HeartExpress – technology for the heart

Heart development is a highly complex process with a series of precisely spatially and temporally ordered events on molecular level. To understand how these events are controlled and coordinated, it is necessary to study the underlying gene expression and its regulation. To help researchers in this formidable task, we have established HeartEXpress, a web-based platform for the analysis of integrated expression datasets associated with cardiomyogenesis. The current version comprises human and murine gene expression data from independent microarray experiments for stem cell differentiation, in vitro or in vivo reprogramming, in the context of cardiomyogenesis, and heart development. We hope that this resource will support the development of new therapies in cardiac regenerative medicine.

What is HeartEXpress?
HeartEXpress is a database that comprises published human and murine gene expression data from various microarray experiments for stem cell differentiation, in vitro or in vivo reprogramming in the context of cardiomyogenesis as well as heart development.

Why HeartEXpress?
Genome wide expression profiling of cardiogenesis in vivo and surrogate processes in vitro have delivered a detailed picture of molecular events important for the constitution of heart cells. However, the generated data remained difficult to access and analyze for many individual researchers, as they were dispersed across various repositories. HeartExpress can help here by providing an unique platform integrating various microarray studies for human and mouse with relevance for cardiogenesis.

HeartEXpress Data
At present, HeartEXpress integrated expression data from 15 mouse studies and 8 human studies with a total of 131 experimental conditions. These expression datasets cover more than 20000 genes in mouse and more than 19000 genes in human. Data sets were classified according to organisms and types of experiment and integrated data from both organisms and different types of studies.

What is HeartEXpress useful for?
For genes of interest, HeartEXpress enables the simultaneous inspection of expression data from many individual experiments obtained with different transcriptomic technologies. It allows query for multiple gene symbols and offers the option to download data as table for further analysis or presentation.

Moreover, HeartEXpress provides clustered gene expression data and correlation between genes. These feature help to identifiy co-expression patterns of genes indicating a common regulation and function during differentiation, reprogram-ming or heart development. Such approach may be useful for:
– Assigning functions to genes that have not been yet associated to heart development or heart morphology;
– Prioritize genes for experimental characterization
– Generate new research hypotheses

HeartEXpress can be utilized in an intuitive way and has a “step-by-step” instructions on its Help page as well as a table containing information about the studies integrated in the database.


More information: http://heartexpress.sysbiolab.eu/


Cláudia Florindo will be one of the teachers of the “III Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Course”

Cláudia Florindo, CBMR researcher, will be one of the teachers of the “III Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Course. The miscroscopy couse will be held from 18th to 22th September, at the Microscopy Imaging Center of Coimbra – Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (MICC-CNC).

The “III Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy Course” is an one-week intensive microscopy course focused on the principles and high-end applications of quantitative fluorescence microscopy.

Attendees will gain a theoretical understanding and hands-on experience on state-of-the-art equipment such as widefield microscopy, laser scanning and spinning disk confocal microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, deconvolution methods, and digital image processing and analysis.

For more informations please visit the website: http://www.qfm.cnc.uc.pt/


Medical team standing in the hospital corridor

Medical students from UAlg stay as doctors in Algarve

Eight students who completed the Integrated Master’s Degree in Medicine at the University of Algarve in the academic year 2015/2016 completed the test that guarantees access to the specialty and are currently performing functions at Algarve Hospitals. With specialties ranging from Anesthesiology to Radiology, through General and Family Medicine and Urology, more and more are choosing the Algarve region to develop their professional career.


Know more here.




CBMR students obtained doctoral and post-doctoral FCT research grants

Adriana Marcelo and Catarina Paulino obtained doctoral and post-doctoral FCT research grants for the development of their investigations over the next years. To the referred students CBMR wishes congratulations and all the success for the future!

Adriana Marcelo – Doctoral Research Grant FCT 2017 – Project “Stress granules as new players in Polyglutamine diseases: from pathogenesis to therapeutic strategies”

Catarina Paulino – Post-Doctoral Research Grant FCT 2016- “Anger vs. happiness: which comes first? The time course of emotional word recognition” (Supervisors: Alexandra Reis e Luís Faísca)



Clévio Nóbrega publishes on British Medical Bulletin

Clévio Nóbrega, CBMR researcher, published recently on the British Medical Bulletin the article: “The contribution of genetics and environment to obesity”.

Know more about the article here.

Abstract: Obesity is a global health problem mainly attributed to lifestyle changes such as diet, low physical activity or socioeconomics factors. However, several evidences consistently showed that genetics contributes significantly to the weight-gain susceptibility.

Areas of controversy: After more than 10 years of investigation on the genetics of obesity, the variants found associated with obesity represent only 3% of the estimated BMI-heritability, which is around 47–80%. Moreover, genetic factors per sewere unable to explain the rapid spread of obesity prevalence.
Growing points: The integration of multi-omics data enables scientists having a better picture and to elucidate unknown pathways contributing to obesity.
Areas timely for developing research: New studies based on case–control or gene candidate approach will be important to identify new variants associated with obesity susceptibility and consequently unveiling its genetic architecture. This will lead to an improvement of our understanding about underlying mechanisms involved in development and origin of the actual obesity epidemic. The integration of several omics will also provide insights about the interplay between genes and environments contributing to the obese phenotype.


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Available postdoctoral position at “The Drosophila Development Laboratory”

A postdoctoral position is available at The Drosophila Development Laboratory for analysis of the epigenetic regulation of gene expression during oocyte reactivation and fast cell proliferation in Drosophila melanogaster and human cells. To bypass limitations of “standard” steady-state RNAseq approaches, we are currently optimising nascent RNA transcriptomics approaches for developing embryos.
Applications of highly motivated postdoctoral researchers, willing to learn state-of-the-art transcriptomics approaches, and not afraid of being involved in a international collaborative effort, are strongly encourage to apply. This project will be developed in close collaboration with Maria Carmo-Fonseca laboratory (IMM, Lisbon).
Ideal candidates should have: i) a previous experience with Drosophila melanogaster and/or tissue culture of human cells, qRT-PCR, chromatin purification, and RNAseq techniques; and/or ii) a strong background in computational biology and experience in the analysis of RNAseq datasets.
For more information please send email to: rgmartinho@ualg.pt

Inês Araújo and Ana Isabel Santos publish on The Antioxid Redox Signal Journal

Inês Araújo and Ana Isabel Santos, CBMR researchers, published recently on the Antioxid Redox Signal Journal the article: “S-nitrosylation of Ras mediates nitric oxide dependent post-injury neurogenesis in a seizure model”.

Know more about the article here.

Abstract: Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in the upregulation of endogenous neurogenesis in the subventricular zone and in the hippocampus after injury. One of the main neurogenic pathways activated by NO is the ERK/MAPK pathway, downstream of the EGF receptor. However, the mechanism by which NO stimulates cell proliferation through activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway remains unknown, although p21Ras seems to be one of the earliest targets of NO. Here, we aimed to study the possible neurogenic action of NO by post-translational modification of p21Ras as a relevant target for early neurogenic events promoted by NO in neural stem cells (NSC).

Results: We show that NO caused S-nitrosylation of p21Ras in Cys118, which triggered downstream activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway and proliferation of NSC. Moreover, in cells overexpressing a mutant Ras in which Cys118 was replaced by a serine -C118S-, cells were insensitive to NO, and no increase in S-nitrosylation, in ERK phosphorylation or in cell proliferation were observed. We also show that, following seizures, in the presence of NO derived from inducible nitric oxide synthase, there was an increase in p21Ras cysteine modification concomitant with the previously described stimulation of proliferation in the dentate gyrus.

Innovation: Our work identifies p21Ras and its S-nitrosylation as an early target of NO during signaling events that lead to NSC proliferation and neurogenesis.

Conclusion: Our data highlight Ras S-nitrosylation as an early event leading to NSC proliferation, and may provide a target for NO-induced stimulation of neurogenesis with implications for brain repair.

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Cryocube Project open 2 Research grants to Master Degree

The Cryocube Project, funded by Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER), is recruiting 2 Research grants to Master Degree. If you are highly motivated, creative, curious, perseverant, dynamic and share a commited passion for Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Pharmacy and Biological Engineering, please apply.

Requirements: Master’s degree in the scientific areas mentioned above.

Fellow 1 – we are looking for someone with experience in expression and purification of recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli and experience in spectroscopic techniques, particularly, fluorescence.

Fellow 2- we are looking for someone with experience in animal cell culture and electrophoretic techniques, particularly western blot.

Workplace: Center for Biomedical Research – CBMR  (UAlg), under the scientific guidance of Professor Eduardo Pinho e Melo.

Duration: 10 months

Amount: 980 euros

Deadline for applications: 20/07/2017

Applications should be sent toemelo@ualg.pt with the following documents:

– Curriculum Vitae;

– Academic Certificate;

– Identity Card / Passport;

– Fiscal Identification Number;


Wolfgang Link publishes on The International Journal of Cancer

Wolfgang Link, CBMR researcher, published recently on The International Journal of Cancer the article: “FOXO transcription factors at the interface of metabolism and cancer”.

Know more about the article here.

Abstract: Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases characterized by impaired insulin signalling and high blood glucose. A growing body of epidemiological evidence links diabetes to several types of cancer but the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. The signalling cascade connecting insulin and FOXO proteins provides a compelling example for a conserved pathway at the interface between insulin signalling and cancer. FOXOs are transcription factors that orchestrate programs of gene expression known to control a variety of processes in response to cellular stress. Genes regulated by this family of proteins are involved in the regulation of cellular energy production, oxidative stress resistance and cell viability and proliferation. Accordingly, FOXO factors have been shown to play an important role in the suppression of tumour growth and in the regulation of metabolic homeostasis. There is emerging evidence that deregulation of FOXO factors might account for the association between insulin resistance-related metabolic disorders and cancer.


CBMR signs protocol of collaboration with University of Leicester

In June, a protocol of collaboration was established between the CBMR (University of Algarve) and the University of Leicester (UoL, United Kingdom). The members of this collaboration are the researchers Karl Magnus-Petersson, Inês Araújo and Vitor Fernandes, from UAlg, and Martha Clokie and Nathan Brown, from UoL. The project, in the biomedical research area, titled “Evaluation of eradication of Shigellosis by the Treatment with Bacteriophages in Mus Musculus“, results from a grant awarded to Martha Clokie and Nathan Brown, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and will be developed, in part, at the University of Algarve, by the CBMR members mentioned above.  The main goal of this project is to evaluate the therapeutic potential of bacteriophages against Shigellosis, a burden that affects thousands of children in developing countries.