Portugal Braga

Universidade do Minho

Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Medicine

Brief overview

The University of Minho (UMinho) is a research university focused on the regional, national, and
international socioeconomic environments, committed to expanding the knowledge and the research, development and innovation chain. The Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) is the research and development (R&D) unit of the School of Medicine, UMinho, strategically located within a fast-growing Cluster of Biomedical Science, Technology and Healthcare organizations. Researchers with complementary academic and clinical backgrounds work at ICVS, covering the complete R&D pipeline, from in vitro research, to animal models and pre-clinical validation, to clinical trials, and finally to reach the market as innovative medical solutions.

Research areas

Cell biology/ Genetics/ Immunology/ Infection/ Interstitial lung disease

Host center eligibility

Global fellowships (return phase only)/European fellowships

Research infrastructure/facilities

The ICVS allows easy access to experimental units at UMinho and clinical departments at the central
hospital of Braga, namely the Pneumology Department.

Members enjoy access to a laboratory area of 6000 m2, including BSL-2/3 laboratories, and cutting-edge equipment for cell and tissue culture, single cell analysis, molecular biology, live cell imaging, intravital and confocal microscopy and laser microdissection, multiplex analysis, histology, flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, minimally invasive and high definition/3D surgery, and state-of-the-art facilities for animal experimentation. Support is also provided by highly qualified staff technicians and there is statistics and bioinformatics advisory service.

Research funding/resources

The ongoing funding portfolio includes over €2 million in grants allocated to ICVS:
1) Metabolic control of immune cell function in respiratory fungal disease (2022.06674.PTDC)
2) Whole-systems analysis of the microbiome-metabolome crosstalk for biomarker discovery and therapy
of respiratory fungal diseases (LCF/PR/HR22/00879)
3) Immunometabolic regulation of granulomatous inflammation in sarcoidosis (PTDC/MEDOUT/1112/2021)
4) Dissecting itaconate-mediated mechanisms of antifungal activity in invasive pulmonary aspergillosis.
Gilead Research Scholars
5) Host-directed medicine in invasive fungal infection (H2020-SC1-2019-847507)
6) A transdisciplinary approach to the identification of personalized biomarkers and therapeutic targets for chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (LCF/PR/HR17/52190003)

Links to non-academic sector

ICVS currently hosts five spin-offs (iSurgical3D, B’nML, iCognitus, iPLEXMed and Karyon Therapeutics). It is also affiliated with 2CA-Braga (clinical research site at Hospital de Braga that currently runs 1/3 of all clinical trials in Portugal); P5 (conceives and develops new digital medicine products and provides medical services with a digital interface); B.ACIS (knowledge transfer interface fostering developments of biomedical research into marketable products, providing clinical benefits to patients); and 4LifeLab (Collaborative Laboratory that brings together science, medicine, engineering and industry, enabling the development of innovative solutions and practices to improve medical outcomes).

Experience hosting international researchers, career development & training programmes, outreach activities

The ICVS has a strong track-record in hosting international researchers from different programs, e.g., ITN, MSCA, ERASMUS. Moreover, ICVS coordinates international research training programs, such as the MD/PhD program and the International PhD Programs in Medicine, in Health Sciences, and in Applied Health Sciences. Besides research training, researchers also acquire several transferable skills, including project and time management, supervision and personnel management, communication and presentation skills, research ethics, and paper and grant writing across multiple annual post-graduation courses.

Moreover, several outreach activities are developed, including symposia and workshops on interstitial lung diseases and respiratory infections.

HR Excellence in Research – EU award