Susana Loureiro

1.What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?
As a researcher, my aims are to improve my skills and have a better collaboration network by participating in more international projects. This will follow the line I have already started within collaboration networks established under the auspices of FP6 and FP7 projects (Nomiracle and NanoFATE, respectively). For that, staying at the University of Aveiro, which is my main goal, will be crucial to consolidate my career as I have already built my research team, where I can count on several PhD, MSc students and Pos-docs to get science rolling!
My research perspectives will go into the direction of understanding how stressors influence organisms’ traits and how organisms cope with this. The impact of chemicals in the soil fauna and the inherent influence on nutrient cycling and decomposition processes are one of my main interests. Therefore, the study of agricultural practices and their influence on soil biota, under the soil ecosystem services umbrella, is also a goal. Going from a higher level of organization to a smaller scale, the internalization of nanoparticles in aquatic and terrestrial organisms is challenging and is one of the areas I will explore by using bioimaging techniques. This information will provide more insight knowledge on the way nanoparticles interact with cells, organs or molecules. Nowadays I am devoting my research to the toxicity and fate of nanoparticles/nanomaterials in the environment. This research will directly interact with other projects that are being carried out by researchers both within the University of Aveiro and also outside the university, through already established collaborations with the University of Exeter, Cardiff, Oxford and the Free University of Amsterdam, at NERC-CEH (UK) and VITO (Belgium).

2.In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
In ecotoxicology the “basics” to derive toxicity responses from chemical exposure are well established but there is still a huge amount of work to carry out to understand the main processes that role toxicity. In addition, nano-ecotoxicology is leading us to reconsider all the basics for “regular” ecotoxicology as variables that can hinder and role toxicity are more than the usually ones considered for “regular” chemicals. So in this case interdisciplinarity is crucial to trigger responses and actions by joining efforts from physics, chemistry, materials and biology.

3.Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
The strengths of our university lay on the diversity of research areas that can complement each other and by researchers that enjoy what they are doing. Another strength is the freedom that I have to perform my research, unfortunately, this is not usual elsewhere, within and outside of the UA. Nowadays the university has gained strength by the presence of new researchers in its research teams. They brought new vigor, knowhow and energy to build networks, apply to new and innovative projects, and get international funding. For sure that “dressing the UA shirt” is a major strength and several researchers wear it every day! This will make the UA name and prestige to travel abroad throughout the world.

4.Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
Although contention is one of the most common used words during the last months (or year!), currently office and lab space is lacking for research, in particular at the Biology department. Lab and office space are crucial to properly run scientific activities and it is something that must be improved and that would benefit the research activities at the University. In addition it would favor also the visit of external researchers, improving the collaborations abroad and the students’ exchange.


última atualização a 14-07-2014
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