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Isabel Couto


Isabel Couto

BSc 1992 Universidade Nova de Lisboa
PhD 1997 Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Quinta da Torre
2829-516 Caparica


Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical
UEI de Micobactérias
Rua da Junqueira, 96
1349-008 LISBOA

Email: icouto@ihmt.unl.pt

Telephone:  00 351 21 294 8500 (CREM)
                      00 351 21 365 2652 (IHMT)


1992: Degree in Applied Chemistry, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia,
      Universidade Nova de Lisboa (FCT/UNL),
1992-1997: PhD student, Lab. Gen. Molecular, Instituto Tecnologia
      Química e Biológica (ITQB/UNL), Oeiras, Portugal;

1992-1997 Invited Researcher, Microbiology Lab. The Rockefeller University (2-3 months periods)
1997: PhD, FCT/UNL, Portugal
1997–2003: Post-Doc Student, Centro Recursos Microbiológicos (CREM, FCT/UNL); Lab. Gen. Molecular (ITQB/UNL)
1997 –present: Co-coordinator of the Molecular Diagnostic of Pathogenic Bacteria research line, Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos
2003–present: Assistant Professor, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT/UNL)

Research Interests

Development of molecular methods for the rapid identification of Gram-positive bacteria, including staphylococci, mycobacteria and enterococci. Molecular characterization of coagulase negative staphylococci.

Current Projects

As coordinator:

  • Development of molecular probes for the rapid diagnosis of staphylococci in clinical samples. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Ref. FCG 61056 (2003-2007).

As participant:

  • Creation of a Reference Culture Collection of antimicrobial resistant Gram-Positive bacteria serving the national and international scientific and clinical communities. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Ref. FCG/61052 (2003-2006). PI: Hermínia de Lencastre (ITQB/UNL).
  • Efflux pumps in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: molecular characterization of the efflux mechanisms and the use of efflux inhibitors as new anti-TB drugs. Ref. POCTI/SAU-MMO/59370/2004 (2005-2008). PI: Miguel Viveiros (IHMT/UNL).


Recent publications

Viveiros, M., M. Dupont, L. Rodrigues, I. Couto, A. Davin-Regli, M. Martins, J. M. Pagès, and L. Amaral. 2007. Antibiotic Stress, Genetic Response and Altered Permeability of E. coli. PLoS ONE. 2007 Apr 11;2:e365.

Martins, A., I. Couto, L. Aagaard, M. Martins, M. Viveiros, J. E. Kristiansen, and L. Amaral. 2007. Prolonged exposure of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) COL strain to increasing concentrations of oxacillin results in a multidrug-resistant phenotype. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents. 29:302-5.

Miragaia, M., J. C. Thomas, I. Couto, M. C Enright MC, de Lencastre H. 2007. Inferring a population structure for Staphylococcus epidermidis from multilocus sequence typing data. J. Bacteriol. 189:2540-52.

Martins M., B. Santos, M., A. Martins, M. Viveiros, I. Couto, A. Cruz, The Management Committee Members of COST B16 of the European Comission/European Science Foundation, J. M. Pagès, J. Molnar, S. Fanning, and L. Amaral. 2006. “An instrument-free method for demonstration of efflux pump activity of bactéria”. In vivo. 20:657-664.

Viveiros, M., C. Leandro, L. Rodrigues, J. Almeida, R. Bettencourt, I. Couto, L. Carrilho, J. Diogo, A. Fonseca; L. Lito, J. Lopes, T. Pacheco, M. Pessanha, J. Quirim, L. Sancho, M. Salfinger, and Leonard Amaral. 2005. “Direct application of the INNO-LiPA Rif. TB assay for the rapid identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains and detection of rifampin resistance in 360 smear positive respiratory specimens from an area of high incidence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis”. J. Clin. Microbiol. 43: 4880-4884.

Miragaia, M., I. Couto, and H. de Lencastre. 2005. Genetic diversity among methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE). Microb Drug Resist.11:83-93.

Carretto, E., Barbarini, D., Couto, I., De Vitis, D., Marone, P., Verhoef, J., De Lencastre, H. & Brisse, S. (2005). Identification of coagulase-negative staphylococci other than Staphylococcus epidermidis by automated ribotyping. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. 11:177-184.

Couto, I., S. W. Wu, A. Tomasz, and H. de Lencastre. 2003. “Development of methicillin resistance in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus sciuri by transcriptional activation of the mecA homologue native to the species”. Journal of Bacteriology. 185: 645-653. 

Miragaia, M., I. Couto, S. F. F. Pereira, J. Carriço, K. G. Kristinsson, H. Westh, J. O. Jarløv, I. Santos Sanches & H. de Lencastre. 2002. "Molecular characterization of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) clones: evidence of geographic dissemination". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 40:430-438.

Sá-Leão, R., I. Santos Sanches, I. Couto, C. R. Alves & H. de Lencastre. 2001. "Low prevalence of methicillin-resistant strains among Staphylococcus aureus colonizing young and healthy members of the community in Portugal". Microbial Drug Resistance. 7: 237-245. 

Couto, I., S. Pereira, M. Miragaia, I. Santos Sanches & H. de Lencastre. 2001. "Identification of human clinical staphylococci by Internal Transcribed Spacer PCR (ITS-PCR)". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 39:3099-3103. 

Santos-Sanches, I., R. Mato, H. de Lencastre, A. Tomasz, CEM/NET Collaborators: S. Nunes, C.R. Alves, M. Miragaia, J. Carriço, I. Couto, I. Bonfim, M.A. de Sousa, D. Oliveira, A. Gomes, M. Vaz, S. Fernandes, S.C. Verde, A. Ávila, F. Antunes, R. Sá-Leão, J. Almeida, O. Melter, M. Chung, International Collaborators: M.C. Brandileone, E. Castañeda, C. Cocuzza, G. Echaniz-Aviles, I. Heitmann, M. Hortal, W. Hryniewicz, F. Jia, K. Kikuchi, M. Konkoly-Thege, K.G. Kristinsson, J. Liñares, A. Rossi, E.Z. Savov, J. Schindler, F. Solorzano-Santos, K. Totsuka, M. Venditti, P. Villari, H. Westh, J.-S. Wu & R.C. Zanella. 2000. "Patterns of multidrug resistance among methicillin-resistant hospital isolates of coagulase-positive and coagulase-negative staphylococci collected in the International Multicenter Study RESIST in 1997 and 1998". Microbial Drug Resistance. 6:199-211.

Chung, M., H. de Lencastre, P. Matthews, A. Tomasz, & the Multilab Project Collaborators: I Adamsson, M. Aires de Sousa, T. Camou, C. Cocuzza, A. Corso, I. Couto, A. Dominguez, M. Gniadkowski, R. Goering, A. Gomes, K. Kikuchi, A. Marchese, R. Mato, O. Melter, D. Oliveira, R. Palacio, R. Sá-Leão, I. Santos Sanches, J.H. Song, P.T. Tassios, & Paolo Villari. 2000. "Molecular typing of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus by pulsed field gel electrophoresis: Comparison of results obtained in a multilaboratory effort using identical protocols and MRSA strains". Microbial Drug Resistance. 6:189-198. 

Couto, I., I. Santos Sanches, R. Sá-Leão & H. de Lencastre. 2000. "Molecular characterization of Staphylococcus sciuri strains isolated from humans". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 38: 1136-1143.


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