Published in 3/3/2017
Stress Biology group is organised into 4 Laboratories: i) Microbial & Cell Biology; ii) Fungal & Plant Biology; iii) Molecular Biotechnology; and iv) Ecotoxicogenomics.The Microbial & Cell Biology Lab is focused on responses of microorganisms or cell cultures to pollutants. With skills and competences in characterisation of microbiomes, analysis of genomes and proteomes, the main lines of research include bacterial antibiotic resistance, responses of microbial communities to antibiotics as emerging pollutants in water systems, dynamics of microbial communities in response to stressors and horizontal gene transfer. The Lab includes researchers with expertise in eukaryotic cell biology, particularly interested on assessing the effects of aluminium on cell communication and signalling and development of new in vitro cell models. The Lab of Microbial & Cell Biology is coordinated by Isabel Henriques.The Fungal & Plant Biology Lab aims to understand plant responses to environmental stress and to unravel diversity of fungal plant pathogens as well as their interaction with hosts and the environment. An integrative approach from (eco)physiology in combination with omics methodologies is followed to allow a broad understanding of these processes and provide a solid basis to help a sustainable environment/economy in a global change context. Emphasis is on ecological/socio-economical relevant species and strong interaction with stakeholders is a key approach. The Lab of Fungal & Plant Biology is coordinated by Artur Alves.The Molecular Biotechnology Lab investigates, at the molecular level, different biological processes. The team is focused on: i) searching for new antibacterials and understanding their biosynthesis to generate novel compounds through directed evolution approaches; ii) understanding the genotoxic effects of environmental contaminants in bioindicator species and iii) investigate bacterial resistance to xenobiotics using transcriptomics approaches. The Molecular Biotechnology Lab is coordinated by Sónia Mendo.The Ecotoxicogenomics Lab aims to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms to stressors in environmental organisms. The approach includes an integration of the different levels of organization, linking molecular and whole organism, building onto Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOP), envisaging a systems biology/toxicology. Main research tools foccus on differential gene expression (via next generation sequencing, microarray, qPCR) and the related bioinformatics. As an example, a de novo transcriptome was assembled for a standard soil species (E. crypticus) and implemented in a high-throughput microarray tool. The genomics is integrated with a suite of additional endpoints for effect assessment at the cellular and organism level, e.g. using the standard OECD/ISO ecotoxicity tests. The research is supported by extensive international collaboration. Please visit the Enchytraeid library database at: http://bioinformatics.ua.pt/enchybase/. The Ecotoxicogenomics Lab is coordinated by Mónica Amorim.