On March 21, the researcher Roksana Maria Pirzgalska receives the Pulido Valente Science Award 2016, in the area of Neurosciences. The researcher is first author of the article Sympathetic Neuro-adipose Connections Mediate Leptin-Driven Lipolysis, published in the journal CELL (2015).
The article demonstrates for the first time that adipose tissue is innervated and that direct activation of these neurons burns fat. Optogenetics, a cutting-edge technique in which genetically modified neurons can be activated with light, was used in the study.
Roksana Pirzgalka holds a Master's degree in Biotechnology from Gdansk University of Technology (Poland). In 2012, she received an Studentship Albert Renold Travel to investigate complications associated with diabetes, at the Coimbra Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology. She was then selected for the MIT- Portugal Program in Bioengineering Systems. The research that earned her the Pulido Valente Science Award was carried out as part of the PhD she is currently doing at the Gulbenkian Science Institute (Oeiras), in the laboratory of Dr. Ana Domingos.
The Pulido Valente Science Prize annually distinguishes the best article published in an area of Biomedical Sciences, which describes the results of research conducted by a researcher under 35 years old at the date of submission of the application, in a national R&D institution. The amount of this Prize is 10 thousand Euros, co-financed by the Professor Francisco Pulido Valente Foundation and the Foundation for Science and Technology, according to the Protocol established between the two institutions.
The award ceremony will take place on March 21st, at 3pm, at the Thalia Theater, in Lisbon.