Where Ideas Grow

5th PhDay: “Building Paths: The Science Behind Us”

3-4 October 2022 | i3S, Porto

We proudly present the 5th PhDay – “Building Paths: The Science Behind Us”, an event organized by and for PhD students, taking place on October 3-4, 2022, in i3S, Porto, Portugal. In addition to discussing science, this edition is dedicated to one of the greatest concerns of PhD students: our future! This PhDay will bring together multiple scientists who built their professional career in and outside academia. With their history and experiences, we hope to broaden your horizons, making you consider more and surprising future opportunities. You will be able to talk to them, ask for advice and, above all, get inspired! We will show you how science can just be the beginning of several paths!
So come join us and start building your own!

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The event will be held at 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:
Catarina Pacheco
Cátia Ramos
Diogo Estêvão
Francisca Diniz
Joana Monteiro
Joana Oliveira
Liliana Sousa
Marta Lopes
Paulo Faria
Sara Moura
Sara Zarzo
Tiago Gião



Day 1 (03/10/2022)

13h30 | Registration
i3S main hall 

14h00 | Welcome Session
Mariano Gago Auditorium

14h15 | Session I – Cancer

Zebrafish Avatars towards personalized medicine and the study of innate-immune interactions
Rita Fior, Fundação Champalimaud

The crosstalk between glycans and immune cells: a novel role of ST6Gal1 in anti-tumour immunity
Joana Rodrigues, PhD student

Patient-derived organoids as avatars of the in vivo gastric cancer glycosylation profile: a superior model to identify novel personalized and target therapies
Liliana Ferreira, PhD student

15h15 | Tea Break

15h30 | Session II – Host Interaction and Response

Between Scylla and Charybdis; how Toxoplasma gondii maintains a virulence
Jonathan Howard, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência

A phenotypic shift in cardiac fibroblasts influences the regenerative capacity of the neonatal heart
Rita Gomes, PhD student

Inflammasome activation and glycolytic reprogramming are uncoupled in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected macrophages
Ana Isabel Fernandes, PhD student

16h30 | Session III – Neurobiology and Neurologic Disorders

The Janus face of adenosine in Epilepsy
Ana Sebastião, Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Antunes

Nanoparticles and Microfluidics: A Winning Combination to Design a Novel Neurotargeted Vector
Ana Spencer, PhD student

Innervation profile of cartilage engineered constructs under exposure to inflammatory conditions
Clive Jabangwe, PhD student

17h45 | Sunset Chill out


Day 2 (04/10/2022)

09h00 | Session IV – Cancer

Cancer epigenetic biomarkers in liquid biopsies: from bench to bedside
Carmen Jerónimo, Instituto Português de Oncologia do Porto Francisco Gentil

High throughput screening of chemical compounds showed monensin as novel cancer drug by inhibiting SLeX expression and malignant properties in gastrointestinal cancer cells
Ana Filipa Costa, PhD student

The (not so) good, the bad and the ugly: Fibroblasts, cancer stem cells and resistance to KRAS inhibition
Susana Mendonça, PhD student

10h00 | Coffee Break

10h20 | Session V – Host Interaction and Response

Pathogenesis of viral-fungal coinfections
Agostinho Carvalho, Instituto de Investigação em Ciências da Vida e da Saúde, Universidade do Minho

S100A4 controls cytoskeleton remodeling coordinating host resistance to pneumolysin
Joana Pereira, i3S

Unravelling the role of miR-16 on osteoclast’s fusion
Sara Moura, PhD student

11h20 | Session VI – Neurobiology and Neurologic Disorders

Does Parkinson's disease start in the gut?
Sandra Morais Cardoso, Centro de Neurociências e Biologia Celular

3D Microfluidic based Models for Testing Innervation of Engineered Cartilage Microtissue
Emine Kahraman, PhD student

Understanding the peroxisome/cytosol redox relationship
Maria J. Ferreira, PhD student

12h30 | Lunch 

14h00 | Poster Session

15h00 | Coffee Break + Stands Speed Date 

16h30 | Session VII – Body Language

Do scientists need body language?
Fernanda Malhão, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar da Universidade do Porto

17h 15 | Closing Session and Awards


Agostinho Carvalho

Agostinho Carvalho graduated in Biology from the University of Minho in 2003 and received a PhD in Health Sciences from the same University in 2008. He then developed postdoctoral studies at the University of Perugia, Italy, where he became an Assistant Researcher/Group Leader until 2014. Later that year, he became an Assistant Researcher (FCT Investigator) and returned to ICVS, where he consolidated his research team. Since 2019, he is a Principal Investigator at ICVS (tenured since 2021). Agostinho Carvalho’s main areas of research are the effects of interindividual genetic variation on molecular and cellular processes of immunity and inflammation, and the translation of this information into new and personalized approaches for the prognosis, diagnosis, and therapy of infectious and inflammatory diseases. These aims are being addressed by a multidisciplinary team that combines basic scientists and clinical experts with different degrees of specialization, and that resorts to advanced cellular and animal models of disease and human patients enrolled in national and international consortia. Agostinho Carvalho has authored several seminal contributions to the field of immunogenetics of fungal disease and participates actively in research projects funded by both national and international entities. He serves as an editorial board member for several journals in the field and is an elected fellow of the European Confederation of Medical Mycology (ECMM).

Ana Sebastião

Ana Sebastião completed the Título de Agregado (habilitation) in 2001 by Universidade de Lisboa Faculdade de Medicina, PhD in Biochemistry and Cell Physiology in 1987 by Universidade Nova de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia and Basic Degree in Biology in 1982 by Universidade de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências. Is Full Professor (Pharmacology and Neurosciences) at Faculdade de Medicina Universidade de Lisboa and Group Leader at Instituto de Medicina Molecular - João Lobo Antunes. Published over 200 full articles in refereed international journals. Participates and/or participated as Principal investigator in 12 compeitive projects, 4 of these from European Union Calls. Has International Collaborations with joint papers published (most as senior author) with more than 20 research groups. In her curriculum Ciência Vitae the most frequent terms in the context of scientific output are: Health Sciences - Neurosciences; Areas of Research: Neuromodulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity at the tripartite synapse; control of neuronal excitability with focus at inhibitory and excitatory hippocampal synapses. Neuromodulators coss-talk focusing on neurotrophins, adenosine, cannabinoids and other psychoactive drugs. Neuroprotection and recovery from acute and chronic neuronal insults. Adenosine receptors and adenosine transporters. Glutamate and GABA receptors and transporters. Supervision of 7 post-docs, 18 PhD Students (16 completed), 26 Master Students since 1987 up to the present.

Carmen Jerónimo

Carmen Jerónimo is the Director of the Research Center, Group Leader of the Cancer Biology & Epigenetics Group and the Scientific Coordinator of the Biobank at the Portuguese Oncology Institute of Porto (IPO Porto), as well as, Invited Full Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Genetics and the Director of the Master Course in Oncology at the University of Porto, teaching Pathology and Cancer Epigenetics, both undergraduate and Post-graduation Courses. She obtained her BSc in Biology (1994), MSc in Oncology (1998), Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (2001), and Habilitation in Pathology and Molecular Genetics (2011) at the University of Porto. She performed her Ph.D. project at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), USA. From 2002 until 2007, she was a Post-doctoral Fellow and Invited Researcher at IPO Porto, in collaboration with JHU. In 2008 she established her independent group at IPO Porto, working on Cancer Biology and Epigenetics (FCT-2008 Science Program). Her research interests are focused on the characterization of the epigenome of tumor cells, and the identification of functional changes involved in cell epigenetic homeostasis breakdown. In the context of Personalized Medicine, she works in the development of new of cancer epigenetic biomarkers based in liquid biopsies as well as in the drug discovery based on the modulation of epigenetic aberrations. Owing to the relevance that Immuno-oncology has demonstrated in recent years, she is also investigating the epigenetic expression modulation of biomolecules involved in immune checkpoint regulation, aiming at the improvement of immunotherapeutic strategies by combination with epi-drugs. More recently, she started tackling the contribution of deregulated non-coding RNAs and its interaction with other epigenetic mechanisms in malignant transformation.

Fernanda Malhão

Fernanda Malhão: Degree in Anatomical Pathology, Cytology, and Thanatology (ESS-Porto) (2001), Master in Oncology (ICBAS) (2010), PhD student in Biomedical Sciences (ICBAS), Biomedical Scientist in the Laboratory of Histology and Embryology – Department of Microscopy (ICBAS) since 2002.  Competent Communicator by Toastmasters International (2019). During the past six years, she has frequented several training courses in storytelling and science communication and has given workshops and lectures on the use of Storytelling as a tool for scientists.


Jonathan Howard

Jonathan Howard was brought up in London and went Oxford to do a BA in Zoology. After that he spent a year in a Genetics and Biometry laboratory in India, founded by the great geneticist, JBS Haldane (in 1949 Haldane wrote an essay called “Disease and Evolution” which for the first time showed how host-pathogen dynamics must be responsible for resistance gene polymorphism). He was very much influenced by that article. He cames back to Oxford to do a PhD on real immunology (lymphocyte recirculation) followed by a post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (also real immunology). He returned to a job at The Institute for Animal Physiology (now called The Babraham Institute) in Cambridge. César Milstein had just discovered how to make monoclonal antibodies and he spent the first few years working with him making monoclonal antibodies against major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules in the rat, whose MHC they were trying to figure out. This work led by accident, as work does, to their discovery of the transporter associated with antigen processing, a beautiful 2-chain ABC-transporter located right in the middle of the MHC. It also led to an invitation to become a Professor at the Institute for Genetics at the University of Cologne, where he started working on proteins induced by gamma-interferon, and this work led by accident, as work does, to the identification of a family of GTPases that confer resistance on mice to Toxoplasma gondii infection. He moved to Lisbon in 2012 to become Director of the IGC until his retirement in 2018. Until 2021 he keeps a small lab at IGC and still has 3 papers to finish. He now has an unrewarded but enormously rewarding position as a “post-doc” in Miguel Soares laboratory at IGC. 

Rita Fior

Rita Fior is a Developmental Biologist, fascinated by how cells interact with each other, to deliver instructions, to collaborate, to compete or synchronize their actions. From studying chick neurogenesis and Notch signaling during her PhD, she then moved on to study zebrafish somitogenesis in her Post-Doc. Throughout her career Fior was always interested in the transcriptional networks and cellular interactions that lead to differentiation and stem cell maintenance. By the end of her Post–Doc under the supervision of Leonor Saúde (iMM, PT) and Julian Lewis (FRS, CRUK), she became interested in cancer. This change in her scientific interest started with the awareness that there are several equivalent chemotherapy options, but no available test to determine the best therapy for each individual patient.
With this goal, Fior optimized and challenged the zebrafish larvae xenograft model to test if it could reveal inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity and differential response to therapy (Fior et al, 2017, PNAS). A groundwork to develop zebrafish patient derived xenografts (zPDX) or zAvatars for personalized medicine. The Fior Lab is actively testing the predictive power of these larval zAvatars in colorectal and breast cancer, with very promising results (Costa, Ferreira et al, 2020, EBiomedicine, Rebelo Almeida et al, 2020 Comm Biology, Varanda et al, 2020, Cancers). In parallel, the Lab is investigating the cellular and molecular interactions that occur between human tumor cells and zebrafish innate immunity to discover new mechanisms of innate immune evasion (Póvoa et al 2021, Nature Comm). 
Her work is being recognized since her PhD with several prizes and honorable mentions such as Genetics of The Year (Genetics Society),BioMED Central Research award, Crioestaminal and BIAL Clinical Medicine.
Rita has also extensive experience in teaching in several Master and PhD programs and was author and co-editor of a textbook in Molecular and Cell Biology of Cancer, Springer (Fior and Zilhão, 2019).                

Sandra Morais Cardoso

Sandra Morais Cardoso has a degree in Biology, a master's degree and a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Coimbra. She is currently Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Principal Investigator at the Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, where she directs the “Gut-Brain Axis” group. Her most recent research involves studying the role of the microbiome in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The role of mitochondria in activating neuronal innate immunity is an emerging area of ??investigation. She has published more than 100 scientific articles and 12 book chapters with an H-index of 42 and more than 12500 citations. She supervised 6 post-docs, 8 doctoral students and 13 master students. Raised more than 1 million euros for research with different scientific projects. She received different awards and distinctions such as the Medal of Merit for her contribution to research in the health area, awarded in 2013 by the Ministry of Health, the Janssen Neurosciences Prize, awarded in 2014 by Janssen Portugal, the Award Mantero Belard, awarded in 2016 by the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa.


Career stands


Diana Mesquita

Career: Clinical Research Associate
Graduated in Biology and with a Master in Oncology, both degrees granted by the University of Porto, and with a Post-Graduation in Biomedicine granted by the University of Barcelona, Diana Mesquita consistently showed interest in research activities associated with health sciences during her 6-year academic journey. Her strong organization, time-management, multitasking and prioritization abilities allowed her to pursue a career in clinical research by working as a laboratory technician and a study coordinator, after which she got specialized in the fields of recruitment and screening. Throughout this process, Diana has been highly involved in supporting monitoring, audit and inspection activities. The relevant operational experience gathered by Diana, together with her excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills, and her wish to transition to a job role that allowed her to touch-base both with healthy and patient populations, pushed Diana into making a career as Clinical Research Associate. Overall, Diana has been involved in several studies, both in healthy subjects and patients in several therapeutic indications, with a high predomination for Oncology. This allowed her to carry out the responsibilities and develop several organizational, operational and management skills. Currently she works as a CRA level III for ICON plc in Portugal (outsourced to Novartis).

Gustavo Santos

Career: Medical Marketing
Gustavo Santos is graduated in Biochemistry and has a master’s degree in Oncology. When he finished his master, he moved to Novartis company as MSL Trainee. Then he moved to Roche to work as Product Manager and then as Brand and Product Manager. More recently, he moved to Janssen working as Cell Therapy and Diagnostics Lead in Medical Marketing field. During these years he invested in his training in business.



Joana Carvalho

Career: Science Illustrator
Joana Carvalho is a science illustrator currently working in Lisbon. Graduated in Biology was the starting point to grow the passion for using illustration as a tool to tell science stories. She worked at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência as an illustrator and designer and, in 2022, she launched herself as a freelancer in the area of science illustration and communication. She currently collaborates with scientists, institutions and companies from all over the world.



João Costa

Career: Medical Science Liaison (MSL)
João graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto (FFUP) and currently works as a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in the field of Immunology at a pharmaceutical company in Portugal – Sanofi. Throughout his academic career, he had the opportunity to participate in research projects at the Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry Laboratory at FFUP and to get to know the reality of Hospital and Community Pharmacy during the Curricular Internship. After completing the MICF, he completed a Postgraduate Degree in Economic Assessment of Technologies and Health Interventions at IDEFE/ISEG, in Lisbon. He started his career in the Market Access area as Market Access & Public Affairs Trainee at Bayer Portugal and, in the following year, started working in the Medical Affairs area at Sanofi Portugal as Medical Affairs Primary Care Trainee. Since 2020, he has been in the role of Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in the area of Immunology dedicated, more specifically, to a drug for the treatment of Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma, and Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyposis. In this role, he plays an important role in ensuring the sharing of scientific news with healthcare professionals and helping to use this knowledge to optimize patient care in clinical practice.

João Ramalho Carvalho

Career: Clinical Advisor
João Ramalho Carvalho started his career at Portuguese Oncology Institute of Porto (IPO Porto) and completed his PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2017 from ICBAS-UP, focused on the role of microRNAs in Prostate Cancer. After that he moved to a postdoc at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). More than 20 research papers, 2 book chapters and one review latter, he joined Biocartis as Oncology Product Specialist in 2018. The experience as biomarker field-based expert supporting the emerging field of molecular diagnostics in Melanoma, Lung Cancer, Colorectal cancer, proved to be crucial to join Janssen as Senior Clinical Advisor Oncology, since 2021. Currently he is the responsible, but not limited to, for the Medical Affairs strategy and plan in lung cancer and FGFR+ tumors. As a scientific expert, he is responsible for discussing products, patients’ treatment trends and studies in the therapeutic areas in which Janssen is involved, on a peer-to-peer basis with defined audience of Leading Specialists (Physicians, Pharmacists, Hospital Managers, Board Members of Scientific Societies, and other stakeholders).

Mafalda Santos

Career: Science Communication Manager
Mafalda Santos worked for 10+ years in molecular oncology, dissecting the role on non-coding RNAs mainly in lung cancer. She was always passionate about scientific discussions and science communication. Therefore, when she finished her PostDoc, she joined LYRIS, an online advanced training school, as their Science Communication Manager. In this role she is responsible for developing their Digital Marketing Strategy, produce content to social media and for identifying the training needs of current graduate students and life science researchers. As a team member, she also organizes workshops to bridge those training gaps and is a mentor on two mentoring programmes.

Raquel Almeida

Career: Senior Consultant
Raquel Almeida is a Senior Consultant at SPI. She is responsible for the management of a range of projects under national and international funding schemes, with a focus on Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I). Raquel Almeida is highly involved in implementing and managing SPI's strategy for Horizon Europe, being part of the coordination team, with main activities on proposal development, partnership engagement and internal capacity building of the team. Raquel has been contributing as a specialist on Horizon Europe for several national and international training sessions, including in events co-organized by EURAXESS-LAC/ European Commission and IAPMEI (National Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation). Raquel is currently leading the expansion of SPI business activities in the health sector. With over 10 years of experience in academia, she has developed most of her previous work in distinct Science & Technology domains. She has performed research activities in national and international research centers in the fields of Health and Life Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Biomaterials and Nanotechnology.  Raquel Almeida has a degree in Biology and a master in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Porto. Raquel holds a PhD degree in Bioengineering from University of Minho, having developed her research work at 3B’s Research Group in cooperation with Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology (USA) under the MIT Portugal programme.

Sara Rocha

Career: Medical Writing
Bioengineer by training and scientist by passion, Sara is committed to finding novel approaches to tackle old and complex diseases. During the last 10 years, Sara has been studying human diseases and biomarkers that could aid patient diagnosis, working in collaboration with institutes in the UK, Germany, and The Netherlands. Her achievements have been recognized through several national and international scientific awards and publications. With a PhD in biotech applied to health sciences, Sara is the Science Lead of iLoF, an international, fast-growing startup working to enable a new era of personalized medicine by using AI and photonics to build a cloud-based library of diseases biomarkers and biological profiles.

Abstract Submission

Abstract submission deadline: 7th September 2022
Notification of acceptance: 12th September 2022


Abstracts should be structured according to the template below. 

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Registration is free but mandatory. i3S members only.

Registration deadline: 13th September 2022

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