PhD Program



André Gabriel
“Since I was little, I have always been fascinated by the “living world”. Hence, I knew I wanted to pursue a scientific career no matter what. I studied Genetics and Biotechnology in the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro and although I did my master’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology in Aveiro, my master thesis project was performed at the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA) here in Lisbon. There, I had the opportunity to study the effect of aminoglycosides on the readthrough of mRNA premature termination codons. After finishing my master’s it did not take long until I started a Research Fellow on the key roles of non-coding RNA on the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases and other human diseases. Last year (December 2020), I started my PhD here at iMM under the supervision of Dr. Francisco Enguita and Dr. Marina Costa. My PhD project is mainly focused on the effect of the interactions established between circular RNAs and RNA binding proteins on the development and progression of Atrial Fibrillation. Hopefully, this will be a great opportunity to fulfill my life goals as an academic scientist!”

Bárbara Teixeira
“My academic path began with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, which made me become fascinated with the complexity of life and in understanding the biological processes occurring within and between living cells. Thus, I decided to join the Cellular and Molecular Biology master at the University of Coimbra, where I had the opportunity to develop my master thesis in the field of host-pathogen interactions. My experience during my master’s thesis gave me the reassurance that I wanted to pursue a career in research. Therefore, I decided to apply to the LisbonBioMed PhD program, which seemed to be the ideal PhD program for me, considering its tailor-made curricular offer, as well as the possibility to work at iMM, a top-class European biomedical research institute. So far, it has been an amazing experience. Currently, I am developing my PhD under the supervision of Dr Maria Mota and Dr Miguel Prudêncio, working in the malaria field. I feel fortunate to have joined the LisbonBioMed program and to be part of the iMM stimulating scientific community.”

Beatriz Silva
“I started my scientific career with the Bachelor of Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. Then, I decided to specialize in molecular biology and genetics during my Masters. At that time, I understood that I wanted to pursue a scientific career in oncobiology. Having this in mind, I performed my Masters’ thesis work at iMM, in the laboratory of Prof. Maria Carmo-Fonseca, where I studied the roles of the lncRNA NORAD in the etiology and development of human breast cancer. After my Masters, I moved to Dr. Claus M. Azzalin’s laboratory, whose main focus is the lncRNA TERRA and its functions in maintaining telomere stability in healthy and cancer cells. My ultimate goal is to become a leading scientist working on fundamental aspects of human biology. I consider a PhD a vital step in this direction, and I think iMM is the right place. Research at iMM is at the highest international levels, as shown by its cutting-edge laboratories and excellent facilities working in a broad variety of fields ranging from basic to clinical and translational research. Moreover, I really appreciate the diversity of the iMM community, and the organization of informal events such as the retreats, which promote gathering of the iMM community in a more relaxed and fun environment. Therefore, I decided to apply to the LisbonBioMed program. I very much appreciate the structure and versatility of the program. The common training module promotes interaction between PhD students and PIs, as well as the development of fundamental skills. Then, students can select courses according to their interests. Besides, the organization of annual PhD student meetings provides students with the privileged opportunity to present their project and results, and receive feedback from the iMM community. Overall, I’m very happy with my decision and with the opportunity that was given to me.”

Bernardo Antunes
“Having always been driven by subjects related with life sciences, I decided to pursue a Bachelor degree in Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. During the course, I became aware of the importance that the breakthroughs in the field of biomedicine can bring to people’s quality of life, and made me realize that it was within this particular area that I wanted to pursue a career in science. Therefore, after graduation, I applied to the MSc program in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology at the same Faculty, where I was able to further expand my knowledge in this area and to build a critical mind. Later on, in my master thesis, I was able to combine two fascinating topics as cancer and stem cell technology, at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon. At that point in my life, I found myself wondering which other paths were there to follow in the scientific sphere, besides academic investigation. With this in mind, I sought to expand my professional horizons by taking the opportunity to work in a consulting firm of cosmetic dermatology. Although I found this experience very enriching both personal and career wise, was missing the intellectual challenge that I had known before from Academia. At that point, and having heard of iMM more than once, I applied for a fellowship and was accepted in the group of Doctor Vanessa Morais where I’ve worked as a Research Fellow prior to enroll in the PhD. I am very pleased to belong to this PhD program, as my path in this institute has unveiled the strong spirit of community that strengthens the bonds between research groups and facilities, and provides students with the support, motivation and constructive criticism to sharpen the way they do science.”

Catarina Costa
“I have always been curious about science and the idea that I could help solve an unanswered question has always fascinated me, so I have known for a while that I wanted to pursue a career in science. I finished my Master’s in Molecular Genetics and Biomedicine at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and I did my Master’s thesis at iMM in Pedro Simas lab. iMM was the first place where I saw science happening every day and I could see that people really enjoyed doing their jobs, so I knew I wanted to venture in a PhD here. In 2020, I was awarded with a FCT fellowship, and I am now continuing my work at Pedro Simas lab. So far, it has been challenging, nerve-wracking, but very exciting.”

Catarina Gonçalves
“I finished my master’s in Chemistry, at Instituto Superior Técnico. My master thesis was focused on chemical synthesis but, as I was working on it, I started feeling the need to see an application for the compounds developed. I enrolled in Medicinal Chemistry and I’ve felt challenged by the interaction between chemistry and health sciences. I thought this was the area for me, as it would take me out of my comfort zone and make me grow in science. I decided to join the LisbonBioMed PhD program because of its flexible structure, excellent facilities, and possibility of international collaborations. So far, this has been an amazing experience! I’ve had a very warm welcome from everyone and I couldn’t be happier to have been chosen to participate in this program and to be a part of this team.”

Cristiana Morgado
“My interest in science and human biology began at an early age when I understood that no other field of study would ever fulfill my ambitions. I was certain that I wanted to pursue a scientific career, and this was the motivation that drove all my academic pathway. Upon completing my BSc degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aveiro, my passion for biomedical sciences and the desire to learn more led me to engage an MSc degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. During this period, I had the opportunity to develop my master thesis at iMM which allowed me to know the research performed at this center and, for the first time, to feel the environment lived at iMM. The ambition to ask new questions every day to solve the most puzzling biological questions and to create knowledge made me pursue a PhD degree and iMM came as a natural choice. The environment highly dynamic and productive lived in the institution, the excellent training in biomedical research, the international collaborations that the institute has, the staff exchange possibilities along with the multidisciplinary and versatile curricular nature of the PhD Program were key factors to stay at iMM. I believed that the conditions around us can prone to great achievements and groundbreaking discoveries and iMM is the right place that will certainly make me grow as a researcher.”

Lúcia Serra
“I was always curious about how tiny cells such as microbes were able to affect other living organisms, even leading sometimes to disease. This incognita led me to enroll in a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology, where I worked with pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. After my Master’s, I studied the impact of the fly gut microbiome in the host feeding behavior, in a research assistant position at Champalimaud. My interest in host-microbe interactions, and iMM’s great scientific reputation, encouraged me to apply for the LisbonBioMed PhD program in 2020. I have since joined Luísa Figueiredo’s lab, where I work with the parasite Trypanosoma brucei to uncover a new mechanism of gene regulation, and enjoying iMM’s research environment.”

Madalena Almeida
“I am doing my PhD at iMM! During my master’s at the University of Copenhagen, it became clear that my main goal was to pursue a scientific path and contribute to the advancement of science. I decided to join iMM as a PhD student because I knew I would find the challenge I needed to grow as a scientist. And I did! Although I am only at the beginning, during my time in the LisbonBioMed program I already learned that making the right questions is more important than having all the answers! “