Neuroscience and Disease

Redox Biology and Brain Sensing

In vivo Monitoring

Neurovascular/Neurometabolic Coupling


Redox Biology

Nitrite Biology and Antioxidants

Research lines

The molecular mechanisms inherent in neuromodulation and aging under an umbrella that characterizes the bidirectional communication between neurons and microvasculature by addressing quantitatively, in vivo, and in real-time the role of nitric oxide as a diffusional intercellular messenger, coordinating the neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling axis. The study of the neurovascular-neurometabolic coupling axis, encompasses mechanistic as well nutritional approaches with potential to restore the functionality of neurovascular coupling and cognition. PI: João Laranjinha

Technological innovation in terms of the design, development and implementation of microarray technology consisting of micro(bio)sensors for the real-time monitoring of neuromodulators, neurotransmitters and metabolic intermediates in the brain of anesthetized and conscious, freely behaving animals. PI: Rui Barbosa

The mechanisms of action of plant-derived dietary phenolic compounds in terms of protection against vascular endothelial dysfunction, anti-inflammatory properties, as well as their impact on nitrite-driven regulatory processes along the nitrate:nitrite:nitric oxide pathway, encompassing the non-enzymatic production of nitric oxide from dietary nitrite in the gastric compartment and the brain. PI: Leonor Almeida


  1. To unravel the pathways which govern redox regulation of cell functions with implications for aging and neurodegeneration, namely the molecular mechanisms inherent to neurometabolic and neurovascular coupling axis, that critically involve free radicals and oxidants, in particular nitric oxide.
  2. To design and develop novel and improved micro(bio)sensors for real-time monitoring of neuromodulators, neurotransmitters and metabolic markers in brain tissue ranging from slice preparations to conscious freely-moving rodents.
  3. To understand how the nitrate:nitrite:nitric oxide pathway as affected by dietary compounds (such as polyphenols) and ensued regulatory process with impact in in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and physiology.



The lab is equipped with highly specialized equipment for direct measurement of neurochemicals (nitric oxide, glutamate, ascorbate, dopamine, serotonin, etc.) and metabolic substrates/intermediates (oxygen, glucose, lactate, etc.) in vitro, ex vivo (tissue preparations, cell cultures, tissue homogenates) as well as in vivo. These include electrode and biosensors-based microarrays for brain stereotaxic insertion in vivo and chemiluminescent detector for nitric oxide in the gas phase. The lab has full-equipped setups for in vivo (anesthetized and freely moving) electrochemical recordings in the brain of rodents. Furthermore, the lab is also equipped with a chemiluminescence set up for detection of nitric oxide in the gaseous phase and nitroso and nitrated derivatives, and a high resolution respirometer (Oroboros Oxygraph 2k Instrument) which allows evaluation of oxygen consumption rates in closed chamber in preparations ranging from mitochondria and homogenates to tissue biopsies and slices.

R&D Projects

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