Tissue Repair and Inflammation

Our group’s main interest is to unravel the molecular mechanisms that control tissue and organ repair in order to address health challenges that have high impact on the quality of human life. 

The current research focus is on the role of cell metabolism and inflammation in tissue regeneration and cancer. We use a range of research approaches, such as advanced genetics, high-end microscopy and multi-omics analytics to investigate epithelial repair in Drosophila, retina and fin regeneration in zebrafish, and cancer biology using human organoids. We expect that these studies using animal and humans in-vitro model systems will contribute to a better understanding of tissue physiology and disease, which may lead to better diagnostics and novel therapeutic approaches based on the improvement of human regenerative capacity.

Graphical Abstract


Immune-based approaches to improve Breast Cancer management

Team Members: Rute Salvador, Bruna Correia, António Jacinto, Maria Guadalupe Cabral (IR: guadalupe.cabral@nms.unl.pt)


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common malignancy in women worldwide. Despite the vast ongoing research efforts, it remains a challenging disease to treat. Increasing evidences have been highlighting the role of inflammation and immune players in cancer progression and response to conventional treatments. Therefore, it is believed that a deeper understanding of BC immunobiology is needed for the implementation of more efficient and tailored treatments for this disease. Using patients’ clinical samples, our research is focused on finding particular immune traces in the tumor microenvironment of BC,  that could be translated into accurate predictive/prognostic biomarkers or into new target therapies, ultimately aiming to ameliorate BC patients’ care.


  • Saraiva DP, Correia BF, Salvador R, De Sousa N, Jacinto A, Braga S, Cabral MG. 2021. Circulating Low Density Neutrophils of Breast Cancer Patients are Associated with their Worse Prognosis due to the Impairment of T cell Responses. Oncotarget. 12(24):2388-2403. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.28135.
  • Saraiva DP, Azeredo-Lopes S, Antunes A, Salvador R, Borralho P, Assis B, Pereira, IL, Seabra Z, Negreiros I, Jacinto A, Braga S, Cabral MG. 2021. Expression of HLA-DR in Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes: A Validated Predictive Biomarker and a Potential Therapeutic Strategy in Breast Cancer. Cancers 13(15):3841. DOI: 10.3390/cancers1315384.
  • Saraiva DP, Matias AT, Braga S, Jacinto A, Cabral MG. 2020. Establishment of a 3D Coculture With MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Line and Patient-Derived Immune Cells for Application in the Development of Immunotherapies. Frontiers in Oncology 10:1543. Doi:10.3389/fonc.2020.01543.
  • Saraiva DP, Jacinto A, Borralho P, Braga S, Cabral MG. 2018. HLA-DR expression in cytotoxic T Lymphocytes predicts Breast Cancer patients’ response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Frontiers in Immunology, 13:9:2605


Liga Portuguesa Contra o Cancro (Terry Fox Research Grant 2019); Tagus Tank Consortium (Research Prize in Medicine 2018); Pfizer/Sociedade das Ciências Médicas (Clinical Research Prize 2019); iNOVA4Health (UID/Multi/04462/2013-Lisboa-01-0145FEDER-007)


  • GutOnPhenols - Targeting the onset of gut inflammation with bioavailable polyphenol metabolites
    2020 - present
  • ReInnervate - Mechanisms of reinnervation during skin repair: novel roles for intercellular communication
    2020 - present
  • YAP-Meta - YAP metabolism interplay: a mechanism to stimulate retina regeneration
    2018 - present
  • OntoGlia - How the brain’s immune cells develop: the role of Deleted in Autism-1 Related (DIA1R) in microglia ontogeny
    2018 - present
  • Immune-based approaches to improve Breast Cancer management
    2017 - present
    (Funded by Liga Portuguesa Contra o Cancro (Bolsa de investigação Terry Fox 2019); Consórcio Tagus Tank (Prémio de investigação em medicina 2018); Pfizer/Sociedade das Ciências Médicas (Prémio em investigação clínica 2019); iNOVA4Health (UID/Multi/04462/2013-Lisboa-01-0145FEDER-007))
  • MechanOJunctions - Occluding Junctions as novel regulators of epithelial mechanics during development and repair
    2018 to 2022
    (Funded by FCT — PTDC/BIA-BID/29709/2017)
  • TarGut - Targeting early stages of gut inflammation
    2018 to 2022
    (Funded by FCT/PORLisboa — 02/SAICT/2017)
  • RegenMeta - Interplay between metabolic reprogramming and cell fate plasticity: integrating metabolomics and transcriptomics to decipher the mechanisms of tissue regeneration.
    2017 - present
  • Pfizer Award for Basic Research, Antonio Jacinto (Team Member), 2021.
  • Pfizer Award for Clinical Research, Guadalupe Cabral (Principal Investigator), 2019.
  • Honour Medal (Silver) for Distinguished Service from the Ministry of Health, Portugal, Antonio Jacinto, 2014.
  • Prize for Autoimmunity Clinical Research, Núcleo de Estudos de Doenças Autoimunes (NEDAI - SPMI), Antonio Jacinto, 2014.
  • Apifarma prize for mobility, Antonio Jacinto, 2006.
  • Pfizer Award for Basic Research, Antonio Jacinto (Principal Investigator), 2005.
  • Prize for Best Poster Presentation, Santa Cruz Conference on Developmental Biology, USA, Antonio Jacinto, 2000.
NOVA Medical School integrates LS4FUTURE, new Associate Laboratory for Life Sciences

The kick-off meeting of the Associated Laboratory LS4FUTURE took place last May 4th, joining NMS with other institutes such as ITQB NOVA, IGC, iBET and IPO.

Principal Investigator

António Jacinto


Ana Teresa Tavares
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher
Maria de Guadalupe Gonçalves Cabral
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher
Lara Carvalho
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher
Raquel Lourenço
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher
Sofia Braga
Clinical Fellow
Sílvia Coelho
Clinical Fellow
Bruna Correia
PhD Student
Inês Gomes
PhD Student
Jorge Borbinha
PhD Student
Rita Gorgulho
PhD Student
Rute Salvador
PhD Student
Valdir Semedo
PhD Student
Benedita Vasconcelos
MSc Student
Daniela Grosa
MSc Student
Tomás Madureira
MSc Student