About me

I joined Jan's group on October 2008. I come from Portugal and I'm a Biochemist by training. However, I’ve been interested in microbiology since my undergraduate studies and especially fascinated with the metabolic diversity and versatility found in the prokaryotes, which allows them to survive and colonize very different ecological niches. In particular, I’ve been interested on the possibilities of introducing new metabolic functions in well adapted microorganisms for bioremediation purposes. Having the opportunity to study various aspects of microbial ecology and evolution during the last year has been a fulfilling experience that I intend to exploit in the years to come as part of my research interests.

When I'm not doing science, I'm most likely travelling or enjoying the company of my friends and family.


My research focused on horizontal gene transfer, which is a major mechanism of bacterial evolution that facilitates rapid adaptation to environmental changes.

Selected Publications

  • England P, Wehenkel A, Martins S, Hoos S, André-Leroux G, Villarino A, Alzari PM. (2009) "The FHA-containing protein GarA acts as a phosphorylation-dependent molecular switch in mycobacterial signaling." FEBS Letters, 583:301-7.
  • Pessoa J, Sarkany Z, Silva FF, Martins S, Almeida MR, Li J, Damas AM (2010) "Functional characterization of Arabidopsis thaliana transthyretin-like protein" BMC Plant Biology 10:30.

Brief CV

  • October 2008 - 2012: Kreft Group
    PhD student studying plasmid dynamics.
  • September 2007 - September 2008: PhD program in Computational Biology, IGC, Oeiras, Portugal
    I was selected to undertake the PhD Program in Computational Biology which is a four-year program divided into one year of full-time courses and three years of doctoral research financed by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). The first year consists of workshops and projects on the main aspects of computational biology from a biological, computational, mathematical, chemical and physical point of view brought to us by a diverse group of outstanding national and international researchers. Main areas of study and program syllabus can be found here
  • September 2006 - August 2007: Scholarship, IBMC, Porto, Portugal
    During this period I worked on the structural characterization of amyloid proteins in the unity of molecular structure at IBMC, specifically a transthyretin-like protein from A. thaliana.
  • March - August 2006: Trainee period, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France
    As an ERASMUS student I spent six months at the platform of biophysics of macromolecules and their interactions in the Unity of Structural Biochemistry at the Pasteur Institute in Paris working on the structural and physico-chemical characterization of an FHA-domain containing protein form M. tuberculosis, under the supervision of Dr Patrick England. I had the opportunity to learn several biophysical techniques like microcalorimetry, SPR, CD, analytical ultracentrifugation, DLS and crystallography. I also used fundamental molecular biology techniques to clone and ultimately produce the protein of interest.
  • 2001 -2006: Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
    Diploma in Biochemistry by the Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto.


My research was supported by a doctoral degree grant awarded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), and Academia Siemens and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC).

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