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Bruno Afonso

Biological Engineer (Instituto Superior Tecnico)

PhD Student at the Silver Lab

Gabba Graduate Student


My name is Bruno Afonso and I am at the moment working in the Silver Lab as PhD student, recently moved to the Systems Biology Department @ Quad.

Being an engineer by training I am interested in exploring possible avenues of elegant, reliable and controlled designs that can be realistically and reliably implemented in living organisms. Things that interest me at the moment are:

  1. Exploring alternative ways of controlling gene expression using mammalian cellular machinery such as RNA interference, chromatin structure and nuclear organization, post-translational changes and post-transcriptional changes. Unfortunately much much less is known about these fantastic "technologies" the cells use as regulatory methods comparing to DNA/promoter-based regulation. That said, it makes these aims more interesting scientifically speaking.
  2. Understanding the best ways to mathematically model simple systems and understanding how insulated the designs and simulations can be inside a cell
  3. Evolutionary stability of transgenic organisms. I believe a theoretical framework hasn't yet been developed in this regard. I have thought about multi-dimensional spaces ( as in n-dimensions with n-genes. Though, I'm not sure if n-genes is a good idea...) and trying to understand where the "evolutionary stable plateaus" are - if they exist at all -, if there are more than some or we are constantly jumping thoughout the n-dimensional space. Ideally, this would help us understand
    1. How to optimize stability throughout time of transgenic organisms
    2. how to avoid evolutionary genome changes going in directions we don't want to

If you want to discuss any of this matters feel free to email me at my first and last name separated by an underscore at hms dot harvard dot edu.

Hobbies/Personal/Outside of Science

My homepage can be reached at and it updated somewhat regularly. It's directly correlated with my mood and workload. :)

I love music and sports (group ones mainly) and all kinds of fine arts, mainly photography, the art of capturing moments in time. I have a couple of online galleries (very outdated...)

  1. Olhares' gallery - portuguese site
  2. Treklens rocks! - I especially like the idea of seeing others galleries without ratings, etc, helping you make non-biased analysis of photos

Personal cravings at the moment

  1. If you want to make me happiest amateur photographer in the world you can offer me a Nikon D200 or something along those lines... I have no camera at the moment as I lost my head and offered my sony dsc-v3 to my father... oh well... one can dream :)
  2. If you want to make me the happiest amateur musician in the world (are you noticing a trend here??) you can offer me a Takamine EG530SSC :)) I have no guitar (acoustic or electric) at the moment and I definitely miss playing in moments of solitude e saudade.

stay cool until the next update :)