PhD student receives Fulbright grant to research tissue regeneration

Anabela Veiga, PhD student in Biotechnology at Faculty of Biotecnology (ESB), received a Fulbright Grant that will allow her to develop part of her PhD research in the United States of America, from February to August 2023. It will be on the other side of the Atlantic that the student will continue to develop her work in the area of tissue regeneration and from where she hopes to bring many skills and knowledge that can also enrich the School of Biotechnology of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and its research team: "Here we all strive for improvement and continuous learning."

What does a Fulbright Scholarship mean to you?

Anabela Veiga (AV): It is an opportunity that will allow me to belong to a prestigious and global community that defends the same values that I identify with: gender equality, opportunity, collaboration and mutual help, development of innovative and meaningful work in the community. In addition, I will develop work using state of the art technologies (co-culture of 3D materials based on a natural silk protein, in bioreactors in order to obtain a fully functional structure - vascular and neuronal networks) and I will be accompanied by experts in the field, which will greatly enrich my project and my knowledge in general.

What do you expect from this experience in the United States of America?

AV: I expect to gain a lot of knowledge of cell culture, co-culture and the use of bioreactors, as well as quality assurance measures, management and work organisation. I expect to bring all the skills and knowledge back to the ESB for the whole research team to take advantage of. I will do as all my colleagues do when they have the opportunity to join a different team and a different research laboratory. We all strive for continuous learning and improvement.

What do you see as the biggest challenge?

AV: Probably cultural integration. In Europe, we find people with a culture, lifestyle and behaviour more similar to ours here in Portugal. During my stay in Madrid, where I had the opportunity to work for more than half a year with the support of the ESB ERASMUS + grant, I think I had the best possible experience, because the whole team was ready to help me, exchange ideas and contribute to my work. I am aware that in the US, people are perhaps more focused on their own tasks and possibly have deadlines that may impose more pressure and stress. Anyway, it's all about adaptation and resilience.

What is the topic of your PhD research project?

AV: My PhD in Biotechnology is being developed under the guidance of Professor Ana Leite Oliveira and the topic is "Biofabrication of an innovative silk-based 3D construct as a new strategy for engineering skin tissue". My project has the collaboration of the Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology and Energy of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Polímeros, in Madrid, and Trufs University, specifically the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the Tissue Engineering Resource Center - TERC, in the USA, where I am going early next year with the support of the Fulbright scholarship.

Why did you choose to come to study at the Faculty of Biotechnology?

AV: I wanted to work in the area of biomaterials and the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry has a multidisciplinary team that focuses on developing sustainable and valuable products for industry. In addition, the Biobased and Biomedical Products group has know how in silk proteins, in development and optimisation of materials for skin regeneration and a fully equipped cell culture laboratory. I also always kept in touch with Professor Ana Leite Oliveira, who always motivated me, believed in my potential and gave me freedom and help to be creative and innovative in my work.

What motivates you?

AV: I consider myself a naturally motivated person to work and learn. I like to challenge myself, as it is one of the ways that leads me to grow professionally and personally. I can adapt to different working environments, with different people and I really enjoy working in groups and helping my colleagues.

Categorias: Escola Superior de Biotecnologia

Mon, 03/10/2022