João Bessa

Supervisor ESR14

MD (2001), PhD (2008), Board-certified psychiatrist (2009), Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, University of Minho, Principal Investigator and Research Project coordinator at ICVS/3B´s Associate Laboratory, University of Minho, member of the Academic Clinical Centre (2CA), Assistant Psychiatrist at Hospital de Braga and founding partner of a Bn´ML– Behavioral & Molecular Lab. Author and co-author of several original research articles and reviews in the field of Biological Psychiatry and Psychopharmacology, expert reviewer for multiple scientific journals in these fields. Ambassador of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) in Portugal since 2013.

1. Members of the team

  • Luísa Pinto

    Completed her PhD in Neurosciences on the subject of molecular mechanisms regulating neurogenesis in the developing mouse cerebral cortex at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany, in 2008. In 2009, joined the ICVS/3B´s Associate Laboratory, University of Minho where she is currently Research Project Coordinator, Assistant Researcher and Invited Assistant Professor of the School of Medicine. Manager of Bn´ML– Behavioral & Molecular Lab and Associate Member of EpiGeneSys, a FP7 European Community-funded Network of Excellence since 2012, author and co-author of several original research articles and reviews in Neuroscience and an expert reviewer for multiple scientific journals.

2. ICVS/3B´s Associate Laboratory

The research will be performed at Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, ICVS/3B´s Associate Laboratory ( , University of Minho University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. The ICVS is a R&D Unit incorporated in the School of Medicine, University of Minho, strategically located in the Northern region of Portugal within a fast-growing Cluster of Biomedical Science, Technology and Healthcare institutions, being organized around three interdisciplinary Research Domains: Microbiology and Infection, Neurosciences and Surgical Sciences. More than 250 researchers with complementary academic backgrounds are presently working at the ICVS. The biomedical, translational and clinical research results in more than 100 publications/year in international top-level scientific journals. Many of the ICVS researchers, including young scientists and MDs, have been honored with awards for their scientific achievements. The ICVS has an overall area of approximately 6000 m2. Its technological platform consists of high standard laboratories, with state-of-the-art scientific equipment for areas such as Cell and Tissue Culture, Electrophysiology, Biosafety Level 2 and 3, Molecular Biology, Imaging, Microscopy Imaging, Neuroanatomy/Neuroimaging, Histology, Biological Resources, Cytometry, Endoscopy as well as a fully equipped Centre for Animal Experimentation including areas for behavioral studies, experimental infections and surgical techniques.

3. TREATMENT project

  • ESR14

    ESR14 will study of the pathological metabolic adaptations in the CNS in response to antipsychotic administration and development of an animal model based design of rapid predictive test for metabolic dysfunctions due to drug administration in order to evaluate the impact of antipsychotic drugs in the CNS and its regulation of metabolic function through the hypothalamic-periphery axis. Two different animal models of schizophrenia will be used: the transgenic mouse model of DN (dominant negative) human DISC1 (Disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1) and the neurodevelopmental rat model of neurogenesis disruption with prenatal administration of the cytostatic agent methylazoxymethanol. The ESR will analyze how the antipsychotic drug treatment alters metabolic regulators in the CNS that will have an effect on neural activity and impact the neurodegenerative profile of the schizophrenic mice. We also expect to find differences in the metabolic drug response profile in the CNS of schizophrenic mice relative to controls, whose potential value as biomarkers will be validated in the human part of the study for tool development.