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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. For that she collaborated with teams of stakeholders from fundamental research to product development. In addition to internal projects, she took part of international initiatives, such as the EU-FP7 MARK-AGE (biomarkers for ageing, by generating a dataset of 1H NMR urinary metabolomics), EU COST POSITIVe (inter-individuality of food bioactives) and American Heart Association-partially funded FOODOME project (polyphenol network science), where she interacted within consortia of international researchers.

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 part of the FeMS (Females in Mass Spectrometry).

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

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Academic qualification

Biochemistry, PhD, Wageningen University

20032007

Chemical Engineering, Master, Instituto Superior Técnico

19962001

User created Keywords

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

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