This group is under the direction of Prof. Paulo Andrade and includes 11 integrated researchers, 1 collaborator, and 5 PhD students. Researchers have a common history of research in Centro de Morfologia Experimental (Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto) with know‑how in cellular, molecular, behavioural, cognitive and developmental neuroscience, and in in vitro studies. The research focus is on the identification and understanding of the mechanisms underlying the influence of determinants (e.g. hormones) and risk factors (e.g. alcohol consumption, nutritional factors) of ageing and disease in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Research is supported by fully equipped neuroscience, behavioural, cell cultures and stereological laboratories.
The Neuronal Degeneration and Regeneration group (NeuroGen) carries out research at the university, and gathers together neuroscientists, biologists, biochemists, nutritionists, and psychologists that share interest in neuronal plasticity, i.e. the capacity of neurons to adapt to new and/or challenging situations. An important part of the research concerns the cellular and molecular basis of neuronal plasticity in the healthy brain, and in conditions of ageing, degeneration, chronic and acute stress or dysfunction, when neuroprotective pathways and survival signaling are challenged. Gender differences during lifespan and in response to aggressive agents/conditions, and the role of estrogens in neuronal plasticity and neuronal survival or degeneration are also an important research focus of the group. The group has a long history of research on the effects of stress, and alcohol addiction and withdrawal during adulthood and ageing on the limbic system. The group is also conducting experimental work to study the interaction of different neurotrophic systems (e.g., acethylcholine and dopamine), and changes in trophic signaling and its influence on the mechanisms of neuronal protection and repair during ageing and in experimental conditions of chronic alcohol consumption and subsequent withdrawal. The influence of neurotrophins in central cholinergic pathways has received particular attention as they regulate global functions such as attention, arousal, motivation, memory and consciousness.
Another focus of the group is the ability of several nutritional antioxidant biological compounds present in foods and of several types of diets to prevent or enhance structural detrimental events and cognitive decline that occur during healthy ageing and are present in numerous neurodegenerative diseases related to ageing.
Other PhD Members
- Alfredo Ribeiro da Silva
- José Carlos da Silva Caldas
- Sandra Carla Ferreira Leal
- André Rodrigues Pinho
- Bruno Tiago dos Santos Guimarães
- Elce Cristina Côrtes Rebouças
- Ricardo Manuel de Pinto Vaz
- Ruben Sá Balão Alves Rocha
- Sérgio Miguel Azevedo Silva