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PhD student

Education and Training

MSc in Biological Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 2016

BSc in Biological Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 2014

Research activities

Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is an effective way to treat a variety of hemato-oncological diseases. Umbilical cord blood (UCB) presents several advantages compared to adult sources (e.g. bone marrow) including abundant availability and ease of collection, non-risk and painless harvesting, and lower risk of Graft-versus-Host Disease. However, the therapeutic utility of UCB cells has been limited to patients with less than 45 kg due to the limited cell numbers per unit.
Thus, my work consists in trying to solve this issue by ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), a subpopulation with a very high self-renewal potential that can give rise to all cell types of the hematopoietic system. To achieve this, my objective is to design and devise a prototype bioreactor where the number of HSPCs can be expanded without losing their intrinsic characteristics in a cost-effective manner.

Selected publications

Branco, A., Bucar, S., Moura-Sampaio, J., Lilaia, C., Cabral, J.M.S., Fernandes-Platzgummer, A., da Silva, C.L. Tailored Cytokine Optimization for ex vivo Culture Platforms Targeting the Expansion of Human Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells. Front Bioeng Biotechnol 8:573282 (2020).

de Almeida Fuzeta, M., de Matos Branco, A.D., Fernandes-Platzgummer, A., da Silva, C.L., Cabral, J.M.S. Addressing the Manufacturing Challenges of Cell-Based Therapies in Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology, Springer (2019).

Lämmermann, I., Terlecki-Zaniewicz, L., Weinmüllner, R., Schosserer, M., Dellago, H., Branco, A., Autheried, D., Sevcnikar, B., Kleissl, L., Berlin, I., Morizot, F., Lejeune, F., Fuzzati, N., Forestier, S., Toribio, A., Tromeur, A., Wienberg, L., Almaraz, J., Scheideler, M., Rietveld, M., El Ghalbzouri, A., Tschachler, E., Gruber, F., Grillari, J. Blocking negative effects of senescence in human skin fibroblasts with a plant extract. NPJ Aging Mech Dis 4:4 (2018).