Sónia Duarte graduated in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Sciences and Technology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, in 2004. In 2005, she got a fellowship at the Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Minho, Portugal, to work in the project (POCTI BIO/47245/2002) entitled: “Preparação de agentes para Terapia Molecular por purificação e condensação simultânea de plasmídeos em sistemas de duas fases aquosas", under supervision of Professor João Carlos Marcos. Then, she moved in 2007 to the Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology, Coimbra, Portugal, to work with a research fellow in the project (PTDC/BIO/65627/2006) entitled: “Development of a novel approach for anti-tumor therapy based on the S413-PV cell penetrating peptide to improve the intracellular delivery of therapeutic proteins and nucleic acids”, under supervision of Professor Maria da Conceição Pedroso de Lima.
In 2008, she was granted a PhD fellowship from FCT (SFRH/BD/32797/2007) to develop her PhD project “ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF ANTITUMOURAL THERAPEUTIC STRATEGIES: Suicide gene therapy mediated by lipid-based systems and cancer stem cell-based vaccination”, which constituted her PhD dissertation, in the research group of Professor Maria da Conceição Pedroso de Lima, at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Coimbra, Portugal. Her PhD project was performed in collaboration with Doctor Valérie Pierrefite-Carle, at the Laboratory of CNRS (UMR 6235 CNRS) in Nice, France, where she had the opportunity to develop the research work for her PhD thesis during 2010 and 2011. In March 2012, she joined the group of Professor Luís Pereira de Almeida at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (Vectors and Gene Therapy group), University of Coimbra, Portugal, to work in the project (PTDC/SAU-FAR/116535/2010) entitled “Non-invasive Non-viral Silencing of Machado-Joseph disease”. In July 2012, Sónia got her PhD degree in Biochemical Technology at the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
In 2013, she was awarded a post-doctoral grant by FCT (SFRH/BPD/87552/2012), with the project “Investigating the role of the Let-7 microRNA in Machado-Joseph disease”. Since then, her research work has been dedicated to investigate the miRNA involvement in MJD pathology and develop a miRNA-based therapeutic approach to this disease in the Professor Luis Almeida´s group. Her post-doctoral project has already originated a publication in Cell metabolism, a high impact factor journal, and her data has been presented in both national and international relevant meetings. Since 2005, Sónia is first author of 9 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and also published 3 paper-abstracts and 2 book chapters in international peer-reviewed journals with over 184 citations, which resulted in an h-index of 7. In addition, she has collaborated in 6 research projects as researcher fellow or team member, supervised one master thesis, collaborated in the supervision of several undergraduate research students, and participated in a PhD defense as a Juri member opponent and as the main opponent in a master thesis.