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João Paulo Gomes




João Paulo Gomes
Head of the Bioinformatics Unit of the Department of Infectious Diseases, National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge - INSA


João Paulo Gomes obtained his PhD degree in Biology under the supervision of Prof. Deborah Dean, from Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute / California. On behalf of his PhD in microbial genomics, he was awarded with the European PathoGenoMics PhD Award in 2007. He is/was the supervisor of nine PhD students and has published about 80 papers in multiple journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Microbiology and Lancet Infectious Diseases. Currently, João Paulo Gomes is the Head of the Bioinformatics Unit of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Portuguese National Institute of Health ("Instituto Ricardo Jorge") and he has been focusing his research activity on microbial genomics, such as the deep investigation of infectious outbreaks, the use of metagenomics to disclose the etiology of difficult clinical cases, and the within-patient genetic variation of microbial pathogens on the course of infection ("host-pathogen arms-race").



"Novel approaches to better understand infectious diseases"

With the rampant development and costs decrease of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) (a methodology that allows a deeper understanding of the genomic information of the microbes that cause infectious diseases), the investigation of infectious diseases have entered a new era. In the diagnostic field, the NGS-based methodologies allow, for instance, a simultaneous search for virtually "all possible microbial pathogens" that may be present in a clinical sample and thus being responsible for a disease, in a process that can be described as "finding a needle in a haystack". They also allow a precise identification and characterization of infectious outbreaks occurring at both hospital (e.g., caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria) and community level (e.g., Legionnaires Disease). Finally, they also allow us to better understand how microbes evolve during the infectious process either to escape our immune system or as a means to become more virulent, and this learning process is essential for the development of new prophylactic or therapeutic actions.


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