The DEM Research Group includes four senior researchers (integrated members), three holding academic positions and one assistant researcher. The group currently has two PhD students, two MSc students and a senior technician.
Objectives of the Research Group
Our group uses a Developmental Biology approach to ask fundamental questions about how organisms, and the organs and tissues they contain, develop. Notably, it is at the organ and tissue levels that diseases become manifest. For this reason, Developmental Biology has been, and continues to be, very effective in delivering explanations for diseases or medically relevant processes including birth defects, cancer, wound healing, tissue regeneration and regenerative medicine, including stem cell biology.
We work primarily on understanding how components of the extracellular matrix, the macromolecular network that exists between cells, influences cell behaviour, both chemically and mechanically. Our major model system is the development of the amniote musculoskeletal system and we are interested in how the different cell types that compose this system communicate and regulate each other’s development and how, in certain cases, defects in these communication events lead to disease, such as the case of muscular dystrophies. We are also interested in studying the role the extracellular matrix plays in regulating cellular responses to stress and damage in diseases other than those of the musculoskeletal system, like for example in cancer.
The specific objectives of our group are the following:
Gomes de Almeida, P., Rifes P., Martins-Jesus A.P., Pinheiro G., Andrade R.P. & Thorsteinsdóttir S. (2022) Cell-fibronectin interactions and actomyosin contractility regulate the segmentation clock and spatio-temporal somite cleft formation during chick embryo somitogenesis.Cells, 11(13), 2003. DOI:10.3390/cells11132003 (IF2021 7,666; Q2 Cell Biology)
Casimiro, M.H., Pereira, A., Leal, J.P., Rodrigues, G. & Ferreira, L.M. (2021) Chitosan/PVA based membranes processed by Gamma radiation as scaffolding materials for skin regeneration.Membranes, 11(8), 561. DOI:10.3390/membranes11080561 (IF2021 4,562; Q2 Qhemistry, Physical)
Martins, S.G., Zilhão, R., Thorsteinsdóttir, S. & Carlos, A.R. (2021) Linking oxidative stress and DNA damage to changes in the expression of ECM components.Frontiers in Genetics, 12, 673002. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2021.673002 (IF2021 4,772; Q2 Genetics and Heredity)