MIT Portugal PhD students selected to represent Portugal at Nobel Laureate meetings


Two doctoral students in the MIT Portugal Bioengineering program will represent half of the delegation from Portugal at the 60th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this summer in Germany.

David Malta and Carlos Rodriguez, both based at IST-Technical University of Lisbon, were nominated by Prof. João Sentieiro, the President of the Portuguese National Science Foundation (FCT), to represent their country at the prestigious gathering that brings young researchers and scholars from around the world together with many Nobel laureates.

Currently completing his research visit in the Sangeeta Bhatia lab at MIT, Malta said he was proud to represent Portugal and the MIT Portugal Program at this distinguished event. "This is a unique opportunity to be amongst some of the brightest minds in my field. This year in particular the presence of last year's laureates in Medicine and Physiology is striking. Their work on the discovery of HIV is for me one of the most important directions for research in public health."


ISCTE-IUL and MIT Portugal Launch Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI)


A new component of the MIT Portugal Program – the MIT Portugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (IEI) – has been launched to support Portugal’s goal to strengthen its capacity in business education, technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL); MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation; MIT Entrepreneurship Center; and MIT’s School of Engineering.

”The IEI will adapt elements of MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem into the MIT Portugal Program to expose participants to challenges and opportunities associated with technology commercialization, and is a natural complement to the MIT Portugal Program’s education initiatives,” says Prof. Daniel Roos, Director of the MIT Portugal Program at MIT. “We are excited to add ISCTE-IUL to the growing list of leading Portuguese institutions involved with MIT Portugal, and are pleased to welcome the MIT Deshpande Center and MIT Entrepreneurship Center to the team.”

An International “Ventures Competition”

The IEI is established with three aims: create new business ventures from emerging technologies (the “New Technology Ventures Competition”); support the “Entrepreneurship Teams” approach across the MIT Portugal Program; and design and implement a series of meetings and events to showcase technological innovation in Portugal.

This Venture Competition will help identify and reward global projects that are at an embryonic stage – projects with high-level technological content, or products or services that are able to demonstrate a highly innovative approach. Finalists from other national Portuguese competitions (e.g., Start, BES Inovação, EDP/Richard Branson, Audax, CoHitec, etc) will be encouraged to participate.

Deadline for submissions is June 18, 2010.

A distinguished academic and professional multi-disciplinary jury will judge the venture finalists, in a televised event. Among other members, the panel will include Professor José Paulo Esperança, Professor of Finance and Dean of International Relations at ISCTE-IUL, Founder and Chairman of the Audax Centre for Entrepreneurship; Professor Edward B. Roberts, David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology, MIT Sloan School of Management, Founder and Chair of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center; and Professor Charles L. Cooney, Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, and Founder and Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT.

Technology showcase events will be designed to complement the venture competition.

Expanding the Reach of i-Teams and Bio-Teams

The IEI will adapt and expand the successful MIT i-Teams and MIT Portugal BioTeams curricula to Venture Competition participants by supporting the design and launch of an interactive Go-to-Market workshop for Track Finalists. Professor Fiona Murray, Sarofim Family Career Development Professor, Associate Professor MIT Sloan School of Management, Associate Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, and Dr. Luis Perez-Breva, Research Scientist – co-Faculty Directors of i-Teams - are collaborating with ISCTE-IUL faculty to adapt curriculum across the competition.

The IEI is led by ISCTE-IUL Professor José Paulo Esperança, MIT Professor Charles L. Cooney, MIT Professor Edward B. Roberts, and MIT Professor Daniel Roos, MIT Director of the MIT Portugal Program. José Estabil, IEI Program Director at MIT ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and Gonçalo Amorim, Project Director at Audax / ISCTE-IUL ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), oversee day-to-day activities.

More information about the IEI Venture Competition is available at


Article by Bioengineering Faculty is most-read in Systems Biology


An article by lead author Isabel Rocha and co-author Eugénio Ferreira, both MIT-Portugal Bioengineering faculty at the University of Minho, was distinguished as the most-viewed article of the past month by the journal BMC Systems Biology.

The article, “OptFlux: an open-source software platform for in silico metabolic engineering,” was written by Isabel Rocha, Paulo Maia, Pedro Evangelista, Paulo Vilaça, Simão Soares, José P. Pinto, Jens Nielsen, Kiran R. Patil, Eugénio C. Ferreira, and Miguel Rocha. It reflects research leading to the development of an open-source software platform for Metabolic Engineering, now freely available, supported in part by the FCT MIT-Portugal 2008 Open Call.

MostViewed_ScreenshotThe software aims at allowing researchers both from industry and academia to simulate, in a user-friendly way, the behavior of industrially important microorganisms under a variety of conditions and also indicates which genetic modifications may lead to enhanced strains for a particular application. Therefore, the platform expedites research by decreasing significantly the number of experiments that have to be performed to achieve a better biotech industrial process.

The two MIT-Portugal affiliate companies that support this project, Biotrend and Biotempo, have close interests in the algorithms and tools that have now been made available. Biotempo is already using this software for internal research projects and Biotrend is considering the development of model-based strategies and may therefore use some tools in the near future.

This research contributes to the Program’s application area in Stem Cell Engineering for Regenerative Medicine by providing algorithms that could be applied to improve our understanding of the metabolism and regulatory processes of stem cells.

Isabel Rocha was also celebrated this month as a winner of the 2009 MIT-Portugal Education Innovation Awards.


Ceremony Honors Faculty Winners of 2009 Education Innovation Awards


The seven Portuguese faculty judged as winners of the 2009 MIT-Portugal Education Innovation Awards were honored at a ceremony at the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon on 4 May 2010.

These awards are an important element of the Program’s efforts to recognize and reward excellence in the design and delivery of educational programs in Portugal. The Program leadership, through the awards, seeks to give greater incentive to outstanding teaching as part of its desire to ensure the quality of its degree programs.Mário Mesquita presents awards to Jorge Pinho de Sousa (FEUP) and António Pais Antunes (FCT-UC)

At the award ceremony, Prof. António M. Cunha, the Rector of the University of Minho, offered his impressions of the educational achievements of the MIT-Portugal Program, what he thought would be its enduring contributions to the Portuguese higher education system, and how a second phase of MIT-Portugal might come to pass. Prof. Cunha said that the MIT-Portugal educational programs had demonstrated that it is possible in Portugal to conduct such high-level training at an internationally rigorous scientific level while also meeting the real-life challenges of industry, and said he hoped that this higher expectation for graduate education would be preserved in a second MIT-Portugal phase and in Portugal’s universities as a whole.


A Virtual Day of Lisbon Traffic Provides Vision for Mobility Decision Tools


A unique partnership of students and faculty in the MIT-Portugal CityMotion project, a Portuguese design atelier, and two major taxi operators in Lisbon has produced a series of innovative visualizations of Lisbon traffic that points towards future mobility decision tools for individuals and industry.

These visualizations, by University of Coimbra Master’s student Pedro Cruz, map the GPS coordinates and velocity of 1534 taxis circulating in Lisbon during October 2009. This information is condensed in one single virtual day, grouping the data by second and displaying it as an animation. Each experiment explores a different way to visualize and express information.

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