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Unidade de I&D
Scopus Author ID
Nuno Empadinhas graduated in Biology and received a PhD in Biochemistry with specialty in Microbiology from the University of Coimbra (UC). He is Principal Investigator and Group Leader at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC) at the UC. His research in Microbial Physiology has focused on deciphering molecular mechanisms of microbial adaptation to stress. He has studied microbes from extreme environments, mycobacterial pathogens and more recently the microbiota from the also extreme gut ecosystem. He has co-organized field research expeditions to isolate microbes from hotsprings and probed their biotechnological potential as producers of stabilizers of cells or proteins. In this context, he has elucidated biosynthetic pathways for compatible solutes in hyperthermophilic archaea, in thermophilic bacteria, and in desiccation/radiation resistant microbes. He has elucidated biosynthetic pathways for polymethylated lipid-transfer polysaccharides (PMPS) in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and in nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), many of which exceptionally resistant to stress agents including antibiotics, partly owing to an exceptional lipid-rich cell envelope and indirectly to PMPS. He secured funding to investigate the gut microbiome of Parkinson's patients and the biosynthesis of microbial neurotoxins, and also the diabetic skin and ulcers' microbiome, which led to an extensive culture collection of strains from these ecosystems. In his career as molecular microbiologist, he identified gene functions and enzyme activities that were the founding members of 14 new families at the IUBMB Nomenclature. He supervised or co-supervised 10 PhD and 12 Master students and 4 post-doctoral fellows, was invited speaker at >30 conferences, co-inventor in 2 international patents, published 3 book chapters and 59 papers, many of which in Top 10% Journals such as J Biol Chem, J Bacteriol, Mol Microbiol, Nat Prod Rep, mBio and PNAS. In 2021, he was awarded with the Mizutani Grant, the only time attributed to a scientist in Portugal since its foundation in 1993. In the last 10 years, he has coordinated and co-coordinated 10 projects with global funding >1.5 M euro by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, Infarmed, Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience (Japan), and participated in 15 other projects including 3 funded by the European Commission.
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