MSc Projects

A unique opportunity for students to have contact with the IGC, an international institution renowned for its research, education and training. Every year, several master students join the Institute to develop their master research thesis in one of IGC labs.

 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply, you must be registered with a university on an MSc Degree.

 

To apply

If you wish to apply, please check the contact details associated to the project of your interest and send an e-mail to the selected contact (with cc to [email protected]) and “MSc project application” in the e-mail subject and the following documents attached: 

  • Motivation letter
  • Curriculum vitae

 

Supervisors and projects

List of supervisors and project titles currently accepting students:

 

Title: Role of prokaryote/eukaryote interactions in the evolution of antibiotic resistance

Supervisor: Isabel Gordo

IGC Group: Evolutionary Biology

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Title: Modifiers of sister chromatid cohesion loss

Supervisor: Raquel Oliveira

IGC Group: Chromosome Dynamics

E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract: Sister chromatid cohesion is essential for faithful mitosis, as premature cohesion loss leads to random chromosome segregation and aneuploidy, resulting in abnormal development. To identify specific conditions capable of restoring defects associated with cohesion loss, we screened for genes whose depletion modulates Drosophila wing development when sister chromatid cohesion is impaired (a first report on the results of this screen can be found here ). This project aims to validate other hits arising from this screen with regard to their ability to modulate defects associated with sister chromatid loss.

 

Title: Ironing out the details of myeloid ferritin in the control of organismal homeostasis

Supervisors: Miguel Soares and Rui Martins

IGC Group: Inflammation

E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract: Myeloid cells, such as monocyte/macrophages play a central role in the maintenance of organismal homeostasis, beyond their well-described innate immune functions. This is illustrated for example in the context of iron metabolism, where tissue-resident macrophages recycle up to 95% of the iron required to sustain erythropoiesis.

The iron is acquired and extracted from the prosthetic heme groups of hemoglobin through erythrophagocytosis of senescent red blood cells (RBC) by tissue-resident macrophages in the spleen and liver. Iron is than exported from macrophages via ferroportin or stored inside ferritin, a multimeric protein composed of 24 heavy/heart chain (FtH) and light/liver chain (FtL) subunits. Expression of FtH plays a non-redundant physiologic role during embryonic development, and as such its constitutive deletion is embryonically lethal.

Our group recently revealed that conditional deletion of FtH in adult mice using a tamoxifen-inducible R26CreERT2FtHlox/lox (FtH∆/∆) mouse model, leads to a fast loss of body weight andtemperature with concomitant disruption of energy homeostasis, mitochondrial function, and organ dysfunction ultimately leading to death. Recently, we found that the lethality of FtH∆/∆mice is rescued upon bone marrow transplant of cells expressing normal levels of FtH, which is sufficient to maintain body weight and temperature, and fully support organismal homeostasis. Furthermore, this rescue effect is dependent on the expression of FtH by myeloid cells (e.g. macrophages), as the transplant of bone marrow cells lacking expression of FtH in either LysM or Cx3CR1 lineages is not able to rescue the mice from tamoxifen-induced FtH deletion and subsequent loss of organismal homeostasis and death. This surprising observation indicates that FtH expression by cells of myeloid lineage is sufficient to maintain organismal homeostasis in mice following inducible FtH deletion.

Our work is now focused on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of how myeloid- expressed ferritin is able to sustain energy and organismal homeostasis. For this project, we willreconstitute FtH∆/∆ mice by transplanting bone marrow cells from reporter mice where LysM+cells are tagged with a fluorescent protein (dTomato). This will allow us to initially characterize the FtH-expressing cell population responsible for the rescue effect using multi-color flow cytometry followed by single-cell sorting and RNAseq analysis of sorted dTomato+ cells to understand the transcriptional programs underlying the rescue effect upon tamoxifen-induced FtH deletion.

 

Title: Haematopoiesis in Drosophila: mechanistic control of haemocyte proportions during larval development

Supervisor: Élio Sucena

IGC Group: Evolution and Development

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Title: Chasing the genetic bases of resistance and tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster

Supervisor: Élio Sucena

IGC Group: Evolution and Development

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Title: Optimization of Sample Processing for Electron Microscopy

Supervisor: Erin Tranfield

IGC Group: Electron Microscopy Facility E-mail contact: [email protected]

Abstract: Sample processing for Electron Microscopy is a technique that is surrounded by habit and old standard conventions. There are a lot of reports in the literature of different protocols, but it is hard to know which protocol is the best for a given sample when there have never been side by side comparisons of conditions. The purpose of this Masters project will be to compare different methods of sample preservation on the same sample(s) and to evaluate the effectiveness, and overall quality of ultrastructural preservation. There are many different conditions that can be tested and many different models that can be used so the specifics of this project will be discussed between the PI and the student to see what is most interesting for the student. This project would be excellent for a chemistry student interested in learning more about biology or a biology student interested in learning more about the chemistry behind sample preservation and fixation.

 

Please check our website for research interests and recent work from the various groups.

MSc Project Committee: 
Maria João Amorim 
Luís Teixeira
Gabriel Martins

 

More information:
[email protected]
Tel: +351 214 464 549