The winner of the 2017 edition of the Pulido Valente Award is the article “Atomic force microscopy as a tool to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular diseases in patients”, written by researcher Ana Filipa Guedes and published in 2016 in Nature Nanotechnology. The award ceremony for this edition, dedicated to cardiology, will be chaired by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor. It will take place on 1 March, 2018, at 3:00 pm, in the Hall of the Laranjeiras Palace, in Lisbon.
Guedes is a PhD student at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM). She analyzed the interaction between fibrinogen (a decisive blood plasma protein in the coagulation process that has been identified as a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease) and red blood cells in patients with heart insufficiency, in order to understand how fibrinogen influences the aggregation of these cells.
In this analysis, using a technique from the field of Nanotechnology – Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) –, it was found that the force required to break the connection between fibrinogen and red blood cell in patients with chronic heart failure is higher than in healthy people. In the one-year follow-up, it was observed that those who presented higher fibrinogen-red blood cell binding forces, measured by AFM at baseline, had a higher probability of hospitalization due to cardiovascular complications during the following 12 months.
The study demonstrates the relevant contribution of the application of Nanomedicine in the scope of Cardiology, enhancing the identification of new biomarkers for the evaluation of cardiovascular risk and thus improving the clinical prognosis.
In 2017, Ana Filipa Guedes also received the ‘Young Biophisicist Award SPBf’ by the Sociedade Portuguesa de Biofísica (the Portuguese Biofisics Society); in 2016, she was awarded the ‘Best Poster Award’ by SPBf, and in 2014 she was distinguished with the ‘Best Communication Award’, by the International Fibrinogen Research Society of France.
The Pulido Valente Science Award distinguishes annually the best article published in a field of Biomedical Sciences that describes the results of the research carried out by a researcher under the age of 35, at the date of application at a national I&D institution. The amount of this prize is 10 thousand euros, shared by the Fundação Professor Francisco Pulido Valente and the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, according to the Protocol established between the two institutions.