Metabolism, Aging and Disease

Body Barrier Immunometabolism

Early-life Immune Defence

Intestinal Epithelium

Immune Sensing


Innate-like T Cells

Research lines

Micronutrient Sensing and Early Life Immune Defence

Innate-like T cells and Cancer

Early Life Immune System


Body barriers allow organisms to interact with the surrounding world to sense, breath, reproduce and meet their nutritional needs. However, failure of such borders can lead to infectious diseases and cancer.

In the intestine, a healthy interplay between immune cells, epithelial cells, diet and microbes is key in preserving the intestinal epithelial barrier integrity, while also forming a front line of defence against invading pathogens.

Conventional T cells require about a week upon encounter with antigen to provide effective protection. In contrast, innate-like T cells acquire effector properties preprogrammed during development in thymus being poised for rapid and immediate response to changes at the epithelium. However, how this program is initiated is currently unclear.

The Body Barrier Immunometabolism Lab explores how innate like T cells sense dietary cues and how such signals are integrated in their development and function. In recent past, the team showed that, in addition to their developmentally regulated genetic program, immune cells are controlled by environmental cues (Nature 2014; Cell Reports 2015 and J Immunol 2016).

The team mainly focuses on unravelling the mechanisms by which micronutrients shape the development of innate-like T cells and function at mucosal barriers, such as the intestine, exploiting underlying intrinsic molecular pathways in health and disease.

We address these questions combining multi-facetted in vivo- and in vitro-based cellular and molecular technologies. These include state-of-the-art mouse genetics, flow cytometry, confocal and light sheet microscopy as well as gene expression profiling of immune and epithelial subsets.


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Information about journal articles, updated at 27-11-2022, from platform CIÊNCIAVITAE.

(Senior Corresponding Author) Strategies for Cancer Immunotherapy Using Induced Pluripotency Stem Cells-Based Vaccines (2 citations)

Bruno Bernardes de Jesus; Bruno Miguel Neves; Manuela Ferreira; Sandrina Nóbrega-Pereira, 2020. Cancers. 3581 - 3581. 12. 12. 2020. . 10.3390/cancers12123581 . Cancers

(Co-First Author) Vitamin A controls the presence of RORgt innate lymphoid cells and lymphoid tissue in the small intestine (47 citations)

Goverse, G.; Labao-Almeida, C.; Ferreira, M.; Molenaar, R.; Wahlen, S.; Konijn, T.; Koning, J.; Veiga-Fernandes, H.; Mebius, R.E., 2016. Journal of Immunology. 5148 - 5155. 12. 196. 2016. . 10.4049/jimmunol.1501106 . Journal of Immunology

NFIL3 orchestrates the emergence of common helper innate lymphoid cell precursors (124 citations)

Xu, W.; Domingues, R.G.; Fonseca-Pereira, D.; Ferreira, M.; Ribeiro, H.; Lopez-Lastra, S.; Motomura, Y.; et al, 2015. Cell reports. 2043 - 2054. 12. 10. 2015. . 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.02.057 . Cell reports

(Co-First Author) Maternal retinoids control type 3 innate lymphoid cells and set the offspring immunity (245 citations)

Van De Pavert, S.A.; Ferreira, M.; Domingues, R.G.; Ribeiro, H.; Molenaar, R.; Moreira-Santos, L.; Almeida, F.F.; et al, 2014. Nature. 123 - 127. 1. 508. 2014. . 10.1038/nature13158 . Nature

(First Author) Pre-birth world and the development of the immune system: Mum's diet affects our adult health: New insight on how the diet during pregnancy permanently influences offspring health and immune fitness Prospects & Overviews M. Ferreira and H. Veiga-Fernandes (5 citations)

Ferreira, M.; Veiga-Fernandes, H., 2014. BioEssays. 1213 - 1220. 12. 36. 2014. . 10.1002/bies.201400115 . BioEssays

Differential RET signaling pathways drive development of the enteric lymphoid and nervous systems (49 citations)

Patel, A.; Harker, N.; Moreira-Santos, L.; Ferreira, M.; Alden, K.; Timmis, J.; Foster, K.; et al, 2012. Science Signaling. 235. 5. 2012. . 10.1126/scisignal.2002734 . Science Signaling

(First Author) Stroma cell priming in enteric lymphoid organ morphogenesis (7 citations)

Ferreira, M.; Domingues, R.G.; Veiga-Fernandes, H., 2012. Frontiers in Immunology. JUL. 3. 2012. . 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00219 . Frontiers in Immunology

(Second Author) The basement membrane of hair follicle stem cells is a muscle cell niche (197 citations)

Fujiwara, H.; Ferreira, M.; Donati, G.; Marciano, D.K.; Linton, J.M.; Sato, Y.; Hartner, A.; et al, 2011. Cell. 577 - 589. 4. 144. 2011. . 10.1016/j.cell.2011.01.014 . Cell

Spatial coupling of mTOR and autophagy augments secretory phenotypes (345 citations)

Narita, M.; Young, A.R.J.; Arakawa, S.; Samarajiwa, S.A.; Nakashima, T.; Yoshida, S.; Hong, S.; et al, 2011. Science. 966 - 970. 6032. 332. 2011. . 10.1126/science.1205407 . Science

TNF-a regulates the effects of irradiation in the mouse bone marrow microenvironment (29 citations)

Cachaço, A.S.; Carvalho, T.; Santos, A.C.; Igreja, C.; Fragoso, R.; Rio, C.O.; Ferreira, M.; et al, 2010. PLoS ONE. 2. 5. 2010. . 10.1371/journal.pone.0008980 . PLoS ONE

(3rd Author) Autophagy mediates the mitotic senescence transition (698 citations)

Young, A.R.J.; Narita, M.; Ferreira, M.; Kirschner, K.; Sadaie, M.; Darot, J.F.J.; Tavaré, S.; et al, 2009. Genes and Development. 798 - 803. 7. 23. 2009. . 10.1101/gad.519709 . Genes and Development

(First Author) An activating ß1 integrin mutation increases the conversion of benign to malignant skin tumors (32 citations)

Ferreira, M.; Fujiwara, H.; Morita, K.; Watt, F.M., 2009. Cancer Research. 1334 - 1342. 4. 69. 2009. . 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-3051 . Cancer Research

Bile acids are toxic for isolated cardiac mitochondria - A possible cause for hepatic-derived cardiomyopathies?

Ferreira, M; Coxito, PM; Sardao, VA; Palmeira, CM; Oliveira, PJ, 2005. Cardiovascular Toxicology. 2005. . 10.1385/CT:5:1:063 . Cardiovascular Toxicology

(First Author) Bile acids are toxic for isolated cardiac mitochondria: A possible cause for hepatic-derived cardiomyopathies? (27 citations)

Ferreira, M.; Coxito, P.M.; Sardão, V.A.; Palmeira, C.M.; Oliveira, P.J., 2005. Cardiovascular Toxicology. 63 - 73. 1. 5. 2005. . Cardiovascular Toxicology



SPI Best Paper Award 2014 | Portuguese Society of Immunology | PT


2021 Young Investigator Award for Excellence in Basic Research (ESCI)

European Society for Clinical Investigation


2018 Young Investigator Travel Award (Society for Mucosal Immunology)


2013 EMBO Prize Poster Award


2014 SPI Travel Grant | Sociedade Portuguesa de Imunologia


2005 Terry Fox Research Award


2021 Early Career Mentorship Program (Mentor: Dr. Gerard Éberl, Institut Pasteur) (Society for Mucosal Immunology)

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