Angelina Palma

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The journey into the Glycosciences Field

I am a Research Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon (FCT-NOVA), Portugal and an integrated member of the UCIBIO (Research Unit on Applied Molecular Biosciences, I obtained my degree in Biochemistry in 2001 at University of Algarve, Portugal, and completed the PhD degree in Biochemistry in 2007 at NOVA University. 

Pre-doctoral studies
At the Laboratory of Glycobiology, ITQB-NOVA, under the Supervision of Dr Julia Costa, I was trained in fundamentals of glycobiology and of glycosylation pathways in mammalian-, insect- and plant-cells, and learned about the important role of glycans and their recognition in all domains of life, and also in health and disease processes.

Post-doctoral studies
I joined the Glycosciences Laboratory of Prof. Ten Feizi (Imperial College London), first as visiting scholar (2004-2005) during my PhD and thereafter as a post-doctoral fellow (2007-2009), funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). While at the Glycosciences Lab, I developed pioneering work in designer glycan microarray approaches to study glycan recognition systems of biological and biomedical impact and in the setting-up of a state-of-the-art glycan-microarray system and in its application to glycan-ligand discovery. During this period I was trained in fundamentals of glycan chemistry, lectin- and immune-recognition, and methods for glycan analysis, including mass spectrometry to structurally characterize glycans. At present, I am an Honorary Research Associate of Imperial College London, working with colleagues at the Glycosciences Lab in developing further the glycan microarray technology and its applications (

Establishment as an independent researcher
I returned to Portugal end 2009 and joined the protein crystallography group of Prof. Maria João Romão at FCT-NOVA ( Here I implemented the glycan microarray technology combined with X-Ray crystallography to study endogenous lectin recognition systems (e.g. malectin, Dectin-1) and microbial glycan degradation of complex polysaccharides (bacterial cellulossomes). In 2013, I was awarded a 5-year Starting Grant under the highly competitive FCT Investigator international call, which allowed me to start my independent journey as a group leader and set-up the GlycoLAb – Functional Glycobiology Laboratory. As PI at FCT-NOVA, I was given the conditions to set-up a glycan microarray laboratory, supported by 2 research project grants from Portuguese FCT. This enabled me to train Master and PhD students in Glycosciences and establish a line of research in Functional Glycobiology at UCIBIO.

Since 2010, I have been enrolled in teaching Biochemistry and Metabolism at the Biochemistry Section of the Department of Chemistry at FCT-NOVA. I have also started teaching and training in Glycosciences to Master and Doctoral Programs within our Faculty and across Faculties and I am a scientific advisor and teacher of the e-learning course Glycobiology and Glycochemistry ( I hope to implement the Glycosciences discipline in the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programs of the Chemistry and Life Sciences Departments at FCT-NOVA. With this vision, and with colleagues from these departments, I started in 2017 the Curricular Unit Glycobiology and Disease, which is given to the Master programmes in Biochemistry, Biochemistry for Health and Molecular Genetics and Biomedicine of FCT-NOVA.