CESAM work on TiO2 nanomaterials in the journal Nanoscale

Mónica Amorim, researcher in the Department of Biology and of the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), belonging to the research group of Ecology and applied Ecotoxicology - applEE, coordinated by Prof. Amadeu Soares, co-authored a research article published in Nanoscale journal: “Mechanisms of (photo)toxicity of TiO2 nanomaterials (NM103, NM104, NM105): using high-throughput gene expression in Enchytraeus crypticus”. Nanomaterials (NMs) of titanium dioxide (TiO2) are among the most highly produced worldwide (around 60.000 tonnes per year). The applications for its use go from the common sunscreens (UV) to photocatalytic use for soil remediation.  The effects of NMs in the environment are evaluated using methods available in the legislation for the evaluation of substances (REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), through the evaluation of physiological parameters in organisms, e.g. survival and reproduction of invertebrates. However, the evaluation of the mechanisms of action of NMs and (sub-)cellular effects prior the observed effects is extremely important, once it may allow the earlier evaluation, potentiating the production of safer NMs for the environment (safety-by-design).  This way, it is a priority for the development of techniques and methods that allow the exploration of mechanistical effects. This is precisely what the recently published article in Nanoscale shows. In this study a microarray of 44000 genes was explored, a tool developed by UA team for a model species in ecotoxicology. "High-throughput gene expression was used to assess the molecular mechanisms, while also anchoring it to known effects at organism level (i.e., reproduction). Results showed that the photoactivity of TiO2 (UV exposed) played a major role in enhancing TiO2 toxicity, activating transcription of oxidative stress, lysosome damage and apoptosis mechanisms. For non-UV activated TiO2, where toxicity at organism level (reproduction) was lower, results showed the potential for long-term effects (i.e., mutagenic and epigenetic)." The stressful response is usually activated in cells and with genetic predecessors in a short time, signalling potential adverse effects that are reflected in the organism latter on. The possibility to predict effects in an earlier stage is something that deserves attention and has an enormous potential. This is the research foccus of this group. For further reading.

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  • Are you going to have a researcher contract?

    If yes, please pay attention!When you start your contract of researcher you are no longer an integrated member of CESAM!"Oh no! What should I do?"When you confirm the starting date of your contract with the UA human resources department you should send an email to cesam@ua.pt, directed to the Scientific Coordinator of CESAM, requesting that you want to be an integrated member of CESAM and indicating the starting date of the contract."And it is done?"No! If you have your CV updated in CESAM webpage, please indicate that in the e-mail. If not, briefly state how your research contributes to the strategy of CESAM and send a summarized CV."But why?"Because, according to the regulation of CESAM, if you are not a post-doc fellow you need to have a minimum scientific production to be an integrated member (Annex I of the regulation). Please note that all the researchers in CESAM go through this process!"And then?"Your request will be analysed and voted in one of the meetings of the Scientific Council Coordinating Commission of CESAM and you will be notified on the decision.

  • National Hub of the Support Team for the Atlantic Action Plan

    The work developed by Professor Fátima Alves and her team allowed University of Aveiro to become, since July 2018, a National Hub from the Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan. The Atlantic Action Plan encourages Member States to work together in order to share information, costs, results and best practices, as well as generate ideas for further areas of cooperation of maritime activities. The Action Plan includes traditional activities, such as fisheries, aquaculture and tourism, together with emerging activities including offshore renewables and marine biotech. The Assistance Mechanism provides guidance and proactive support for public and private organisations, research institutions and universities, institutional and private investors from the Atlantic region wishing to engage in the implementation of the Atlantic Action Plan. The Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan is operating through five National Hubs which are based in Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom and Ireland, coordinated by a Brussels-based central management team. Among other activities, National Hub intends to: - advertise and inform interested parts about the Action Plan and maritime policy initiatives adopted by the European Comission, Member States and Regions; - promote network implementation and cooperation between interested parts; - maintain updated information about resources and funding opportunities available at a European, National and Regional level; - contribute in the monitoring of the Action Plan implementation progress, according to projects identification and good practices; - promote/support the organization of seminars and conferences, as well as to participate in national or Atlantic region events; - support the Communication Plan of the Assistance Mechanism; - keep a close relationship with national members of the Atlantic Strategy Group. Follow the activity of the national hub here.  


  • CESAM member was elected Convenor of a working group of the International Organization for Biological Control

    Olga Ameixa, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Department of Biology & CESAM was elected last September 13th, the Convenor of the working group “Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents” of the International Organization for Biological Control - West Palaearctic Regional Section (IOBC/WPRS) at the last group meeting in Ponta Delgada, Azores.IOBC-WPRS is a non-profit organisation founded in 1955 which encourages and promotes networking among scientists and other stakeholders in promoting feasible and environmentally safe methods of pest and pathogen control, fostering research and practical application, organisation of meetings, symposia as well as offering training and information. The working group “Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents” deals with hot issues which range from scanning new biological control agents, risk assessment or looking at the ecological problems posed by these. Olga Ameixa will engage this roll for the next 5 years until new elections.

  • Visit to CESAM and ECOMARE of the selected teams for the program Blue Bio Value

    On the scope of the activities of the initiative Blue Bio Value, the first accelerator program that allows to escalate the marine solutions of a biological basis for applications in the global market in different sectors, using biotechnological innovation based in science and helping to face important social challenges, the scientific coordinator of CESAM Ana Lillebø, received, on the 26th of October in the University of Aveiro, some of the entrepeneur teams selected to participate on the first edition of this program. The visit intended to show some of the infrastructures, equipments and services that CESAM make available to the participant teams of the program Blue Bio Value. The use of these and other UA resources occurs in the scope of the protocol Blue Demonstrators Network to be soon celebrated between UA and Blue Bio Alliance - BBA. The final balance of this visit was clearly positive. In fact, all the participants were quite impressed with the available infrastructures of CESAM and with the existent diversity and analitical capacity, the technical support that may be done and the multidisciplinarity of the services that may be offered by this Associated Laboratory. During the visit it was highlighted that the infrastructures, equipments and services from UA are beyond CESAM and ECOMARE. Indeed, UA has unique treasures in the country that may be fundamental to accelerate business ideas. As an associate of BBA, CESAM (presently represented in the Executive Board by the researcher Ricardo Calado) will affirm its mission of promotion and revitalisation of a new national blue bioeconomy.

  • CESAM Magusto

      CESAM is organizing a Magusto! It will be on the 9th November, 16h30 on CESAM's meeting room (Building III, 5th floor). You need to bring 500 g of already sliced chestnuts that must be delivered until the day before.Confirm your participation until the 5th of November here.

  • Climate Change and Portuguese traditional soup (caldo verde)

    CESAM is organizing a cycle of talks foccused on climate change. At the end of the event, there will be the traditional Portuguese soup caldo verde for all. This event is co-organized by CESAM and Engineers Order of the Centre Region.

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