Paulo Bettencourt

Paulo Bettencourt

Deputy Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Health

Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Portugal







Network Associate


Research Keywords: 

Antigen Discovery for Vaccine Design, Pre-Clinical Evaluation of Vaccines, TB, Malaria.




Paulo graduated in Biotechnology from ISHT, Lisbon, Portugal, MSc in Immunology and Immunogenetics at the University of Manchester, UK, PhD in Pharmacy at the University of Lisbon, and Post-Doctoral studies in Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, UK. Currently, Paulo is an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator at the Faculty of Medicine, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (FMUCP). Paulo is the Director of the Research and Teaching Laboratories at FMUCP, coordinator of the Research platform CatólicaMed at the FMUCP, and Biobank coordinator. Paulo is also involved in teaching of undergraduate medical students and post-graduate students. The focus of his research group is based in three distinct but complementary areas: 1) to better understand the interaction between pathogens and the host immune system, 2) to identify and characterize antigens to be included in vaccines, by immunopeptidomics (mass spectrometry and bioinformatics), and 3) vaccine development against tuberculosis, malaria and other intracellular pathogens. 


Related Websites: 

Linkedin Profile

Researchgate Profile


Key Publications:

P. J. G. Bettencourt. The 100th anniversary of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) and the latest vaccines against COVID-19. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

P. Bettencourt. Current challenges in the identification of pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine candidate antigens. Frontiers in Immunology 11:190. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00190 (2020).

P. Bettencourt, J. Müller, A. Nicastri, D. Cantillon, M. Madhavan, P. D. Charles, C. B. Fotso, R. Wittenberg, N. Bull, N. Pinpathomrat, S. J. Waddell, E. Stylianou, A. V. S. Hill, N. Ternette, H. McShane. Identification of antigens presented by MHC for vaccines against tuberculosis. NPJ Vaccines 5, 2 (2020).

E. McNeill, E. Stylianou, M. J. Crabtree, R. Harrington-Kandt, A.-L. Kolb, M. Diotallevi, A. B. Hale, P. Bettencourt, R. Tanner, M. K. O’Shea, M. Matsumiya, H. Lockstone, J. Müller, H. A. Fletcher, D. R. Greaves, H. McShane & K. M. Channon. Regulation of mycobacterial infection by macrophage Gch1 and tetrahydrobiopterin. Nature Communications 9 (1): 5409 (2018).

D. Pires, E. Bernard, J. P. Pombo, N. Carmo, C. Fialho, M. G. Gutierrez, P. Bettencourt and E. Anes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis modulates miR-106b-5p to control Cathepsin S expression resulting in higher pathogen survival and poor T cell activation. Frontiers in Immunology 8: 1819. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01819 (2017).

R. Tanner, M. K. O'Shea, A. D. White, J. Müller, R. Harrington-Kandt, M. Matsumiya, M. J. Dennis, E. A. Parizotto, S. Harris, E. Stylianou, V. Naranbhai, P. Bettencourt, H. Drakesmith, S. Sharpe, H. A. Fletcher & H. McShane. The influence of haemoglobin and iron on in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays. Scientific Reports 7: 43478 (2017).

D. Pires, J. Marques, J. P. Pombo, N. Carmo, P. Bettencourt, O. Neyrolles, G. Lugo-Villarino & E. Anes. Role of Cathepsins in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Survival in Human Macrophages. Scientific Reports 6: 32247 (2016).

P. Bettencourt, D. Pires and E. Anes. Immunomodulating microRNAs of mycobacterial infections. Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2016;97:1-7. (2016).

P. Bettencourt, S. Marion, D. Pires, L. F. Santos, C. Lastrucci, N. Carmo, J. Blake, V. Benes, G. Griffiths, O. Neyrolles, G. Lugo-Villarino and E. Anes. Actin-binding protein regulation by microRNAs as a novel microbial strategy to modulate phagocytosis by host cells: the case of N-Wasp and miR-142-3p. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 3:19. doi:10.3389/ fcimb.2013.00019 (2013).

B. Sönnichsen, L. B. Koski, A. Walsh, P. Marschall, B. Neumann, M. Brehm, A.-M. Allaume, J. Artelt, P. Bettencourt, E. Cassin, M. Hewitson, C. Holz, M. Khan, S. Lazik, C. Martin, B. Nitzsche, M. Ruer, J. Stamford, M. Winzi, R. Heinkel, M. Röder, J. Finell, H. Häntsch, S. J. M. Jones, M. Jones, F. Piano, K. C. Gunsalus, K. Oegemma, P. Gönczy, A. Coulson, A. A. Hyman & C. J. Echeverri. Full-genome RNAi profiling of early embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 434, 462 - 469 (2005).