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universidade lusófona

Models & Molecular Mechanisms Lab

Ana Sofia Fernandes and Nuno Saraiva

Our lab is dedicated to advancing drug discovery, biomarker research, and xenobiotics safety assessment, with a primary focus on applications in cancer and metabolic diseases


Our Lab

The Models and Molecular Mechanisms lab investigates the cellular and molecular processes underlying cancer and metabolic diseases. In these contexts, we are dedicated to advancing biomarker research and drug discovery.

Using a diverse array of experimental models, including in silico approaches, 2D and 3D cell cultures, and human studies, we have developed robust technical expertise in proteostasis, cellular redox biology, cell death, migration/invasion mechanisms, and metabolism.

Our lab works in close collaboration with other CBIOS labs, particularly in areas such as molecular nutrition or in the safety and efficacy assessment of novel bioactive compounds or formulation excipients, promoting a multidisciplinary approach to our research.

Research Areas
  • Cellular redox and calcium homeostasis-related gene expression dysregulation in breast cancer progression, PI: Nuno Saraiva
  • Impact of dietary (Poly)phenol Metabolites in Renal Cell Carcinoma development, under physiologically relevant conditions, PI: Ana Sofia Fernandes
  • Novel LOXL2 inhibitors to tackle breast cancer progression, PI: Ana Sofia Fernandes
  • Occurrence and consumer perception of food contaminants, PI: João G. Costa, Bernardo Palma
  • Prognostic factors in HER2+ breast cancer: role of immune and redox biomarkers, PI: Ana Sofia Fernandes, João G. Costa
  • Intracellular ion channels in cancer cell survival and invasion, PI: Nuno Saraiva
  • Investigation of IAPP proteotoxicity in  β-cell dysfunction and diabetes, PI: Regina Menezes
  • Exploration of the molecular determinants of pancreatic cells plasticity using bioinformatics, PI: Regina Menezes and Andreia Gomes
  • Evaluation of the health-promoting activities of (poly)phenol metabolites  in mitigating IAPP- induced β-cell dysfunction and as modulators of pancreatic α-cells transdifferentiation into insulin producers, PI: Regina Menezes and Andreia Gomes
  • Cell and Yeast culture facilities: Cell culture room equipped to handle mammalian cell lines of biosafety levels 1 and 2. Yeast culture rooms equipped to handle yeast strains.
  • Microscopy (Zeiss Axio Observer with Colibri7 and Zeiss LSM710). Applications: Immunofluorescence, Live-cell imaging, multiple-position analysis, and high-resolution three-dimensional images.
  • Flow cytometry (FACScalibur BD).  Applications: Cell death, Reactive oxygen species, Cell cycle analysis, Cell population detection, and others.
  • Real-time PCR (QuantStudio 1). Applications: Gene expression analysis, RNA and DNA copy number absolute quantification, etc.
  • Multimode plate reader (Biotek Synergy HTX with temperature control and automated injectors). Applications: Absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence measurements.

  • Bojana Vidovic, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Cláudia Nunes dos Santos, iNOVA4Health, Portugal
  • Francieli Moro Stafanello, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil
  • Giorgia del Favero, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Hélène Castel, University of Rouen Normandie, France
  • Ines Batinic-Haberle, Duke University, USA
  • Josep Tur, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain
  • Maddy Parsons, Kings’s College, UK
  • Maria José Oliveira, i3S, Portugal
  • Nuno Oliveira, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Rogério Ribeiro, Portuguese Diabetes Association (APDP), Portugal
  • Tessa Sinige, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Dragan Milenkovic, UC Davis, USA
  • Vânia Pobre, ITQB-NOVA, Portugal
  • Carla Brites, INIAV/GREEN-IT ITQB-NOVA, Portugal