João originates from a small city called Elvas, located in Portugal, near the Spanish border. This city is known to be where the Portuguese defended themselves from the Spanish invasions. The town is very small and almost feels like a village. In this city, he grew up with three older brothers - ‘It was always hectic living with my mom and brothers. My brothers defined the core hobbies that I do to this day.’
At the age of 14, he and his mom moved to Lisbon where he had access to more opportunities. João always wanted to study in a field that would be a mix-up of biology, mathematics, and physics-related fields. But he also really enjoyed the hands-on experience in the lab and the translation to the industry side of things. So, he ended up picking Biological Engineering for his integrated master's, which is in between Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. The main focus of his studies was on everything involved to culture cells and tissues in bioreactors of different sizes.
During his studies, he did his first internship at iBB, where he learned about the topic, periodontal tissue regeneration. This was his first real laboratory experience.
Because he liked the field so much, he did his master's internship in Lund, Sweden. There he worked in Paul’s Bourgine lab, studying mitochondrial transfer from mesenchymal stem cells to hematopoietic stem cells. Here he also worked with a 3D-printed perfusion bioreactor to perform his studies and gain a lot of experience in cell culturing, flow cytometry, immunostaining, and other techniques.
Afterwards, he decided that he really wanted to work on disease modelling and cartilage regeneration with bioreactors, so he applied to the CHANGE consortium, specifically to the LifeTec Group PhD position as he would work on developing a disease model of OA to study its progression and repair using the osteochondral platform, developed by the company.
João also always wanted to move to the Netherlands, due to its central position in Europe, being a hub of biotech companies in Europe and other benefits that are important for him. The first time coming to LifeTec Group he was a bit nervous, but the atmosphere and the way everyone interacted were good. ‘Everyone was really comfortable with each other, which I thought was really nice’.
We are happy to have Joao in our team and cannot wait to see the results of his research.