Monday, December 20, 2010

WELCOME II (Portugal) Promoting the Return of Researchers to the European Research Area

If you are a National of any of the “Member States” (MS) or “Associated Countries” (AC); 

MS: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Sweden, United Kingdom); 
ACs in FP7: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, FYROM,
Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland Turkey.

And if you spent the last 3 years in a non-MS/AC country doing research (phd or post-doc).

Then you are elegible to apply to the Welcome II grants from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.

The total budget of the Programme is €12.5 million and it is expected that the number of
fellows to be funded will be 54.
The distribution of the indicative budget of the call will consider two different levels of
costs of salaries, according to the experience of the fellow:
Fellow A - Researchers holding a PhD: total cost granted per fellow, including mandatory
costs of the employer: 61000 €/year
Researcher’s gross salary: 3191.82€/ gross salary/month, 14 months/year, plus lunch
Fellow B - Researchers with 5 or more years of research experience after obtaining their
PhD degree: total cost granted per fellow, including mandatory costs of the employer: 68
745 €/year.
Researcher’s gross salary: 3601.03€/month, 14 months/year, plus lunch subsidy.
Other payments refer to:
Travel and mobility allowance: 1600 €/first year;
Research costs: 5000 €/year
Host institution overheads: 5000 €/year/fellow
Top-ups can be negotiated between the host and the candidate.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

HIV cure with Stem cells? The Berlin Patient


To make clear from the start: what this study reports is (at this point) a Proof of Concept.

A number of factors need to be accounted for.

This was no simple: "here, drink this solution containing stem cells and you will be HIV free!"

The case of the Berlin Patient, an american citizen living in Berlin, was first reported in 2008 and now, 3 years down the line, there was a follow up of the case. This is still an amazing achievement in one particular patient. 

The abstract from the paper (Allers et al; doi:10.1182/blood-2010-09-309591) (my comments in italic):

HIV entry into CD4+ cells requires interaction with a cellular receptor, generally either CCR5 or CXCR4. 
(CD4 is a primary receptor used by HIV-1 to gain entry into host T cells; T cells play a major role in cellular immunity, being most effective in removing virus-infected cells, but also participates in defending against fungiprotozoanscancers, and intracellular bacteria. It also plays a major role in transplant rejection)  

We have previously reported the case of an HIV-infected patient in whom viral replication remained absent despite discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy after transplantation with CCR5Δ32/Δ32 stem cells.
(The patient stopped taking drugs for HIV after being transplanted with Bone Marrow Stem cells with mutation in CCR5, these cells are naturally resistant to infection by R5 HIV strains)

However, it was expected that the long-lived viral reservoir would lead to HIV rebound and disease progression during the process of immune reconstitution.
 (Therefore the results were not expected) 

In the present study, we demonstrate successful reconstitution of CD4+ T cells at the systemic level (i.e. in the blood stream) as well as in the gut mucosal immune system following CCR5Δ32/Δ32 stem cell transplantation, while the patient remains without any sign of HIV infection.
(one of problems of radiotherapy is that the immune system gets compromised, killing most, if not all, bone marrow stem cells, therefore impeding the production of new T cells. After transplantation "new bone marrow" the body is able to produce T cells again)
This was observed although recovered CD4+ T cells contain a high proportion of activated memory CD4+ T cells, i.e. the preferential targets of HIV, and are susceptible to productive infection with CXCR4-tropic HIV. Furthermore, during the process of immune reconstitution, we found evidence for the replacement of long-lived host tissue cells with donor-derived cells indicating that the size of the viral reservoir has been reduced over time. In conclusion, our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient.

So this particular patient apart from being HIV infected, he also suffered from leukemia (blood cancer). He had received a 1st transplant of Bone Marrow stem cells and some time later the cancer came back (relapsed). He received a second transplant from a donor with that rare genetic mutation that conferred resistance to HIV (CCR5Δ32/Δ32). At this time he stopped antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV. Three year later (i.e. now) he seems to be cancer and HIV free.

The good things:
1) It shows that there is a way of erradicating (as it seems) the HIV infection. It shows that scientists are on the right path (but it is probably not the only one)

The not so good things:
1) Transplantation is a major thing (30% of patients die)
2) does it really pay to undergo transplantation when the HIV therapies available today can provide HIV patients with a life span up to 70-80 years?
3) About one in 100 Caucasian people have the mutation (CCR5Δ32/Δ32), finding a compatible match will extremely difficult.
4) (to my understanding) The mutation is only resistant to a strain of HIV.
5) Three years is still a very short time to make this a definite proof.

This is a life-threatening treatment as it is and the next step is to devise strategies to reduce the risks of such therapy. Companies and  Research groups in the US are trying to manipulate the patients own stem cells to try therapies that are similar to the one given to the Berlin patient. At least with would reduced the host-graft rejection that tends to happen in normal transplantations.

Still very interesting (and IMHO much more the the As-Bacteria story...)

Friday, December 03, 2010

The AsBacteria

First was all the hype NASA created about something extraordinary, press releases etc (in science a very typical thing of a lot of smoke but little fire);

Then people wondered if it would be about a new life form or basically the admittance of life forms outside earth (aliens, area 51 etc);

Finally the paper came out and we could know more about the subject. (I have to admit here that I have not read the paper)

I leave you with an paragraph of a science blog that summarizes what I imagined it would be since the beginning:

"Then the stories calmed down, and instead it was that they had discovered an earthly life form that used a radically different chemistry. I was dubious, even at that. And then I finally got the paper from Science, and I'm sorry to let you all down, but it's none of the above. It's an extremophile bacterium that can be coaxed into substiting arsenic for phosphorus in some of its basic biochemistry. It's perfectly reasonable and interesting work in its own right, but it's not radical, it's not particularly surprising, and it's especially not extraterrestrial. It's the kind of thing that will get a sentence or three in biochemistry textbooks in the future."


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beer butt Chicken!

So I bought a chicken today as I wanted to roast it. 
I was going to do the usual recipe but then I remembered of beer butt chicken.
This is a recipe that receives very good feedback but that I never get round to try.

So hands on. I have losen the skin and rubbed the insides with a mix of a chicken cube, peper, chili powder, grated garlic, grated onion, olive oil and a bit of beer. Mixed the "mix" left over with half a can. Shoved the can up the chicken's arse and oven (175ºC for 1h and 15min more or less).

Will let you know later how it tastes but it does look good!!

btw it is served with baby potatos and chantenay carrots that were parboiled 10 and then roasted for another 10-15 min basted with the juices from the chicken...

nom nom :)

Snowing in Nottingham in late November

It was a big surprise to find that it was snowing in the early hours of saturday.
Everything was white, and a lot of roads were also covered as the snowfall was not expected until Sunday night.
Everything remains covered in white. as the temperatures dropped to as low as minus 7 deg Celsius last night
Just showing some photos of "my street" and the view from my bedroom window to Jubilee campus and the Aspire!

Keep warm :)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

In my Christmas list...











Monte Velho 

1 copo


Dão Grão Vasco 

4 copos


Douro Esteva

2 copos


Quinta da Bacalhôa 

3 copos



4 copos


Porto Ferreira

2 cálices


Duas Quintas

4 copos


Murganheira Reserva

1 garrafa


Barca Velha

4 copos


João Pires

2 garrafas



1 garrafa



2 taças


Frei João Bairrada 

3 copos


Porto Real C.ª Velha 

5 cálices


C.R.F. Reserva

3 garrafas


Fundação E. Almeida 

2 copos


Herdade do Esporão

4 copos


   Casal Garcia

4 copos



1/2 copo








Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mo in Need! #Movember

My Friends
almost getting in the last week of #Movember and I am felling a bit down.
The reason being the lack of support to my campaign, last year I managed to raise £400 and this year so far I have managed £135.
I know times are not favorable to give money but hey, like an ad on TV says: every little helps!
So c'mon donate for #movember, just go online to and make a donation, as little as 50p or as big as £50!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Movember - Support the Prostate Cancer Charity - Donate to me!


Once again, this Movember, the month formerly known as November I’ve decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer.  My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I know will generate conversation, controversy and laughter.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One man dies every hour from the disease in the UK. This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to The Prostate Cancer Charity. To help, you can either: 

•  Click this link and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account . Or,

•  Send cheques and CAF vouchers (made payable to ‘The Prostate Cancer Charity Re Movember’) directly to The Prostate Cancer Charity – First Floor, Cambridge House, Cambridge Grove, London W6 0LE. Be sure to include the person’s name on the back of the cheque.

The Prostate Cancer Charity will use the money raised by Movember for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.
For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men’s health. 

Ricardo Gandara

Friday, November 05, 2010

#Movember week1

#Movember is on, so c'mon sponsor my PoMo! 

and here it is my current Mo! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This was Movember 2009

How will Movember 2010 be?

Stay tuned and Participate!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Packing to Nottingham

I will be returning to Nottingham tomorrow.

The plan is to stay approximately 1 month. Back to the ol' routine? hopefully not. 

See you up north!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bin Laden comenta a Introdução das portagens nas SCUTs


I've eaten 5 slices of apple cake today.


I found this post of post a very interesting reflection of most people with degrees


October 19th, 2010

O mil-eurista é um jovem diplomado, que sabe línguas estrangeiras, possui mestrados, doutoramentos, estágios de formação [...] e que não ganha mais de mil euros. Gasta mais de um terço do salário no aluguer. Não põe dinheiro de parte, não é proprietário, não tem carro nem filhos, vive um dia de cada vez. Às vezes é divertido, mas à força é cansativo.»


Viva date

And my viva date has been arranged. 7th Jan 2011 -  At least is a Friday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A landmark?

So I achieved one of the landmarks of my year. I have (finally) submitted my PhD thesis. This is not the end of the story as I still need to be assessed by a couple of people to become a fully qualified Doctor of Philosophy. I am felling like the Horse that just jumped the final hurdle and still needs to get to the finish line. But if I am the horse who the hell is ridding me? I suppose the examiners. So much for this brill analogy. Replace horse by runner or something like that. Like being awarded the penalty-kick, but I still need to score to capitalize all the hard work (or a dive if you are Liedson).

Anyway here is the front cover:


It means that now I need to start thinking what to do next. To start I have already sent an email to a company that I have visited last year. Kind of throwing the bate to the fish, in a good way. This bate analogy normally doesn't have a good connotation, because the Fisherman is trying to deceive the fish in going for the bate. The end of the deal for the fish is not exactly the one that the fish had anticipated... my analogies are really coming through very well (yes I could delete them but I like them anyway).

I already pulled a list of possible places to apply, both post-docs, positions in industry and ones that involve industry and academia. Quite a few different places: Budapeste, Jerusalem, Leuven, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Manchester, london, Madrid, another in Czech Rep, Greece, Singapore, a few more...

I also need to work on a paper to be submitted until the end of the month, that should be easy taken in consideration that all the info is probably in my thesis. 

I might plan a visit to Portugal in the coming weeks (if Amy lets me go).

Maybe I will read a book, maybe I will buy Super Mario Galaxy 2, maybe I will learn the guitar, maybe I will learn a bit of web skills, maybe...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

um sol como o caraças

é o que tem estado aqui em Bournemouth no Sul de Inglaterra onde agora passo os meus dias.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HAM! short

SPEED Painting of John Locke. Fantastic photoshop skill

Mais do mesmo Autor aqui

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Naturally Obsessed: The Making of a Scientist

I had this link on my favorites for quite some time now.

If you are a Scientist you should see it. You will probably relate to it.

If you are not a Scientist you should see it as well. It will help you to understand the day to day of a scientist.

I leave you with a small exert of the film.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dear Blog

Sorry for leaving you alone for soooooo long.

A lot of things have happened in the past months.

I hope to catch up with you soon...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I have rediscovered Pomplamoose from a feed that I received from my Printscreen (a very good recommendation from Pedro Telles).

I love their sound. Lovely! you can see and ear their videoclips on the youtube page or you can download some free songs on their Myspace page.

I leave you with a cover of a very well known song by Michael Jackson. Amongst my favorites is their version of Nature Boy.

I hope you like it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

running fairbot on Mac OS X snow leopard

This tutorial was created from the post of AlistairH on its blog.
This will try to explain how to run fairbot, on a Mac OS X 10.6.X

You will need:
1. a copy of Crossover
2. a copy of Fairbot (I used the latest version)
3. a copy of some dll w$ XP libs, you can get them here. extract them to a temp folder on your desktop.

note: you can use the trial versions of crossover and fairbot.

STEP 1. install crossover

STEP 2. instal fairbot, through crossover. i.e.
open crossover -> Configure (on menu bar) -> install software ->
install unsupported software -> continue -> new bottle (name it Fairbot) -> create new bottle and continue ->
click install-> and locate fairbot.exe (that you got from 2.)

STEP 3. replace DLL
On crossover menu bar -> Configure -> manage bottles -> select Fairbot bottle -> advanced -> click "make this the default bottle" -> Open c: drive in Finder -> go to Windows/system32 folder -> drag and drop all files from the temp folder you created to the system32 folder. close folder.

STEP 4. override DLLs
On the manage bottles menu -> Control Panel -> launch winecfg ->
go to Libraries tab -> on the dropdown box type and add the following:
-> Apply -> OK -> close Wine configuration -> close Manage bottles

STEP 4. add dll to registry
On crossover menu bar -> Programs -> Run Command... ->
(make sure fairbot bottle is select) -> Open Shell (it will open a Terminal Console) ->
run the following commands (one line at the time):
wine regsvr32.exe msxml3.dll
wine regsvr32.exe msxml4.dll
wine regsvr32.exe shdocvw.dll

Close all.

Now you are ready to run fairbot, via the programs tab on crossover, or just use spotlight to trigger fairbot.

put your betfair username and password and you are ready to roll.

Note. I have tried it and the only problem I could find with the software was on the graphs. When in ladder mode, after opening a graph, I could change the event only once, then I needed to close and open the graph again. i.e. if I open the graph for one horse, I could change the horse only one time.

Hope this would come in hand to some people.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Monday, February 08, 2010

Research paper

Descoberto a partir de um tweet de Detig


Para mais coisas giras ver aqui


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love omelettes!

A propósito de um post do ZP no Humanoides mas não como nós, lembrei-me de quanto gosto de omeletas, são boas para vegetarianos e para os comuns dos omnivoros. Party friendly!

Depois de alguma procura encontrei um bom video sobre como fazer as ditas! Aqui vais! Bom apetite!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Return to UK

Depois de 1 mês em terras lusas regressei (regressámos) ao Reino Unido.
A primeira paragem foi Bristol. O motivo: uma já há muito devida visita à familia Beedell.

Ainda que a visita tenha sido curta, achei Bristol um cidade interessante. Com um "ambiente" um pouco distinto do de Nottingham. Claro que as casas ainda são iguais, ainda há chavs etc etc, mas pareceu-me haver mais "identidade" e não apenas as mesmas lojas que se encontram em todas as cidades e vilas deste país. Para muito contribuiu a visita ao St. Nicks Market.
Visita obrigatória à ponte suspensa de Bristol, depois de uma viagem pelo canal.

Obrigado aos anfitriões pela boa hospitalidade. Na foto em baixo vemos Jonh B a abrir uma garrafa de Cidra cuja validade dizia Best before 1992. Verdade é que a cidra estava ainda boa (ninguém ficou com caganeira).

De regresso a Nottingham especialmente para o aniversário do leo. re-encontramos assim a "malta" toda numa só ocasião (nice!).

Agora há que pensar em perder uns quilitos, e escrever umas linhas da tese (já estou a dever muitas páginas a esta causa).

Como cereja no topo do bolo (aka fim de semana) recebi um email do boss a confirmar que fui aceite para uma comunicação oral no encontro da Sociedade Britânica de Gastroenterologia. Pois é agora é que vou ser "atirado" aos lobos! A ver se o mesmo acontece para a DDW2010 que vai ser em Maio em New Orleans (tava a tentar escrever em Português mas não me lembro como é). Mas isso é coisa para se descobrir só para o fim de Fevereiro!

inté à próxima!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Nota enófila

Desde que regressei a Portugal tenho bebido pelo menos um vinho tinto diferente por dia (já lá vão quase 30 dias). Embora não beba uma garrafa por dia, a média deve cifrar-se mais ou menos nesse valor :)

O que eu queria deixar aqui registado é a qualidade do vinho, fazendo claro uma comparação com o vasto mercado de consumo que encontro a maior parte do ano no Reino Unido.

Das garrafas que bebi poucas foram compradas acima dos 7 Euros (excepto os vinhos comprados à mesa do restaurante e uma ou outra garrafa mais carota. De facto a maioria dos vinhos deve estar entre os 3 e os 5 euros.

Uma outra curiosidade é que salvo uma ou outra excepção, comprei quase sempre vinhos que não conhecia (alguns admito que tinha os selos da selecion mondiale :P, um outro vinha recomendado pelo NYTimes).

Veredicto quase final: Não bebi nenhum vinho que me fizesse sequer pensar: este vinho é mais ou menos (normalmente quando isto vem à cabeça é sinal é mais de menos do que mais ou menos!!).

E sendo assim brindo aos vinhos portugueses! (hoje com um copinho da herdade do Enforcado!


Sunday, January 03, 2010

IX Grandioso Encontro de Bioquímicos do Algarve Fora do Algarve - Almeirim e Santarém

A foto-reportagem já está disponível no Facebook, basta clicar neste link. Beijinhos e abraços para todos e bom ano!