I am an "Investigador Auxiliar" (Assistant
Researcher) at the REQUIMTE, working in the Chemistry Department of the
University of Porto (NanoBio Group).
The NanoBio group does not have a webpage yet, but is headed by Eul?lia Pereira. The interests of the group include the preparation, characterisation, and application of new nanoparticles, as well as the study of their interactions with biological targets. My research focuses on the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to study a variety of biological and chemical systems. These include nanoparticle-DNA interactions, organometallic vesicle structure, bacterial morphology and nanomechanics, superparamagnetic nanoparticles, malarial hepatocytes, Langmuir-Blodgett films and proteoliposome structure. I am also PI in a project to develop new fluorescent nanoparticles for use as gene sensors.
wins Nano2012 and E-MRS Young Scientist 2013 Prizes
Congratulations to Cristina Neves, my PhD student, on winning a Young Scientist Award at the recent E-MRS Spring Meeting. She won the award for her presentation titled "Fluorescent Silica Nanoparticles based on Organic and Inorganic Fluorophores: Preparation and Characterization". This is the second prize Cristina has won for her work in the project on fluorescent nanoparticles. Cristina will soon be writing up, so if any other prospective PhD student are interesting in continuing work on this award-winning, FCT-funded project, they should contact me ASAP! Once again, congratulations for Cristina, and we hope to see this great work written up in thesis form really soon!
AFM Workshop 2013
The AFM Workshop here in Porto took place last week. The course was a great success and we had lots of positive feedback. There's a blog post reviewing the course here:
Requimte AFM Workshop Prize
Congratulations to Leonor Soares who won the image processing competition in the Requimte AFM workshop 2013, with her image "Leonor hair details", which is shown here. Leonor prepared (and grew!) the sample herself, and scanned it along with Jorge, InFs Rocha and Tiago Galv?o. She then produced this nice image which shows surface details very well.
Announcment of the Requimte 2013 AFM Workshop Since the acquisition of two AFM instruments in Requimte two years ago, we've been training various users in the technique. A successful course was held in 2011, and now we are announcing the 2013 course. The course will be held in our laboratory in Porto, with two instruments for the students to use. The course will include 2 days of theory and two days of practice, covering both Image acquisition and data analysis. The course will take place between the 25th and the 28th of March 2013. Places are limited, so interested students are encouraged to reserve a place as soon as possible.
Visit afmhelp.com/requimte for more information. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We have published a new paper relating some studies we've made of the development of the malaria parasite, plasmodium within liver cells (hepatocytes), using AFM. This is the first time anyone has ever studied the parasite in liver cells using AFM. In fact, there have only been a couple of studies of hepatocyte sat all. Our work reports not just AFM imaging but also nanomechanical measurements of the infected cells. The results show that it's possible to observe the growth and multiplication of plasmodium within the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) as it grows, and that this affects cell membrane texture.
But more importantly, we saw dramatic and significant changes in cells stiffness in infected cells. 48 hours after infection, the cells had stiffened by approximately ten times. This effect was seen in the main body of the cell, away from the location of the PV. This suggests that it is a reaction of the cell to the presence of the parasite. this is the first time that cell stiffness changes upon malaria infection have been seen in hepatic cells. The paper has been published in Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, and can be found at:
Also at the conference, both Maria Feio and Ana Pereira gave excellent and well-received oral presentations, featuring AFM images obtained in our lab. Well done to both of them!
FCT PROJECT FUNDED
The FCT has decided to fund our proposed project "Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Clinical Diagnosis". The evaluators recommended funding of 86,400 Euros for this project. The project will begin in January 2011, and there will be two BI grants available after that, one for nanoparticle synthesis and one for biosensor development. The project is to be carried out jointly with the group of Pedro Baptista from CIGMH, UNL, Lisbon. Thanks to all the co-applicants!
ANOTHER IMAGE IN CALENDAR
One of our AFM images (measured by Cristina Neves and I) was featured in the Veeco SPM 2010 calendar - the image shows a malarial mosquito eye - the image was named "Looking for Lunch" by Veeco:
BOOK WRITING FINISHED
Work on my book has now finished. It is called "Atomic Force Microscopy", written along with Paul West and it will be published in 2010. More details can be found at afmhelp.com.
We don't have any positions open currently, but if you are interested in a project concerning AFM, please contact me.
In particular, we are keen to find candidates, at doctoral or post-doctoral level to study atomic force microscopy of bacteria.
Biographical Information and Other Materials
My CV and publication list are available here: CV and Publications List
Here is my FTIR Spectroscopy Tutorial: Go to FTIR Tutorial
I have a list of Frequently Asked Questions (a FAQ) about AFM here: AFM FAQ
This page was last updated on 25th February, 2014.