Immunobiology and Pathogenesis

Helena Soares -  2016-01-27 -3730

Helena Soares

Principal Investigator

Graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Coimbra, Portugal.
PhD in Biomedicine from the Rockefeller University, NYC, USA and Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar, Porto, Portugal, under the supervision of Ralph Steinman
Postdoctoral fellow and Research Associate at Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.




Campus Sant'Ana
Pólo de Investigação, NMS, UNL
Rua do Instituto Bacteriológico, nº 5
Lab 1.2
1150-082 Lisboa, Portugal

Phone: (+351) 218 803 101 (Ext.27003)
Lab ext: 27020
E-mail: helena.soares(at)

Main interests


Immune cells must exchange and store information in the course of searching for and responding to disease. This information exchange is relayed through specialized membrane receptors that initialize signaling cascades, which culminate in the production of immune mediators responsible for disease resolution.

Figure 2

On the T cell this information is received through a specific membrane receptor - the T cell receptor- that is responsible for integrating the information relayed through a signaling cascade that culminates in the production of immune mediators that will clear the infection.


Overall, our lab is interested in determining how immune receptor signaling is able to convey distinct immune responses that protect us against disparate aggressions (fungus, virus, bacteria, cancer, etc.).
Our current research is comprised of three interconnected axis:
1- To establish how signaling architecture regulates immune responses;
2- To determine how alterations in signaling lead to auto-immunity;
3- To decipher how pathogens (HIV-1) exploit the immune signaling to their own advantage.

Figure 3 We use tissue samples from patients, as a privileged disease model, to investigate the role of anomalous T signaling in the chronic immune activation underpinning immunodeficiency and auto-immune diseases. We combine immune physiology, cell biology and signaling with super-resolution microscopy approaches to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved and to identify genes and signaling pathways implicated.
Our final goal is to identify biomarkers and molecular targets that will enable for the development of novel therapies.


Research Areas

- Human Immune Physiology
- Inflammation
- Signaling architecture and High-resolution imaging
- Immunodeficiency
- Auto-immunity


- Gilead Génese: May 2018-April 2020
"Impact of HIV-1 Genetic Diversity on Immunodeficiency"
Total: 35500€
Co-PIs Nuno Osório from ICVS, Braga

- NOVASaúde Grant: July 2017-July 2018
“Development of Novel AZT Derivatives Based on Triazoles”.
Total: 12000€
Co-PIs Ana Petronilho from ITQB-NOVA

- Pfizer sponsored Sociedade Portuguesa de Reumatologia Award: June 2017-May 2018
“Bridging Innate and Adaptive Immunity through JAK signalling”
Total: 5000€
Co-PI: Fernando Pimentel-Santos

- Gilead Génese: April 2017-March 2019
“HIV-1 Replication in Follicular Sanctuaries”.
Total: 31200€

- Investigador FCT 2014-2019

- ANRS (French AIDS Research Foundation) Grant: 2013-2015

Selected Publications



Jaime Branco - Rheumatological Diseases Unit CEDOC|FCM, Lisbon, Portugal

Fernando Pimentel-Santos - Rheumatological Diseases Unit CEDOC|FCM, Lisbon, Portugal

Ana Filipa Mourão - Hospital Egas Moniz, CHLO, Lisbon, Portugal

Cristina Caroça - CUF, Lisbon, Portugal

Ricardo Henriques - Quantitative Imaging and NanoBioPhysics Group, UCL, London, UK

Paula Videira - Laboratory of Glycoimmunology, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Caparica, Portugal

Robert Weil - Laboratory of Signalling and Pathogenesis, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

Team photos

foto grupo 2017

We welcome motivated technicians, students (undergraduates, master and PhD) and post-docs to join our lab. For enquiries on available positions contact Helena Soares (helena.soares(at) Please add a letter detailing the reasons you are applying, your CV, and contact information of 3 references.