Wrapping Up 2020: Our People

December 28, 2020

Despite its difference, its restrictions, and being physically apart, 2020 has been a busy year for INL and for all INLers. This week we take a look at some of this year’s highlights and achievements regarding our people, our projects, and the latest research developments. Join us!

Last December we had the idea of creating a new ‘News Channel’ with new stories and new insights on our work at INL. We were able to launch this project at the beginning of 2020 but then COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, and many of the project’s plans were put on hold. However, we were able to quickly adapt to this ‘new life and work balance’ and the pandemic did not slow our projects nor our passion for our work.

Today, we take a look back at all the interviews we did throughout the year. Our people are our strongest asset, and through these interviews, you are able to meet them a little better. This was, also, our opportunity to recognize the importance of our talents.

Begoña Espiña

The launch of the interviews started with Begoña Espiña, PhD., the Leader of the Water Quality Research Group within the Life Sciences at INL. We wanted to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) and the International Women’s Day (March 8) by shinning a light on Women in STEM with an interview series with Women working in/with Science at INL. Read the full interview >

Monisha Elumalai

Then came Monisha Elumalai’s interview, originally from Tamilnadu, India, who joined INL as a Research Fellow. Currently working with Marta Prado on an R&D Project on Biosensors for Environmental Applications. She completed her Bachelors in Electronics & Communication Engineering at Anna University, Tamilnadu, India, and also holds a Master Degree in Sensor System Technology from the VIT University. Read the full interview >

Lorena Diéguez

Next was Lorena Diéguez, leader of the Medical Devices Group. Her research is focused on the Development of Biomicrofluidic Devices mainly devoted to Translational Medical Research in close collaboration with Hospitals for the Development of Integrated Biosensing Systems and Nanobioengineered Diagnostics Microsystems for the isolation and characterization of Tumor Cells from body fluids of cancer patients, as well as the Development of Microfluidic ‘Organ-on-a-chip 3D Models.  Read the full interview >

Mariam Gonzalez Debs

Mariam Gonzalez Debs is currently the Programme Management Officer. Until September 2018 she was the Facility Manager in the Microfabrication and Exploratory Nanotechnology Department at INL. Mariam holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, in the area of compound semiconductor nanodiffusion. Read the full interview >

Catarina Moura


Catarina Moura is a Research Fellow from the INL Medical Devices group within the Department of Life Sciences. She is working on a combined microscopy platform integrating Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and applying it to answer outstanding questions regarding cellular signaling. Catarina is interested in making science accessible and fun to everyone, and she has also been involved in several science outreaches and public engagement activities. Read the full interview >

Margaret Costa



Margaret Costa is responsible for the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of the Quality Management System of INL and provides support to the Management Board through the coordination of INL operations securing proper planning and follow-up and agile decision-making processes. Read the full interview >

Rosana Dias


Rosana Dias is a Staff Researcher in the Micro and Nanofabrication Department (Microfabrication and Exploratory Nanotechnology research group) at INL. She has large experience in modeling, design, fabrication, and testing of MEMS devices. Her research interests range from mechanical sensors (eg. acceleration and magnetic field sensing) to energy harvesting devices (piezoelectric AlN and EMF-based induction) and flexible substrate-based applications. Read the full interview >

Sofia Domingues


Sofia Domingues – Associate Researcher at INL. She’s currently also a Researcher at the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) from the University do Minho but continues the existing collaboration with Inês Pinto – Staff Researcher. Sofia is a Neuroscientist and she focuses her work on the study of mammalian myelination, one of the main evolutionary achievements of vertebrates. Read the full Interview >

Mariana Carvalho


Mariana Carvalho, a Research Engineer in the Nano Devices group at INL. Her main research area is in Bio-nano-photonics, primarily in optical coherence tomography (OCT) and optical microscopy (SPIM, fluorescent, confocal and non-linear microscopy) and she focuses her work on the development of new tools for in vivo diagnosis, specific in applications on cardiovascular diseases. Read the full interview >

Ana Vieira


Ana Vieira, a Research Fellow in Water Quality Research Group at INL. Nowadays, her work consists of evaluating and developing multifunctional materials for the removal of microorganisms from water. She finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry in 2016 and holds a Master’s Degree in Biophysics and Bionanosystems, from the University of Minho. Her Master thesis was based on the functionalization of nanoliposomes, for delivery of a marine toxin, at a specific target, to be used in prostate and breast cancer treatment. Read the full interview >

Joana Guerreiro


Joana Guerreiro was a Research Fellow at Food & Quality Research Group at INL. She worked on a project which aims at the amplification and detection of environmental DNA (eDNA) of invasive species. Her main goal was to develop and design an optical biosensor for eDNA detection from water samples. Her research interests cover the continuous development of (nano)optical biosensors devices and further application of these devices in the environment, health, and food chemistry. Read the full interview >


Ernesto F. Galvão

Ernesto F. Galvão is the Leader of the Quantum and Linear-Optical Computation Group at INL. He holds degrees in physics from the University of Oxford (Ph.D. 2002), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Master’s 1998), and Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Bachelor’s 1996). He recently won a FET-Open funding call. PHOQUSING | FET-OPEN proposes the implementation of two quantum sampling machines with different technologies to perform cross-checks and exploit the advantages of each platform. Read the full interview >

Bruno Romeira

Bruno Romeira joined the INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal, as a Marie Curie COFUND Research Fellow, and he is currently a Staff Researcher and a Coordinator of the EU-H2020-FET-OPEN Project ChipAI. He is also strongly involved in Arts and Science initiatives at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and is currently working with Mathew Biederman in a Vertigo STARTS Artistic Residency – the Mark II spiking perceptron | Reimagining Rosenblatt’s Perceptron through neuromorphic light-based computation. Read the full interview >

Pedro Salomé

Pedro Salomé received his Diploma in Physics Engineering and Doctoral degree in the field of Applied Physics from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, in 2006 and 2011, respectively. In 2015 he was hired as a staff researcher by INL to be part of the Laboratory of Nanostructured Solar cells and in 2016 he was awarded by the Portuguese Foundation for science and technology (FCT) with an FCT Investigator starting grant to fund his independent group. To match his individual grant, in January 2017, INL promoted him to group leader of the Nanofabrication for Optoelectronic Applications group. Read the full interview >

Laura Salonen

Laura Salonen is currently a Staff Researcher in the Nanochemistry research group. She employs organic chemistry methods for the development of innovative nanomaterials. Her main research focuses on the design and synthesis of covalent organic frameworks and composites for water treatment and catalysis. Read the full interview >

Lifeng Liu

Lifeng Liu is currently the Leader of the Nanomaterials for Energy Storage and Conversion (NESC) group at INL. Dr. Liu focuses his research on the development of new nanostructured materials and their applications in electrochemical energy storage and conversion including water splitting, solar fuel production, lithium-/sodium-ion batteries, and supercapacitors. Read the full interview >

Ernesto Alfaro-Moreno


Ernesto Alfaro-Moreno is the leader of the Nanosafety Research Group. Dr Alfaro is leading research on developing methods to assess the toxicity and safety of nanomaterials, with a broad approach evaluating from possible effects on humans to environmental effects. The goal of the Nanosafety group is to evaluate cytotoxic, genotoxic, inflammation, local and systemic effects and in silico analysis. Read the full interview >

Leonard Deepak Francis


Leonard Deepak Francis is the group leader of the Nanostructured Materials Group at INL. His research is focused on the use of advanced electron microscopic techniques for the study of materials/nanomaterials for various applications, as well as in the study of physical phenomena and dynamics at the atomic-scale. Read the full interview >

Weng Kung Peng


Weng Kung Peng is a Principal Investigator and Research Group Leader since 2017 at INL. His research is focused 0n developing and translating technological innovations (e.g., nuclear magnetic resonance, electron spin resonance, spintronic, Raman spectroscopic) for the next generation of precision (molecular) medicine (or agriculture), which enables in-situ, rapid, high-throughput, and multidimensional molecular phenotyping in a (preferably) functional manner. Read the full interview >

Sara Abalde-Cela


Sara Abalde-Cela is a Staff Researcher at INL. She works at the Department of Life Sciences, within the Medical Devices group. The research project she is involved in focuses on the development of microfluidic platforms for the detection of cancer cells, as a continuation of her Marie Curie project (2017-2019). The goal of her project is to develop a real-time and on-chip method for circulating tumor cell detection based on Surface enhanced-Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy. Read the full interview >

Miguel Xavier


Miguel Xavier is a Research Fellow at the INL working in the Food Processing & Nutrition research group. Miguel’s work focuses on the development of a new Gut-On-Chip platform to assess the bioavailability and safety of orally administered compounds. He was recently distinguished by the European Commission with an individual Marie Curie Fellowship in a total worth of160 thousand euros. GASTRIC is the name of the award-winning project and is focused on the development of an automated device that simulates the digestion and intestinal absorption of drugs or food supplements are taken orally. Read the full interview >

Jérôme Borme


Jérôme Borme is a Staff Researcher in the team 2D Materials and Devices. He focuses his work in the design and fabrication of devices based on graphene and other 2D materials, applied to biosensing. He is also responsible for the electron lithography at INL and designs the nanopatterning processes. At an educational level, he teaches lithography at the University of Minho. Read the full interview >

Raquel Queirós


Raquel Queirós is a staff researcher in the Water Quality Research Group at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory. Her main research interests include label-free detection methods for life science applications, new biomimetic materials as molecular recognition probes, and engineering solutions for water quality monitoring. Read the full interview >

Enrique Carbó-Argibay

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Enrique Carbó-Argibay, Electron Microscopy Facility Manager at INL. He is in charge of maintaining cutting-edge instrumentation, particularly advanced electron microscopes, in top shape, to directly enable groundbreaking science and engineering. He also provides hands-on training and technical support to internal and external users from academia, industry, and non-profit organizations. This role is part of the “Open Access” policy implemented at INL that allows access by external users to the cutting-edge facilities. Read the full interview >

“Happy Holidays | INL ALONe” star, Alar Ainla


And to wrap the year in a fun note, meet our amazing star – Alar Ainla. We shine a spotlight on this amazing colleague and… now a unique actor. Alar is a staff researcher at INL, Microfabrication, and Exploratory Nanotechnology research group, where his research is focused on the developments of integrated sensors and sensing systems. Read the full fun interview >

2021 will also be a year of endless opportunities to meet more INLers and to bring people closer to our external audiences to give them a better understanding of ‘who is who’ and how we work.