NOVA Biomedical Research



NOVA Biomedical Research


NOVA Biomedical Research Master Program

NBR offers solid knowledge, and problem-solving competencies for you to thrive in an outstanding career in Biomedical research. Our NBR program won the NOVA Blended Learning award and our faculty are top Researchers that incorporate the latest research findings in their curricular units and have publications in international top journals.


This Master program will enable you to develop a solid knowledge, combined with analytical and problem-solving competencies in the biomedical area, in a fully international learning environment.

Below you can find more information regarding the basic structure of the program and remember: NBR is a student-centered program where you can discuss your interests and get personalized advice and feedback.

1st Semester

Critical Skills in Research

This course is designed to provide the core skills that you will need to initiate a career in science. You will learn how to make informed, well-grounded decisions when planning your career in science, be it in academia or industry. We will provide mentoring and help you to identify scientifically valid hypothesis and to shape your ideas into well-structured grant application. You will also learn to write and present your research proposal. 

During the course you will benefit from a creative and dynamic environment and will interact with several scientists and clinicials that will help you develop and consolidate your ideas. In this course we have one of the highest ratios tutor/ student.  As a Biomedical Scientist we also expect you to be an active member of the community and we will help you to communicate science to your peers and to society at large.

Advanced Research Methods

In this course, you will learn about the main methods that you can use, as a scientist, to address a variety of research problems that are faced by modern biomedical science. You will apply the new knowledge to expand the research project you developed during the critical skills course. You will also learn about the scope and limitations of these methods to address complex biomedical problems underlying several human diseases. By the end of this course, you will master the fundamentals of a number of powerful state-of-the-art techniques used in biomedical sciences, such as bioinformatics, bioimaging, proteomics, flow cytometry, gene silencing and editing, animal models of disease and whole genome analysis.

Cell Regulation

This course aims at filling putative gaps in you first-cycle degree while, also ensuring that all students are familiar with core concepts and tools in cell biology and regulation of cell function. The core aspects of cell regulation applied to Health and Life Sciences include development and cell differentiation, cell signaling, cell metabolism, cytoskeletal dynamics, mechanisms of cell damage and cell death, organelle function, subcellular trafficking and regulation of proteostasis. Our series of seminars, associated with each topic, will further ensure that you learn about the most recent developments in each of these topics, as well as current and future challenges in the field. After these seminars, students will be faced with specific scientific problems, and challenged to design strategies to address them experimentally. After the design of the protocols, students will execute these experiments in different laboratories, based in the NOVA Biomedical Research campus. This process is guided by active researchers, which will host students in their laboratories, in small groups, allowing a first contact with the real world of designing, performing and troubleshooting experiments.

Research Seminars

These series of specially designed seminars will help you to engage with the scientists that are leading the various research groups at NMS, and our partner institutions, and their top-quality research. In these seminars you will have the opportunity to give your critical perspective on a research paper of the presenting group and to develop a follow-up research idea.

This will help you to develop skills for the critical analysis of scientific publications identifying their strengths and limitations. You will learn how to recognize and identify the best experimental approaches, the most adequate technology, and the best experimental models to answer the specific scientific problems that the participating research groups.

This course will give you a privileged perspective on the skills and resources of the School, which will be valuable in choosing your lab rotation and master project.

Laboratory Rotation

Three mandatory rotations will be your first hands-on contact with research in three laboratories of your choice. Research seminars help you to know the various research groups that are available to take NBR students for their Master thesis. In the lab rotations you will be advised and mentored to choose three laboratories where you will spend three weeks carrying out a specific research task, learning new techniques and first contact with the environment of a research lab. You will need to present and discuss your work in each rotation. The goal of the rotation is to ensure that you make an informed choice when selecting your Master project. In most cases your master project will correspond to one of the three rotations that you have completed. 

Dissertation project

In this course we will help you and guide you to ensure that you will take the most of the research project that you will be conducting during the second year, leading to your master thesis. The dissertation project is designed in close collaboration with your supervisor and will be assessed by a specially designated jury that will help to improve the project and overcome any challenges that you may face while carrying out the research project. You will always take an active part in the process and you will always be involved in the discussions pertaining  your master project.

The area of specialization is determined by the scientific area of the research thesis and there are courses focused on each area offered in the second semester.


*Please take note of the following:

  • Students will graduate with one specialization determined by the research area of the thesis.
  • Students may attend elective courses from other master’s or PhD programs, subject to availability


Mechanisms of neuronal differentiation, development and function

In this course you will acquire the core concepts of molecular neurosciences and learn the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in processes ranging from synapse formation and function to the development of mature and functional neurons within a network. You will learn how to manipulate neurons and circuits and be exposed to the most up-to-date methodologies in neuroscience. At the end of this course, you will hear directly from researchers and medical doctors what is known about the mechanisms of some neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and what is done in the clinics today.  Altogether you will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to succeed at setting up questions, designing projects and having a good understanding in the area of molecular neuroscience.


From function to dysfunction in neural circuits and behavior 

The main objective of this curricular unit is to explore the fundamental aspects of systems neuroscience that allow for an integrated vision of the central nervous system, with a specific focus on the aspects that are essential to study the main clinical conditions in neuropsychiatry. We will consider both the pathways leading to current knowledge in these fields, as well as future research perspectives. You are expected to develop an integrated view of the nervous system and to learn about state-of-the-art developments in modern experimental approaches to study the main neuropsychiatric conditions.


Aging and age-related diseases: from molecular mechanisms to therapies

In this course you will learn about a broad range of cell and molecular mechanism associated with common and rare age-related diseases. These include the genetic and molecular basis of ageing and chronic diseases. You will also learn to identify and explain the main mechanisms associated to cell senescence, to characterize the main age-related changes in organs and systems and to evaluate their contribution to the disease. 


Translational & Precision Medicine

Translational and Precision Medicine are at the forefront of modern medicine. In the course you will learn the fundamentals of how to make a successful and meaningful transition from basic research to clinical practice and to design translational medicine projects. You will study strategies to approach the mechanisms of disease from a clinical perspective including studies on biomarkers, proteomics, metabolomics and pharmacogenomics analysis.


Carcinogenesis – underlying molecular and cellular alterations

This course provides the core tools to understand the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying carcinogenesis and cancer progression. Making a valuable initiation in the practice of basic and translational research in oncobiology. 

Translational and Clinical Oncology

This course is focused on the clinical perspectives of cancer. You will be able to take full advantage of the expertise of our experienced MD/PhDs researchers. You will learn core concepts on diagnosis, therapy, and management aspects of the most frequent types of tumors. 


Stem Cells and Development

This course is conceived to provide an integrated vision of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. You will learn the basic mechanisms underlying the genetic, molecular and morphogenetic early stages of animal development and understand the fundamentals of embryonic, adult and pathological (cancer, senescent) stem cells, cellular reprogramming and its use as disease models and precision medicine. 


Regenerative Medicine Strategies

This course will explore critical concepts in regenerative biology as well as current challenges in the tissue/organ/system axis of regeneration. You will learn about the latest development and experimental approaches in the field such as cell and gene therapy, nano therapies, biomaterials, and scaffolds.



As part of the degree requirement, students must carry out a research project (thesis) in the second year (third and fourth semesters) in a research group of their choice.

Examples of dissertations per area:



  • VICENTE DE SOUSA XAVIER | Glia in intercellular communication at the drosophila neuromuscular junction; Advisor: Rita Teodoro (NMS); Currently: PhD @University of Toulouse, France
  • CÉSAR CUNHA | Disclosing lysosomal dysfunction with neuronal aging; Advisor: Cláudia Almeida (NSM); Currently: PhD @Copenhagen University, Denmark 


Aging and Chronic Diseases

  • ADRIANA CAPUCHO | The role of carotid body in brain insulin resistance and neurodegeneration; Advisor Sílvia Conde (NMS); Currently: PhD @NMS
  • JULIANA PEREIRA MORAIS | Impact of infant feeding on the development of preterm gut microbiota; Advisor: Conceição Calhau (NMS); Currently: PhD @NMS 



  • JOSÉ ROQUE DOS REIS | Neural Stem cell heterogeneity and adult neuroral diversity; Advisor: Catarina Homem (NMS); Currently: PhD @Oslo University, Norway
  • DAVID VAN DER KELLEN | Unravelling the pivotal metabolic pathways of malignant gliomas; Advisor: Jacinta Serpa (NMS); Currently: Germano de Sousa


Regenerative Medicine

  • MARIANA SIMAS FARIA | Role of Cerl2 in the Modulation of Nodal and Wnt/B-catenin Pathways in Mouse Embrionic Stem Cells to Study Cardiomyocyte Differentiation; Advisor: José Belo (NMS); 
  • LUISA MARIA MATIZ | Development of zebrafish chemical screens to identify new modifiers of intestinal neutrophilic inflammation; Advisor: Ana Teresa Tavares; Currently: @University of Marseille, France

Grading is based upon the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) a grading scale developed to facilitate the understanding and comparison of grades given according to different national systems. 

We did the math for you, and the awarding of ECTS grades per curriculum component breaks down as follows:

  • 45 ECTS | in Mandatory Courses 
  • 60 ECTS | Research thesis in the area of specialization 
  • 15  ECTS | in Optional courses
  • You need a minimum of 120 ECTS to complete your Master’s.

NOVA Biomedical Research is part of NMS Research, one of the three pillars of NOVA Medical School. NOVA Medical School is one of the nine schools of NOVA University of Lisbon, that has 39 Research and Development (R&D) Units, with 92% classified as excellent, publishing 10% of the national research papers, placing NOVA in the top 3 of national universities. 

NOVA Biomedical Research is composed of 34 groups and 200 researchers. Its infrastructure comprises open space collaborative laboratories, and Facilities (Rodent's house, Cell Culture, Microscopy, Cytometry, Histology). 

The NOVA Biomedical research is focused on translational medicine aiming at promoting collaborations between biomedical researchers and clinicians to develop new therapies and advanced diagnostic platforms to promote healthy aging and target chronic diseases.

Our parner institutions are: iBET, ITQB, IPO and Champalimaud Foundation (Neuroscience and Cancer).

Faculty (2023)

Our faculty are active top researchers, with international recognition.

  • Albino Oliveira Maia, MD, PhD
  • César Mendes, PhD
  • Cláudia Almeida, PhD
  • Duarte Barral, PhD
  • Gabriela Silva, PhD
  • Helena Soares, PhD
  • Jacinta Serpa, PhD
  • Joaquim Alves da Silva, PhD
  • José Belo, PhD
  • Maria Paula Macedo, PhD
  • Paulo Pereira, PhD
  • Sílvia Conde, PhD
  • Sofia Braga, MD, PhD
  • Sofia Pereira, PhD
  • Rita Teodoro, PhD


Students with bachelor's programs with diverse backgrounds can apply. Examples are: Biology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Chemistry, Nutrition, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine, Psychology or other degrees related with Biomedicine.

NBR is the right choice for candidates looking for a practical approach designed to gain the necessary theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills for a successful career in Biomedical Research.

This is a two stage Evaluation process:

  • Stage 1 will consist in the assessment of the CV of applicant and personal statement
  • Stage 2 will consist in a personal interview 

At Nova Medical School we know the importance of equal opportunities and we are trying to find ways to sponsor, at least some of those students,  that may be facing financial constrains to continue their studies. These opportunities will be announced, as and if they became available, before each academic year. 

Starting the NBR Master’s Program may be one of the first steps towards a global career in science. 

The NBR coordinators and faculty are committed to guide students and provide key resources when planning their professional path, in individual counselling sessions.

Our Alumni are engaged in a path for a career in science. Some as research fellows gaining experience in laboratories spread in the world. Other have enrolled in PhD programs in Portugal and abroad, IGC international program, Novordisk, ENS – France, for example.

We are also committed in potentiating a career in Biomedical Industry and other science-based careers, such as, scientific writing, journalism, science communication, science illustration, editorial positions in scientific journals.

It’s a global world we live in, so it is also our responsibility to make sure that you to get a chance to go abroad and get in touch with different ways of living, studying, and working.

Some of our students have chosen to do lab rotations and the thesis research project in laboratories abroad, that just need to be approved by the NBR coordination. 


More information 
NOVA Biomedical Research MSc Secretariat
+351 21 880 30 66





  • Ageing and chronic diseases
  • Neurosciences
  • Oncobiology
  • Regenerative medicine


15.03.2023 - 30.04.2023


Portuguese students | 2.500€/year

Foreign students | 3.500€/year


  • Numerus clausus  | 20 students
  • ECTS | 120
  • Duration of the Course |4 semesters full-time


Mestrado em Investigação Biomédica_FINAL