Where Ideas grow

The Mina J. Bissell Award

Maria de Sousa: The Courage to Question


23th October 2018

Auditório Mariano Gago | i3S - Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde


The Mina J. Bissell Award is intended to distinguish personalities who have contributed to the advancement of science. The award is given every three years to a scientist who, like Dr. Mina Bissell, has a devoted, successful, lifetime research career that has transformed our perception of a topic. The Mina J. Bissell Award can be given posthumously.


Previous Recipients

2008 Mina J. Bissell and Leonor Beleza

2011 Judah Folkman

2014 David Lyden

2017 Maria de Sousa


The Award

As the crowning conclusion of a Symposium on Frontiers in Cell Migration in Cancer, organized by the University of Porto Graduate Program in Areas of Basic and Applied Biology (GABBA) in 2008, the Directors of the Program decided to honor Mina J. Bissell, the keynote speaker at the Symposium, by creating a award with her name, on January 21st 2008.

A small sculpture in the form of a medal designed by the Portuguese sculptor Zulmiro de Carvalho consists of an outer circle with a number of mobile rectangular units that enable the outer circle to stand in various positions, a fitting symbol of the lifetime contributions made by Mina J. Bissell to strengthen the importance of context in the development of cancer. The outer circle can be said to represent context.

Mina J. Bissell was the first scientist to receive the award and she gave the first Mina J. Bissell Award to a non-scientist woman, Leonor Beleza, president of the Champalimaud Foundation, an institution dedicated to medical research, with a special focus on cancer.



SESSION I: Iron, lymphocytes and tumor cell migration


10:00 Opening & Introduction: 40 years after the iron postulate

Graça Porto, i3S / IBMC, UP


10:15 Maria de Sousa: iron, immunity, and infection

Gary Brittenham, Columbia University Medical Center, USA


11:00 The Im-Port-ance of Being Ironic

Hal Drakesmith, Oxford University, UK


11:45 Exosomes and exomeres contribute to the systemic effects of cancer

David Lyden, Weill Cornell Medical College, USA


12:30 Lunch break



SESSION II: Sharing the root of a history of success, GABBA


14:00 Introduction

Fátima Carneiro, i3S/ Ipatimup, GABBA Program


14:10 A school without borders

Rui Costa, Columbia University, USA and Champalimaud Foundation


14:50 The report of my success was an exaggeration

António Amorim, i3S/ Ipatimup, GABBA Program


15:10 The legacy of GABBA: a student's perspective

Pedro Resende, ATG, All Time GABBAs, GABBA Alumni Association


15:30 Coffee break



SESSION III: Ceremony of Mina Bissell Award


15:50 Introduction

Manuel Sobrinho Simões, i3S/ Ipatimup, UP


16:00 From Puzzle to Postulate to the "endless frontier”

Maria de Sousa, i3S/ IBMC / ICBAS, UP


16:30 The Mina Bissell Award 2018

By Mina Bissell, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA


17:15 Port of Honor



Registration is free, but mandatory until 16th October.


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