Local Organising Committee

Vitor Vasconcelos

PhD in Biology at FCUP, Porto. Full Professor – Faculty of Sciences of Porto University and director of CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research, Chief Strategy Officer – Agriculture – Fykia Biotech. Member of Scientific Council of the National Natural History Museum of France. Director of the Group of Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology (LEGE lab).
Main research focus: cyanobacteria secondary metabolites and their uses: toxins and molecules with biotechnological applications. Responsible for the LEGE culture collection comprising more than 2000 strains of cyanobacteria and microalgae.

Vitor Verdelho​

Vitor Verdelho Vieira co-founded several companies, including Necton, SA, a leading European producer of sea salt, fleur de sel, and microalgae for aquaculture and cosmetics. He is also a co-founder of A4F – Algae for Future, SA, an internationally recognized company in microalgae technologies. Vitor serves as the General Manager of EABA, the European Algae Biomass Association. With extensive business experience, he also played a key role in managing the SpinLogic entrepreneurship program. Currently, he is a visiting professor at Católica Porto Business School and School of Arts. Vitor holds a background in Physics and has acquired management expertise through consulting and specialized training courses over the past three decades.

Isabel Sousa Pinto​

Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and researcher at CIIMAR. PhD from the University of California and specialist in ecology and restoration of marine forests and cultivation and use of algae. She is coordinator of European and international research networks on biodiversity and marine resources, (Euromarine, GEO BON/MBON) and member of the scientific board of IPBES – Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the United Nations.

Joana Almeida​

CIIMAR, University of Porto.
Marine Biologist, PhD in Biomedical Sciences (2012, ICBAS- University of Porto). Her main research is dedicated to the bioprospection of antifouling compounds from natural resources, including cyanobacteria and microalgae, to the development of new bio-inspired antifouling coatings and other biotechnological applications.

A. Catarina Guedes​

CIIMAR, ISS – Ínclita Seaweed Solutions
Researcher in Algal Biotechnology, at CIIMAR/UP, since 2011. Graduated in Microbiology and a PhD degree in Biotechnology (2010). Her research focuses on the production, extraction and characterization of bioactive compounds from micro- and macroalgae. Substitute national delegate at COST Action ES1408 – European network for algal-bioproducts, 2015-2018. Board member of the Portuguese Association of Applied Algology (APAA) 2014-2024. Founder and CEO of ISS – Ínclita Seaweed Solutions, SA – dedicated to the commercialisation of functional seaweed-based ingredients.

Francisco Arenas​

Proactive marine phycologist with more than 25 years of experience in the research of coastal ecosystems. His research primarily involves experimental ecology and modeling tools to understand and predict the effects of global changes on seaweed assemblages and ecosystems, from both structural and functional perspectives.

Head of the Benthic Ecology Team at CIIMAR since 2020.

Agnès Marhadour​

BSc in Biology/Ecology from the University of Rennes (France) and Master in Science Communication from the University of Paris. Agnès is part of CIIMAR Science and Innovation office and has been involved in a number of research projects and events in support of CIIMAR activities and community. She has also been collaborating regularly with the British Phycological Society.

Pedro Leão​

Pedro Leão is a PI at CIIMAR (University of Porto), where he leads the Cyanobacterial Natural Products team. Pedro obtained his PhD from the University of Porto in 2010, where he studied allelopathy in cyanobacteria. He then spent a few years studying the chemistry of natural products at CIIMAR and with Bill Gerwick at Scipps Oceanography. Later, he focused on the study of the biosynthesis of cyanobacterial natural products with Emily Balskus at Harvard. In 2017 he received an ERC Starting Grant and started his lab at CIIMAR. His group focuses on the discovery of new cyanobacterial secondary metabolites and of new enzymes that are involved in their biosynthesis.

Ralph Urbatzka​

Ralph Urbatzka is a senior researcher at CIIMAR. He graduated in Biology in 2002, and received his PhD in 2007 in Molecular Biology from the Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany. His research interests focus on the screening of cyanobacteria/microalgae for the discovery of bioactive compounds with beneficial properties to treat metabolic diseases. Co-founder of the spinoff company Fykia Biotech that develops novel products and applications from microalgae.

Mariana Reis​

Mariana Reis has a PhD in Pharmacy (University of Lisbon). Since 2016, she has been researching in the fascinating field of microalgae and cyanobacteria natural products chemistry at CIIMAR. These organisms produce a wide range of organic chemicals that are just waiting for an innovative biotechnological application. With her vast experience in isolation, structural elucidation, and molecular derivatization of natural compounds, she has been taking part in several projects whose goal is to provide microalgae and cyanobacteria-driven solutions for problems related to human health and environment.