Group History

Bioinorganic Chemistry is a recent topic in Portugal. Introduced by Professor João José R. Fraústo da Silva (an excellent teacher and researcher, and a productive scientific book writer, in these recent years, in close collaboration with another founder of the topic, Professor Robert J. P. Willimas) was one of the pillars of Centro de Química Estrutural at Instituto Superior Técnico.
That was the place where everything started (70s). Joining the laboratory, Professors A. R. Dias (Organometalic Chemistry), J. C. Calado (Physical-Chemistry and Thermodynamics), Silvia B. Costa (Photochemistry) and A. V. Xavier (NMR, Biochemistry) started new research groups. José Moura and Isabel Moura got their PhD in 1979 and 1981, respectively, under the supervision of A.V.X. During that period a very close and productive collaboration started with Professor Jean LeGall, at CNRS, Marseille, and new proteins were discovered through the years such as Ferredoxin II (with a new 3Fe cluster), Desulforedoxin, Fuscoredoxin (named as Isadoxin), Aldehyde Oxidoreductase (named Zedoxin) among others.
The limitations of equipment in Portugal in those days, forced, in a positive way, the establishment of new links with scientists such as Robert J. P. Williams (NMR, Oxford, UK), Richard Cammack, David O. Hall (EPR, London, UK) and Andrew J. Thomson (MCD, Norwich, UK). Then a migration was made towards the USA and close collaborations started with Eckard Munck, Boi Han Huynh (University of Minnesota (UM)) and latter with the University of Georgia, Athens (UGA) (Harry Peck, William Payne, Robert C. Scott, Michael K. Addams, and others). JM and IM were for a few years research specialists at UM and Adjunct Professors at UGA.
The participation of Portugal in the “new” Europe opened windows and the group got the first European Grant given to Portuguese groups (in collaboration with IST, Portugal and Cadarache, France). The group could then participate after within several European frameworks. 
Other remarkable collaborations count with Frank Rusnak (Mayo Clinic) and Edward Solomon (Standford, USA).
Meanwhile, the group moved to Oeiras, in the grounds of Gulbenkian Research Center (before the construction of ITQB, Oeiras) and then finally established at Campus de Caparica, where the new building of the Chemistry Department was implanted and where research and teaching were paired at the same site.
We also learn a lot by living daily with many visitors we well remember (Graham Pettigrew, Frank Rusnak, Anthony G. Wedd, within others). More or less 20 years ago (time goes by...) an extraordinary period where lots of excitement, joy and also difficulties became part of the day by day. EPR, NMR facilities (as well as Mössbauer instrument) were gathered and Nickel (III) signals of hydrogenase were detected and the first 3D NMR structure of a small protein was achieved in a portuguese laboratory. In close collaboration with the X-Ray group at the Department of Chemistry, the first structures of molybdenum enzymes were revealed (aldehyde oxidoreductase and nitrate reductase) and many others.
The group enlarged from the pioneers (Miguel Teixeira, Jorge Lampreia, Ana Rosa Lino, Belarmino Barata) followed by the second generation (Anjos Macedo, Cristina Costa, Susana Prazeres, Nuno Palma, Pedro Tavares, Alice Pereira, Jorge Caldeira, Ricardo Franco, Brian Goodfellow) and all the others that came along, not named, but that actively participated later on and even now, at many different levels. Without all these brave and imaginative people this history could not be told.