Ana Luísa Cardoso graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Coimbra (UC) in 2004, being awarded a merit prize as one of the 3% top students of the Faculty for Science and Technology of UC. In the same year she received a Ph.D scholarship from the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) and initiated her Ph.D under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Conceição Pedroso de Lima at the Biochemistry Department of UC. Between 2004 and 2008 she worked in the development of lipid-based nanoparticles for siRNA delivery to the CNS, aiming at generating new therapeutic tools for treatment of acute brain lesion. Her Ph. D. project was performed in collaboration with Prof. Ernst Wagner and Dr. Carsten Culmsee, at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Ludwig-Maximillian University (LMU) and with Prof. Dr. Nikolaus PLesnila, at the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research (LMU) in Munich, where she had the opportunity to develop research work during 2006 and 2007.
After obtaining her Ph.D. in Biochemical Technology (2008), Ana Cardoso integrated the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC) as a Post Doc, where she had the opportunity to study the role of miRNA deregulation in CNS diseases, including glioblastoma and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In 2012, Ana Cardoso was awarded a grant from FCT to develop a new lentiviral-based platform to modulate miRNAs in AD animal models, aiming at decreasing APP and BACE levels and improving neuronal deficits. As a result of her efforts, in 2013, she was selected to integrate the project “New strategies to manage brain diseases”, assuming a two-year position as Invited Auxiliary Investigator at UC. From 2013 to 2015 Ana Cardoso gave her first steps as an independent scientist, focusing her research in the field of neuroimmunology, and publishing her first papers as corresponding author. In 2016 she was awarded a second Pos Doc fellowship to continue to investigate the contribution of miRNAs to the modulation of innate immune responses. During her career,Ana Cardoso has worked in close proximity with several national and international Ph.D and Master Programs, successfully supervising 8 Master students and 1 Ph.D student and organizing/participating in several Advanced Courses in Neurosciences, Gene Therapy and Epigenetics, both at CNC and in other Portuguese Institutions.
In 2017, Ana Cardoso accepted a new professional challenge and integrated, as a senior Investigator, the recently formed Neuronal Circuits and Behavior Group, led by Dr. João Peça. Her most recent work has been focused on understanding the crosstalk between the immune system and neuronal homeostasis mechanisms, with the ultimate goal of unveiling the role of stress-triggered neuroinflammatory events in synaptic architecture and in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. In this context, she is currently supervising 3 Ph.D students and 1 Master student and was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Bial Foundation to investigate the contribution of maternal separation during early-life to microglia-mediated synaptic sculpting.
In the last 5 years Ana Cardoso has published 22 peer-review papers, 6 of which as last/corresponding author, accumulating over 800 citations (SCOPUS), which resulted in an h-index of 16 (SCOPUS). She has also attained competitive funding as Principal Investigator in the form of two grants (FCT: 2012-2016, 100 000 euros and Bial Foundation: 2017-2019, 45 000 euros).