New research center in the works

Could a new national research center propel Portugal to the forefront of life sciences research?
We'll find out on April 20th, when political actors, professors and researchers from several universities and research units, as well as a representation of businesses operating in the health sector, get together at International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), in Braga, to discuss the creation of a national center devoted to electron cryomicroscopy applied to the health and life sciences.


While electron microscopy is widely used in Portugal, it falls short in the observation of a variety of structures in their native biologic state. That's where electron cryomicroscopy comes in handy: to visualize protein functional complexes and cellular structures, for instance, in greater, more accurate and authentic manner. However, the latest breakthroughs and technologies in the field are still far too costly for our scientific comunity's standard. The idea behind the establishment of a National Electron Cryomiscroscopy Center is to broaden the resources, thus making it easier to acquire top-of-the-line technology and equipment for the benefit of all the institutions involved in the process.


Eleven institutions associated themselves to the initiative: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidade do Porto, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Laboratório Ibérico Internacional de Nanotecnologia, Universidade do Minho, Universidade do Algarve, Universidade de Coimbra, Universidade de Lisboa, Universidade da Beira Interior, Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge and Fundação Champalimaud. Their proposal is to install this new center at INL, given its long-standing experience with electron microscopy applied to both bio and material sciences, along with its outstanding facilities.


Público has recently published a tentative manifesto signed by a handful of scientists, i3S researcher Sandra Macedo Ribeiro among them, which is available here.