PhD Program



Alexandre Afonso
“Cancer remains one of the leading causes for mortality world-wide, as well as a disease with considerable morbidity. Moreover, it has a high prevalence and most of us have someone close who has suffered from the illness. It was the desire to lessen the burden of this disease, together with some strong innate curiosity, that drove me to join the world of biomedical research, by enrolling in an oncobiology master’s degree. Now, I joined the LisbonBioMed PhD program, where I plan to use this wonderful opportunity to satiate my thirst for knowledge, and move one step closer to fulfil my aspirations. I know that completing a PhD is not an easy task, but I am a very diligent person, always giving my all in every endeavour I take. I love a good challenge, and I actively seek them, as I seize them to grow as an individual. Here at iMM, we have the privilege of experiencing the crosstalk between scientists and clinical practitioner, and how it shapes research, providing a more direct approach to tackle diseases. I am very excited to work here, and I already know that these 4 years will go by in a flash!”

Alice Borges
“My interest in science started when my parents offered me a toy microscope as a child, where I could what onion skin and flies. From then, my path took me to Pharmaceutical Sciences (FFUL), where I had my first contact with research work, and after which I worked briefly as a pharmacist. This allowed me to experience the human part of the fight against diseases such as cancer, dementia, and chronic diseases, which only made me more driven to be part of the ones that dedicate hours to bring solutions to these people. Further on I completed a Masters in Molecular Biology and Genetics (FCUL), where I worked on development of new pharmacological chaperones for the treatment of PKU for my thesis with a group from iMedUlisboa. I decided to join iMM not only for knowing I would be exposed to great scientific works and mentoring but also for the warm welcoming and environment it is known for. Also, it was where I felt I could combine all my academic qualification. I am very happy with my decision to apply to LisbonBioMed and stay in iMM and I greatly appreciate the support this community has given the freshmen!”

Ana Isidro
“Completed the Masters of Biomedical Research in 2019 by Universidade Nova de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências Médicas and a Bachelors in Biologia Celular e Molecular in 2017 by Universidade Nova de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia. I have published an article in Science Advances journal as a second author after my master thesis, entitled “Pyramidal tract neurons drive amplification of excitatory inputs to striatum through cholinergic interneurons” where we identify an important sub-circuit in the striatum. I am now a Researcher in Leonor Saúde lab at Universidade de Lisboa Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes, studying the role of induced senescent cells after Spinal Cord injury.”

Catarina Sequeira
“I am fascinated for biology and for the microscopic world, which allow us to understand the mechanisms occurring inside the human body. After a “Ciência Viva” internship, where I had the opportunity to experience how work in a research laboratory feels like, I realized that my dream was to pursuit a scientific career in life sciences. Therefore, I decided to graduate in Cellular and Molecular Biology and move forward to a Master’s in Molecular Genetics and Biomedicine, both at the Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon. I decided to apply for LisbonBioMed PhD program because it takes advantage of complementary resources and expertise and integrates forefront scientific research with medical teaching. Moreover, the unquestionable excellence of iMM and its vibrant scientific environment have fuelled my desire to work here. I am currently developing my PhD project at Edgar Gomes Lab, focus on study the role of Arp2/3 complex in skeletal muscle development and physiology.”

Eller Conti
““You know, this thing is brilliant that the days end. It is a brilliant system. The days and then the nights. And again, the days. It seems obvious, but there is genius. And where nature decides to place its limits, the show explodes. The sunsets.” Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco. And so, here I am. I’m Eller Conti, from Italy, and I will be studying the “sunsets”, or more precisely my PhD project aims to reveal the role of the impact of meningeal γδ17 T cells on sleep. How did I end up here? My scientific path started, maybe, unconventionally. My first bachelor’s degree was in Cognitive Psychology. After spending one year and a half in a neurological clinic as an intern, the craving and growing desire for understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the neurological disorders that I was facing from a cognitive angle, brought me into the broad field of biology. I took a second bachelor’s degree in Medical Biotechnology, I then moved to Copenhagen where I obtained my master’s in Immunology and specialized in Neuroimmunology and Neuroscience in the United States. “Sometimes things happen like they are questions: a minute passes, years pass, and then life replies to you”. And so, after several years from that bachelor’s degree in psychology, life brought me to the little family of iMM in Lisbon, where I am conducting my PhD as part of the LisbonBioMed Program supervised by Julie Ribot: together with her and her team, we are studying the role of γδ17 T cells in anxiety, cognition, and sleep. Many sleepless nights studying “sleep”, will hopefully contribute to a deeper scientific awareness of this physiological phenomenon… meanwhile, sleep well!”

Marta Andolfato
“When I was little, my grandfather used to take me and my siblings to the hills surrounding my hometown and would invite us to discover the symmetry and complex patterns of flowers. This led me to develop a passion for science, in particular biology, that became stronger and stronger throughout my studies and eventually pushed me to want to become a researcher. I started my path with the Bachelor in Biomolecular Sciences and Technology at the university of Trento in Italy, after which I decided to enroll in the Master in Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology. Both degrees did nothing but reinforce my interest, and proved me even more that what I wanted to do was pursuing an academic career in science. For these reasons, I decided to join the LisbonBioMed PhD program. I am thrilled to combine the high-quality research found at iMM with its international and vibrant environment. I am sure this experience will be a challenge, but I believe it will make me grow both from a personal and a professional point of view.”

Rita Silva
“My constant eagerness to learn more about science and engineering and develop solutions to the most diverse and challenging problems led me to enroll in the integrated master’s in biomedical engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico. I decided to do my master’s thesis at iMM, in Nuno Morais’ laboratory, where I had the opportunity to study the heterogeneity of astrocytes in ageing through single-cell RNA sequencing data of human brain tissues. My master’s thesis was my first real experience in the world of science, and it led me to fall in love with bioinformatics and research. Even though due to the pandemic much of my work was performed at home, I always felt included and supported. The excellence of the research carried out at iMM, the environment of inclusion and mutual help, and the dynamism of activities in the most diverse areas made me apply for the LisbonBioMed PhD program. I feel fortunate to have joined this program, where in just a few months I’ve learned a lot and made great friends! I’m excited and assured that I’m in the best place to grow as a scientist!”

Sara Pinto
“I was always fascinated by biomedical research, in understanding human diseases and finding ways to improve people’s lives. So, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). Upon concluding my bachelor’s, I realized that it is crucial to understand the complex mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases and to develop new and effective therapeutic strategies for an increasingly aged society, which led me to engage in a MSc degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences. After that, the next natural step to having a solid contribution in health science and expand my knowledge and critical thinking was to pursue a PhD in Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM). The great environment, different backgrounds and available facilities, together with the advantage of a close interaction between the Hospital and the Medical School, led me to see iMM and the LisbonBioMed PhD Program as the perfect place to develop my PhD project. I believe that a PhD in iMM will allow me to further grow and become a better researcher!”