I am a molecular microbiologist, specialized in S. aureus cell and molecular biology, cell wall biosynthesis and the mechanisms underpinning antimicrobial resistance (PhD in Molecular Biology, FCT-NOVA /2019). My main research interests are in bacterial pathogenesis and molecular bacteriology namely: intracellular persistence, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms, stringent response, genetic competence and mechanobiology using advanced microscopy approaches such as Super resolution Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM). Currently, I am a contracted researcher at the Intracellular Microbial Infection Biology (IMIB) Laboratory (P.I.: Pedro M. Pereira), hosted at Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB-NOVA). I have performed postdocs at the Molecular Microbiology of Bacterial Pathogens Lab (P.I.: R. Sobral), at Laboratory of Molecular Genetics (P.I.: H. de Lencastre) and at Microbial Stress Lab (P.I.: S. Pauleta). During these postdocs I was responsible for the introduction on new research lines in the host labs such as the production of bacterial cellulose for wound dressing applications and the development of copper and silver NHC conjugated compounds as antimicrobials against several pathogens. I have authored 9 peer-reviewed journal articles, 7 conference proceedings, 1 pre-print and 2 book chapters, among which 15 as first-author with a total of 536 citations (Google scholar). I have participated in 12 Research Grants both from national and international funding agencies, one as a Principal Investigator. My work was presented in 10 oral presentations in conferences and seminars and in 31 communications in panel in national and international conferences. I have extensive experience in supervision of undergraduate and graduate students with a total of 18 supervisions and co-supervisions of national and international students from bachelor degrees, master degrees, Erasmus program and PhD and MSc laboratory rotations. I was invited to be assistant in the module "Introduction to Microbiology, Microbial Genetics and Recombinant DNA Technology in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes" of the Medical Microbiology Master and I was teaching practical classes of the disciplines "Biochemistry of Foods" and "Chemistry and Biochemistry of Foods" at FCT-NOVA, offered to several BSc and MSc courses. I am an ad-hoc reviewer for PeerJ and PLOS ONE, and I have participated in 9 jury committees as main opponent in MSc, post-graduations, and BSc examinations. I was also an evaluator of an international grant. I have always been involved in dissemination activities such as the ITQB-open day, Expo-FCT, European Researcher's night and the Feira Internacional de Ciência (FIC.A). I was also member of the Task Force for COVID-19, performing RT-PCR testing during the covid pandemics. I was recently awarded with a Research Grant, as PI, from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) - Research Grant 2022, to study the role of a new bacteriocin system in S. aureus. In 2023, I won the competitive Individual Call to Scientific Employment Stimulus (CEEC) from FCT/MCTES with the project "PERSISTAUREUS - Unravelling the mechanisms of Staphylococcus aureus antibiotic induced persistence during intracellular host-cell infection".

Personal identification

Full name
Raquel Pereira Portela

Citation names

  • Portela, R.

Author identifiers

Ciência ID
Google Scholar ID
Researcher Id
Scopus Author Id

Email addresses

  • raquel.portela@itqb.unl.pt (Professional)


Knowledge fields

  • Natural sciences - Biological Sciences - Molecular Biology
  • Natural sciences - Biological Sciences - Microbiology
Degree Classification
Biologia (Doutoramento)
Major in Biologia Molecular
Universidade Nova de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Portugal
"New studies in the resistance to ß-lactams and in cell wall damage survival in Staphylococcus aureus: an integrated approach." (THESIS/DISSERTATION)


Host institution
2023/05/01 - Current Contracted Researcher (Research) Universidade Nova de Lisboa Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Portugal
Intracellular Microbial Infection Biology Lab, Portugal


Designation Funders
2024 - Current 2023.06402.CEECIND - PERSISTAUREUS - Unravelling the mechanisms of Staphylococcus aureus antibiotic induced persistence during intracellular host-cell infection.
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia


Book chapter
  1. Portela, R.; Borovnik, K.; Costa, C.; Grilo, I. R.; Pereira, P. M.. "High priority pathogens. Where do we stand?". In Nanotherapeutics for Infectious Diseases. Jenny Stanford Publishing Pte Ltd., 2024.
    In press
  2. Portela, R.; Almeida, P.L.; Sobral, R. G.; Leal, C. R.. Corresponding author: Leal, C. R.. "S. aureus and E. coli Co-culture Growth Under Shear". In Springer Proceedings in Materials, 108-112. Springer 10.1007/978-3-030-27701-7_23, 2019.
Journal article
  1. Portela, R.; N. Faria; M. Miragaia; M. Mwangi; H. de Lencastre; A. Tomasz; R. Sobral. "Analysis of a Cell Wall Mutant Highlights Rho-Dependent Genome Amplification Events in Staphylococcus aureus.". Microbiology Spectrum (2022): https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.02483-21.
    Published • https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.02483-21
  2. Almeida, Ana P.C.; Saraiva, João N.; Cavaco, Gonçalo; Portela, R.; Leal, Catarina R.; Sobral, Rita G.; Almeida, Pedro L.. "Crosslinked bacterial cellulose hydrogels for biomedical applications". European Polymer Journal (2022): 111438. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2022.111438.
    Published • 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2022.111438
  3. Portela, R.; F. Valcovo,; P. L. Almeida, ; R. G. Sobral, ; C. R. Leal.. "Antibiotic Activity Screened by the Rheology of S. aureus Cultures". Fluids 5 2 (2020): 76. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/fluids5020076.
    Published • 10.3390/fluids5020076
  4. Gonçalves, B. V. *; Portela, R. *; R. Lobo ; T. A. Figueiredo; I. R. Grilo; A. M. Ludovice; H. de Lencastre; J. S. Dias; R. G. Sobral. "Role of MurT C-Terminal Domain in the Amidation of Staphylococcus aureus Peptidoglycan". Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 63 10 (2019): http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/aac.00957-19 *co-first author.
    Published • 10.1128/aac.00957-19
  5. Portela, R.; C. R. Leal; P. L. Almeida; R. G. Sobral. "Bacterial cellulose: a versatile biopolymer for wound dressing applications". Microbial Biotechnology 12 4 (2019): 586-610. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1751-7915.13392.
    Published • 10.1111/1751-7915.13392
  6. Portela, R.; P. L. Almeida; R. G. Sobral; C. R. Leal. "Motility and cell shape roles in the rheology of growing bacteria cultures". The European Physical Journal E 42 3 (2019): http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epje/i2019-11787-9.
    Published • 10.1140/epje/i2019-11787-9
  7. Portela, R.; Patrício, P.; Almeida, P. L.; Sobral, R. G.; Franco, J. M.; Leal, C. R.. Corresponding author: Leal, C. R.. "Rotational tumbling of Escherichia coli aggregates under shear". Physical Review E 94 6 (2016): http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physreve.94.062402.
    Published • 10.1103/physreve.94.062402
  8. Patrício, P.; Almeida, P. L.; Portela, R.; Sobral, R. G.; Grilo, I. R.; Cidade, T.; Leal, C. R.. "Living bacteria rheology: Population growth, aggregation patterns, and collective behavior under different shear flows". Physical Review E 90 2 (2014): http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physreve.90.022720.
    Published • 10.1103/physreve.90.022720
  9. Portela, R.; Almeida, P. L.; Patrício, P.; Cidade, T.; Sobral, R. G.; Leal, C. R.. "Real-time rheology of actively growing bacteria". Physical Review E 87 3 (2013): http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physreve.87.030701.
    Published • 10.1103/physreve.87.030701
  1. Bruno M. Saraiva; Inês M. Cunha; António D. Brito; Gautier Follain; Raquel Portela; Robert Haase; Pedro M. Pereira; Guillaume Jacquemet; Ricardo Henriques. "NanoPyx: super-fast bioimage analysis powered by adaptive machine learning". 2023. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.08.13.553080.


2023 Individual Research Contract - 2023.06402.CEECIND
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal
European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Switzerland