Research & Scientists | People | NJCSOUSA


Name: Nuno Sousa

Office: G2.18

School Phone: +351 253 604 806

Email: njcsousa@med.uminho.pt




Keywords: stress neuroimaging neuropsychiatric disorders neuroanatomy sousa n


Nuno Sousa (MD, PhD) is Full Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Minho. He is the President of the School of Medicine at University of Minho. Nuno Sousa, after he moved from U. Porto to U. Minho in 2001, was able to create from scratch, together with a small group of other leaders, this recognized medical school, one of the most well-known and respected internationally.


Nuno Sousa serves at several medical education and medical assessment advisory boards (namely at the executive board of the National Board of Medical Examiners, and at the European Booard of Medical Assessors). He is Visiting Professor at Upstate Medical University, NY.

He is a Neuro-radiologist. Presently, he is the Director of the Clinical Academic Center at Hospital de Braga.


He is a researcher of the Neuroscience Research Domain, which integrates the newly formed (in 2011) Portuguese Government Associate Laboratory (LA) ICVS/3B´s. His research main interests are focused in the establishment of functional and structural correlations mediated by stress and its implications in neuropsychiatric disorders. Detailed assessment of neuroplastic events, incorporation of newly generated cells into neuronal networks, rearrangements of established dendritic and synaptic contacts, combined with behavioural, neurochemical and electrophysiogical, optogenetic and molecular biology and (epi)genetics correlates have been established in his laboratory; the work from the lab covers from basic to clinical research and several modulatory interventions have also been described in order to promote recovery of structure and function in neuronal tissues. 


Nuno Sousa coordinates several national and international scientific projects, including work-packages in some European initiatives in the field of neuroscience. He has directly supervised 34 PhD students and currently supervises another 4 PhD students and 6 Post-Docs. In addition to academic merits, Nuno Sousa serves on several science policy and advisory board positions, and as an Ad hoc reviewer for various neuroscience journal and international funding organizations. He is Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience and Member of Editorial Board of Molecular Neurodegeneration, Neurobiology of Stress and Neuropharmacology.


Nuno Sousa was the President of the Portuguese Society for Neurosciences (2011-2015).

He was the President of the Scientific Council of Life and Health Sciences of FCT (Portuguese Science Foundation) (2015-2017) and the President of the Portuguese Society of Anatomy (2016-2018).


He is a member of Bial Foundation. 

Nuno Sousa is the Chief Medical Officer of Pathena, SA and has created 3 Spin-Offs: BnML, Enlightenment and ICognitus.

Nuno Sousa has published more than 450 research papers listed in ISI. He has an h-factor of 67, being cited more than 19000 times.

Some (12) of his most relevant papers are listed below. 


·       Magalhães R, Barrière DA, Novais A, Marques F, Marques P, Cerqueira J, Sousa JC, Cachia A, Boumezbeur F, Bottlaender M, Jay TM, Mériaux S, Sousa N. The dynamics of stress: a longitudinal MRI study of rat brain structure and connectome.Mol Psychiatry. 23,1998-2006, 2018

·       Coimbra B, Soares-Cunha C, Borges S, Vasconcelos NA, Sousa N, Rodrigues AJ. Impairments in laterodorsal tegmentum to VTA projections underlie glucocorticoid-triggered reward deficits. Elife. 24;6, 2017

       Sousa N. The dynamics of the stress neuromatrix. Molecular Psychiatry 21(3):302-12, 2016.

       Soares-Cunha C, Coimbra B, David-Pereira A, Borges S, Pinto L, Costa P, Sousa N, Rodrigues AJ. Activation of D2 dopamine receptor-expressing neurons in the nucleus accumbens increases motivation. Nat Commun. 7:11829, 2016.

·       Marques P, Moreira P, Magalhães R, Costa P, Santos N, Zihl J, Soares J, Sousa N. The functional connectome of cognitive reserve. Hum Brain Mapp. Sep;37(9):3310-22, 2016. 

       Lopes S, Vaz-Silva J, Pinto V, Dalla C, Kokras N, Bedenk B, Mack N, Czisch M, Almeida OF, Sousa N, Sotiropoulos I. Tau protein is essential for stress-induced brain pathology. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(26):E3755-63, 2016.

       Oliveira TG, Chan RB, Bravo FV, Miranda A, Silva RR, Zhou B, Marques F, Pinto V, Cerqueira JJ, Di Paolo G, Sousa N. The impact of chronic stress on the rat brain lipidome. Molecular Psychiatry; 21:80-8, 2016.

       Lima A, Sardinha VM, Oliveira AF, Reis M, Mota C, Silva MA, Marques F, Cerqueira JJ, Pinto L, Sousa N, Oliveira JF. Astrocyte pathology in the prefrontal cortex impairs the cognitive function of rats. Molecular Psychiatry; 19(7):834-41, 2014.

       Dias-Ferreira E, Sousa JC, Melo I, Morgado P, Mesquita AR, Cerqueira JJ, Costa RM, Sousa N. Chronic stress causes frontostriatal reorganization and affects decision-making. Science, 325:621-5, 2009. 

·       Bessa JM, Ferreira D, Melo I, Marques F, Cerqueira JJ, Palha JA, Almeida OF, Sousa N. The mood-improving actions of antidepressants do not depend on neurogenesis but are associated with neuronal remodeling. Molecular Psychiatry14:764-73 2009. 

·       Cerqueira JJMailliet FAlmeida OFJay TMSousa N. The prefrontal cortex as a key target of the maladaptive response to stress. Journal of Neuroscience 27:2781-2787, 2007. 

Sousa N, Lukoyanov NV, Madeira MD, Almeida OF, Paula-Barbosa MM. Reorganization of the morphology of hippocampal neurites and synapses after stress-induced damage correlates with behavioral improvement. Neuroscience, 97: 253-266, 2000.



Maintaining health in old age through homeostasis (Switchbox) (Leader) 

Communication across the barriers  

Exploring the Therapeutic Potential of the Secretome of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in CNS Regenerative Medicine  

Long term impact of prenatal glucocorticoid exposure (Human study)  

Multidisciplinary Strategies for Spinal Cord Injury Repair  

Sensomotor mechanisms and Alzheimer´s disease pathology  

The role of the immune system in mood disorders and cognition  

Selected Publications

Dias-Ferreira E, Sousa JC, Melo I, Morgado P, Mesquita AR, Cerqueira JJ, Costa RM, Sousa N. Chronic stress causes frontostriatal reorganization and affects decision-making. Science. 2009 Jul 31;325(5940):621-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1171203.

Oliveira JM, Salgado AJ, Sousa N, Mano JF, Reis RL. Dendrimers and derivatives as a potential therapeutic tool in regenerative medicine strategies-A review. Progress in Polymer Science. 2010 Nov; 35(9): 1163-94. doi: 10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2010.04.006

Mateus-Pinheiro A, Patricio P, Bessa J, Sousa N, Pinto L. Cell genesis and dendritic plasticity: a neuroplastic pas de deux in the onset and remission from depression, Mol Psychiatry, 18:748-750 (2013).

Sousa N, Almeida OF. Disconnection and reconnection: the morphological basis of (mal)adaptation to stress. Trends Neurosci. 2012 Dec;35(12):742-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2012.08.006. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

Oliveira J, Sardinha VM, Guerra-Gomes S, Araque A, Sousa N. Do stars govern our actions? Astrocyte involvement in rodents’ behavior. Trends Neurosci, 38(9):535-549 (2015).

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