I am an
"Investigador Auxiliar" (Assistant
Researcher) at LAQV/REQUIMTE, working in the Chemistry and
Biochemistry Department of the
University of Porto.
My research focuses on the use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to study a variety of biological and chemical systems. These include the effects of antimicrobial and anticancer peptides, 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.
New InstrumentIn early january 2019, we installed our second TT-AFM instrument from AFMWorkshop. We now have two fully independent AFM instruments.
Prize Winning Image and Magazine CoverAn image I produced from some work in collaboration with Ricardo Franco of UNL, and Thomas Hanscheid and Carolina Tempera of IMM, won the 2nd Prize in the category Electron Microscopy - Physical Science, in the Royal Microscopical Society 2014 Scientific Imaging Competition. This image was recently featured on the cover of the RMS Magazine (shown right). The image was titled Field of Petals, and shows an SEM image of hemozoin-like crystals secondary electron image measured at 15 kV. Image represents a magnification of ca. 5000x, the horizontal field width is 55 microns. These crystals are part of a project seeking to develop new antimalarial compounds. Sample provided by Carolina Isabel Glória Tempera, of the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Lisbon.
|Our Work on Tropical Diseases in the News
A news story about our work against leishmaniasis using frog peptides has been featured here on the AFMWorkshop site. The story is related to our collaboration with the group from UFPI in Brazil. The correct link to access the paper discussed is: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nano.2013.09.003.
In related news, we are glad to welcome José Roberto Leite from UFPI to the group as a post-doc during 2015.
I was made a "Pesquisador Visitante Especial" - Special Visiting Researcher at the Federal University of Parnaíba, Brazil. This will probably run from 2015 to 2018. The grant is funded by CNPq (Brazil). Among other things (I'll be in Brazil a lot!), we will have funding soon for a post-doc in Brazil, and a grant for a PhD sandwich student between Brazil and Portugal. The themes will be natural products, nanoparticles and AFM. Contact me if you are interested in either of these positions. See this news piece on the UCIBIO website for more details.
Cristina Neves has successfully defended her PhD. Thesis, which was titled "Development of fluorescent silica nanoparticles encapsulating organic and inorganic fluorophores: synthesis and characterization"?. Congratulations to Cristina, who was awarded the degree with distinction due to her hard work and excellent defence.
|New AFM Installed
We have just installed a new instrument in the lab. It is an LS-AFM from AFMWorkshop. This is the first instrument of its kind in the world, and is a new atomic force microscope designed for life sciences applications. The instrument allows optical microscopy (including phase contrast microscopy), epifluorescence and AFM on the same sample. It also allows observation of the sample from above (reflected light), or below (transmitted light). It is ideal for examination of cells. Initial tests last week suggest the new instrument is going to have excellent performance. Optimisation and a more complete installation is ongoing.
This instrument forms part of the BIO-AFM network which means that any researchers who wish to use it should be able to. Please contact me via the email address at the bottom of the page if you are interested.
|Fellow of the
Royal Microscopical Society
I was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society (FRMS). Thanks very much to the RMS for this honour.
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:
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, Inés Rocha and Tiago Galvão. She then produced this nice image which shows surface details very well.
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:
This work was carried out at The Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Lisbon. Many thanks to my colleagues from there, especially Nuno Santos for allowing use of the JPK Nanowizard II AFM. The full reference is:
P. Eaton, V. Zuzarte-Luis, M. M. Mota, N. C. Santos, M. PrudFncio, Infection by Plasmodium changes shape and stiffness of hepatic cells Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine 8(1), 17-19 (2012).
Requimte Hands-on Minicourse on Atomic Force Microscopy 2011
"Without any doubt I will recommend it for everybody which is interested in AFM" - 2011 student.
The 2011 edition of the AFM course was held between 14th and 16th september.
The students learned about:
Thanks very much to AFM Workshop for sponsoring the course!
Here are just a few example images measured with the new TTAFM instrument on a variety of samples.
New Instrument Page
There is a page describing our new AFM instrument over at afmhelp.com. On the Requimte page you can find information on both the Lisbon and Porto instruments. On our page our instrument (Long Beach) is described, and there are also operating protocols and procedures. There is also a booking calendar, so you can see when the instrument's busy.
Best SPM Image at IMC17
At the 17th International Microscopy Congress (IMC17) in Rio de Janeiro, I won the 1st place prize for best SPM image (Life Sciences). The collage of the winners is shown below. Once again, thanks to Gon?alo D?ria for providing the sample.
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 22nd September, 2014.