I grew up as a very analytical and curious child, with a special interest in understanding how nature solved problems such as how to store memories in bioelectrical entities called neurons. I moved to Lisbon to study biomedical engineering, since the parallel study of biology and engineering perfectly fit my way of thinking. Meanwhile, I realized biological problems were the ones that I wanted to be solving and a summer internship followed by a Master’s thesis at Nuno’s Lab highlighted bioinformatics as the toolset I wanted to use to explore biology. When I am not thinking about splicing, you would probably find me outside with headphones and reading a book at a sunny place.
The retention of an intron, generally seen as the consequence of aberrant splicing, has been recently proven not only to be well regulated (and therefore not only accidental) but also important to tune gene expression in both time and space. Namely, retained introns may contain sequences that, when recognized by endogenous transport or degradation mechanisms, play a role in changing the cellular state in order to cope with external stimuli. The question that drives my PhD is how intron retention contributes to gene expression regulation across tissues, both in physiological contexts and upon cellular stresses, such as hypoxia or DNA damage.
Gallego-Paez LM, Bordone MC, Leote AC, Saraiva-Agostinho N, Ascensao-Ferreira M, Barbosa-Morais NL. "Alternative splicing: the pledge, the turn, and the prestige - The key role of alternative splicing in human biological systems." Hum Genet., 2017 Apr 3. doi: 10.1007/s00439-017-1790-y. [PUBMED]