I have a degree in biochemistry, and I started my scientific career studying the importance of Hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), in terms of pharmacogenetics, for the development/proliferation of several types of solid tumours, such as breast and colorectal cancer. Since my main interests at the time were the influence of hypoxia in the regulation of carcinogenesis, I did my PhD at the University of Algarve and at the Karolinska institute with the main goal of understanding the role of hypoxia in the regulation of membrane drug transporters. During my PhD I used as biological models human blood samples and mice models. When I finished my PhD, I decided to work with a different model and also improve my knowledge about embryonic development.
Thus, in 2011 I started as a post-doc at Gulbenkian Institute of Science (IGC) under the supervision of doctor Rui Martinho. Since than, I’ve been studying the role of Protein N-terminal acetylation during drosophila embryonic development and carcinogenesis. N-terminal acetylation (N-Ac) is a highly abundant eukaryotic protein modification that influences protein stability, interaction with other molecules, cellular localization and secretion. Although misregulation of N-Ac has been strongly associated to carcinogenesis, its function during development of multicellular organisms is still poorly understood.
Rui Martinho´s lab showed that Drosophila San/ Naa50 N-terminal acetyltransferase (NAT) is important for the correct segregation of chromosomes during mitosis. However, and surprisingly, San/ Naa50 is not required for mitosis of germ line stem cells, indicating that there is a differential regulation of N-Ac in somatic and germ line stem cells. Our main goal at the moment is to identify and characterize the mitotic substrates of San/ Naa50, and to better understand the mitotic functions of this enzyme.