Iola Duarte
Célia Alves, Catarina Almeida, Bruno Neves, Luís Mendes, Tiago Adrega, José António Santos
ATHEROFIT: Phytochemical-based metabolic immunomodulation to prevent/attenuate particulate matter-mediated atherosclerosis
Exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. ATHEROFIT aims at preventing and/or attenuating air pollution-mediated atherosclerosis via phytochemical-based metabolic immunomodulation. Samples of PM2.5 will be collected at Estarreja air quality station using reference gravimetric samplers. This will provide validated measurements of atmospheric PM2.5 levels and of their temporal/seasonal variations. Then, the atherogenic potential of PM2.5 will be assessed upon their in vitro incubation with primary human innate immune cells, namely blood monocytes/macrophages, which are key players in vessel wall inflammation and atherosclerosis. This will improve current understanding of PM2.5 effects on the cells inflammatory, metabolic and functional states and will reveal novel anti-atherogenic metabolic targets. Finally, selected phytochemicals acting on those targets will be screened for their ability to prevent/revert PM2.5-induced atherogenic effects. This is expected to reinforce the link between cardiovascular health and plant-derived natural compounds, typically abundant in fruits, vegetables and legumes, as well as to support the future development of atheroprotective phytochemicals as nutraceutical supplements. Overall, ATHEROFIT is expected to generate knowledge and to implement actions that, on the one hand, will increase public awareness on the health risks of air pollution and, on the other hand, will contribute for improving the cardiovascular health and well-being of susceptible populations living in highly industrialized areas like Estarreja. A multidisciplinary team of CHBV cardiologists and UA academic researchers with expertise in various areas such as environmental sciences, immunology and metabolism, has been assembled to conduct this work.
Projet OHMs
OHM(s) concerné(s)
  • Estarreja
Biochimie, Écologie de la santé, Médecine


Iola F. Duarte (born 1975) is a Principal Researcher at CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro (UA), since April 2015. She has a first degree in Biochemistry & Food Chemistry (1997) and a PhD in Chemistry (2003), having worked as a post-doc in joint projects between UA and Imperial College London (2003-2006) / Univ. Coimbra (2006-2007), and later as an Auxiliary Researcher at UA (2007-2015).

Duarte’s major domain of specialization is in metabolomics applied to the study of metabolism changes as a function of external stimuli. Presently, her main research interests comprise i) immune metabolic dysregulations in chronic inflammatory diseases; ii) tumour metabolism and anticancer drugs, iii) nanotoxicology.

Duarte published 63 papers, with > 2000 citations (Scopus h-index 28). She is (co)author of 11 book chapters and >150 oral/poster communications in scientific meetings, including 19 invited talks. Duarte has participated in 16 Research Projects (6 as PI, 3 as task coordinator) and represented UA in a Collaboration Agreement with Bruker BioSpin and in two European Inter-Laboratory Comparisons (2014, 2016). She has supervised 3 post-docs, 9 PhD (3 concluded) and 12 MSc (7 concluded). Duarte has also been active in refereeing for International Journals and evaluation panels, organizing scientific events, and communicating science to non-specialist audiences. In 2007, Duarte was awarded the Prize L’Oréal PT for Women in Science and, in 2010, she was the recipient of the Portuguese League Against Cancer grant.

ORCID: 0000-0003-4289-9256


- Academic degrees: Habitation in Environmental Sciences and Engineering; PhD in Environmental Applied Sciences; Master in Environmental Technology; Graduation in Environmental Engineering
- Current position: Principal Researcher at CESAM-UA
- Scientific areas of interest: Atmospheric pollution and chemistry; Source apportionment; Carbonaceous aerosols; Organic tracers; Indoor Air Quality
- Scientific production: H-index 38; about 5000 citations; 5 books; 7 book chapters; 135 WoS indexed papers; about 270 presentations in conferences
- Coordination/participation in projects: PI of 4 FCT projects; PI at CESAM of a Life project; PI of 3 Luso-Spanish Actions; PI at CESAM of 3 Spanish projects; team member of 8 FCT projects; team member of 3 European projects
- Supervising activities: 11 Post-Docs; 6 concluded PhD theses; 3 ongoing PhD theses; 18 master theses; 1 ongoing master thesis; 12 graduation works or internships; 9 internships of foreign students in the scope of doctoral or master theses; 11 fellowships of research projects
- Consultancy or services to the community: 9 services (total > 250 k€)
- Other scientific activities: Reviewer of more than 30 WoS-indexed journals; Associate Editor of Atmospheric Research (Elsevier) and Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health (Springer); member of the evaluation panel of 65 projects submitted to the Academy of Finland; 1 project submitted to Fondecyt/Conicyt (Chile), 1 project submitted to Austria Science Fund; 1 project submitted to The National Science Centre (Poland), 1 submitted to Innovative Projects/Infractrutures (TU Wein, Austria), 1 project submitted to Austrian Climate Research Programme, 1 project submitted to EPA Ireland.

ORCID: 0000-0003-3231-3186
Catarina Almeida is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Sciences, University of Aveiro. Her current research interests are on immunomodulation of innate immune cell responses. Catarina has a BSc degree in Biology from UA (2002), where she was awarded several prizes, including best University student. During her PhD with Professor Dan Davis, at Imperial College London (2007), she applied imaging technologies to study NK cell Biology. Catarina was a PostDoc and later Assistant Investigator at INEB (2008-2015), where she studied the interplay between inflammation and tissue repair/regeneration in order to develop more efficient tissue engineering strategies.
Catarina has 29 papers in peer reviewed ISI-indexed journals and 3 book chapters, with accumulated impact factor higher than 150, more than 590 citations, and an h-index of 15.
Currently she is co-PI of an FCT-funded project and participates in several other projects. She has been PI of an FCT-funded project, a collaborative project funded by CRUP and a project funded by INEB. She has participated in projects funded by FCT and AOSpine Foundation and in a FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network (IB2 - Industrial Biological Biomaterials Doctorate). Catarina has supervised and co-supervised 3 PhD thesis and 3 MSc thesis, and is currently supervisor/co-supervisor of another 3 PhD and 3 MSc thesis (including one PhD and one MSc with Iola Duarte, the PI of this project). She is currently a guest editor for the Frontiers Journal of Immunology, coordinating a research topic on “Immunomodulation of innate immune cells”.

ORCID: 0000-0001-6670-6004
Bruno Neves is Assistant professor and director of the degree in Biomedical Science at the Medical Sciences department, University of Aveiro. He is also principal investigator at Institute of Biomedicine - iBiMED. Holding a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2006), and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology (2011) from University of Coimbra, Bruno Neves has an extensive expertise in cellular and molecular biology fields, namely in the molecular mechanisms behind activation/maturation of dendritic cells and macrophages as well as in the establishment of cell-based tests for toxicological/pharmacological purposes. He participated in the supervision/co-supervision of 3 PhD students, 13 M.Sc. students, and participated as investigator or co-principal investigator in 10 projects with financial support from FCT, European Commission or international foundations. He is the author/co-author of 32 articles in international peer-reviewed SCI journals (h index of 14), and 5 book chapters. He has presented more than 50 oral/poster communications in international and national scientific meetings.

ORCID: 0000-0001-7391-3124

Luís Mendes
Current position:
PhD student at UA under the supervision of Dr. Iola Duarte (2019-2023). Subject: NMR metabolomics of innate immune cells and their modulation by novel chromone-based compounds in atherosclerosis models.
Academic degrees:
- Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry – 2013/2016 (UA).
- Master’s degree in Biochemistry (specialization in Biomolecular Methods) – 2016/2018 (UA), final grade 18/20.
Laboratory/Technical experience:
- In vitro culture of mammalian cells, including monocytes/macrophages.
- NMR-based metabolomics, including sample preparation, spectral acquisition and processing, multivariate statistics.
Published Articles:
Arminan A, Mendes L, Carrola J, Movellan J, Vicent MJ*, Duarte IF*. HIF-1a inhibition by diethylstilbestrol and its polyacetal conjugate in hypoxic prostate tumour cells: Insights from NMR metabolomics. Journal of Drug Targeting 2017, 25, 845-855.
Oral communications:
- 6th Workshop in Immunology, UA, 2018: “Macrophage polarization and reprogramming of energy metabolism: current knowledge and therapeutic opportunities”
- 10th symposium of metabolism – Immunometabolism, Faculty of Medicine University of Porto, 2018: “Metabolomic study of quercetin-mediated metabolic reprogramming of human macrophages”
Tiago Adrega
- Cardiology consultant, 2018-present, Centro Hospitalar do Baixo Vouga (CHBV) - Aveiro
- Pre-hospital emergency service, 2015-present, Instituto Nacional de Emergência Médica (INEM)
- Medical volunteering, 2016.11-2017.01, Nepal
- Cardiology fellowship, 2014-2018, CHBV-Aveiro
- Foundation, 2013, Centro Hospitalar do Porto (CHP)

- Master degree in Critical Thinking, 2011, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto (FMUP)
- Medical school, 2005-2011, FMUP
- Primary and secondary school, 1993-2005, Lamego

- 6 publications, 40+ scientific presentations
- co-investigator in 7 international multicentre randomized clinical trials

- co-founder of the start-up SUMTHINK (medical devices)
- winner of 2017 Cardio Arena – Focus in Innovation and 2018 NERTEXCEL MED.IDEAS
- Business and administration post-graduation, 2015-2016, Porto Business School (PBS)
- COHiTEC programme, 2015, PBS
José António
José António Santos
Born in Beira, Mozambique, in 1959.
Graduated in Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra in 1983. Enrolled in Ordem dos Médicos, professional license no. 27413.
Specialist in Centro Hospitalar do Baixo Vouga (CHBV), since 1992.
Senior in Cardiology since 1999.
Coordinator of Telemedicine in the Hospital since 2004 .
Director of CHBV Cardiology Department since April 2007 and Chief of Cardiology since November 2008.

Santos participated in the training of residents in anesthesiology, internal medicine, family doctors and cardiology.
He has supervised Masters Theses in the technical area of cardiology and he has been Invited professor at UA Integrated Masters of Cardiology (2012/2013).
He has been part of national juries in exams to obtaining various degrees in the cardiology career.
He has participated in the organization of cardiology and has presented several clinical research works in scientific meetings. He has participated in international studies as co-researcher and principal researcher and in clinical and laboratorial studies, published in national and international journals.

Member of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology (SPC), European Society of Cardiology, Associação Médica dos Hospitais Distritais, Associação Portuguesa de Pace and Electrofisiologia (APAPE) and Associação de Cardiologia Médico-Cirúrgica do Centro (ACMCC).
Member of the scientific council of the Associação Médica dos Hospitais Distritais since 1992, member of the border of APAPE during the biennium of 2005 to 2007, SPC during the biennium of 2009 to 2011 and ACMCC since 2014.
President of the Clinical Informatization Commission in CHBV since 2018.