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Portuguese science scores high with American funder
Date:1/24/2012

our research centres' capacity to compete in the international playing field. It is increasingly evident that it is possible to carry out world-class research in Portugal". The group stresses the need to strengthen ongoing investment in science and technology, in order to maximize the country's competitiveness and sustained development.

Karina Xavier and Miguel Godinho Ferreira have been at the IGC since 2006. Karina is also a researcher at neighbouring ITQB. For a few years they shared an office, but they work in very different fields of research. Karina studies the mechanisms whereby bacteria communicate with other bacteria, either of the same or different species. She hopes to control communication between bacteria that make up the gut flora, so as to manipulate its composition and make the most of its protective properties against infection, inflammation and nutritional imbalances.

Miguel's research goals lie in understanding the mechanisms that underlie the ageing process. Using the zebrafish as a model organism, he plans to target the processes that regulate ageing at the cellular level, thus reducing the incidence of age-related diseases, such as cancer. Miguel is particularly interested in unraveling how the shortening of telomeres (protective structures on the tips of chromosomes) contributes to ageing and cancer.

Lusa Figueiredo, at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, has long been interested in how Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, evades the immune system of animals and humans it infects. Researchers know that the parasite does this by rapidly changing the coat of proteins it displays on its surface. Luisa is now identifying the molecular processes involved in this process, with surprising results.

Rui Costa and Megan Carey are both at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, and both are interested in analysing brain circuits that control behaviour: how they are set up, how th
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Contact: Ana Godinho
agodinho@igc.gulbenkian.pt
351-214-407-959
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Source:Eurekalert  

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