies total ascende a 1.5 milhões. Os fungos segregam uma grande diversidade de enzimas que podem degradar polímeros complexos e produzem compostos com elevado valor industrial. Face ao exposto, o seu potencial biotecnológica é muito elevado pelo que a nossa equipa “Micologia Aplicada e Ambiental” tem desenvolvido estudos neste sentido, essencialmente com o objectivo de resolver problemas críticos. Neste contexto, pretendemos desenvolver conhecimentos que permitam desenvolver tecnologias sustentáveis para a gestão e eliminação de poluentes (bioremediação), e para a criação de valor acrescentado de compósitos resultantes de actividades agro-industriais. No nosso laboratório exploramos conceitos muito multidisciplinares, nomeadamente em estudos da aplicabilidade dos líquidos iónicos (sais líquidos) em processos biológicos.


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