Dr. Eng. Ana Teresa Serra


Ana Teresa Serra is graduated in Biological Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico – Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, and holds a PhD in Engineering and Technology Sciences- Biotechnology from ITQB-NOVA. Working in Food Science & Technology since 2004, her PhD in 2010 contributed to the valorisation of traditional Portuguese apple and cherry varieties through phytochemical and bioactivity evaluation. Since 2010, Ana Teresa Serra has been a Post-doc/Researcher Associate at iBET and her current research is the evaluation of health benefits of food products using cell-based assays. Her strong interest in cell-based models, led her to undertake a post‐doc at Animal Cell Technology Unit of iBET to conduct a project in collaboration with Merck Serono where she could learn strategies for expansion and characterisation of human cancer stem cells. During the last 5 years, she established collaborations with many research teams, participating as project manager or team member in several national and international funded projects in the field of Food Science and Technology. Ana Teresa Serra also established contract scientific research services with food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries, to provide scientific support on product development, pre-clinical characterisation and design of human clinical trials. Since July 2015, she has been a Scientist of iBET within the scope of iNova4Health program, being the PI of interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with IPOLFG (Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa).
With funding from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Portugal) and the Food industry, Ana Teresa Serra is focused on understanding the health promoting effect of food products. She has been integrating chemical analytical and molecular biology tools with advanced cell models to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer effect of food bioactive compounds. The main food products studied have been olive oil, wine, fruits (apple, cherries, grapes, Opuntia ficus-indica), herbs (aromatic plants) and cruciferous vegetables (watercress and broccoli).