September 12th, 2023

CIIMAR, Matosinhos, Portugal

Dear colleague

On behalf of the entire BlueBio4Future team, we want to extend a warm thank you for attending the International Conference on Marine Biotechnology. We were thrilled to have you join us and we hope that you found the event valuable and informative.

Your presence at our event made it all the more special and we believe that the insights shared and the connections made will greatly benefit the conference attendees, and we are looking forward to seeing the positive impact that it will have on Marine Biotechnology research.

We also would like to extend our acknowledgments to guests and speakers for such enriching and inspiring talks.

We hope you will continue to follow the research results and activities of BlueBio4Future.

Warm regards,

ERAChair Coordinator, Vitor Vasconcelos

ERAChair Holder, Pedro Leão


Eric J. N. Helfrich

Eric obtained his B. Sc. in Molecular Biomedicine from the University of Bonn in Germany. From early on during his studies, Eric was fascinated by natural products, in particular trans-acyltransferase polyketide synthases. Following his Bachelor’s under the supervision of Jörn Piel, he relocated to Jena to work in the lab of Christian Hertweck during his MSc in Chemical Biology. During his Master’s he spend some time in the laboratories of Bradley Moore and Pieter Dorrestein at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Skaggs School of Pharmacy (University of California at San Diego) in La Jolla, California.

Later on, re-joint the Piel lab, this time at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. He dedicated his PhD studies on deciphering the biosynthetic principles of trans-acyltransferase polyketide synthases. At the time, the biosynthesis of the complex polyketides that these enormous mega-enzyme complexes generate was poorly understood.

After his PhD, Eric moved to Boston for his postdoctoral studies in the Clardy lab at Harvard Medical School funded by a SNF Postdoc Mobility scholarship. In The Clardy lab, Eric worked on the ecology-inspired and genomics-assisted discovery of novel bioactive natural products.

In October 2020, Eric was appointed Professor of Natural Products Genomics at the LOEWE Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics and the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at Goethe University Frankfurt. His team’s research focuses on locating and characterizing non-canonical biosynthetic pathways that are currently overlooked by state-of-the-art genome mining platforms.

Adriana Rego

CIIMAR Researcher

Adriana Rego is currently working as a bioinformatic researcher at CIIMAR. She recently finished her PhD studies (2023) on the topic of “Distribution and Diversity of bacterial biosynthetic genes across multiple ecosystems”, in which several bioinformatic approaches, molecular biology, and chemistry techniques were combined with the overall goal of facilitating the discovery of novel natural products. Her main areas of expertise and interest include the use of bioinformatic approaches to study the diversity and distribution of biosynthetic gene clusters across the environment and in Cyanobacteria.

BSc in Biology, MSc in Molecular Biology (University of Porto) and PhD in Biomedical Sciences (ICBAS, University of Porto

Synthetic Biology

Avena Ross

Dr. Avena Ross received her BSc (Hons.) in Chemistry at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2006 and then she completed her PhD in Chemistry in 2012 under the supervision of Prof. John C. Vederas at the University of Alberta, Canada. She then joined the lab of Prof. Bradley S. Moore at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California at San Diego as an NSERC postdoctoral research fellow. In 2015, Dr. Ross was appointed an Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry in the department of Chemistry at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. In 2021 Dr. Ross was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor at Queen’s University. The Ross group investigates marine bacterially-derived natural products using genome guided approaches and investigates the biosynthesis of marine proteobacterial natural products including lanthipeptides, siderophores, non-ribosomal peptides and alkaloids such as the prodiginines/tambjamines using in vivo (genomics and heterologous expression) and in vitro (biochemical assays of isolated enzymes) approaches.

Paulo Oliveira

BlueBio4Future action team member

PhD researcher in Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering

Paulo Oliveira moved from the Bioengineering and Synthetic Microbiology group at IBMC/i3S, U.Porto to the Cyanobacterial Natural Products group, in CIIMAR-UP,  becoming a junior researcher under the BlueBio4Future project, and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Sciences, U.Porto. He has dedicated his scientific career to the study of cyanobacteria. Lately, he has focused on secretion mechanisms, particularly extracellular vesicles, and has participated in Synthetic biology initiatives.

BSc in Biology (University of Porto) and PhD in Biological Sciences from (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Green Chemistry/ Biocatalysis

Tobias Gulder

Tobias Gulder completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry in 2008 at the University of Würzburg, with Gerhard Bringmann. He established his independent research at the University of Bonn (2011–2014) with Jörn Piel as a mentor after completing a postdoctoral training program in Brad Moore’s group at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego (2008–2010). He was appointed Professor of Biosystems Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich’s Department of Chemistry and Center for Integrated Protein Science in 2014.

Since 2019, he is Chair of Technical Biochemistry at the Technical University of Dresden. Currently, with his research team, he works in the area of biomolecular natural product chemistry. Their research focuses on the various aspects of microbial natural products, such as the targeted discovery of new compounds using bioinformatics techniques and synthetic biology methods, as well as the elucidation of biosynthetic pathways and the biocatalytic application of biosynthetic enzymes in the synthesis of complex molecules and in technical applications.

Konrad Viehrig

BlueBio4Future action team member

PhD researcher in Natural Products discovery and Biosynthesis

Konrad Viehrig joined the BlueBio4Future project as a junior researcher for natural products discovery and biosynthesis studies. Konrad completed his PhD in the lab of Prof. Rolf Müller in Germany and has since gained post-doctoral experience in synthetic biology and natural product pathways in the labs of Prof. Jay Keasling in Denmark and Prof. Ben Shen in the United States. Throughout his career, he has worked with different microorganisms (Bakers Yeast, Myxobacteria, Actinomycetes) for natural product discovery, enzymology and pathway engineering.

BSc in Human and Molecular Biology (Saarland University, Germany) and PhD in Natural Sciences (Saarland University, Germany)


Maria Barbosa

Prof. dr Maria Barbosa is Professor in Bioprocess Engineering and is the Director of AlgaePARC ( at Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands. She has been president of the Dutch Biotechnology Association (NBV). She holds a Ph.D. in Bioprocess Engineering obtained at Wageningen University.  She has worked at ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Switzerland, IBET, and at EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation), Germany.

She presently leads the group on microalgal biotechnology and coordinates several large research programs covering the entire microalgae production chain and applications in the food and feed sectors.

Her scientific interests are in microalgae strain improvement, cultivation, and scale-up.

Mariane Fagundes

BlueBio4Future action team

PhD researcher in Bioprocess and Metabolic Engineering

Mariane Fagundes joined the BlueBio4Future action team as Junior researcher in Bioprocesses and Metabolic Engineering. Mariane’s main areas of expertise are the metabolic characterization of microalgal biomass, microalgal extracts the use of green technologies to produce microalgar extracts, in-silico and in vitro effects evaluation, sterols bioactivity, bioremediation, biorefinery, and metabolomics.

PhD  and MSc in Food and Science Technology (Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil), BSc in Food Technology (Federal University of Santa Maria)

Dear colleague

We are delighted to invite you to the International Conference on Marine Biotechnology, which will be held in Matosinhos, Portugal, on September 12, 2023

This conference is being held as part of the BlueBio4Future ERAChair project, which seeks to develop the expertise of CIIMAR in bioengineering, namely for the optimization of bioprocesses under the optimal culture conditions to maximize biomass, the applications of synthetic biology in terms of increased synthesis of added-value goods, green chemistry/biocatalysis for sustainable compound extraction and purification, and bioinformatics.

There will be an exciting mix of plenary lectures with high-profile experts in the field and a showcase of CIIMAR’s research by BlueBio4Future synthetic biologists, bioinformaticians, chemists, and experts in bioprocesses in a face-to-face conference.

Please note the dates in your calendar and help us spread the word to any colleagues who might be interested in attending.

We look forward to seeing you all.

ERAChair Coordinator, Vitor Vasconcelos

ERAChair Holder, Pedro Leão