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Embryonic Development & Regeneration

We would like to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the left-right asymmetric placement of internal organs and the bilateral symmetric formation of musculoskeletal elements in vertebrates.

In addition we are interested in make the bridge between the fundamental developmental processes that we have been studying with the mechanisms that have to be activated during regeneration upon severe injury.

Research Team

Ana Paula Martins
MSc Student

Ana Ribeiro
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher

Carmen de Sena Tomás
Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher

Dalila Silva
PhD Student

Diana Chapela
PhD Student

Diogo Paramos
PhD Student

Isaura Martins
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Nídia de Sousa
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Research Areas

  • Left-Right Asymmetry
  • Somite Formation
  • Organ / Tissue Regeneration

Ongoing Research Projects

The intermediate mesoderm, a new player in the establishment of organ laterality? Funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (BIG 2016)

Angiocrine factors as modulators of spinal cord regeneration. Funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/BIM-MED/3295/2014)


  • 2012 L'Óréal Portugal Medals of Honor for Women in Science awarded to Ana Ribeiro
  • 2011 Olympus BioScapes Competition, Honorable Mention awarded to Rita Fior
  • 2005 Pfizer Award for Basic Research awarded to Leonor Saúde

Selected Publications

  • Mendes R.V., Martins G.G., Martins A.M. and Saúde L. N-cadherin locks left-right asymmetry by ending the leftward movement of Hensen's node cells. Developmental Cell (2014) 30(3):353-60.
  • Pascoal P., de Lima J.E, Leslie J.D., Hughes S.M. and Saúde L. Notch signalling is required for the formation of structurally stable muscle fibres in zebrafish. PloS ONE (2013) 8(6): e68021.
  • Fior R., Maxwell A.A., Ma T.P., Vezzaro A., Moens C.B., Amacher S.L., Lewis J. and Saúde L. Differentiation and movement of presomitic mesoderm progenitor cells are both controlled by Mesogenin1. Development (2012) 139(24): 4656-65.
  • Azevedo A.S., Sousa S., Jacinto A. and Saúde L. An amputation resets positional information to a proximal identity in the regenerating zebrafish caudal fin. BMC Developmental Biology (2012) 12(1):24 (selected as the hot topic of August issue).
  • Azevedo A.S., Grotek B., Jacinto A., Weidinger G. and Saúde L. The regenerative capacity of the zebrafish caudal fin is not affected by repeated amputations. PloS ONE (2011), Vol. 6(7); e22820.
  • Lourenço R., Lopes S.S. and Saúde L. Left-right function of dmrt2 genes is not conserved between zebrafish and mouse. PloS ONE (2010), Vol. 5(12); e14438.
  • Lopes S.S., Lourenço R., Pacheco L., Moreno N., Kreiling J. and Saúde L. Notch signalling regulates left-right asymmetry through ciliary length control. Development (2010), Vol.137(21); 3625-32 (evaluated by Faculty of 1000).
group leader :
Leonor Saúde