We are delighted to announce that Helena Coelho, a researcher at the (Bio)Molecular Structure and Interaction by NMR research lab at UCIBIO-NOVA School of Science and Technology, has achieved the remarkable distinction of securing the first-place position among the projects awarded in Exact Sciences & Engineering panel under the highly competitive RESTART Programme by FCT-Portugal, with a value of ~50K€. RESTART Programme is a groundbreaking initiative aiming to mitigate the impact of parenthood on the research progress by providing competitive funding opportunities to researchers who have recently taken parental leave, including adoption.
Helena Coelho's project, titled "Unravelling mucin O-glycans and Salmonella SiiE adhesin crosstalk: a promising target for anti-adhesion therapy," aims to gain a deeper understanding of the Salmonella infections mechanism responding to a significant global health concern. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animal feed have further compounded the problem. Helena Coelho's research focuses on unraveling the intricate interactions between mucin O-glycans, vital components of the gastrointestinal tract, and the Salmonella SiiE adhesin. Elucidating the mechanisms of this molecular crosstalk, Helena Coelho aims to aid the development of innovative glycan-based inhibitors capable of disrupting Salmonella's adhesion processes, offering potential avenues for effective anti-adhesion therapies.
Helena Coelho points out that “This transformative strategy developed by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) plays an important role in the return to our competitive research activity after a period of scientific interruption, due to a very happy moment in our lives”.
Helena Coelho's achievement in securing the first-place position in the RESTART Programme highlights the groundbreaking research being conducted in Portugal and reinforces the commitment to scientific excellence in R&D.