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Dr Andreia De Almeida

Dr Andreia De Almeida

Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences

School of Medicine

Email
dealmeidaa@cardiff.ac.uk
Campuses
Cochrane Building, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YU

Overview

You can find the most up to date information on my website: www.craftyscientist.co.uk

Hello! My name is Dr Andreia de Almeida and I'm a Biochemist teaching Biomedical Sciences in Phase I of the medical undergraduate (MBBCh) programme.

I have a passion for aquaporins and their role in health and disease, and a special (and lived) interest in reproductive health. I have many different interests (academic and otherwise), which lead me to be involved in a variety of different projects. I think Science Communication is essential, not only to bring science to a general audience but in teaching science as well.

Biography

You can find the most up to date information on my website: www.craftyscientist.co.uk

I graduated in Portugal, with a BSc and MSc in Biochemistry, at Universidade NOVA de Lisboa. I did several internships during my studies, where I worked in molecular biology, mathematical modelling, microbiology, and biophysics. Afterwards, I moved to The Netherlands, where I was awarded my PhD degree in April 2016. My PhD work was focused on metallodrugs as protein modulators, especially on metal-based compounds as possible anticancer agents. I then moved to Cardiff, working as a postdoctoral research associate at the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University.
In 2018, I was awarded a Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellowship to investigate glycerol channels’ role in cancer progression. Since then, I am part of the Tissue Microenvironment Group at the Division of Cancer and Genetics, Cardiff University.

In my spare time, you can find me dancing, dressmaking or photographing things around me.

Honours and awards

Funding as Principal Investigator

  • 2021 - Innovation for All Public Engagement grant Research Wales Innovation Funding (RWIF) (£7.4k)
  • 2019 - Wellcome Trust ISSF Public Engagement Proof-of-Concept Award (£7.2k)
  • 2018 - Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellowship (£75k)
  • 2018 - Aspiring Fellows fellowship as a part of Future Leaders in Cancer Research (FLiCR) initiative (£5000)

Funding as Co-Investigator

  • 2019 - Co-Investigator in GW4 Initiator Grant (GW4 NanoMedicine) (£14k)
  • 2018 - Co-Investigator in a project awarded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal (220k €)

Travel grants and awards

  • 2021 - Leadership in Public Engagement and Outreach, Royal Society of Biology (Link)
  • 2018 - Best Poster Presentation at Chemical Tools for Systems Biology III (RSC Conference), London, U.K.
  • 2018 - Best Oral presentation at EUROBIC14 (European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference), Birmingham, U.K.
  • 2018 - RSC Travel grant (Chemistry-Biology interface division), to attend Gordon Research conference in June 2018 (£400)
  • 2017 - Selected Participant for the 67th annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (5000€)
  • 2014 - Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) fellowship in the Scope of COST Action CM1106 “Chemical Approaches to Targeting Drug Resistance in Cancer Stem Cells“ (1800€)
  • 2013 - Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) fellowship in the Scope of COST Action CM0902 “Translocation of metallic ions across the biomembrane and their fate after uptake” (1800€)
  • 2012 - Best Presenter, Pharmacy Day of Groningen Institute of Pharmacy, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Biochemical Society
  • Member of the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC)
  • Member of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS)
  • Ambassador and Member of the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR)
  • Member of the Portuguese Cancer Research Society (ASPIC)

Academic positions

  • 2020 - Present - Postdoctoral Research Associate (British Lung Foundation), School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2018 - 2020 - Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellow, School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2016 - 2018 - Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Chemistry, Cardiff University
  • 2012 - 2016 - PhD candidate, Groningen Institute of Pharmacy, Groningen University, The Netherlands

Speaking engagements

  • CYTO Virtual 2021, ISAC (International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry) (virtual)
  • ECR showcase 2021, Cardiff University, U.K (virtual)
  • 14th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference (EUROBIC14), 26-30 August 2018, Birmingham, U.K.
  • South West structural Biology Consortium, June 2018, Exeter, U.K.
  • South West structural Biology Consortium, July 2017, Cardiff, U.K.
  • 1st International Symposium on Clinical and Experimental Metallodrugs in Medicine: Cancer Chemotherapy (CEMM), 12th-15th December 2015, Honolulu, USA
  • 6th European Conference of Chemistry in Life Sciences, 10th-12th June 2015, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Annual Pharmacy Day 2014, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Medicinal Chemistry and Bioanalysis (MCB) Symposium, 25th August 2014, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Annual Pharmacy Day 2013, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • 15th edition of the FIGON Dutch Medicines Days, 30 September - 2 October 2013, Ede, The Netherlands
  • Whole Action Meeting of the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action CM1105 “Functional metal complexes that bind to biomolecules”, 9-10th September 2013, Barcelona, Spain
  • Molecular Machinery COST Training School, 15-18th May 2013, Lisbon, Portugal
  • WG1+ WG5 Joint Meeting COST Action CM1105 “Functional metal complexes that bind to biomolecules”, 25-26 February 2013, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Annual Pharmacy Day 2012, Groningen, The Netherlands (Prize for best presenter of the session)

Committees and reviewing

  • June 2021 - Present - Cardiff University's family leave improvements working group - infertility lead
  • March 2021 - Present - Chair of the DCG NeRD committee
  • 2020 - 2021 - DCG NeRD committee member: a committee from the Division of Cancer and Genetics, run by ECRs, dedicated to the training and development of fellow ECRs across the division
  • 2017 - 2018- Athena Swan committee member, School of Chemistry, Cardiff University

- Reviewer for Chemical Communications (1), ChemMedChem (1), Chemistry - A European Journal (1), International Journal of Molecular Sciences (6), Amino Acids (1), Cells (3), Molecules (2), Inorganica Chimica Acta (1)

- Grant reviewer for the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, BBSRC, and the Slovak Research and Development Agency

Publications

2021

2019

2018

2017

2016

2014

2013

Teaching

You can find the most up to date information on my website: www.craftyscientist.co.uk

I teach in Phase one of the medical undergraduate degree (MBBCh): Case-Based Learning (CBL) Facilitator, Platform for Clinical Sciences (PCS) tutor, Student Selected Component (SSC) tutor. I am also an Associate Fellow (AFHEA) of AdvanceHE.

2021 - E-learning resources for the intercalated BSc in genomics, on qPCR and Western blot techniques
2021 - Workshop “Creativity and its place in Medical Education”, delivered at the Cardiff University Learning and Teaching conference
2021 - Lecture “Glycerol channels in cancer”, for Medical Pharmacology undergraduate students
2021 - Completed Facilitator training for Case Based Learning (CBL)
2021 - Shadowing of two Case-Based Learning (CBL) cases for year 1 MBBCh
2019 - Supervision of one MSc lab-based project student from MSc in Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, whose work is currently submitted as part of a manuscript
2018 - Coursework assessor for Trends in Drug Discovery, from Taught MSc Medicinal Chemistry program
2017 & 2018 - Lab demonstrator for Chemical Biology and Introduction to Chemistry of Life (years
1&2 from Chemistry BSc)
2016 - 2018 - Daily supervision of two PhD students, supervision of one MChem lab-based project, two Chemistry BSc computational projects, one literature review Taught MSc in Medicinal Chemistry. Additionally, I have supervised/trained several lab visitors (postgraduates).
2012 - 2016 - Supervision of four MSc research projects from MSc in Pharmacy, Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and TopMaster MSc in Medical and Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation, most resulting in published peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, I supervised two BSc in Pharmacy lab projects and supervised/trained several lab visitors (postgraduates).
2008/2009 - University-appointed tutoring of junior students in BSc Biochemistry
2007/2008 - Personal tutoring of individual pupils and groups (years 5-10) in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Portuguese

You can find the most up to date information on my website: www.craftyscientist.co.uk

Aquaporins in cancer development

My research focuses on identifying the role of small transmembrane water and glycerol channels, named Aquaglyceroporins, in cancer development. For this, I use known inhibitors rather than genetically altering cells, in order to determine their function and effects when inhibited. I aim at mapping the function of glycerol and hydrogen peroxide, via glycerol channels, in cancer development, cell migration, differentiation and metabolism. I am particularly interested in how the function, expression and localisation of glycerol channels are affected by the tumour environment and how their expression, in turn, affects cancer progression.
Currently, I am focused on understanding the Spatio-temporal patterns of aquaglyceroporin expression in prostate cancer, under hypoxia and how this contributes to prostate cancer metastasis.

Metal-based drugs as anticancer agents

I am also interested in the mechanism of action of metal-based drugs, as potential anti-cancer therapies. More specifically, my work focuses on metal-based drugs with fluorescence properties, that can be used as probes or trackers, for various cell functions, as well as have anti-cancer properties.

Crafting as a teaching tool and as a tool to improve mental health

In this project, we are interested in how crafting activities (which can be varied from drawing, pottery, textile arts, among others) can have a positive impact on an individual's mental health. Additionally, we are interested on how crafting can be used as an effective teaching tool.

Engagement

You can find the most up to date information on my website: www.craftyscientist.co.uk.

I am very passionate about Public Engagement, Science Communication, and Outreach and was awarded the Royal Society of biology Leadership in Public Engagement and Outreach award in 2021. You can read more about it HERE. If you’d like to listen to me, talking about my public engagement journey, and also listen to Elizabeth Mills, the award winner for the New Researcher category, you can watch the video on YouTube.

Some of my projects are listed below, and you can also find more information and resources on my website, which you can access by following this LINK.

Science Stitches - Communicating Science through Fashion (Website)

This project was initially funded by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund as a proof-of concept Public Engagement Project. Here, we are bringing cancer research to deprived communities, by engaging with Textile's pupils (years 9/10), with the aim of increasing awareness for cancer screenings and prevention. The project also focuses on sustainable fashion, as this is a major contributor to socio-economical and health factors nationally, and worldwide. We are currently working on bringing this project to other communities in a digital form.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing restrictions, many undergraduate students had to self-isolate and live alone, not attending physical classes and able to connect with new colleagues, and often in a new city, had strong negative effects on their mental health. To overcome/attenuate the effects of isolation, and stimulate creativity, we branched Science Stitches to include sending embroidery kits to medical students. We aim to stimulate undergraduate medical students' interest and engagement with science during their studies. Nonetheless, the main aim of this project is to help improve the mental health of medical undergraduate students during periods of isolation, by providing them with a creative outlet and opportunity to interact with scientists.

EVee - The 3D Extracellular Vesicle (Website)

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are tiny particles that are naturally released from cells. Their size varies, but most EVs are usually under 200 nm, about 2000x smaller than a human cell! They can have many functions, including transferring messages between different cells. We have developed a 3D model that is available for free download on our website and can be printed on any 3D printer. We aim for this model to be used for teaching and engagement activities all around the world and developed accompanying materials (booklets) for lay and non-lay audiences. These materials can be downloaded from our website and we aim to offer these in a variety of languages in the near future. The project has received funding to expand and develop digital resources in partnership with local schools.

Native Scientist Coordinator for the Portuguese Language in Wales

Organising science workshops in Portuguese, to promote science and language integrated learning for migrant or second-generation Portuguese-speaking children.