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The team

Smart Seaweed brings together a multidisciplinary team encompassing experts and competences in each specific area.




Instituto Superior Técnico is a public university and is recognised as a prestigious school in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, Science and Technology. It comprises Portugal’s most prestigious Laboratories and RD&I centres. The IST research team in this proposal is part of the Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences (iBB,, a research unit created in 2013 that aims to excel in research and advanced education in biotechnology, to respond to the challenges of exploring innovative approaches in biosciences and bioengineering. In SMART SEAWEED, the IST research team will be involved in protein extraction and processing, in the production of sugar hydrolysates, in lactic acid fermentation of seaweed and in the valorisation of seaweed-derived sugar hydrolysates for the production of valuable bioproducts (bioplastics (PHAs) and ectoines). As promotor of the SMART SEAWEDD project, the IST-team is involved in management activities as well as on dissemination, communication and exploitation of project outcomes.



IPMA is a public institute devoted to carrying out research, technological development, innovation, services and dissemination activities on sea and atmosphere. In SMART SEAWEED, IPMA will actively collaborate in the determination of the bioavailability of nutrients of the three selected macroalgae species in raw and after processing as well as in the bioavailability of extracted proteins and peptides. Collaboration with SPAROS will feature the design of the aquafeed with the algae-based protein. It´s involvement in SMART SEAWEED also features the dissemination, communication and exploitation of project outcomes.



SPAROS Lda, is a technology-driven SME dedicated to the development of new products and tailored nutritional solutions for the aquaculture market, with a strong focus on product development and innovation. SPAROS has commercial products for the aquaculture, biomedical and aquarium markets. Besides the manufacture of its own feeds, SPAROS is the key contract manufacturing facility for some of the major players of the EU aquafeed industry. SPAROS has also direct access to an extensive network of experimental rearing facilities dedicated to testing the biological performance of novel formulations, ingredients and additives in fish and shrimp. In SMART SEAWEED, SPAROS will participate in particular in defining the nutritional targets for the protein-rich seaweed ingredients to be incorporated in aquafeeds, in formulating and producing the aquafeed prototype to be tested with seabream, and taking the responsibility for testing it in seabream.

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IBERAGAR, SA is Portugal's leading company engaged in the manufacture and distribution of hydrocolloids derived from seaweeds in particular agar-agar.  Since the beginning IBERAGAR has made a commitment to innovation and process development in order to maintain its leadership position. Innovation and continuous investment in R&D are being successfully directed to find new products and applications. The collaboration of IBERAGAR in SMART SEAWEED features specifically the determination of agar quality after protein extraction and foresees the complete valorization of the algal resource.



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Maria Teresa Cesário   |   IST

Maria Teresa Cesário graduated in Chemical Engineering (Biotechnology) at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in 1988 and completed a PhD degree in Bioprocess Engineering at the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) in 1997. She is currently working as scientific researcher at the Institute of Bioengineering and Biosciences (iBB-IST) and invited assistant professor at IST. The expertise of M. Teresa Cesário is focused on enzymatic engineering, fermentation and bioproduct extraction currently directed to blue biotechnology. She is an expert in the design and operation of bench-scale bioreactors in batch, fed-batch and in the continuous mode. Her current research focuses the biological production of biomaterials and biochemicals from the carbohydrate fraction of lignocellulosic and macroalgal biomass. She is particularly interested in the design and optimization of extraction methods using green alternatives. She has participated as researcher and in management activities in two EU projects (Bioproduction -FP6) and BUGWORKERS (FP7/2010-2014). She is currently PI of two national projects namely AlgaePlas (PTDC/BII-BIO/29242/2017) and Smart Seaweed (FA/05/2017/033).

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Manuela da Fonseca   |   IST

Manuela da Fonseca graduated in Chemical Engineering from IST (1974), has a MSc in Advanced Chem. Eng (1979) and a PhD (1983), both from UMIST, University of Manchester, U.K. She was Teaching Assistant both at UMIST and at the Fac of Pharmacy of the Univ. of Lisbon and from 1986 is affiliated to Instituto Superior Técnico, Univ. of Lisbon. She is currently retired as an Associate Professor in the Bioengineering Dept.  and is active as a senior research member of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IST. Her research interests include bioreactors (novel configurations; hydrodynamics and mass transfer), fermentations (monitorisation; medium engineering),  biocatalysis in aqueous/organic and organic media with enzymes and whole viable cells , bacterial cell adaptation to stress conditions and also the  upgrade of waste and surplus products through bacterial cultivation for the  production of bioplastics (biopolyesters) and biochemicals. She has a vast experience in national and European projects (BIOT- CT91-0269, BIO4 -CT95-0049, BIOPRODUCTION - FP6, BUGWORKERS - FP7). She has published 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has 3 patents. Her h-index in Orcid is currently 26.


Marília Mateus   |   IST

Marília Mateus is an assistant professor at the Department of Bioengineering of Instituto Superior Técnico and senior researcher of iBB – Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Universidade de Lisboa. She graduated in chemical engineering in 1984, got a master's degree in biotechnology (biochemical engineering) in 1988 and a doctoral degree in chemical engineering in 1994. Currently at academia, she coordinates the curricular units of “biological reactors" and “food technology". Her field of expertise is biomolecular and bioprocesses engineering with emphasis on bioreactors, purification of cell culture products and encapsulation of bioactives. One of her research focus is the application of synthetic membranes to bioengineering fields, entailing membrane processing (membrane crossflow filtration and membrane chromatography). She has published 3 book chapters and 27 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, supervised 3 doctoral and 69 master theses, coordinated 3 national research projects and participated in other 5 (FCT funded) and coordinated one European (EC) project at national level.

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Helena Pinheiro   |   IST

Helena Maria Pinheiro obtained in 1984 an MEng in Chemical Engineering from IST. She received an additional MSc in Biochemical Engineering in 1988 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering in1993, both from IST, the latter with work on steroid dehydrogenation with immobilised whole cells in organic media. She is presently Associate Professor at IST, Department of Bioengineering, teaching Environmental (Bio)Technology, Integrated Bioprocess Engineering and Bio-Engineering Plant Design. She has co-ordinated several R&D projects on immobilised-cell applications and on the use of sequencing batch bioreactors for the biotreatment of industrial wastewaters containing synthetic chemicals (dyes, surfactants). More recently her R&D interests include the application of spectroscopy and chemometrics to stream and process monitoring in wastewater systems. Her Web of Science publication record presently gives her an h-index of 26. She is an integrated member of iBB-IST and an appointed member of the Scientific Council of IST.


António Marques   |   IPMA

Antonio Marques graduated in Marine Biology at the Universidade de Lisboa (Faculdade de Ciências, Portugal) and received his PhD degree in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of Ghent (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering; Belgium, 2005). He was researcher at the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) between 2006 and 2015, and since 2015 is Senior Researcher at IPMA. His main interests are in seafood quality and safety (chemical contaminants), innovative solutions for the seafood production and processing industries, seafood preservation methodologies, and climate change. He has published 112 manuscripts in peer reviewed indexed journals. He has coordinated three EU-funded projects: RISKFOODCONT (FP7; 2010-2013), ECsafeSEAFOOD (FP7; 2013-2017), and SEAFOODtomorrow (H2020; 2017-2020). He is Guest Editor at Food and Chemical Toxicology and Environmental Research. He is Invited Professor at the MSc in Gastronomy at Instituto Superior de Agronomia (Portugal) since 2015.

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Luis Conceição   |   SPAROS

Luís Conceição, PhD by Wageningen University, who will lead SPAROS participation, is an expert in nutritional physiology, feeding and nutrition of fish larvae and juvenile fish, nutritional predictive models and management of contract innovation activities trials; has vast experience in R&D projects at both the national (SPAROS and CCMAR, Portugal) and international level (FP6, FP7, H2020, EuroStars, and SINTEF, Norway).

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Jorge Dias   |   SPAROS

Jorge Dias, PhD by Porto and Bordeaux Universities is an expert in fish nutrition, feed ingredients and additives, as well as in feed formulation and manufacture technologies.  Vast experience in R&D projects from previous positions both at the academic level (INRA, France; CCMAR, Portugal) and industry (DSM Nutritional Products, France).

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Manuel Sardinha   |   SPAROS

Manuel Sardinha, MSc in Aquaculture by University of Algarve, has expertise in feed manufacturing, assessment of physical properties of pellets, management of rearing systems, and nutrition trials with fish and shrimp.


Maria Leonor Nunes   |   external expert

Maria Leonor Nunes is a senior scientist, presently the Leader of the Research Group Aquaculture and Seafood Safety of CIIMAR, with strong expertise in the application of new preserving/processing technologies and in the development of new seafood products. She has knowledge in all dimensions of seafood quality and safety, including the risk-benefit assessment and the improvement of seafood quality/safety. She has also experience in laboratory management and certification of products and seafood processing companies. She has more than thirty years of experience linked to marine related research and innovation management under regional, national and European funding schemes. She has published >200 peer‐reviewed scientific papers (H‐index 38, 4994 citations) and have more than 40 book chapters (ORCID ID 0000-0003-4393-2150). She has expertise in leadership positions in European projects (WP leader in 25 EU projects e.g. CALIBRA, BEFAIR, SECUREFISH, SEAFOODplus, SEAFOODTOMORROW) and Portuguese (e.g. GOODFISH). She has also teaching experience in several Portuguese universities (e.g. Universidade do Porto, Universidade do Algarve, Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Universidade Lusófona).

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João Dias   |   IBERAGAR

João Dias graduated in Biological Sciences from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia) in 2002 and has a specialization in management by Universidade Católica Portuguesa- Lisbon School of Business & Economics (2016). He is since 2012 CEO of the company IBERAGAR S.A. and occupies management positions at two other related companies: MANDARIN, LDA and CONDA SL.  João Dias is an enthusiast of innovation and has been collaborating with IST since 2016.

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