10 Aug 2020

Zita Santos and Carlos Ribeiro receive the prestigious GCRLE Pilot Award

The prestigious Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (GCRLE) Pilot Award was granted to Zita Santos and Carlos Ribeiro.

Zita Santos and Carlos Ribeiro receive the prestigious GCRLE Pilot Award

As women enter their late 30’s they tend to experience fertility decline, as well as increased risks of miscarriage and birth defects. Why does this happen? And can it be prevented, or even reversed? Researchers Zita Santos and Carlos Ribeiro of the Behaviour and Metabolism lab at Champalimaud Research have just been awarded a GCRLE Pilot Award to tackle these questions.

Zita Santos and Carlos Ribeiro
Zita Santos and Carlos Ribeiro.

Ribeiro’s lab has been using the fruit fly animal model for elucidating the relation between nutrition and various physiological processes for many years. According to Ribeiro, even though the fruit fly seems very different from humans, it is more similar to us than most people realise. “The similar genetic makeup, together with the genetic and molecular toolkits that have been developed for the fly, offer a powerful way of tapping into common biological processes”, says Ribeiro.

The hypothesis driving this new project is based on innovative findings made in the lab. We’ve recently discovered that the sex cells (those that become eggs) of the female fruit fly go through a process called metabolic reprogramming. In the same study, we also found that this process influences the female’s food preference. In the GCRLE project, we are planning to investigate this newly-discovered phenomenon more deeply as well as analyse whether dietary treatments can help reduce or even reverse fertility decline in aging fruit flies”, Santos explains.

The Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (GCRLE) at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, made possible by the Bia-Echo Foundation announced its inaugural recipients of its GCRLE Scholar Awards today (August 10, 2020). Each of the 22 selected international scientists will receive financial support of 200.000 euros for a period of two years.

You can find more information about GCRLE in the original press release.