As mentioned before, this Group includes established researchers and post-docs with different backgrounds in the areas of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Physiology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Medicine. This is an added value, because there are complementary bridges between these areas of research, which allows tackle scientific questions from different perspectives.
In general, the Group objectives will be similar to those defined in previous years and we will keep focused in several chronic disorders that affect the brain, retina, heart and kidney. Taking into account the different areas of expertise, the Group is divided in 4 sub-groups, headed by a PI, as follows: Vision Sciences (PI: Francisco Ambrósio); Neuroscience and Blood-Brain Barrier (PI: Ana Paula Martins); Stem Cells (PI: João Malva); Experimental Therapeutics (PI: Flávio Reis). The PIs will meet once per month to analyze ongoing projects and foresee perspectives of new projects and establishing new collaborations at national and international level, in order to apply for funding at an international level. National funding has become limited, and a major goal of this Group is to substantially increase international funding, not only from Organizations and Institutions, but also from private companies, mainly pharmaceutical industries. Each coordinating PI must ensure the timely achievement of the milestones proposed for the area under his/her responsibility, and decide on additional strategies to solve potential scientific and technical problems, which should be carried out with an open and fruitful collaboration within the Group.
Presently, there are several international collaborations in the Group with leading scientists. We want to reinforce these collaborations and establish new ones, by inviting experts in our fields of interest to give seminars or lectures in Advanced Courses of the PhD Programs organized by members of the Group. Moreover, hiring foreign post-docs and scientists, experts in the above mentioned areas, is also a goal to increase critical mass.
Regarding laboratory space, the Group occupies several labs at Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences (IBILI), at Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, which is in close proximity, facilitating interactions and collaborations inside the Group. We also have access to core facilities, such as electrophysiology, microscopy and other imaging systems, flow cytometry, genomics and animal housing, among others. Importantly, the University Hospital of Coimbra is located nearby, facilitating translational research.