Portugal awards a citizen who is creating a science career in Finland

Hélder Santos, a post-doctoral researcher in pharmaceutical nanotechnology based in Finland, was awarded as the Portuguese expatriate scientist of the year.

Portugal awards a citizen who is creating a science career in Finland

The Portuguese government arranges an annual gala, where Portuguese citizens in different walks of life are awarded for their success in their new abodes. The Talent Award competition has 12 groups – including science, sport, politics, literature, and journalism. A jury of three experts chose Santos as the winner of the science group.

- I was only informed of my win at the festive gala event which was broadcast on television throughout Portugal, says Santos.

Finland also obtained good publicity in conjunction with the gala, as in the interviews, Santos commended the opportunities he has been given in Finland for growing both as a researcher and as a person.

The grounds for the award mentioned that the 29-year-old Santos is a promising young researcher: he completed his doctoral dissertation at an exceptionally early age, and with high marks, at the Department of Chemistry of the School of Science and Technology.

Research on the effects of pharmaceuticals

In recent years, Santos has worked at the Division of Pharmaceutical Technology on Jouni Hirvonen’s team focusing on drug delivery technologies.

The aim of the research work is to deliver pharmaceutical molecules to the intended targets as accurately as possible and to regulate their release. This is assisted by small nanoparticles to which pharmaceuticals can be bound.

A particular theme of interest for the group is silicon, the second most common element in the lithosphere, which is suitable for the precision delivery of pharmaceuticals due to its porosity.

- By electrochemical means, our team produces porous silicon particles, and pharmaceuticals are bound to their cavities. Inside the silicon, the pharmaceutical molecules are safe from the effects of the environment.

By adjusting the surface shapes and size of silicon particles, it is possible to regulate the release of pharmaceuticals and their residence time in the organs. The results, achieved through the cooperation of an extensive national research network, are initially promising.

For further information, see Hélder Santos’ blog » »

A video of Santos being awarded » » (Copyright 2010 - Rádio e Televisão de Portugal [RTP])

Text: Kirsikka Mattila
Photo: Carlos Calado
Translation: AAC Global

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