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Sofia Moco is a chemical engineer (2001, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal) and a biochemist (PhD, 2007). Since her phD studies, she has been developing metabolomics approaches to study metabolism, through monitoring the dynamics of small molecules / nutrients / drugs / metabolites in various biological systems. She started by studying secondary metabolism in plants, using mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), to link metabolism to plant physiology and development, during her phD studies at the Biochemistry Laboratory and the Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research Center, the Netherlands. In 2009, she performed a post-doc at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where she investigated nutrient and bioactive-induced stimuli on central carbon metabolism in microorganisms and higher cells, in the context of cancer. She started as a scientist at Nestle Research, Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2011. In 2014 she joined the newly established Nestle Institute of Health Sciences, located at the EPFL campus, Lausanne where she became a Team leader and a Senior Scientist in Metabolomics in 2016. She set-up 2 new laboratories (3 MS and 3 600 MHz NMR) and she built a team to conduct metabolomics research. She developed research by exploring and identifying food bioactives relevant for improving metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and ageing, with a particular focus on mitochondrial function and bioenergetics. 

She started to work on NAD+ biochemistry in 2016, by developing metabolomics approaches, in the context of metabolic diseases, such as ageing and diabetes, in collaboration with internal and external teams. She led a team that established workflows for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of NAD+ biosynthesis intermediates, precursors and catabolites in mammalian cells, rodent tissues and human biofluids. These tools were used to conduct mechanistic studies, including bioavailability and bioefficacy, in cell systems and rodents, as well as clinical studies for the substantiation of the health benefits of NAD+ precursors, including forms of vitamin B3, like nicotinamide riboside (NR), and 1,4-dihydronicotinamide riboside (NRH). She holds expertise in the use of stable isotopes to monitor label incorporation into metabolic intermediates and pathway turnover in vitro (human cell models) and in vivo (mouse models).

Since May 2021 she took a tenure-track position at the VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as an Assistant Professor, in the division of Molecular Toxicology, part of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences. At the VU, she will continue to study metabolism using metabolomics tools.

Sofia is a committee member the Young NMC (Netherlands Metabolomics Centre) and a member of the HRSMC (Holland Research Scool of Molecular Chemistry).

Sofia is an associate editor for metabolomics of the open-access journal Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.

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Academic qualification

University Teaching Qualification (BKO: Basiskwalificatie Onderwijs) , Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Award Date: 10 Nov 2022

Biochemistry, PhD, Metabolomics technologies applied to the identification of compounds in plants: : a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry – nuclear magnetic resonance perspective over the tomato fruit, Wageningen University


Chemical Engineering, Master, Instituto Superior Técnico


User created Keywords

  • metabolism
  • metabolomics
  • bioactives
  • NAD+
  • NMR
  • MS


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