Paula Martins-Lopes, group leader of the DNA & RNA Sensing Lab, at Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, won the Crédito Agrícola Entrepreneurship and Innovation award, in the category of Response to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses.

Last November 29, Crédito Agrícola revealed the winners of the 10th edition of the Crédito Agrícola Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards, which recognize the best initiatives in Portugal within the agricultural, agro-food, and national forestry sectors, and in a particular way how they contribute to their sustainability.

The project led by Paula Martins-Lopes is entitled TrunkBioCode – biosensor for on-site detection of Grapevine Trunk Diseases (DLV) and aims at designing DNA-based diagnostic tools suitable for the early detection of fungus involved in Grape Trunk Diseases (GTDs), without destroying the plant. In particular, with this project it was possible to: “[develop] A biosensing platform for the detection of Eutypa lata, one of the fungi of GTDs, allowing to detect directly in wood samples, in an assay that takes 10 minutes, from collection to result”.

The novelty and market-value potential of the tools developed within TrunkBioCode is attested by the fact that the sensor has already been patented and licenced Biosensor NTech. Paula Martins-Lopes feels satisfied with this accomplishment as she says: “First, it is the recognition of our work by persons that are evaluating potential market-value products. Second, the increase visibility of our work, reaching a wide public (stakeholders, scientists, producers)”.

For the BioISI scientists, this award is also a boost of motivation in her path in Science as she refers that: “The award gives as means to pursue our research and enhances the believe that our research is useful for the society, which gives us the willing to pursue this line of research.

Find out more about Crédito Agrícola Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards here.

Paula Martins-Lopes at Crédito Agrícola Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards Ceremony [photo provided by the researcher]

Awardees at Crédito Agrícola Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards Ceremony (Paula Martins-Lopes dressed in white) [photo provided by the researcher]