Where Ideas Grow

Excellence in i3S research attracts Marie Curie Fellow

During the next two years, researcher Carlos Redondo, born in Costa Rica, will integrate and develop his research project at the Institute of Research and Innovation in Health at the University of Porto (i3S) within the scope of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie post-doctoral scholarships (MSCA-PF) awarded by the European Union. The financing, worth 157 thousand euros, was allocated to the D-PhosMate project, which aims to increase therapeutic options for glioblastoma multiforme, a fast-growing and very aggressive type of brain tumor.

Carlos Redondo, a chemist by training, explains that he chose the i3S group “Molecular Biomaterials”, led by researcher Helena Azevedo, because of its “international reputation in the area of application of peptides with self-organization capacity in bionanotechnology, as well as the excellent infrastructure scientific research provided by the institute. These unique conditions will facilitate the translation of D-PhosMate into preclinical and clinical practice”.

As part of his project, Carlos Redondo will produce hydrogels with supramolecular biomaterials to be used as delivery vehicles for therapeutic agents. Hydrogels, explains the researcher, “are biocompatible, biodegradable, their molecular design minimizes possible undesirable immune responses, and they would be easily produced on a large scale”. Furthermore, he adds, “they can be loaded with drugs or cells and administered in a minimally invasive way through direct injection into superficial tissues or through catheters into deep tissues”.

The work that Carlos Redondo will develop aims at two very concrete applications of these hydrogels: “The post-operative treatment of glioblastoma and in vitro studies on the molecular mechanisms responsible for ectopic calcifications of various organs, namely kidneys, joints, heart valves, and arteries”.

The molecular tools provided by the D-PhosMate project, highlights the researcher, “will increase the therapeutic options available for cancer, contribute to improving pre-clinical research, increasing the success rates of clinical trials, and improving the quality of life of patients in need of innovative therapies”.

About the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships

Inspired by the name of the French-Polish scientist awarded two Nobel Prizes and renowned for her work in the field of radioactivity, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships finance excellent research and innovation and support researchers, at all stages of their career, with new knowledge and skills, through cross-border mobility and exposure to different sectors and disciplines.

Marie Curie grants have evaluation criteria of the excellence, impact and quality and efficiency of the implementation of the candidate projects. In the final decision, criteria such as the quality of the scientific supervisor and the host institution are also included, evaluating their ability to assist in the development of the researcher's scientific career.

These scholarships are highly competitive (more than eight thousand proposals were submitted in the 2023/2024 edition and only 15 Portuguese projects will receive funding) and aim to support the creative and innovative potential of doctoral researchers who present excellent research projects and high impact and who wish to acquire new skills through advanced training, international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral mobility.