Speakers 2021

Dr. Manuel Nuno Melo
Head of the Multiscale Modeling lab within the MOSTMICRO unit of ITQB NOVA, University of Lisbon – Portugal

Dr. Melo has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Lisbon. As a Marie Curie Fellow, and later as a Dutch NWO VENI Fellow, Manuel carried out postdoctoral work at the University of Groningen. His work is centered on elucidating the molecular-level details of lipid-lipid, lipid-protein, and protein-protein interactions; recent collaborations also focus on modeling bacterial structures. His research group employs coarse-grained, atomistic, and hybrid molecular dynamic simulations, and tackles both the construction of models (as a developer within the Martini coarse-grain framework) and their application to biological questions. Additionally, Dr. Melo actively develops simulation and analysis software (he is a core developer of the MDAnalysis Python package). Dr. Melo’s work, both in method development and applied multidisciplinary research, often in collaboration with experimental biochemistry and biology, has ensured an impactful research output.


Dr. Fabio Ceneviva Lacerda de Almeida
Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) -Brazil

Graduated from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of São Paulo (1988), Ph.D. in Biological Sciences (Biochemistry) at the University of São Paulo (1994),, and post-doctorate in the field of ​​nuclear magnetic resonance of proteins at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Almeida is currently an associate professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He has experience in Biochemistry, focusing on structure and dynamics. Dr. Almeida has a strong presence in the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) community, being the vice president of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance User Association (AUREMN). At UFRJ, he is the coordinator of the Jiri Jonas National Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center (CNRMN).



Dr. Raquel Cardoso de Melo Minardi
Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) – Brazil

Graduated in computer science (2004) with a Ph.D. in bioinformatics (2008) from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and post-doctoral training at the Comissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA)/GenoscopeFrance (2008-2009). Her research is focused on developing models, algorithms, data visualizations, and computational tools for bioinformatics and computational biology. Her main areas of interest in bioinformatics involve structural biology, functional prediction, protein-protein, and protein-binding interactions and the molecular recognition process, prediction of the impact of mutations on proteins, and protein engineering.



Dr. Cinta Porte Visa
Head of the Environmental Toxicology group at the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA, Spanish Research Council (CSIC) – Spain

Dr. Cinta Porte is specialized in the combined use of biochemical and chemical tools to evaluate the impact of pollution and human pressure on aquatic ecosystems, with particular attention to endocrine disrupters. Her current research interests include developing and applying alternative in-vitro methods based on the use of fish and human cell lines or isolated subcellular fractions to reduce the use of experimental organisms. These techniques have been applied to evaluate the toxicity of drugs, synthetic musks, plasticizers, and environmental samples, as well as in studies of endocrine disruption. In addition, the application of lipidomics analysis to these in-vitro systems constitutes a new research line whose objective is to develop new biomarkers of metabolic disturbance.


Dr. Peter Thomas
Professor at the Department of Marine Science, Marine Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin – United States

Dr. Thomas has a Ph.D. in Physiology from Leicester University, England. He has been a Professor in Marine Science since 1990 and in Zoology since 1993. He has served on advisory committees for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as an expert on the effects of environmental contaminants on reproduction and endocrine systems in fish and wildlife (endocrine disruptors). His research emphasis has been on the development of endocrine biomarkers of impaired reproductive function in marine fish because a wide range of environmental stressors can disrupt fish reproduction with potentially deleterious effects on the long-term maintenance of fish populations.


Dr. Helena Coutinho Franco de Oliveira
Full Professor at the Institute of Biology, Department of Structural and Functional Biology, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) – Brazil

Bachelor in Biology (1985) and Ph.D. at the University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil (1996). Post-doctorate fellowship at the Columbia University, Division of Molecular Medicine (1992-1995), NY, USA. In 1996, founded the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory at the Biology Institute of the State University of Campinas (https://www.ib.unicamp.br/lipides/front-page). Her research interests focus on the role of plasma lipoprotein metabolism and associated proteins particularly relevant for the development of atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity. Scientific contributions have been made concerning the understanding of CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein) gene expression and its effects on atherosclerosis and obesity susceptibility, hypercholesterolemia and glucose homeostasis, mitochondrial bioenergetic functions, and redox state alterations in hyperlipidemia predispose to atherosclerosis.


Dr. Pedro Fontes Oliveira
Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Aveiro – Portugal

Dr. Oliveira was conferred a LSc degree in Biochemistry (1996), at the Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas Abel Salazar, University of Porto. In 2004, he was conferred a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Porto. In 2005, Pedro F. Oliveira started his post-doctoral fellowship at University of Porto and began working on a new line of research now focused on Reproductive Biology, specifically in Sertoli cells ionic regulation. In 2009, Pedro F. Oliveira was selected to apply for the “Ciência 2008 Program” through the Health Science Research Center, University of Beira Interior (CICS-UBI) and was hired as Assistant Researcher. Dr. Oliveira’s research interests cover hormonal control and metabolic modulation of spermatogenesis. Special attention is given to Sertoli cells hormonal modulation and ionic/water transport and the mechanism by which endocrine disorders/pathologies, namely Diabetes Mellitus, result in subfertility and infertility.

Dr. Ivan Quesada Moll
Professor at the Instituto de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación en Biotecnología Sanitaria de Elche, Miguel Hernández University of Elche – Spain

Dr. Quesada graduated in Biology (1996) from the University of Alicante and received a Ph.D. Degree in Physiology from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (2000). He performed a postdoctoral stay at the University of Washington in Seattle, working primarily in the signaling and exocytosis mechanisms of different secretory cell types. In 2004, he joined the Miguel Hernández University of Elche as Research Professor. In 2009, he became Associate Professor of this institution and, in 2018, he was appointed Full Professor. Since 2004, he has led a research group devoted mainly to the biology of pancreatic alpha and beta cells under both physiological and pathological conditions. In recent years, his research has been mainly committed to the regulation, adaptations,, and potential failure of pancreatic islet cells in physiological situations, such as aging or pregnancy, or in pathological conditions, such as obesity as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These studies have shown that both alpha and beta cells have great plasticity, with functional and structural adaptations and changes that influence glucose homeostasis. All this work has resulted in the publication of more than 90 documents in leading scientific journals in the field of endocrinology, metabolism,, and physiology, among others.

Dr. Pamela Maher
Senior Staff Scientist, Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego – US

Dr. Pamela Maher received her BSc in biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and her Ph.D., also in biochemistry, from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Jon Singer at the University of California at San Diego, where she studied cytoskeletal dynamics and cell signaling. She worked for 5 years as an assistant professor at the Whittier Institute for Diabetes and Endocrinology in La Jolla, CA, and then moved to The Scripps Research Institute, also in La Jolla, in 1994 as an associate professor. In 2004, she moved to her current position at The Salk Institute. Her research interests are centered on understanding the responses of nerve cells to oxidative stress and how chemical compounds can modulate those responses to enhance nerve cell function and survival. Her current research is focused on using natural products such as flavonoids to maintain nerve cell function in the presence of toxic insults.


Dr. Regina Pessoa Pureur 
Full Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil

Graduated in Biochemical Pharmacy from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Master in Biological Sciences (Biochemistry) from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and Ph.D. at the Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay, France. Dr. Pureur research is focused on the signaling pathways directed to the dynamics of the phosphorylating systems associated with the cytoskeleton of neural cells and their consequences on cell function.