Publication date

The call for applications for the Doctoral Programme in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Applied to Chemistry, Materials and Biosciences, PTNMRPhD, is open until 7th January 2019. There are eight PhD fellowships available for highly motivated candidates that will be selected based on their educational background, academic qualification, research experience, motivation and scientific ability.


Two of the available research projects will be developed at UCIBIO - FCT NOVA:


- Title: Structural studies of liquid phase proteins related to human disease

Summary: Protein liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) may lead to the formation of cellular membraneless proteinaceous organelles that constitute an effective responsive strategy for biological compartmentalization. These have been shown important for cellular homeostasis and disease, constituting a different liquid medium that recruits specific proteins and excludes others, and where particular reactions are promoted and others inhibited. In this project, using state-of-the-art NMR combined with other biophysical techniques (fluorescence microscopy, optical spectroscopies and calorimetry), we will unravel the molecular factors determining protein LLPS, and study the effects on structure and dynamics of proteins inside the liquid droplets. This will provide important information on biomolecular function and disease mechanisms, paving the way for future pharmaceutical and biotechnological applications.

Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Main supervisor: Eurico Cabrita, (Bio)molecular Structure and Interactions by NMR, UCIBIO - FCT NOVA

Co-supervisor 1: Douglas Laurents, CSIC Madrid, Espanha


- Title: An Ancient Iron-Sulfur Cluster Biosynthesis System

Summary: Pathogenic bacteria, such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, are constantly exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and have developed defense mechanisms to cope with oxidative stress. Bacterial peroxidase is one of these enzymes. This enzyme catalyzes the reduction of hydrogen peroxide to water, with the required electrons being donated by small electron shuttle proteins. We intend to isolate and determine the structure of a small cytochrome c and characterize its interaction with the bacterial peroxide using different techniques (cell microscopy, RT-PCR, microcalorimetry, NMR). These results will contribute to the understanding of the involvement of Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterial peroxidase has a first line defence mechanism against exogenously produced hydrogen peroxide in the host environment.    

Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

Supervisor: Sofia Pauleta, Microbial Stress Research Lab, UCIBIO - FCT NOVA

Co-supervisor 1: Lucia Banci, CERM, University of Florence

Co-supervisor 2: Corinne Aubert, CNRS Marseille, France

The aim of the PTNMR doctoral training program is to foster the development of NMR spectroscopy in Portugal by training students within a specific research plan, to take the maximum advantage of this powerful technique in a variety of key research areas: Structural Biology, Material Sciences, Small Molecules, and Metabolomics & Metabonomics.


The PTNMR PhD program has 3 main objectives

(i) enhance the student’s skills and competences in the understanding of NMR and its application in different research fields;

(ii) develop strong cross-disciplinary skills with complementary techniques and disciplines in Portugal and abroad;

(iii) facilitate and promote the exchange of knowledge, best practices and ideas within the PTNMR network, while carrying out state-of-the-art-research.


This training program will contribute to take the maximum gain of the recently installed national research infrastructure that integrates the national Roadmap of Research Infrastructures.


The PhD Program is funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and is coordinated by Eurico Cabrita at FCT-NOVA,  ITQB NOVA, FCT NOVA, Técnico, Universidade de Coimbra, Universidade de Aveiro, Universidade da Beira Interior and Universidade do Porto.


The PTNMR PhD Programme is an international PhD Programme, funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, and is coordinated by Eurico Cabrita at FCT-NOVA.


Participant institutions: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCT-UNL), Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier (ITQB-UNL), Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa (IST-UL), Universidade de Aveiro (UA), University of Coimbra (UC), Universidade do Porto (UP) and Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI).


Partner institutions: Universidade do Minho (UM), Universidade da Madeira (UMa), Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Spain, The Magnetic Resonance Center (CERM) in Italy and The Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands (Bijvoet Center).


More information, please visit the PhD Program website.

For apllications here.