Helena Oliveira (Portugal)


Department of Biology, CESAM (Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies) & CICECO (Aveiro Institute of Materials), University of Aveiro

3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal


Phone : +351 234 247186

Email : holiveira (at) ua.pt

COST ROLE: Leader of the working group 5-Toxicity


The associate laboratory CESAM - Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (www.cesam.ua.pt) is an interdisciplinary Associated Laboratory that aggregates researchers from 6 University of Aveiro (UA) Departments and a group from the University of Lisbon. Through these Departments, CESAM is served by stationary, as well as mobile, laboratory facilities that complement each other for on-going research, in multidisciplinary areas (e.g meteorology, analytical & environmental chemistry, atmospheric pollution, genomics, toxicology, ecotoxicology, biodiversity, ecology, environmental planning and management). These infrastructures are available to CESAM researchers, in addition to other resources provided by the UA, as the Central Laboratory of Analysis, libraries, computing facilities, etc. CESAM and UA provide a highly competitive and multicultural work environment with a broad range of scientific and complementary areas with also state-of-art scientific core facilities available to implement several laboratory methodologies (e.g. cell culture facilities equipped with microscopes, a flow cytometry unit, plate readers, real-time PCR, NMR, mass spectrometer analyser, SEM, TEM, AFM, NIR excitation systems, etc). CESAM researchers receive a per annum allowance determined by their scientific productivity.

The associate laboratory CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials, UA, joins some 400 chemists, physicists and materials engineers making it the largest Portuguese Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E) institute (www.ciceco.ua.pt). The instrumental facilities of CICECO are the best in the country for MS&E, including SEM, TEM, AFM, X-ray diffraction, NMR, vibrational spectroscopies, measurement of optical, magnetic, electric, thermal, mechanical properties, furnaces, autoclaves, reactors, ALD, CVD, a computer cluster, etc. CICECO researchers are given starting up financial support, depending on the nature of their work, and a per annum allowance, determined by their scientific productivity and technology transfer performance. Centre for Research in Ceramics and Composite Materials was created in March 2002 at the UA, Portugal, with the mission of developing the scientific and technological knowledge necessary for the innovative production and transformation of ceramics and organic-inorganic hybrids and materials for a sustainable development.

H Oliveira graduated in Biology from the University of Aveiro (UA) in 1998, obtained a Master degree in Coastal Zones Sciences in 2002 and a PhD in Biology in 2009 in the same University. Since 2009 she has been working as a post-doctoral fellow in CESAM/UA. Also, since 2009, she is the responsible for the flow cytometry facility at Department of Biology, UA. In the past she has participated as member of the research team of 4 national (FCT) funded projects, two of them on the evaluation of toxic potential of silver nanoparticles. H Oliveira is presently the Principal Investigator in the international project PLATOX – ERA-SIINN/0003/2013 that aims to establish a lung toxicity ranking for several graphene compounds. Furthermore, she is member of the research team of the recently FCT funded project (PTDC/CTM-NAN/4647/2014) that will study the potential of upconverting nanoparticles as nanoheaters and nanothermometers, in which she is responsible for the in vitro toxicity studies. H Oliveira is presently integrating two important European networks as member of 2 COST actions related to nanotechnology/nanotoxicololgy, TD1204 (MODENA- Modelling Nanomaterial Toxicity), as Management Committee (MC) substitute and CM1403 (The European upconversion network - from the design of photon-upconverting nanomaterials to biomedical applications), as MC member and leader of the Toxicity Working Group. H Oliveira has published 37 research papers in international peer-review journals, Furthermore, she has authored 4 book chapters and participated in national and international conferences. Since her PhD degree, H Oliveira has completed the supervision of 1 PhD and 13 MSc students and ongoing the supervision of 2 MsC and 3 PhD students. Presently, H Oliveira is a post-doc researcher at CESAM &CICECO/UA and her research group is composed by 3 PhD students, 2 MsC students and 2 research fellows.

Description and scientific profiles of the group

In vitro cell culture (both human and animal cells, e.g. skin, bone, blood, liver, lung). Cytotoxicity and genotoxic assessment: changes in cell morphology and viability; oxidative stress indicators, such as the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), antioxidative enzymes activities, and oxidative damage of lipids and proteins; mitochondrial function; induced apoptosis; cell cycle dynamics by flow cytometry; DNA damage by the comet assay;; cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus cytome assay.

Gene expression: The expression of cell-cycle, oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis related genes.

Electron microscopy techniques (transmission and scanning). Our institution is fully equipped for the flow cytometry, molecular biology, microscopy and cytotoxicity studies.

Research infrastructure

At the Biology Department, University of Aveiro, we have a fully equipped facility for in vitro cells culture: CO2 incubator Binder (CO2 incubator- Binder CB 150L); Flow chambers (BLUspace Luce Biological Safety Cabinet). We are fully equipped for the flow cytometry, molecular biology, microscopy and cytotoxicity studies: inverted microscopes Nikon (Nikon Eclipse TS 100f); two flow cytometers (Beckman Coulter Epics XL, Attune® Acoustic Focusing Cytometer); plate reader (Biotek Synergy HT), Real-Time PCR Detection System iCycler iQ™. The institution is also equipped with electron microscopes (HR-SEM-SE/EDS: Hitachi, model SU-70, EDS Bruker, model QUANTAX 400, HR–TEM200–SE/EDS: JEOL, model 2200FS and EDS Oxford, model INCA Energy TEM 250). We have also available a Zetasizer Nano Series Analyzer (Malvern Instruments) for Dynamic Light Scattering and zeta potential measurements.

Most significant recently published papers:

  • ML Debasu, CDS Brites, S Balabhadra, H Oliveira, J Rocha and LD Carlos. Nanoplatforms for Plasmon-Induced Heating and Thermometry. Chemnanomat, In Press
  • V. Bastos, J.M.P. Ferreira de Oliveira, D. Brown, H.Jonhston, E. Malheiro, A.L Daniel-da-Silva, I.F. Duarte, C. Santos and H. Oliveira. The influence of Citrate or PEG coating on silver nanoparticle toxicity to a human keratinocyte cell line. Toxicology Letters. 2016; 249:29-41
  • S. Silva, H. Oliveira, S. C. Craveiro, A. J. Calado, C. Santos. Pure anatase and rutile+anatase nanoparticles differently affect wheat seedlings. Chemosphere. 2016; 151:68-75
  • J Carrola, V Bastos, JMPF Oliveira, H Oliveira, C Santos, A Barros, A Gil, IF Duarte. Insights into the impact of silver nanoparticles on human keratinocytes metabolism through NMR metabolomics. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 2016; 589:53-61.
  • A Ascenso, T Pedrosa, S Pinho, F Pinho, JMP Ferreira de Oliveira, HC Marques, H Oliveira, S Simões and C Santos. The Effect of Lycopene Preexposure on UV-B-Irradiated Human Keratinocytes. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2016 Article ID 903961
  • C. Menezes, S. Raposo, S. Simões, H. Ribeiro, H. Oliveira, A. Ascenso. Prevention of Photocarcinogenesis by Agonists of 5-HT1A and Antagonists of 5-HT2A Receptors. Molecular Neurobiology 2016:53:1145-64.
  • H. Oliveira, C. Monteiro, F. Pinho, S. Pinho, J. M. P. Ferreira de Oliveira, C. Santos. (2014) Cadmium-induced genotoxicity in human osteoblast-like cells. Mutation Research 775-776: 38-7
  • A.Ascenso, A. Salgado, C. Euletério, F. Garcia Praça, M. L.B. Bentley, H.C. Marques, H. Oliveira, C. Santos, S. Simões.(2014) In Vitro and In Vivo Topical Delivery Studies of Tretinoin - Loaded Ultradeformable Vesicles. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 88: 48-55.
  • J.M.P. Ferreira de Oliveira, M. Costa; T. Pedrosa; P. Pinto; C. Remédios; H. Oliveira; F. Pimentel; L. Almeida; C. Santos. (2014) Sulforaphane induces oxidative stress and death by p53-independent mechanism: implication of impaired glutathione recycling. PLoS ONE 9(3): e92980

Related research grants:

  • “PLATOX: In vitro and in vivo investigations to generate validated toxicity data of graphene nanoplatelets vs. carbon black reference”. (2015-1017) ERA-SIINN/0003/2013. Principal Investigator.
  • “Nanoheaters and nanothermometers playing together: towards applications in Brownian motion and hyperthermia” (2016-2019). PTDC/CTM-NAN/4647/2014
  • “Metabolic profiling: a novel tool for evaluation of the toxicological and biological effects of nanomaterials” (2012-2015). PTDC/SAU-TOX/120953/2010
  • “ASSAY - Assessment of fate and effects of Silver nanoparticleS in Aquatic ecosystems” (2011-2014) PTDC/AAC-AMB/113649/2009


COST Action CM1403 (2014-2018)

Chair: dr Hans Gorris (University of Regensburg, Germany)

Vice-Chair: prof.Tero Soukka (University of Turku, Finland)

COST Science Officer: Dr. Lucia Forzi (Bruseels, Belgium)

STSMs Manager: dr hab. Artur Bednarkiewicz (PAS & WCB EIT+, Poland)


info @ ucnp.eu


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