Degeneration and Ageing

Our group's goal is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of ageing that lead to degeneration in age-related diseases of the brain and retina, with a particular emphasis on proteostasis. 

Cellular ageing means the progressive decline of several molecular mechanisms that protect DNA, proteins, and organelles from damage, resulting in a gradual loss of cellular functions, and ultimately in cell death.

Our group's goal is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of ageing that lead to degeneration in age-related diseases of the brain and retina, with a particular emphasis on proteostasis. Our purpose is to use that knowledge to develop new therapeutic approaches for diseases such as Parkinson's disease, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration in close collaboration with clinicians.

As models, we use cellular models (from yeast to human cells), and brain and retinal organoids.

Graphical Abstract
  • 2022-2024 - "Exploring a human retinal organoid model of early Diabetic Retinopathy for drug discovery”
    CHARNECO DA COSTA Grant- Sociedade Portuguesa de Diabetologia
    PI: Sandra Tenreiro
  • 2021-2022 - "Modelling hyperglycemia through human retinal organoids: a 3D model of early Diabetic retinopathy for drug discovery"
    PI: Sandra Tenreiro; Co-PIs: Gabriela Silva (NMS) and Cláudia Nunes dos Santos (NMS).
  • 2021-2022 - "Exosomes in transcellular proteostasis and Age-Related Macular Degeneration"
    Co-PI: Sandra Tenreiro;PI: João Ferreira (NMS).
  • 2018-2022- "Recovering neuronal function and promoting neuroprotection in diabetic retinopathy”
    Project 29656 (IC&DT – AAC n.º 02/SAICT/2017)
    PI: Sandra Tenreiro
  • Flores R, Carneiro A, TENREIRO S, Seabra MC. 2021. Retinal Progression Biomarkers of Early and Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Life. Doi: 10.3390/life12010036. Online ahead of print. Review.
  • Flores R, Carneiro A, Vieira M, TENREIRO S, Seabra MC. 2021. Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Pathophysiology, Management, and Future Perspectives. Ophthalmologica. Doi: 10.1159/000517520. Online ahead of print. Review.
  • Escrevente C, Falcão AS, Hall MJ, Lopes-da-Silva M, Antas P, Mesquita MM, Ferreira IS, Cardoso MH, Oliveira D, Fradinho AC, Ciossek T, Nicklin P, Futter CE, TENREIRO S, Seabra MC. 2021. Formation of Lipofuscin-Like Autofluorescent Granules in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium Requires Lysosome Dysfunction. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 62:39.
  • Ferreira C, Couceiro J, TENREIRO S, Quintas A. 2021. A biophysical perspective on the unexplored mechanisms driving Parkinson's disease by amphetamine-like stimulants. Neural Regeneration Research. 16:2213-4. Review.
  • Flores R, Carneiro A, Serra J, Gouveia N, Pereira T, Mendes JM, Coelho PS, TENREIRO S, Seabra MC. 2021. Correlation Study Between Drusen Morphology and Fundus Autofluorescence. Retina. 41:555–62.
  • Klionsky DJ, et al, 2021 Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition) Autophagy. 17:1-382.
  • Ferreira C, Almeida C, TENREIRO S, Quintas A. 2020. Neuroprotection or Neurotoxicity of Illicit Drugs on Parkinson's Disease. Life 10:86. doi: 10.3390/life10060086. Review.
  • Ferreira C, Couceiro J, Família C, Jardim C, Antas P, Santos CN, Outeiro TF, TENREIRO S, Quintas A. The synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 modulates S. cerevisiae energetic metabolism. 2019. FEMS Yeast Research. 19 :foz042. DOI: 10.1093/femsyr/foz042
  • Charneco da Costa Grant 2022 from Sociedade Portuguesa de Diabetologia;
  • Paper Marked as Editor's Choice: The paper Ferreira et al., 2020 was handpicked by the section editor-chief, Prof. Dr. Ramón Cacabelos, from Life journal, as the best paper 2020;
  • Top Altmetric Scoring Article and Paper Marked as Editor's Choice: The paper Ferreira et al., 2019 was in the top 10 highest Altmetric scores of all papers published in the FEMS Yeast Research journal in 2019.
PhD Opportunities @ Sandra Tenreiro & Paula Macedo Labs

Contacts: &

Deadline for contacts: 10th March 2023

  • António Cuadrado, Faculty of Medicine Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
  • Donata Wawrzycka, Department of Genetics and Cell Physiology, Institute of Experimental Biology, University of Wroclaw, Poland
  • Alexandre Quintas, Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde Egas Moniz, Lisboa.
  • Susana Simões and Lino Ferreira, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra.
  • Catarina Brito, ITQB NOVA - Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier, Oeiras.
  • Evguenia Bekman, Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Research Group, Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa.
  • Federico Herrera, Faculty of Sciences, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • João Raposo, MD and Rogério Ribeiro, Associação Protetora dos Diabéticos de Portugal
  • Nuno Matela, Instituto de Biofísica e Engenharia Biomédica, Departamento de Física da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
  • Cláudia Nunes dos Santos, NOVA Medical School, UNL
  • Gabriela Silva, NOVA Medical School, UNL.
  • Rune Matthiesen, NOVA Medical School, UNL.
  • Paulo Pereira, NOVA Medical School, UNL.
  • António Jacinto, NOVA Medical School, UNL.

Principal Investigator

Sandra Tenreiro
Principal Investigator


Ana Sofia Falcão
PhD/Post-doctoral Researcher
Luisa Lemos
PhD/Post-doctoral Researcher
Pedro Camacho
PhD/Post-doctoral Researcher
Ana Fradinho
PhD Student
Beatriz Felgueiras
PhD Student
Bruno Pereira
PhD Student
Margarida Pedro
MSc Student
Marta Cação
MSc Student
Olga Carreira
MSc Student
Rita Covas
MSc Student
Zélia Monte
MSc Student , MD
Vicente Miguel