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CBMR researcher makes important discovery in the pneumonia field

Vítor Fernandes, a researcher at the Centre for Biomedical Research, is among the team that discovered how the bacterium that causes pneumonia hides before lethally attacking the human organism, causing septicemia.

 

Vítor Fernandes, a researcher at the Centre for Biomedical Research at the University of Algarve, has published in the journal Nature Microbiology, joint with other researchers from the universities of Leicester, Dundee, Nottingham and Oxford, the results of an important research in the area of pneumonia.

The work, which brings to the public relevant findings about the responsible mechanism for the proliferation of bacterial infection causing pneumonia, as well as the blood poisoning (septicemia) that comes from it, also reveals unprecedented data on that which is among the leading causes of death associated the disease.

The researchers found the reason for the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (which causes pneumonia) to appear in the blood, becoming undetectable at an early stage – the so-called “eclipse phase” – but proliferating, however, later in an abrupt and deadly process.

What we already knew was that the bacteria, after being filtered by the spleen, is caught within this organ, by cells that were going to try to destroy it, what we did not know was that there is at this stage an “Achilles tendon” – the so-called metalophilic macrophage – a defense cell of the organism from which the bacteria will take benefit and gaining advantage over our immune system.

In fact, the researchers found that although this macrophage is able to swallow the bacteria, it does not have the capacity to destroy it, and, therefore, allows it to survive, undetected in the blood, in an “eclipse phase”, offering, during this time, the false illusion that it was eliminated, but multiplying, nevertheless, inside the cell, until it invades our organism abruptly and deadly way.

These new data allow us to better understand the whole process and help making current treatments more effective, opening the door to the development of new therapeutic methods.

It should be highlighted that, until now, there was no knowledge that the bacterium was acting within the cell itself, and, mainly, extracellular antibiotics were used, doctors now have new information that will allow them to better adjust to the circumstance, prescribing more effective and targeted medication for this type of bacterial infections.

It should be addressed that the research was successfully tested in vivo and ex vivo, with very promising results and of great interest to the scientific community, which once again highlight Portuguese researchers working in medical and biomedical research.

 

Read the complete article here.

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Ana Teresa Maia is the next invited speaker of TEDx Talks

Ana Teresa Maia, CBMR researcher, is the next invited speaker of TEDx TALKS. The event, recognized all over the world, will focus on the question: “Is it natural?”

With this challenging question, it intends to generate a reflection on the world. Focusing on the developing of an increasingly complex and artificial space – created by human beings – the conference leaves open a few questions: “is the natural better than the artificial? Under all conditions and situations? Is the artificial necessarily bad?”.

On April 14th, at Casa da Música (Porto), Ana Teresa Maia will give us the answer to these and other questions, explaining why “Failing is natural.”

Know more about the event here.

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CBMR researcher is at the final of Famelab 2018

Catarina Raposo is at the final round of Famelab 2018 – the most famous international science communication competition.

With a presentation on the “Superpowers of cancer”, the master student stood out from the remaining candidates guaranteeing a place in the next tie, to be held on 12th April at Coliseu dos Recreios, in Lisbon.

The competition is organized by Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture and by the British Council, in partnership with universities and centers of science and technology throughout the country, and aims to promote the practice of science communication.

Each competitor has three minutes to demonstrate his ability to communicate the most diverse scientific subjects, using only the word and the gesture and without the aid of audiovisuals.

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CBMR researcher receives a grant from the Federation of European Biochemical Society

Om Rathore, CBMR researcher, received a grant from the Federation of European Biochemical Society with the project Use of iCLIP to define the in vivo RNA binding sites of Salsa.

The project involves a stay at the Institute of Molecular Biology, in Mainz, Germany, and aims to understand the splicing regulation in Drosophila (fruit fly).

Assuming that 95% of human genes are alternatively spliced and 50% of rare genetic disorders are cause by errors in the splicing process, the researchers believe that Drosophila could help them to uncover the function of splicing process in different diseases.

The research will help to understand how the disease develops and could lead to develop new biomarkers, diagnostic approaches and therapies.

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CBMR researchers are at the Famelab 2018 semi-final

Catarina Raposo and João Santos, CBMR researchers, advanced, yesterday, to the final round of Famelab 2018 – the most famous international science communication competition.

With presentations on cancer and heart problems, the students stood out from the remaining candidates guaranteeing a place in the next tie, to be held on 18th March at Pavilhão do Conhecimento, in Lisbon.

Catarina Raposo spoke about “The superpowers of cancer”, being the most voted by the public, and João Santos presented the communication “Heart, the motor of the human body”, surprising the jury with a performance in which established an approximation between the functioning of the human heart system and a car engine.

The competition is organized by Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture and by the British Council, in partnership with universities and centers of science and technology throughout the country, and aims to promote the practice of science communication.

Each competitor has three minutes to demonstrate his ability to communicate the most diverse scientific subjects, using only the word and the gesture and without the aid of audiovisuals.

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CBMR hosts school students to showcase the research developed at the centre

Last thursday CBMR opened the labs and received school students to showcase the research developed in areas such as cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, turbeculosis, etc.

The research centre developed five activities to captivate students for the research area: “DNA extraction”, “Chicken Embryo Development”, “Problem Based Learning Case”, “Use of Droshopila  for Biomedical Research” and “Study the wonderful world of our brain”.

 

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CBMR researcher tests innovative therapy for biotechnology company in France

Clévio Nóbrega, CBMR researcher, has recently established a partnership with BrainVectis, a biotechnology company based in Paris, to test a genetically based therapy for neurodegenerative diseases.

The Molecular Neuroscience and Therapy Lab will, over the next six months, carry out, in cellular models, additional tests about the mechanism of action of the therapy.

If the tests are successful, the company, whose main objective is to stop the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, will continue to focus on the investigation of Clévio Nóbrega (who was, in 2017, distinguished with the Award of Young Scientist of the Year), moving towards experiments on animal models.

Know more about the research here.

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Rui Martinho is the new Vice-President of Portuguese Society for Developmental Biology

Rui Martinho, CBMR researcher and Principal Investigator of  “The Drosophila Development Laboratory”, was recently elected Vice-President of the Portuguese Society for Developmental Biology (SPBD).

The SPBD is a nonprofit organization that aims to represent and strengthen the interactions among developmental biologists working in Portugal.

It was created in 2006 and launched with pomp and circumstance in a successful meeting at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Read here what the first SPBD president, Isabel Palmeirim, has to say about the first steps of the SPBD and read the enthusiastic meeting report published in the International Journal of Developmental Biology.

Congratulations, Rui!

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CBMR project highlighted on TV

CBMR – Centre for Biomedical Research was featured in RTP3 through the MicroBioWines Project, a research project led by Margaret Soares, CBMR researcher. The project results from a consortium between Herdade da Malhadinha, University of the Algarve and Biocant and aims to explore the way how microbiology can help to produce more natural wines.