This May, Rui Malhó, Plant Functional Genomics Group Leader, together with Carlos Farinha and Patrícia Faísca, PIs from Functional Genomics & Proteostasis Group, and Bio-Physics & Nanosystems Group, respectively, started a new direction cycle.

The future relies on keeping what has been achieved in the past years and improving further aspects to increase research excellence. Read the new coordinator and vice-cooordinators’ message and discover how can BioISI become an interdisciplinary centre which can give to society a valuable input in Biosciences to tackle its current problems and needs.

BioISI started this month a new cycle with our election as Directors.

After two mandates directing the center, Margarida Amaral certainly deserves a rest and it’s my honour to replace her in the guidance of this interdisciplinary unit. The first words of appreciation go to her for the dedication and hard work shown over these years.

 Being the vice-director during those two mandates I was well aware of the work involved and thus I invited two vice-directors to help in the cordination – Carlos Farinha and Patrícia Faísca. Carlos is a biochemist much involved in the BioSYS PhD program and Patrícia a computational physicist previously engaged in the organization of BioISI seminars and workshops. I believe that together we reflect the multi- and interdisciplinary matrix of BioISI from which the five thematic lines emerge. I’m very thankful for having them on board and I hope we can be up to the expectations. With the help, work and enthusiasm of our members, I’m sure we’ll continue to do excellent research, promote our institutions and create further opportunities to the younger members. To this end, we rely also on the excellent support of our management structure. It’s common to say we do a lot with so little, and this was made possible thanks to FCID people but particularly to our secretariat. Such invaluable assistance will continue to ensure the governance and outreach of our unit.

Looking back to what we accomplished in these years, BioISI has reasons to be proud. Our outputs are significant, we secured national and international funding, we ran a successful PhD program, obtained several awards, maintained a stable staff and supported newcomers, increased connections with industry and society, established core facilities and research infrastructures, promoted many and significant internal collaborations. So, thanks to the dedication and professionalism of all members, one can say we are on the right path; a path we aim to continue.

This is not to say we are satisfied! Correcting an unfair FCT evaluation is a priority and I’m confident that maintaining the excellence demonstrated in the past two years, this goal will certainly be achieved. We will soon promote some internal discussion on this topic to analyse what we can improve and how to implement it. Another priority is to maintain our top researchers and technical personnel along with creating conditions to attract further excellent members. We will continue to work in close collaboration with our hosting institutions (FCUL, INSARJ, UTAD, INIAV) to achieve this and hope to receive their support.

It is unquestionable that tackling current society problems requires an interdisciplinary approach and the input from Biosciences. And this will be our renewed mission!

Rui Malhó

(with Carlos Farinha & Patrícia Faísca)