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Rita Fior

  1. Rita Leonor Cabral de Figueiredo Fior Sousa (Soares) Fior, PhD
    Research Associate

  2. I am Developmental Biologist, fascinated by how cells interact with each other, to deliver instructions, to collaborate, to compete or synchronize their actions. During my PhD, under the supervision of Prof. Domingos Henrique, I studied the Notch downstream events that control the balance between neural differentiation and progenitor maintenance (Fior and Henrique, 2005; 2009) and generated an unstable Notch reporter to study Notch signalling in real-time (Fior et al, 2011). For my Pos-doc I established a collaboration between Leonor Saúde (IMM, PT) and Julian Lewis (FRS, CRUK) and found a transcription based negative feed-back loop that allows the coordination between 3 major events during zebrafish segmentation: differentiation, cell movement and stem cell maintenance (Fior et al, 2012, Cutty, Fior et al, 2011). Recently, I became interested in CANCER. This turn in my scientific interest started building up, when I realized that there are several chemotherapy treatments options, but no available test to determine the best therapy for each individual patient. In 2014, I teamed up with Miguel Godinho-Ferreira to develop a new in vivo test for personalized medicine using the zebrafish-xenograft model. We challenged the model to test if it could reveal inter- and intra- tumor heterogeneity and screened the CRC international therapy guidelines (Fior et al, 2017). Future work is aimed at validating this model in clinical studies to test predictability of the assay (GI and Breast cancer). In addition, I would like to explore the cellular interactions that occur during innate tumor rejection/evasion. During my research career, I have been involved in teaching in several PhD editions of the IGC and PGCD (Cape Verde) programs as well as Master programs (FCUL, FML) and a Developmental Biology Master course at the FCT, UNL (2010-2016). Recently, I was invited to design and lecture a new course in Cell and Molecular Biology of Cancer in the Faculty of Science, University of Lisbon (2016- ) where development, evolution and clinical perspectives are mixed together in a series of seminars.

Key publications