Photo of Ana Catarina da Silva Damas Pinto
  • DCM - Departamento de Ciência dos Materiais Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia/UNL Edifício II Campus de Caparica 2829-516 Caparica

    Portugal

  • 2829-51 Caparica

    Portugal

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I have an Integrated Master degree in Biological Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Portugal, with an academic excellence award. During my studies, I was fortunate to be an Erasmus visiting researcher at University College London (UCL) Biochemical Engineering department, UK. I started my scientific path with a project entitled “Characterisation of mass-transfer in a two-liquid phase bio-oxidation at microscale”, intending to set up a scale- translation criteria for Escherichia coli batch and fed-batch cultures between microwell plates and stirred tank bioreactors. The work developed was later published. After this experience, I decided to proceed into a career in research. In 2009, I was awarded an individual FCT doctorate scholarship to pursue a PhD at UCL Biochemical Engineering department, where I was supervised by Dr Frank Baganz and co-supervised by Prof Mark Smales from University of Kent. The result was a PhD thesis entitled “Evaluating the response of mammalian cells to pH perturbations using a parallel microwell system” and several publications at international scientific meetings as posters and oral communications and in international journals with peer review system (ongoing). At the same time, I worked for three academic years in a part-time departmental (UCL) teaching post. First, I was ultra scale-down centrifugation practical demonstrator, then head demonstrator. Besides, I served as a teaching assistant for three UCL academic staff on the following subjects: “Design and Operation of a Bioreactor”, “Chromatography mode of operation and mass balancing” and “Product recovery and loss studies”. During my year as UCL ´Completing Research Status’ student, I managed to reconcile my PhD thesis writing with six months teaching opportunity as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Bath Chemical Engineering Department, UK. I was able to deliver high-quality teaching across all years of the Chemical Engineering programmes, with particular involvement in the Biochemical Engineering modules: “Biomedical Engineering” and “Molecular & Cellular Biochemical Engineering”. In 2016, I had the opportunity to come back as a Postdoctoral fellow at 3Bs Research Group, University of Minho, Portugal. In 3Bs, I have been involved in two different projects, an SR&TD Project Grant: “Microliver: A novel bicompartmentalized hydrogel microcapsule as 3D coculture system for liver tissue microengineering and drug-induced hepatotoxicity screening” and an ERC Advanced grant: ComplexiTE “An integrated multidisciplinary tissue engineering approach combining novel high-throughput screening and advanced methodologies to create complex biomaterials-stem cells constructs”. In the first project, we were trying to develop a first of its kind bi-compartmentalised hydrogel-based co-culture system for production of bioartificial microliver construct and validation of a novel high-content screening tool for drug-induced hepatotoxicity. A multiparametric high-throughput methodology to screen Human adipose-derived stem cell responses in different hydrogels (methacrylate polysaccharides) blends were created for the ComplexiTE project. These findings are currently preparing to be submitted to peer-review papers. Now, I am a junior researcher of the NEURiTES project (FCT ID project) at the GREAT lab, Soft and Biofunctional Materials Group (SBMG) in i3N/CENIMAT group where a new artificial neuronal conduit is being developed with blends of conductive and biodegradable polymers. After these enriched experiences, my motivation is to develop my own research line on thyroid dysfunctions, tissue engineering and cancer.

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