PhD Molecular Biomarkers and Technologies

Biomarkers are now an integral part of the drug discovery and development process, acting as indicators of drug mechanism of action, efficacy, safety and disease progression, as well as assisting in disease diagnosis, patient selection and clinical trial design. Biomarkers also offer the potential to inform treatment decisions and bring personalized medicine into clinical practice.

Latest advances in clinical and translational biomarkers will be covered, including patient selection and predicting response to therapy, liquid biopsy and cell free DNA, companion diagnostics and personalized medicine, biomarker assay development and validation, and biomarker-based clinical trials. The new frontier of digital health and its impact on drug and diagnostic development will be explored, covering emerging digital biomarkers and their utility in clinical trials, advances in biosensors and wearables as clinical endpoints, integration of mobile health into drug development, and the latest applications in point-of-care testing and remote patient monitoring.

The training program is aimed at PhD students, but welcomes the participation of external academic and scientific community members

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator:

Elsa Rodrigues

Organizing Committee:
Elsa Rodrigues
Joana Amaral
Cecília Rodrigues


Goals and Learning Outcomes

This course will be held online and synchronous, using the Zoom platform and is designed to cover principles and applications of biomarkers and technologies, from identification to validation, to impact in drug discovery, and disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

The following learning outcomes are expected:

• Apply on-target cellular readouts to support drug discovery and development programmes.
• Understand efficacy and safety biomarker assays in model systems;
• Explore biomarker formats ranging from nucleic acids, proteins and metabolites to phenotypic changes;
• Comprehend technological and methodological platforms for identification and validation of candidate biomarkers for translational and back-translational studies


Assessment of the course consists in the preparation and submission of a 2-page long letter of intent (LOI) for a research project. Students are grouped to build multidisciplinary teams. Each group works throughout the week on a research project that should reflect the topic of the course, including methodologies and strategies to solve an innovative research question. The project is expected to adhere to the following general structure: a) Title; b) Conceptual hurdle and innovative idea to be tested; c) Plan and methods; d) Relevance (scientific and social impact)

The students will select a broad topic of research and are expected to propose a specific project. The resulting LOI will be evaluated according to the following criteria and weight:

a) Novelty and relevance (30%);

b) approach to the problem (30%);

c) multidisciplinary approach of the research plan (40%).

Registration and Fees


The registration is through the FenixEdu Platform until September 13, 2022.

Registration Guide (Portuguese or English)

Tuition Fee:

This course is free for 1st year PhD students of FFUL.

PhD Students from others institutions:

  • Registration with evaluation: 125€
  • Registration without evaluation: 100€