R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Saúde

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Biologia Celular [HESC-Centro-Aveiro-482] visitada em 25/03/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This small Unit was made up of four groups each led by a single PI – the signal transduction group, the neuroscience group, the organelle biogenesis and disease group and the biochemistry and stress group. The Unit is notable for its productivity having started from scratch only 10 years ago. The panel was particularly impressed by the teamwork within the Unit – the four groups each had their own scientific identity, but clearly worked together towards a common scientific goal and there was ample evidence for the sharing of resources and knowledge. There was evidence of strong leadership with clear and imaginative scientific thinking that has led to a Unit that is internationally competitive. The Unit represents very good value for money from the perspective of FCT.

The University has been very supportive in the establishment of the Unit, as demonstrated by its provision of funding to attract a high calibre group leader from abroad. However, the site visitors were concerned that there is no University funded core staff (clerical and technical) that would improve the output of the Unit significantly, and would ensure that critical technical knowledge and know-how is retained within the Unit. Such core funded staff is standard for highly productive units in other institutions.

The teaching and training provided by the Unit is very good. The groups have been successful in attracting good students from within Portugal and internationally, and positive interactions between students in the four groups is the norm.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Biochemistry and Stress Group [RG-HESC-Centro-Aveiro-482-3046]
A young PI that appears to have never left Aveiro. Her research programme has been articulated with the other three groups in the Unit as a result of strong leadership and mentoring from the Unit Director. Much of the proposed work is a direct extension of the current activities, but the applicant expresses the wish to direct more attention to translation to public health relevance and interact more directly with the other three group leaders. Much of this is presently aspirational, but the panel was convinced by the commitment of all the group leaders to ensuring it becomes reality.
Neuroscience Group [RG-HESC-Centro-Aveiro-482-3044]
The group has been productive, working in collaboration with Signal Transduction Group on APP biochemistry in neuropathologies. A good number of students have graduated. The group intends to extend their work on APP and its interacting partners into validation as potential markers for disease in humans. This is a worthwhile translational aim, and the clinical collaborations appear to have been established. In short, focused leadership, good interactions with other groups, and motivated students and postdocs.
Organelle Biogenesis and Disease Group [RG-HESC-Centro-Aveiro-482-3045]
The PI is an outstanding recruitment by Aveiro. The PI has a very good track record, and represents an important added value to the research potential of the Unit. The research of biogenesis of subcellular organelles and in particular peroxisomes is basic and may lead to interesting findings not only of fundamental importance but also relevant to pathophysiology. The culture of attracting students and postdocs from Germany is a very interesting result of this GL recruitment.
Signal Transduction Group [RG-HESC-Centro-Aveiro-482-3043]
This is a productive group working in an extremely competitive area. The group leader is recognised internationally and has established useful collaborations with other groups in Europe. Phosphatase biochemistry is a highly competitive field, and the group is interested in developments in both drug target identification and sperm cell biology. The strategies to be employed to make progress in each of these areas should be explored, particularly the pathway to exploit high-throughput methodologies if PP1 and/or its interacting partners can be shown to be valid targets for cancer/neurodegenerative therapies, as well as (perhaps less realistically) male contraceptives. In short, Impressive leadership and motivated students.