Animal Cell Technology Unit

Animal cell technology is an important branch of modern biotechnology with a crucial role in the production of complex biopharmaceuticals and in the development of cell based tools for several phases of drug discovery.

The Animal Cell Technology Unit (ACTU), coordinated by Paula Alves, is a top research group combining knowledge and competences of scientists from a wide range of disciplines (Biochemistry, Biology and Engineering). Our know-how in terms of biopharmaceuticals spans from the initial expression vector design and cell line establishment through all stages of process development and scale-up (production, purification, stability and storage). Additionally, the recognized potential of cell- and gene-based therapies led us to develop expertise in both areas. In recent years, the ACTU has been dedicating substantial effort in the development of new in vitro models for pre-clinical research.

The ACTU participates in several national and international projects under the 7th Framework and H2020 European Commission Programs. Additionally, the ACTU collaborates with several pharmaceutical companies, biotech SMEs and academic institutions.

The ACT Unit is presently composed of seven laboratories

Scientifical & Technological Driven R&D Laboratories: 

  • Cell Bioprocesses Laboratory - headed by Paula Alves;
  • Engineering Cellular Applications Laboratory - headed by Manuel Carrondo;
  • Cell Line Development and Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory -  headed by Ana Sofia Coroadinha;
  • Advanced Cell Models Laboratory - headed by Catarina Brito;
  • Bioengineering and Systems Biology Laboratory - headed by Inês Isidro.

Competence Driven R&D Laboratories:

  • Protein Production Platform Laboratory - headed by Pedro Cruz;
  • Downstream Process Development Laboratory - headed by Cristina Peixoto.

On-site Satellite Laboratories:

  • Bayer Healthcare - headed by Ana Barbas;
  • Novartis Pharma - headed by Ana Paula Batista;
  • Sanofi - headed by Patrícia Gomes Alves.

Our research focuses on four main areas:

Biopharmaceutical process development

Stem cell bioprocessing and cell therapy

Development of in vitro models for pre-clinical research 

Engineering cellular applications


Additional information on the ACTU can also be found here.