Where Ideas Grow

4th PhDay: Break borders and build opportunities
30th November 2021 | i3S - Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde


We invite you to break borders and build opportunities in the 4th PhDay. The PhDay is an event organized by and for i3S PhD students, and this year’s edition epitomizes the challenges and solutions posed to Science by the pandemic. Now more than ever, we as scientists need to reinvent ourselves, break boundaries and expand horizons. In this edition, we will explore how new and unusual partnerships can create amazing projects and outstanding results. We will show you the relevance of multidisciplinary teams and networking, through successful projects and teams. We will bring together the experiences and insights of the research community, giving both young and senior scientists the tools to shape the future of research as we push through the current crisis.  And much, much more...

Come and join us in this journey to create a new era of science!


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The meeting will be held at Mariano Gago Auditorium, in i3S – Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde. 


Rua Alfredo Allen, 208; 4200-135 Porto, Portugal
Tel: +351 220 408 800 | Site: http://www.i3s.up.pt/ | E-mail: events@i3s.up.pt
GPS coordinates: 41º 10’ 30.008’’ N, 8º 36’ 12.488’’ W. 


Organizing Committee
Ana Catarina Eufrásio 
Ana Filipa Terceiro 
Ana Isabel Silva 
Ana Rita Matos 
Catarina Milheiro 
Débora Moreira
Helena Almeida 
Joana Pereira 
Joana Teixeira 
Monika Vilares
Patrícia Vieira 
Rita Matos 
Sofia Barros 
Soraia Pinto
Teresa Leão 


Scientific Committee
Ana Magalhães
Ana Rita Pinto
Ana Sofia Ribeiro
Andrea Lobo
Andreia Pereira
Angela Carvalho
Ângela Costa
Christiane Salgado
Daniela Freitas
Daniela Vasconcelos
Estrela Neto
Flávia Castro
Henrique Duarte
Inês Alencastre
Isabel Castro
Ivette Pacheco
Joana Barros
Joana Campos
Joana Figueiredo
Joana Macedo
Joana Marques
Joana Miguel Magalhães
João Albuquerque
João Gomes
Johnny Lisboa
Pablo Cabezas Sainz
Renata Freitas
Ricardo Monteiro
Rute Nunes
Sílvia Bidarra
Tito Jesus



8:30 Registration (i3S main hall)

9:00-9:15 Welcome Session


9:15-10:45 Session I - Cancer
Chair: Hélder Maiato (i3S, IBMC)

Invited Speaker
The art of parting (chromosomes) – Andrea Musacchio (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology)

Resistance to anti-EGFR therapy can spread horizontally among cancer cells – Susana Neto (i3S, IPATIMUP)
Mapping the biodistribution of endogenously produced pancreatic cancer exosomes – Barbara Adem (i3S, IPATIMUP)
The impact of polarized adhesion on epithelial cytokinesis robustness – Margarida Gonçalves (i3S, IBMC)

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break


11:00-12:30 Session II – Host Interaction and Response
Chair: Didier Cabanes (i3S, IBMC)

Invited Speaker
Bridging the gaps in local drug delivery – Laura Creemers (UMC Utrecht)

Degradable hydrogels containing graphene-based materials for blood-contact devices: from in vitro to in vivo – Duarte Moura (i3S, INEB)
Unveiling the role of cardiac fibroblasts in cardiac regeneration – Rita Gomes (i3S, INEB)
Targeted cathelicidin nanomedicines as novel glucoregulator for diabetes therapy – Cecília Cristelo (i3S, INEB)


12:30-13:30 Poster session

13:30-14:30 Lunch


14:30-16:00 Session III – Neurobiology and Neurologic Disorders
Chair: Paulo Aguiar (i3S, INEB)

Invited Speaker
Understanding the brain through open, collaborative, interdisciplinary research – Eric DeWitt (Champalimaud Foundation)

Take a chance on zebrafish: A model to screen nanoparticle delivery in ischemic stroke – Beatriz Custódio (i3S, INEB)
Psychostimulant-induced neuroinflammation: the protective role of IL-10 – Ana Isabel Silva (i3S, IBMC)
A neuroprotective mRNA therapy: reaching the ischemic brain using biodegradable dendrimers – Marília Torrado (i3S, INEB)


16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-17:45 Round table – “Are two heads better than one or too many cooks spoil the broth?”
Chair: Fernando Monteiro (i3S, INEB)
Speakers: Alexandra Moreira (i3S, IBMC), Meriem Lamghari (i3S, INEB), Joana Paredes (i3S, IPATIMUP)

17:45-18:00 Closing Session and awards



Prof. Andrea Musacchio
Director, Department of Mechanistic Cell Biology
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany

Dr. Andrea Musacchio has a Biology degree from Tor Vergata University of Rome, in 1990, where he worked as an undergraduate with Dr. Gianni Cesareni. He then moved to the EMBL, University of Heidelberg, to pursue his Ph.D. work under the supervision of Dr. Matti Saraste. From 1995 to 1998 he carried out his postdoc, working at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, with Dr. Stephen C. Harrison. 
In 1999 he became assistant professor at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, becoming a full professor in 2006. In 2011, Dr. Andrea Musacchio moved to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, in Dortmund, and has been directing the department of mechanistic cell biology since then. Additionally, since 2012, he is Honorary Professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
His scientific path has been full of scientific conquests, with the latest being awarded with the Leibniz Prize 2020, by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for his pioneer work on structural biology on the distribution of genetic material during cell division.



Host Interaction and Response 


Laura Creemers
Associate Professor, Dept Orthopaedics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands 

Dr. Laura Creemers has joined the Orthopaedics department of UMCU in 2003, since 2009 as Associate Professor. She has a longstanding expertise in soft and hard connective tissue research. At the department of Orthopaedics of UMCU, her main research interests are intervertebral disc and cartilage degeneration and the development of local biomaterial-based therapeutic strategies for inhibition of inflammation and pain, and tissue regeneration. The biomaterials used range from natural to synthetic, and compounds delivered encompass cells, small molecules, growth factors and siRNA. She has coordinated two large national public private partnerships on the delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs in disc degeneration and osteoarthritis, is currently coordinator of the ITN project CARTHAGO on local delivery of nucleic acid-based drugs and is participant in EU projects focusing on regeneration of the intervertebral disc. Her group is familiar with a variety of test systems, including cell-based release assays, human IVD and cartilage tissue explant culture, rodent and rabbit models and large animal models of cartilage disease, up to human clinical studies in cartilage regeneration. Key is translation through connection, hence Dr. Laura Creemers is used to collaborate with formulation and biotech companies, orthopaedic and veterinary surgeons, biomechanical engineers, molecular biologists and pharmaceutical, biomaterial and imaging scientists until now supervised 11 Ph.D. students towards the defense of their thesis as co-promotor and daily supervisor.


Neurobiology and Neurologic Disorders 

Eric DeWitt
Research Associate at Champalimaud Foundation Associate Researcher at International Brain Laboratory

Dr. Eric DeWitt graduated from Hampshire College with an honors thesis on the evolution of neural networks and a concentration in the foundations of cognitive science. After a brief detour running a computer consulting company, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Paul Glimcher at New York University for his Ph.D. He then moved to Portugal for his postdoctoral fellowship under the guidance of Dr. Zachary Mainen. During his fellowship, he helped found and then directed the Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience Summer School, helped found the Computational Approaches to Learning and Memory Summer School and the CAJAL Behaviour of Neural Systems Summer School. Currently, as a founding member of the International Brain Laboratory, he is continuing his work on the role of neuromodulators in learning and cognition. 
He has taken a position as a Research Associate and founded the Computational Cognitive Decision Science Laboratory working collaboratively with researchers in Champalimaud Research and across the world on learning and decision making. In 2020, he served as the co-executive director of the inaugural year of Neuromatch Academy, helping launch a worldwide, online, interactive cognitive neuroscience summer school with thousands of students from hundreds of countries. Dr. Eric DeWitt also has been a contributing organizer to the annual meetings of the Society for Neuroeconomics, Computational and Systems Neuroscience annual meeting, and the Cognitive Computational Neuroscience annual meeting. Building on this work, the lab has two lines of research — one integrating theory and experiment to understand the neurobiological foundations of decision making and the other trying to understand the structures and processes of human collective organization, decision making and collaboration.



Round table

Alexandra Moreira
Principal Investigator at University of Porto, Lecturer at ICBAS, and Group Leader at i3S (Gene Regulation Group)

Alexandra Moreira holds a D.Phil in Molecular Biology from the University of Oxford, UK, and is internationally recognized as an expert in molecular mechanisms of gene expression regulation at the RNA level. AM did a Biochemistry degree in the Faculty of Sciences in Lisbon and then moved to Porto as a research trainee. Alexandra Moreira currently holds a Principal Investigator position at the University of Porto and is the leader of the group Gene Regulation at i3S. Currently, Alexandra Moreira is a vice-director of the IBMC, is responsible for the Internationalization strategy program at ICBAS, lectures Molecular Biology at ICBAS, and is a member of the Scientific Board of the Molecular and Cell Biology PhD Program.
The drive to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating gene expression and protein production at the RNA level has been at the heart of Alexandra Moreira's research, with a focus on those events that are physiologically relevant in health and disease and using state-of-the-art molecular biology methodologies. Alexandra Moreira made major achievements in this field, identified and characterized the regulatory elements in the 3’UTR that promote mRNA stability and translation and also the RNA binding proteins involved in those mechanisms. She authors several book chapters and peer-reviewed publications in top journals with >1500 citations. She has done pioneer work and discovered several short non-coding sequences that control the expression of genes relevant for cell viability and immune responses using different animal models. Alexandra Moreira secured the patent on the use of iPLUS to increase the levels of recombinant proteins of therapeutic value (WO/2020/076174).
Alexandra Moreira also integrates European Networks to apply her know-how in the development of new therapeutic tools (FP7, H2020, COST), has successfully coordinated several project grants, and has been part of the team in 13 project grants (FCT, FP7, and H2020). At the Covid19 outbreak, Alexandra Moreira was one of the Coordinators of the task-force for PCR testing at i3S, in collaboration with Hospitals and Health Centers.
Alexandra Moreira is always engaged in undergraduate students training and has successfully supervised and co-supervised 12 PhD students, and has served as an external examiner in >40 Ph.D. theses, at the Univ. Oxford, UK; Open Univ. UK; Fac. Medicine Univ. Lisbon, ICBAS Univ. Porto; UTAD, Univ. Aveiro, Univ Algarve.  
Note: Additional information: https://observador.pt/2020/11/30/como-produzir-proteinas-mais-depressa/


Meriem Lamghari
Principal Investigator/Group Leader at i3S (Neuro & Skeletal Circuits)

Meriem Lamghari got her Ph.D. in Osteoarticular Biology, Biomechanics, and Biomaterials from the University of Paris 7, Jussieu, France in 1999. In 2000 she became a researcher at INEB where she is a team leader since 2009. Her research interests focused on skeletal tissues regeneration. Her scientific path started with the study of the mechanisms involved in vertebral bone regeneration (Ph.D Université Paris7) and progressed through her first postdoc at INEB (Portugal) where she was actively involved in projects studying bone tissue response to newly developed bioactive biomaterials for local delivery of lysosomal enzyme in bone defects associated to a rare disease. To gain knowledge into the mechanisms controlling skeletal tissues homeostasis, in 2004 she performed a second post-doc at Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Australia). At present, Meriem Lamghari’s group has 12 members, 4 of which hold a PhD degree. To this date, she was successful in obtaining funding for 20 externally funded projects, 6 of which as coordinator. Currently, she is the coordinator of the H2020 RESTORE project (ref 814558) “User-centred smart 3D nanomaterial-based scaffold for chondral repair” which started on 1st January 2019. She is also a partner in the H2020 FLAMIN-GO project (ref 953121) "From pathobioLogy to synoviA on-chip: driving rheuMatoId arthritis to the precisioN medicine GOal", the MSCA-ITN EU/H2020 "BonePainII: A European Training Network to combat bone pain (ref 814244)" and the MSCA-ITN EU/H2020 "Precision medicine for musculoskeletal regeneration, prosthetics, and active ageing” (Proposal number 860462). She is an active member of European networks and established national and international collaborations that resulted in several papers and awards. She is also involved in Doctoral and Post-doctoral supervision, educational activities, animal ethics, lab management, and the organization of scientific meetings.


Joana Paredes
Principal Investigator at i3S (Cancer Metastasis), Affiliated Professor at Faculty of Medicine of Porto University (FMUP) and President of the Portuguese Association for Cancer Research (ASPIC)

Dr. Joana Paredes is the group leader of the Cancer Metastasis group at i3S and Affiliated Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto. Currently, she is also the President of the Portuguese Association for Cancer Research (ASPIC).
She graduated in Biology at Coimbra University in 1999 and completed her PhD at the Faculty of Medicine of Porto University in 2004. For 2 years, she worked in the Cancer Research Laboratory of Gent University (Belgium), a reference lab in cell-cell adhesion and cancer. 
Throughout JParedes’ scientific research career, she has been always committed to understand how cell-cell adhesion signaling regulates collective cell invasion, metabolic behavior and stem cell properties of cancer cells, supporting the use of adhesion molecules as prognostic and predictive biomarkers in cancer. As Principal Investigator, her research focus is to challenge the dogma that cell-cell adhesion needs to be lost for cancer cells to invade and metastasize. Using breast cancer as a model, she demonstrated that cell-cell adhesion mediated by P-cadherin provides invasive and stem-like properties to cancer cells. Recently, she showed that P-cadherin expression can be induced by hypoxia, which then activates the pentose phosphate pathway and decreases oxidative stress in matrix-detached breast cancer cells. These results led her to believe that cell-cell adhesion award plasticity and a survival advantage to cancer cells while in circulation, being determinant for an increased metastatic behavior. 
Dr. Joana Paredes has published 81 articles in international peer-reviewed journals and 4 book chapters. These manuscripts have gathered more than 3200 citations by peers, endowing her an h-index of 36. She already coordinated 14 and participated in 11 research projects, funded by Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal 2020, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis International, Gulbenkian Foundation, and patient's associations, such as Laço and No Stomach for Cancer. She has also acted as a reviewer of post-doc and PhD fellowships, as well as of scientific projects, for national and international agencies. As a mentor, JParedes has already supervised or co-supervised 8 PhD students and 19 MSc students.



Abstract Submission

Abstract submission deadline: 30th July 2021
Notification of acceptance: September 30th, 2021

Important Information:
-Due to the pandemic, the poster session format will be decided according to the evolution of the pandemic and the rules implemented by the day of the 4th PhDay.
-The best oral and poster presentation will be awarded.

Abstract submission is open for PhD students only. 

Abstracts should be structured according to the template below. 


Abstract template >>

Abstract submission form >>


Registration deadline: 20th October 2021

Registration form >>


Events Management Unit | Rua Alfredo Allen 208 | 4200-135 Porto, Portugal
Email: events@i3s.up.pt | Tel: +351 220 408 811


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