Research History

Index

I graduated in Biochemistry by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon in 1993 and initiated my research career 27 years ago, when I became a PhD student in the field of metalloprotein characterization. I completed my PhD on biochemistry by the University of East Anglia in 2000, followed by a post-doc on protein-protein interactions at the University of Leiden, partly funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship. During this period, I made important contributions to the characterization of a number of proteins containing metal co-factors and to the mechanisms through which proteins interact transiently with one another. These contributions were at the core of 16 publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

Nineteen years ago, following the award of a Marie Curie Reintegration Grant, I shifted my research focus and became interested in understanding the host-parasite interactions that take place during infection of the mammalian host by Plasmodium, the malaria parasite. I became a post-doc in Maria Mota’s research group, initially at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and later at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM). In 2008 I was hired under FCT’s Ciência 2007 program and became a Staff Scientist of iMM Lisboa’s Malaria Unit. In July 2013 I became a fully independent Group Leader at iMM , heading the Prudêncio lab, funded by the Investigador FCT programme. I was later hired by iMM under FCT’s Individual Call to Scientific Employment Stimulus in April 2019.  I was Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Global Medicine the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University of Chicago between 2019 and 2021. I was appointed Invited Associate Professor of the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa in March 2019, and completed my Habilitation in this Faculty in January 2023. I have been able to secure funding as principal investigator in competitive calls launched by national and international funding agencies or institutions, including FCT, Merck, the GSK-Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the La Caixa Foundation.

In these 20 years as a malaria researcher, I have contributed to expanding our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms at play during Plasmodium infection, new tools for the investigation of the malaria parasite, and the development of anti-malarial strategies. I have earned several scientific and innovation awards, including the CESPU award, the Mello award for health sciences, the BES innovation award and the University of Lisbon /Caixa Geral de Depósitos award, and am an inventor of several patents.

I am the author of over 140 scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals, with over 6600 citations, an h-index of 42, and an i10 index of 109. I have a network of collaborators who are world-leading scientists in their respective areas.

I have hosted several undergraduate and graduate research students, carrying out short and medium length training periods, as part of their graduate degree or PhD. I have supervised and/or co-supervised several PhD students and I was responsible for the supervision of multiple MsC students. I currently supervise 4 post-doctoral fellows, 1 PhD Student, 3 MSc students and 1 research assistant. I regularly lecture in multiple advanced teaching  undergraduate, MSc  and PhD courses in Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa and in other universities.

My research interests focus on the investigation of Plasmodium liver stages and on the exploitation of their potential for anti-malarial intervention. My research program includes unveiling novel aspects of the biology of Plasmodium infection, identifying drugs with antiplasmodial activity, establishing new experimental methodologies to study the malaria parasite, investigating the reciprocal impact of concurrent infections with Plasmodium and other infectious agents, and developing a new strategy for malaria vaccination .

I was Head of the Biosafety Level 3 Facility of the iMM Lisboa bewteen 2010 and 2016. I am a member of the iMM Lisboa Biosafety Commission and the scientific supervisor of this Facility. As Head of the iMM Lisboa BSL3 Facility, I have organized and lectured at several Biosafety courses held at iMM and INSA Ricardo Jorge.

I have had numerous media appearances on printed and online press, radio, and television, in relation to my research work in the malaria field or to the public understanding of science.

I am a founding member of the iMM Lisboa spin-off company RoPlaVac.

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, I was involved in setting up iMM’s Task Force for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. I have a keen interest on COVID-19 vaccination and have addressed this issue on multiple occasions in webinars and in the media.

Short Version

Miguel Prudêncio graduated in Biochemistry by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon in 1993 and completed his PhD on Biochemistry by the University of East Anglia in 2000, followed by a post-doctoral period at the University of Leiden. During this period, he worked on metalloprotein characterization and protein-protein interactions. In 2004, he shifted his research focus to the field of malaria and became a post-doc in Maria Mota’s research group at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM). In 2008, he became a Staff Scientist of iMM’s Malaria Unit and, in 2013, he became an independent Group Leader at iMM, heading the Prudêncio lab. He was appointed Invited Associate Professor of the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa in March 2019, and completed his Habilitation to this Faculty in January 2023.

Miguel’s research interests focus on the investigation of Plasmodium liver stages and on the exploitation of their potential for anti-malarial intervention. He is guided by the conviction that the ambitious goal of malaria eradication requires the combination of the knowledge driven by fundamental investigation with the targeted approaches afforded by translational research. His research program includes unveiling novel aspects of the biology of Plasmodium infection, identifying drugs with antiplasmodial activity, establishing new experimental methodologies to study the malaria parasite, and investigating the reciprocal impact of concurrent infections with Plasmodium and other infectious agents. Among his ambitions is a desire to contribute to the development of a much-needed effective vaccine against malaria, which has led him to investigate the immunology of Plasmodium liver infection, and to develop and clinically validate a novel approach to whole-sporozoite vaccination against malaria.

Miguel is the author of over 140 scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals, having earned several scientific and innovation prizes, and is an inventor of several patents. He regularly lectures at undergraduate and graduate courses in various Faculties.

As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, Miguel was involved in setting up iMM’s Task Force for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. He has a keen interest on COVID-19 vaccination and has addressed this issue on multiple occasions in webinars and in the media.

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Miguel Prudêncio completed his PhD by the University of East Anglia in 2000, followed by a post-doctoral period at the University of Leiden. In 2004, he initiated his research careeer in the field of malaria, at iMM, where  he became an independent Group Leader in 2013, heading the Prudêncio lab. He is Associate Professor of the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa since March 2019, and completed his Habilitation to this Faculty in January 2023. Miguel’s research focuses on Plasmodium liver stages and their potential for anti-malarial intervention. His interests include unveiling novel aspects of the biology of Plasmodium infection, identifying drugs with antiplasmodial activity, establishing new experimental methodologies to study the malaria parasite, investigating the reciprocal impact of concurrent infections with Plasmodium and other infectious agents, and developing a new strategy for malaria vaccination. Miguel is the author of over 140 scientific articles, has earned several scientific and innovation prizes, and is an inventor of several patents. He is a founding member the iMM spin-off company RoPlaVac. He was involved in setting up iMM’s Task Force for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics and has a keen interest on COVID-19 vaccination. 

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