News

Prof. Maria de Sousa

15 April, 2020

BIAL Foundation expresses profound sorrow on the passing of Prof. Maria de Sousa, a unique figure in science worldwide, who contributed to the scientific and academic development in Portugal in a remarkable way.

Maria de Sousa’s connection with the BIAL Foundation began in 1994, when she received the BIAL Award for the work "Contribution to the Characterization of Ecology and Biology of the Timo-Dependent System: Memories, Pathways and Sketch of a New Theory". From then on, her connection with the BIAL Foundation was intensified, first as member of the Jury of the BIAL Award in three editions and then as its President in 2000. Between 2010 and 2014, she became a member of the Board of Directors of the BIAL Foundation, being responsible for reorganizing its activity and instilling it with higher standards and quality.

High standards and quality are words that mark Prof. Maria de Sousa in the various roles she has assumed throughout her career, as a medical doctor, scientist, writer and professor.

In 1964, after graduating in Medicine, she began a career in scientific research that took her through England, Scotland - where she did her PhD in Immunology - and the United States. She returned to Portugal in 1985 and joined the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences where she founded the master’s degree in Immunology. As a professor and researcher at the University of Porto, she was responsible for the first doctoral program in Portugal - Graduate Program in Basic and Applied Biology (GABBA).

Together with the former Minister José Mariano Gago, she promoted a revolution in the science evaluation system in Portugal at the Junta Nacional de Investigação Científica e Tecnológica (JNICT, National Board of Scientific and Technological Research).

With great scientific production, she has published in some of the most renowned scientific journals, such as Nature and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Her immense scientific legacy has inspired and influenced generations of researchers and scientists in Portugal and worldwide.

She was distinguished by the Presidente od the Portuguese Republic as Grande-Oficial da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique (1995), Grande-Oficial da Ordem Militar de Sant’Iago da Espada (2012) and with the Grã-Cruz da Ordem Militar de Sant’Iago da Espada (2016).

When, in 2014, due to age limit, Prof. Maria de Sousa ended her connection with the governing bodies of the BIAL Foundation, Luís Portela said “Prof. Maria de Sousa will always be one of ours… ”. She remains as one of ours. Thank you, Prof. Maria de Sousa