Mirela Rodrigues Ferreira

Class 2019
PhD Grant: PD/BD/150337/2019Mirela Ferreira


PhD thesis

Molecular players involved in the transition of free-cells to multicellular aggregates in Burkholderia multivorans



• Leonilde Moreira, Professor @ IST/ULisboa, PT

• Arsénio Fialho, Professor @ IST/ULisboa, PT

• Vaughn Cooper, Professor @ Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicine (CEBM),Pittsburgh University, USA


Proposal summary

Bacterial surface-attached biofilms and mobile biofilms (planktonic aggregates) are cells communities embedded in a self-produced extracellular matrix. Intercellular interactions, together with the properties of the matrix, make this multicellular lifestyle clearly distinct from that of free-living bacterial cells. Thus, it is expected that these communities display new properties only emerging in biofilms. In line with this, the aggregates formed by Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria within the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients are thought to be crucial for persistence and antimicrobial resistance during long-term chronic respiratory infections. To understand the transition from free-cells to aggregates we have developed an easier assay to measure biofilm formation and identified novel genes involved in this process. In here, we propose the characterization of this multicellular phenotype at gene expression level, microscopic ultrastructure, functional analysis of relevant gene products and evaluation of their role as possible targets for drug development against this pathogenesis-associated aggregative behavior.




Gomes SC, Ferreira MR, Moreira LM. “A Histone-Like Nucleoid Structuring Protein Regulates Several Virulence Traits in Burkholderia multivorans“. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 87, 14, 2021

Ferreira MR, Gomes SC, Moreira LM., “Mucoid switch in Burkholderia cepacia complex bacteria: Triggers, molecular mechanisms, and implications in pathogenesis”, Advances in Applied Microbiology, 107, 113-140, 2019


Poster’s communications

Ferreira MR, Gomes SC, Moreira LM, “Molecular players involved in the transition of free-cells to multicellular aggregates in Burkholderia multivorans“, MicroBiotec2021, November 23-26, 2021, Lisbon, Portugal



Curricular units

• General Doctoral Training (6 ECTS)

• Advanced Experimental Techniques and methodologies (6 ECTS)

• Bioentrepreneurship (6 ECTS)

• Molecular and cellular Biophysics (6 ECTS)

• Outreach and Teaching Skills (6 ECTS)

• Stem Cell Engineering (6 ECTS)

Advanced courses

• Ready for BioData Management? – Introduction to Data Management Plans, Dezember 16, 2019, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, PT