Home 5 Research 5 Projects


Duration: 2024/01/04 – 2026/03/31

Coordinators: Vítor Matos & Carina Marques

Partner Institutions: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Edinburg Campus, United States; Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal; Centro de Investigação em Antropologia e Saúde -Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal

Financial support: National Science Foundation, United States

Reference: NSF Award Number 2341415

Duration: 2015-2021, 2023-2029

Abstract: The Cueva de La Dehesilla is an archaeological site located in the Sierra de Cádiz (Southern Spain) with great scientific results and expectations. The first archaeological explorations began in 1977 and 1981, when professors Pilar Acosta and Manuel Pellicer, from the University of Seville, carried out the excavation of two archaeological probes that documented a sequence of human occupation from the Ancient Neolithic to the Copper Age (Acosta and Pellicer, 1990). Since 2015, a new General Research Project called “Cueva de La Dehesilla: Archaeological and palaeoenvironmental study for the knowledge of the prehistoric human occupation of the Sierra de Cádiz” has been carried out. This project is directed by Professor Dr. Daniel García Rivero, attached to the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the University of Seville. The project has recently been renewed and is expected to run until 2029. This project is made up of professors and researchers from numerous national and international universities and research centres, and is fortunately offering a notable amount of highly relevant results for a new impulse in the knowledge of the first peasant and livestock populations of the southern Iberian Peninsula and, by extension, of the western Mediterranean.

Coordinator (PI): Daniel G. Rivero (University of Seville, and CIAS)

Participants: Cláudia Umbelino (CIAS)

Financial support: University of Seville; Research Centre for Anthropology and Health (CIAS), University of Coimbra; Ministry of Science and Innovation, Government of Spain (I+D+i projects

Reference: PGC2018-096943-A-C22, and PID2022-137946NB-I00.

Duration: 04/2023 – 03/2028

Abstract: PAS GRAS aims to prevent and reverse obesity and associated metabolic complications in four age groups: pre-pubertal children (3-9 yr), adolescents (10-18 yr), young adults (19-25 yr), and adults (25-55). PAS GRAS focuses on four main pillars. 1) Develop a personalized risk assessment tool (RAT): an algorithm that will anticipate obesity priming and development in the critical age groups, and identify risk factors for specific complications in subsequent years that will constitute new outcomes for interventional studies. 2) Develop and implement RAT-based personalized interventions by integrating non-pharmacological lifestyle modifications including Mediterranean Diet components alone or with rational pharmacological targeting metabolic and neuroendocrine mechanisms. 3) Inform and engage effectively target groups on obesity causes, risks and intervention by co-production of creative and interactive digital tools (including a simpler version of the RAT) and personalized diet and physical activity programs. 4) Expand and consolidate the PAS GRAS tailor-made campaign across Europe through developing joint programs for health and food/nutrition literacy and physical activity, with healthcare centres, schools, sports clubs, municipalities, and other relevant actors and public authorities.

Coordinator: Paulo Oliveira, Universidade de Coimbra

Participants (CIAS): Cristina Padez, Daniela Rodrigues, Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues, Helena Nogueira

Partner institutions:

  • Universidade De Coimbra  (997826391) – COORDINATOR
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Bari Aldo Moro – UNIBA (999840596) – BENEFICIARY
  • Uppsala Universitet – UU (999985029) – BENEFICIARY
  • Universidade Nova De Lisboa – UNL (960782479) – BENEFICIARY
  • Fundacio Eurecat – EURECAT (928030235) – BENEFICIARY
  • Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche – CNR (999979500) – BENEFICIARY
  • Instituto Politecnico De Viana De Castelo – IPVC (998454563) – BENEFICIARY
  • Technische Universitaet Muenchen – TUM (999977463) – BENEFICIARY
  • Instytut Biologii Doswiadczalnej Im. M. Nenckiego Polskiej Akademii Nauk – NENCKI (999489359) – BENEFICIARY
  • Instituto Pedro Nunes Associacao Para A Inovacao E Desenvolvimento Em Ciencia E Tecnologia – IPN (999578502) – BENEFICIARY
  • The European Society For Clinical Investigation – (896926603) – BENEFICIARY
  • Mediagnost Gesellschaft Fur Forschung Und Herstellung Von Diagnostika Gmbh – MEDIAGNOST (955514312) – BENEFICIARY
  • Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg – MLU (999871539) – BENEFICIARY
  • Associacao Protectora Dos Diabeticos De Portugal – APDP (928326570) – BENEFICIARY
  • AGDCENTRO Associacao De Ginastica Do Centro – (887885912) – BENEFICIARY

Financial support: European Commission, HORIZON Programme – 9.500.000€

Reference: 101080329

Duration: 04/2023 – 03/2028

Abstract: The aim of HealthyW8 is to advance the efficacy of current and future efforts and investments in obesity prevention initiatives across Europe. Initiatives on obesity prevention in policy and practice are often of marginal impact. HealthyW8 will address these shortcomings by iteratively developing, together with stakeholders, a digital-based healthy lifestyle recommender for evidence-based, tailored interventions and tools including a human digital twin to bridge the gap between science, societal actors and stakeholders (e.g. healthcare professionals, food industries, policymakers) and EU citizens.

Coordinator (PI): Torsten Bohn, Luxembourg Institute of Health 

Participants (CIAS): Daniela Rodrigues; Helena Nogueira; Licínio Manco; Maria-Raquel G. Silva

Partner institutions:

  • Luxembourg Institute Of Health – LIH (998331858) – COORDINATOR
  • Luxembourg Institute Of Science And Technology – LIST (934320200) – BENEFICIARY
  • NIUM – (898185954) – BENEFICIARY
  • Deutsches Forschungszentrum Fur Kunstliche Intelligenz GMBH – DFKI (999607602) – BENEFICIARY
  • VIRTECH OOD – (997240705) – BENEFICIARY
  • Leibniz-Institut Fur Praventionsforschung Und Epidemiologie – BIPS GMBH – LEIBNIZ-Institut Fur Praventionsforschung Und Epidemiologie – BIPS GMBH (962342336) – BENEFICIARY
  • Centre De Recerca En Economia I Desenvolupament Agroalimentari-UPC-IRTA – CREDA (986340815) – BENEFICIARY
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Scienze Gastronomiche – University Of Gastronomic Sciences (949553468) – BENEFICIARY
  • Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche – CNR (999979500) – BENEFICIARY
  • Centro De Investigacion Y Tecnologia Agroalimentaria De Aragon – CITA (997262142) – BENEFICIARY
  • Universidade De Evora (998269196) – BENEFICIARY
  • Fundacio Institut D’investigacio Sanitaria Illes Balears – Foundation Health Research Institute Of The Balearic Islands (974340460) – BENEFICIARY
  • IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero- Universitaria Di Bologna – IRCCS AOU BO (991016991) – BENEFICIARY
  • Danmarks Tekniske Universitet – Technical University Of Denmark DTU (999990655) – BENEFICIARY
  • Universiteit Twente (999900833) – BENEFICIARY
  • Universidade De Coimbra  (997826391) – BENEFICIARY
  • Regional Cluster North-East – (935248296) – BENEFICIARY
  • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven – TU/e (999977269) – BENEFICIARY
  • MEDEA SRL – (951976140) – BENEFICIARY
  • Asociatia Euro Atlantic Diplomacy Society – (890633243) – BENEFICIARY
  • Stichting European Nutrition For Health Alliance – European Nutrition For Health Alliance (883383269) – BENEFICIARY
  • KNEIA SL – (936881582) – BENEFICIARY
  • Europese Federatie Van Verenigingen Van Dietisten – The European Federation Of The Associations Of Dietitians EFAD (947201412) – BENEFICIARY

Financial support: European Commission, HORIZON Programme – 10.000.000€

Reference: 101080645

Duration: 2023-2027

Abstract: The core mission of NeoProModels Project is to research evolutionary cultural patterns within the context of the Neolithic process throughout the South of the Iberian Peninsula. The main goal is to tackle several major questions about continuities and discontinuities over space and time focusing on population thinking and the notion of cultural transmission. Evolutionary archaeology has become a powerful theoretical tool to gain knowledge on human behaviour. It can help us to formulate precise contextual explanatory models for one of the most important phenomena in human history: the origin and expansion of the farming way of life. This project will place the emphasis on identifying histories of cultural transmission within long-term dynamics of cultural change (ca. 5600-4000 cal BC). The project focuses on the Andalusian region within the wider sphere of the western-most regions of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic façade of the Southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It will address historical questions related to the processes of Neolithisation in the different contexts of human populations.

Coordinator: Daniel García Rivero (University of Seville, and CIAS)

Participants: Cláudia Umbelino (CIAS)

Financial support: Ministry of Science and Innovation, Government of Spain

Reference: PID2022-137946NB-I00

Duration: 01.2023 – 01.01.2026

Abstract: This project represents the first study to rely on the articulation of six disciplines (osteology, archaeology, history, chemistry, paleoparasitology, and genomics) to better understand the health of the military in the past and how they were cared for. The results of this research will be an important new asset to historians who study the military, science, medicine, and care offered to diseased people by providing them not only new data to work with but also new methodologies and sampling strategies.
The study of human remains provide a direct window into the life of past populations, specially when combined with other methodologies. The osteological analysis allows to reconstruct the biological (sex, age at death, stature…) and health (diseases, signs of physiological stress…) profile of the individuals and select key skeletons to whom it would
be relevant to perform other types of analysis. Recently, methodologies developed from different fields have been more frequently applied to social sciences such as history. DNA analysis, for example, may identify pathogens responsible for diseases such as plague and influenza, as well as relate a specific disease to vague symptoms descriptions in historical records and ambiguous skeletal lesions. Stable isotopes and trace elements provide information about the people’s diet and possible dietary changes, migrations, and medicament intake. Parasitology can also be effective in reconstructing dietary habits and cooking techniques, additionally to identifying parasites that could affect the individual’s health.
The multidisciplinary team in this project combines various expertise (from natural sciences to humanities) that will work together to achieve the research objectives: 1) Identify parasites and pathogens affecting the soldiers’ health; 2) Relate mass graves to possible epidemics; 3) Identify medication intake and treatments; 4) Better understand hospitals and medical care; 5) Better understand military life.
Knowing that health can be reflected in skeletal indicators of physiological stress and skeletal lesions, this project combines osteological, archaeometric and historic analyses to investigate the relationship between diet, health, and treatments in military hospitals in the 17th and 18th centuries. This study will give a better understanding of medical care in historic periods by providing a direct timeframe difference between before, during and after the disease. It will be possible, for example, to know how mercury was used to treat diseases in Portugal: which diseases were treated this manner and if these treatments were frequent. The study will rely on an osteological collection (made of 947 individuals) associated with the Military Hospital of São Jorge Castle in Lisbon, used from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Historical and archaeological records will be compared with osteological, genetical, chemical, and parasitological data to reconstruct the individual’s life, where they are from, their diet before and after the hospitalization, the diseases and parasites that affected them and the use of substances such as mercury as treatment. Hazard models will be used to assess differences in survivorship and survivor/non-survivor analysis to assess differences in lesion frequency and severity between the different phases of the graveyard. This project follows the research funded by the University of Kent 50th Anniversary Scholarship carried out by the PI. During that project, the PI developed the novel sampling strategy, key for the current project’s success, and became a reference using biochemical analysis to study the synergy between diet, health and metabolism in past populations. The previous research developed by the co-PI, a historian with vast experience studying health and medical care, will allow us to historically frame the data collected from the different disciplines in this project.

Coordinator: Ana Rita Quito Curto

Participants: Sofia Wasterlain (CIAS), Ana Amarante (CIAS), Liliana Matias de Carvalho (CIAS)

Partner institutions: Universidade de Évora, Laboratório HERCULES – Herança Cultural Estudos e Salvaguarda, Centro Interdisciplinar de História, Culturas e Sociedades, Universidade de Coimbra, Centro de Investigação em Antropologia e Saúde, Universidad Complutense de Madrid – Departamento de Medicina Legal, Psiquiatría y Patología, Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de História, Chrono-environment laboratory – Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, EON, Indústrias Criativas Ltda

Financial support: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

Reference: 2022.03576.PTDC

Duration: 2023-2026

Abstract: The SINDIA project aims to understand how socio-spatial inequalities affect people living with dementia and their informal caregivers.
This is an interdisciplinary project whose objectives are:

1. Understand how socio-spatial inequalities affect people living with dementia and their informal caregivers throughout the disease trajectory;
2. Understand how measures, policies and strategies can be promoted to reduce health inequalities between populations and territories.

Coordinator: Miguel Padeiro

Participants: Helena Guilhermina Nogueira

Financial support: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Reference: 2022.04684.PTDC

Duration: 03/2023 – 02/2026

Abstract: The SCREENHEALTH Project will be the first Portuguese 3-yr prospective study to document the impact of screen use trajectories on obesity and mental health among preschool children. It aims to: 1) identify the trajectories related to screen use in children aged 3-5yrs; 2) identify the socio-ecological factors that predict trajectory membership, 3) analyze the association between screen use trajectories and health-related behaviors, and 4) assess causal pathways (& direction) linking children’s screen use trajectories, obesity and mental health. The Project will adopt a socio-biological approach to follow a large sample of 3-5-yr-old children from Coimbra, Portugal.

Coordinator (PI): Daniela Rodrigues, CIAS, Universidade de Coimbra

Participants (CIAS): Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues, Cristina Padez, Helena Nogueira

Partner institutions:

  • Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brasil)
  • Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, E.P.E. – Hospital Pediátrico de Coimbra
  • University of Oulu (Finland)
  • Universidade do Porto – Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto
  • University of Sydney (Australia)

Financial support: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (através de Fundos Europeus) – 243.868.88€

Reference: 2022.07652.PTDC

Duration: May 2023 – April 2025

Abstract: Climate and socio-cultural changes are major ongoing concerns in our modern societies, their impacts on past populations are also central to understand the evolution of the human species, its resilience, and its capacity to adapt to new environments. 8200 years ago, the Mesolithic populations (hunter-gatherers) from Portugal faced a climatic event that profoundly changed their environment in a similar way to what is expected to happen in the next decades. In addition to these challenges, they were also confronted with
the arrival of migrating Neolithic populations introducing farming, plant and animal domestication, and sedentism, gradually leading to the disappearance of the hunter-gatherer nomadic way of life.
MUGE project aims to unveil the life story of the last hunter-gatherers from the Tagus valley (Muge village) in Portugal and to understand whether the environmental, and socio-cultural changes during the Late Mesolithic (ca. 8200-7100 cal B.P.) impacted the composition and health of these past populations. Discovered 150 years ago and representing the largest European anthropological collection for the Mesolithic (more than 250 individuals), humans from Muge are still poorly studied from a biological perspective because of the state of preservation of the skeletons. Cutting-edge imaging techniques will allow us to correct the taphonomic alterations and go into great detail in the analysis of skeletal remains, providing crucial information about the biological profile of the individuals (age-at-death, sex, etc.), the structure of the populations, and their health status.
With more than 1000 years of occupation, Muge furnishes an ideal skeletal sample for exploring changes in health status through time and between sexes, adults, and non-adults but also between sites and understand the impact of each change on these populations. This project is the first to combine both palaeodemographic, palaeopathological, and palaeoimaging approaches to the Muge populations.

Coordinator: Dany Coutinho Nogueira (CIAS)

Supervisor: Cláudia Umbelino (CIAS), Ricardo Miguel Godinho.

Financial support: European Research Area (ERA) fellowship, HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS-02-01, European Commission, 156 778.56€

Reference: 101090304 — MUGE — HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS-02

Duration: 10/2023 – 09/2025

Abstract: The primary goal of this project is to expand understanding of how young people are exposed to, experience, and interact with the urban lived places in ways that affect their health. There are three sub-objectives: 1) analyze individuals’ sensory experience (e.g. wellbeing, happiness, anxiety, stress) during city routes; 2) analyze individuals’ physical and sedentary behaviors along the day; and 3) interpret patterns of variation in PA and sedentary behaviors in relation with people’s surroundings (e.g. social, physical, and the sensory/emotional experience).

Coordinator: Daniela Rodrigues (CIAS), Universidade de Coimbra

Participants (CIAS): Helena Nogueira, Maria-Raquel G. Silva

Partner institutions:

  • University of Limerick
  • Universidade Fernando Pessoa

Financial support: Prémio Maria de Sousa 2ª Edition, Ordem dos Médicos and Fundação BIAL – 30.000€