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Paula M. Alves Lab

Animal Cell Technology Unit


Our research is centered on the development of bioprocesses for complex biopharmaceuticals namely vaccines, recombinant proteins and viral vectors for gene therapy. Current efforts include also the development of tools and methodologies for cell therapy applications and pre-clinical research (novel 3D in vitro models for liver, cardiac- and neuro-toxicology, through the use of human stem cells and primary cultures of human hepatocytes).

Paula M. Alves

Investigador Principal, ITQB NOVA
Professora Associada Convidada, FCT-NOVA
PhD 2001 in Biochemistry, ITQB NOVA

Phone (+351) 214469416 | Extension 1416
Email | Short CV

Research Interests

As befits a technological area, the Cell Bioprocess Laboratory is integrated in the Animal Cell Technology Unit where a number of knowledge competences have to be appropriately balanced: (i) the more “analytical” sciences of molecular biology, biochemistry and physiology of cells, viruses or tissues (ii) the more “synthetic” physico-mathematical tools required for process integration and optimization, keys for understanding complex phenomena like viral infection kinetics and to describe multi-protein particles assembly, disassembly and reassembly phenomena.

In the Cell Bioprocesses laboratory, we are focused on research and development of complex biopharmaceuticals namely for the production, purification and storage of vaccines (e.g. virus like particles-VLP’s and marker vaccines), recombinant proteins (e.g. MAbs) and viral vectors (adenovirus, retrovirus, lentivirus and baculovirus). In particular we aim at understanding cell physiology and metabolism to improve the efficiency of bioprocesses.

We are also interested in the development of methodologies for pre-clinical research and cell therapy applications, namely in 3D cell models, bioreactor technology and novel cell cryopreservation strategies. These approaches have been used for primary cultures of brain cells (rat and mice), hepatocytes (human) and more recently, stem cells (human and rat, adult and embryonic). All projects are hold in collaboration either with internal or international research laboratories and companies.


Group Members


  • Margarida Serra, PhD, Senior Scientist, Head Stem Cells Bioprocesses
  • Patricia Gomes-Alves, PhD, Senior Scientist, Head UniMS (with I Abreu)
  • Catarina Freitas, PhD, Principal Investigator, CEEC iBET
  • Ana Paula Baptista, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Daniel Simão, PhD, Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Lara Silva, PhD, Senior Scientist, Head of Operations ASU
  • Marta Costa, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Ana Paula Terrasso, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Hélio Tomás, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Bernardo Abecasis, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Sofia Rebelo, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Maria João Sebastião, PhD Invited Scientist (Res Contracts with Industry)
  • Pedro Vicente, PhD Student (co-supervision M Serra)
  • Margarida Rodrigues, PhD Student (co-supervisor A Roldão)
  • Miguel Guerreiro, PhD, Operations Manager
  • Ana Raposo, Technician, Lab Manager

Selected Publications

  1. Carvalho, SB, Silva, RJS, Sousa, MFQ, Peixoto, C, Roldao, A, Carrondo, MJT, Alves, PM. (2022) Bioanalytics for Influenza Virus-Like Particle Characterization and Process Monitoring, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 10 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.805176
  2. Louro, AF, Paiva, MA, Oliveira, MR, Kasper, KA, Alves, PM, Gomes-Alves, P, Serra, M (2022) Bioactivity and miRNome Profiling of Native Extracellular Vesicles in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Cardiomyocyte Differentiation, Advanced Science, 9 (15) DOI: 10.1002/advs.202104296
  3. Virgolini, N, Hagan, R, Correia, R, Silvano, M, Fernandes, S, Alves, PM, Clarke, C, Roldão, A, Isidro, IA. (2023) Transcriptome analysis of Sf9 insect cells during production of recombinant Adeno-associated virus, Biotechnology Journal, 18 (2) DOI: 10.1002/biot.202200466 


ACT Unit Website

For further information please visit the ACT webpage 

Cell Bioprocesses Laboratory (PT)

O Laboratório de Bioprocessos está integrado na Unidade de Tecnologia de Células Animais (TCA) onde se desenvolvem trabalhos de investigação para descoberta e implementação de processos de produção de biofármacos complexos, nomeadamente vacinas, vectores virais para terapia génica, produção de células humanas para aplicação em terapias, em particular células estaminais para medicina regenerativa e o desenvolvimento de modelos in vitro para ensaios pré-clínicos.

Os projectos desenvolvidos no laboratório de bioprocessos enquadram-se em três temas principais: i) Integração de produção e purificação, em particular estamos interessados em aprofundar conhecimento sobre o metabolismo e fisiologia celular para melhorar a eficiência de bioprocessos; ii) estudos de cinéticas de infecção para desenvolvimento de produtos multiproteicos, ex. de VLP’s (partículas semelhantes a vírus) utilizadas em vacinação e terapia génica iii) modelos in vitro baseados em culturas 3D, tecnologia de biorreactores e novas estratégias para criopreservação.



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