Paulo Bettencourt

Paulo Bettencourt

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Portugal







Network Associate


Research Keywords: 

Antigen discovery for vaccine design. Pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines. TB, malaria.



The main focus of my research is antigen discovery and vaccine development against tuberculosis, malaria and other intracellular pathogens. Specifically, I work in the identification of peptides presented by MHC-I and MHC-II, using immunopeptidomics (mass spectrometry and bioinformatics) and in the pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines.


Related Websites: 

Linkedin Profile

Researchgate Profile


Key Publications:

P. J. G. Bettencourt. The 100th anniversary of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) and the latest vaccines against COVID-19. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.


P. Bettencourt. Current challenges in the identification of pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine candidate antigens. Frontiers in Immunology 11:190. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00190 (2020).


P. Bettencourt, J. Müller, A. Nicastri, D. Cantillon, M. Madhavan, P. D. Charles, C. B. Fotso, R. Wittenberg, N. Bull, N. Pinpathomrat, S. J. Waddell, E. Stylianou, A. V. S. Hill, N. Ternette, H. McShane. Identification of antigens presented by MHC for vaccines against tuberculosis. NPJ Vaccines 5, 2 (2020).


E. McNeill, E. Stylianou, M. J. Crabtree, R. Harrington-Kandt, A.-L. Kolb, M. Diotallevi, A. B. Hale, P. Bettencourt, R. Tanner, M. K. O’Shea, M. Matsumiya, H. Lockstone, J. Müller, H. A. Fletcher, D. R. Greaves, H. McShane & K. M. Channon. Regulation of mycobacterial infection by macrophage Gch1 and tetrahydrobiopterin. Nature Communications 9 (1): 5409 (2018).


D. Pires, E. Bernard, J. P. Pombo, N. Carmo, C. Fialho, M. G. Gutierrez, P. Bettencourt and E. Anes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis modulates miR-106b-5p to control Cathepsin S expression resulting in higher pathogen survival and poor T cell activation. Frontiers in Immunology 8: 1819. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01819 (2017).


R. Tanner, M. K. O'Shea, A. D. White, J. Müller, R. Harrington-Kandt, M. Matsumiya, M. J. Dennis, E. A. Parizotto, S. Harris, E. Stylianou, V. Naranbhai, P. Bettencourt, H. Drakesmith, S. Sharpe, H. A. Fletcher & H. McShane. The influence of haemoglobin and iron on in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays. Scientific Reports 7: 43478 (2017).


D. Pires, J. Marques, J. P. Pombo, N. Carmo, P. Bettencourt, O. Neyrolles, G. Lugo-Villarino & E. Anes. Role of Cathepsins in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Survival in Human Macrophages. Scientific Reports 6: 32247 (2016).


P. Bettencourt, D. Pires and E. Anes. Immunomodulating microRNAs of mycobacterial infections. Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2016;97:1-7. (2016).


P. Bettencourt, S. Marion, D. Pires, L. F. Santos, C. Lastrucci, N. Carmo, J. Blake, V. Benes, G. Griffiths, O. Neyrolles, G. Lugo-Villarino and E. Anes. Actin-binding protein regulation by microRNAs as a novel microbial strategy to modulate phagocytosis by host cells: the case of N-Wasp and miR-142-3p. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 3:19. doi:10.3389/ fcimb.2013.00019 (2013).


B. Sönnichsen, L. B. Koski, A. Walsh, P. Marschall, B. Neumann, M. Brehm, A.-M. Allaume, J. Artelt, P. Bettencourt, E. Cassin, M. Hewitson, C. Holz, M. Khan, S. Lazik, C. Martin, B. Nitzsche, M. Ruer, J. Stamford, M. Winzi, R. Heinkel, M. Röder, J. Finell, H. Häntsch, S. J. M. Jones, M. Jones, F. Piano, K. C. Gunsalus, K. Oegemma, P. Gönczy, A. Coulson, A. A. Hyman & C. J. Echeverri. Full-genome RNAi profiling of early embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 434, 462 - 469 (2005).