Catarina Freire

Catarina Freire

My name is Catarina Freire and I come from Portugal where I graduated in Biological Engineering in 2017. Shortly after, I joined a Munich start-up, iOmx Therapeutics, that focuses on the discovery and development of novel immune checkpoint modulators to be used in cancer therapy. In November 2020 I joined the EVIDENCE network at Prof. Ashley Toye's group at the University of Bristol investigating red blood cell deformation.

Reason for joining

After two years of working in a small start-up I was ready to return to academia and further develop my scientific skills and thinking. The EVIDENCE programme allows me to combine my engineering and cell culture backgrounds to possibly impact public health and increase the quality of live for those affected with blood disorders. The international collaboration opportunities and the multidisciplinary research being carried out as part of the programme were also key aspects in my decision to join EVIDENCE. The University of Bristol and Prof. Ashley Toye's group have excellent conditions and equipment, as well as an amazing environment to do my doctorate degree.


The purpose of my PhD is to understand erythrocyte's properties and viability by studying the physical, cellular, and molecular effects of shear stress and deformation, and explore how the resulting cytoskeletal modifications might contribute to reticulocyte maturation. Key techniques include CRISPR, microfluidics and imaging. In being part of the EVIDENCE Innovative Training Network, I am looking forward to collaborating with the other partners and ESRs.