ESR introduction and

outline ESR Project 8

Joana Maria Alves da Silva was born on 24th January of 1995 in Guimarães, Portugal. In 2014 started her integrated master’s in Biomedical Engineering at University of Minho, with further specialization in Clinical Engineering.

In 2018 received the excellence award of University of Minho, rewarding the students with the best performance in the curricular year, and in 2019 also won the merit award for scholarship students with the best performance.

In the last year of the course developed her master’s thesis entitled “Developing new anticancer drug candidates by targeting p53”, which was a partnership between the Center of Biological Engineering of the University of Minho and the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto. The project included the assessment of the antitumoral effect of a drug on colorectal cancer cells, followed by further binding studies with a human mutated protein colorectal cancer-associated. This promising link between molecular biotechnology and pharmacology made her particularly interested in molecular-based therapies.

In 2019 she performed an internship at Hospital Lusíadas Porto, where she learned more about infection control, risk management and hospital quality management.

Since February 2020 she works as a PhD student in Mirabilis Therapeutics, in Maastricht, embracing the 8th H2020 TRAIN-HEART project. This project aims to achieve the completion of pharmacology/toxicity optimization studies of a new drug candidate for heart failure, so she is determining the best route of administration and performing dose-range finding studies. These last will allow adjusting the dosage to the least adaptive immunogenicity and off-target organ toxicity, viability/mortality, clinical symptoms, body weight, food consumption, kidney function, coagulation and clinical pathology (haematology, clinical chemistry and urinalysis). The main goal is to move on to the clinical trials.


- Leiden University Medical Center (group of Prof. Burggraaf, Center for Human Drug Research)

- Technical University Munich (group of Prof. Engelhardt, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology)

- University Medical Center Hamburg/Eppendorf (group of Prof. Eschenhagen, experimental pharmacology and toxicology)

Host Institution

Mirabilis Therapeutics BV

ESR: Joana Maria Alves da Silva


Main supervisor: Dr Jan Wit

Co-supervisor: Dr Sjep de Kimpe

Academic supervisor: Prof. Paula da Costa Martins (Maastricht University)