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José received his first degree in Biology from the University of Porto, in Portugal. He joined the GABBA graduate program from the University of Porto and then went on to do his PhD studies at Imperial College under the supervision of Professor Neil Brockdorff on heritable silencing mechanisms during mouse development. His PhD work linked Polycomb group proteins to histone methylation and to random X-chromosome inactivation.


Professional History

In 2003 following his PhD, José moved to Professor Austin Smith's laboratory at the University of Edinburgh as an EMBO post-doctoral fellow to investigate factors involved in nuclear reprogramming. This work has led to the identification of Nanog as the first defined gene that has capacity to reprogram cells to an earlier stage of embryonic development, thereby increasing their developmental potential.
In 2008 José began working as a group leader at the Wellcome Stem Cell Institute at the University of Cambridge, investigating the biology underlying the process of induced pluripotency. His lab work led to numerous contributions such as defining signalling as an active and critical parameter for successful reprogramming and the discovery of key reprogramming mechanisms. José was initially supported by a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship Award (2009) and then by a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship Award (2014).
In 2021 José moved to the Guangzhou Laboratory in China. After devoting a significant portion of his professional life to studying the process of reprogramming cells into earlier developmental stages, José's group is now seeking to complete the circle by employing these cells to construct novel in vitro embryo models for mice and humans. His lab's ultimate goal with such systems is to develop cell products/tissues of the required quality to enable applications in medicine. In 2022, José was the recipient of the National Major Talent Award (China).

Key Awards

  • Key Support Program for Foreign Experts Award (China), 2024.
  • National major talent award (China), 2022.
  • Zhujiang Project Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team award (China), 2022.
  • Guangzhou High-Tech Zone, Elite Talents in entrepreneurship and Innovation (CHINA), 2022.
  • Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow (UK), WT101861, 2014.
  • Wellcome Trust Research Fellow (UK), WT086692, 2009.
  • Next Generation Stem Cell Research Award (UK), 2008.
  • EMBO Post-doctoral Fellow (EU), ALTF 852-2003, 2003.
  • PhD fellowship from the Ministry of Science and Technology (PRAXIS/XXI/BD/13568/97) (Portugal), 1997.
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