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Project to fight antibiotic or virus resistance wins Santander/NOVA Collaborative Research Award

In this project, NOVA researchers propose an interdisciplinary approach to develop solutions to a global problem.

Vencedores do Prémio Santander NOVA 2022

The winner of the 15th edition of the Santander/NOVA Collaborative Research Award 2021/2022, this year awarded in the area of Exact Sciences and Engineering, is the project "Dynamic design of green solvent-based nanoemulsions for improved drug delivery". The multidisciplinary team that ranked first place involves two organic units of NOVA University Lisbon, being formed by researcher Carla Brazinha, from NOVA School of Science and Technology, together with co-researcher James Yates, from ITQB NOVA.

The prize was delivered at the Rectorate Auditorium of NOVA University, by the Fundação Santander Portugal, crowning the NOVA Science Day 2022, which had as main objective to stimulate the debate and the sharing of experiences, promoting leadership in research, the role of Associated Laboratories and the main challenges related to attracting funding for research activities. 

The main researcher, Carla Brazinha, underlines that "there are drugs that fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses, but they are oil-soluble and water-insoluble".

For the drugs to work, "emulsions have to be produced, which are dispersions of oil droplets in water. These drugs, which are in the oil droplets, thus have direct access to harmful bacteria and viruses, which are in aqueous media".
Carla Brazinha points out that "these emulsions must have nanometer-scale oil droplets to be permeable to cell membranes and are produced by the technique of membrane emulsification, with much lower energy consumption than traditional techniques".

With the Santander/NOVA Collaborative Research Award winning research, "we want to build a platform that simulates the technique of membrane emulsification, with the creation of oil droplets at the nanometer scale to film this process in real-time, particularly the formation and coalescence of the nanoemulsion droplets, which will be modeled using the Computational Fluids Dynamicsf and Lattice Boltzmann", she highlights.

The Santander/NOVA Collaborative Research Award aims at distinguishing Research Projects to be developed by Junior Researchers at NOVA and involving, at least, two of the Organic Units of the University. The Prize, amounting to 15.000 euros, successively contemplates Research Projects in the scope of Social Sciences and Humanities, Life Sciences, and Exact Sciences and Engineering.