Between March 2001 and December 2014, I was part of the Center of Experimental Morphology (CME - FCT Unit 121/94), where I participated in the research projects under POCTI/NSE/35767/99 and POCTI/NSE/42834/2001.
During this period, I have learned and mastered various laboratory and histological techniques necessary for neurobiological research. Of these, I highlight the perfusion and removal of rat brains, material processing for embedding in epoxy resin and in glycolmethacrylate and Golgi impregnation methods; cutting brains in Vibratome and Cryostat; immunocytochemical techniques by the method of avidin-biotin and fluorescence; in situ hybridization techniques; techniques for processing and slicing material for electron microscopy, handling electron microscope, developing and printing photographs of electron microscopy. In order to conduct quantitative studies, I have learned and applied the stereological methods necessary to estimate volumes of brain areas/nuclei, cell volumes, total numbers of cells and synapses, surface area determinations and numerical density of particles. I have developed and applied methods for quantification by densitometry, in raw material processed for in situ hybridization or immunofluorescence. The studies I have accomplished were conducted in several areas of the central nervous system, including the hippocampal formation, the magnocellular basal nucleus, the medial pre-optic nucleus and hypothalamic suprachiasmatic and ventromedial nuclei.
From January 2015, I am an Investigator of the CINTESIS - Center for Health Technology and Services Research, located at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto.
From September 2012, I was the MSc theses advisor of two students from Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, the MSc theses co-advisor of one student from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto and of two students from University of São Paulo, Brazil, and the PhD advisor of one student from Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto.
In the present, my studies aim at understanding the ovarian hormone-induced neuronal mechanisms and circuitries that set in motion hormone-dependent cognition and behavior. This subject is of major importance because hormonal therapy using pharmacological agents and selective estrogen receptor modulators, offered to promote birth control, to prevent estrogen-related forms of cancer and to lessen menopause effects is increasing, without the knowledge of the effects of hormone receptor modulation in the female brain. By using female rat models, my study focus in the action of hormone receptors and the consequences of its activation/blockage in the modulation and triggering of neuronal networks leading to the construction of a behavioral response.