Filipa Vale is the most recent BioISI principal investigator. She started working on our research unit last July and will run the Pathogen Genomics and Translational Microbiology Lab (at Ciências ULisboa).

With a diverse background in Microbial Biology, Health and Biomedical Engineering, alongside Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Filipa joins BioISI to take research on human pathogens, their biology, genomics and evolution a step further. Passionate for discovering what is yet unknown, the researcher, inspired by different contemporary scientists of her field and from other timeless ones – like Marie Curie and Leonardo da Vinci-, also likes open windows. Having such large horizons will certainly be a plus when it comes to implement a novel research field in Pathogenic Genomics and Translational Microbiology at BioISI. 

Get to know Filipa Vale a little better in the Researcher Profile below.

Tell us a bit your background and the main research areas you’ve worked on

My background formation is diversified and followed my research interests’ development. I’ve a five year degree in Microbial Biology and Genetics (Ciências ULisboa), a master degree in Health Engineering and a PhD in Biomedical Engeneering (Universidade Católica Portuguesa). Then I went back to study and completed a master degree in Bionformatics and Computational Biology and a BSc in Informatics Engineering (Ciências ULisboa). I’ve worked in the genomic study of H. pylori prophages that provided a compendium of novel sequences and set the stage for future studies aimed at better understanding the virus-host relationship, and to explore biomedical applications, namely phage therapy. Later, I’ve extended this approach to other human pathogenic bacteria.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in Science?

The international projects and collaborations that I’ve established along the years. Namely, the H. pylori Genome Project (HpGP), addressing the role of bacterial diversity in gastric carcinogenesis, headed by Dr Maria Constanza Camargo and Dr. Charles Rabkin (National Cancer Institute, US), where I’m responsible for the analysis of the role of phages in the virulence H. pylori strains associated with gastric cancer. This international HpGP project includes in the bioinformatics analysis group a vast team of world class researches.

In terms in scientific findings, the first description of H. pylori prophages and their ability to segregate European populations; Leadership in H. pylori prophage genomics.

What is your biggest fear in Science?

I don’t fear science, but for many years my biggest fear was not finding a permanent position that allowed me to do science.

What does passionate you the most in performing scientific research?

Generally speaking, discovering what is not known yet. In particular, finding out how bacterial genomes are organized and evolve.

Which living scientist do you most admire and which science figure do you most identify with?

I don’t have any one in particular, but of course that in my field I’m inspired by great minds, like Ichizo Kobayashi, Sebastien Suerbaum and Daniel Falush. Concerning science figures, Rosalind Franklin, time tended to make her justice; Marie Curie, for diversity of fields and breakthrough; Leonardo da Vinci, for the wonder it was to have studied so many different fields during the renaissance.

Tell us one odd/peculiar thing about yourself.

I like open windows.

What are your expectations in joining BioISI?

To implement a novel research field on Pathogen Genomics and Translational Microbiology, to contribute to the development of this research center, to collaborate and gain from BioISI installed capacity.

What are you planning to do next in professional terms? Can you share some of your future scientific projects?

My research lines involve studying two important human pathogens, Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter sp., studying their biology, genomics and evolution; the prophage and genome dynamics; and phage lysin therapy. Stay tuned.

Discover more about Filipa Vale’s research here.

Filipa Vale  [photo provided by the researcher].