2009 was coming to and end when I was about to had my first PhD student… The proposed PhD project aimed to explore the molecular interactions between Staphyloccocus epidermidis and the host immune system. For that, Ângela França was going to spend the following 4 years between Minho University (Braga, Portugal), Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA) and Porto University (Porto, Portugal). She first developed the tools to properly characterize gene expression in biofilms and then moved to professor Gerald Pier lab, where, amongst other things, she characterized the transcriptome of Staphyloccocus epidermidis biofilms exposed to human blood. She then returned to Portugal, where she would start to characterize biofilm released cells. Later, she moved to Porto University, where she studied how biofilm released cells interact with the host immune system, at professor Manuel Vilanova lab. I wish the best luck to Ângela in her futures endeavours, and thank her for her contributions to my research group and to the scientific field of Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms.
[Photos by Joana Bento]