Executive Board

Rui Costa DVM, PhD


Dr. Rui Costa received his D.V.M. from the Technical University of Lisbon in 1996. He entered the GABBA graduate program from University of Porto in 1997, and performed his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Alcino Silva at UCLA from 1998 to 2002 followed by postdoctoral work with Dr. Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University. Dr. Costa became a Section Chief at the National Institutes of Health in 2006 and in 2009 became an Investigator of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Program. In 2010 he received an European Research Council Starting Grant, and the Seeds of Science Prize for Life Sciences. In 2012 he became an International Early Career Scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and received the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience. In 2014, he was elected a member of EMBO, received the Silver Medal for distinct services from the Ministry of Health, Portugal, and was knighted with the Order of Sant’Iago da Espada by the President of Portugal. He was also awarded a Consolidator ERC grant, and the Young Investigator Career Award from the Jean-Louis Jeantet Foundation. He served as Deputy Director of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme from 2011 to 2013, and became a Director of Champalimaud Research in 2014. In 2016 he became a Professor at Columbia University. He was Chair of the Program Committee of FENS from 2014 to 2016, and he is the President of the American-Portuguese Biomedical Research Fund. Dr. Costa’s laboratory studies the neurobiology of action in health and disease. His laboratory uses genetic, electrophysiological, optical, and behavioral approaches to investigate the mechanisms underlying the generation and learning of novel actions. He also studies disorders that lead to problems with action selection, compulsive behaviors and habits.

David Lyden MD, PhD

Vice-President of Development

David C. Lyden is the Stavros Niarchos Professor of Pediatrics in the Pediatrics Department, Division of Hematology/Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine and a pediatric Neuro-oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Lyden earned his PhD degree from the University of Vermont, his MD degree from Brown University, completing his Residency in Pediatrics at Duke University and fellowships and post-doctoral work at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Early work in Dr. Lyden’s laboratory resulted in several fundamental discoveries that involve the role of bone marrow-derived stem and progenitor cells in tumor vasculogenesis and in metastasis. Dr. Lyden is a pioneer in the field of the metastasis and his discoveries have revolutionized our understanding of the metastatic cascade. Dr. Lyden demonstrated that secreted factors by the primary tumor prime certain tissues for tumor cell engraftment, defining the concept of the “pre-metastatic niche”. At the pre-metastatic niche, newly recruited bone marrow-derived myeloid progenitor cells collaborate with resident cell types to provide a platform for the assembly of the metastatic lesion. Furthermore, Dr. Lyden showed that tumor-secreted microvesicles, known as exosomes, initiate pre-metastatic niche formation by educating stromal cells and bone marrow progenitor cells, thus supporting a pro-metastatic microenvironment. His laboratory has identified key proteins and the presence of nucleic acids in exosomes that support thrombosis generation, vascular leakiness, and pre-metastatic niche formation. Recently, he has defined the role of tumor exosomal integrins in organotropic metastasis. Dr. Lyden is supportive and inspiring mentor to many young scientists, a sought-after speaker at metastasis and exosome biology meetings and the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Among these, he was honored with the Career Achievement Award Belgium Society of Cell Biology and Development and the European Microenvironment Society Award, the Mina J. Bissel Award from the University of Porto, Portugal, the Presidential Award of Portugal, the Bial Medical Distinction Award and the Inaugural I.J. “Josh” Fidler Innovation in Metastasis Research Award from the Metastasis Research Society. He is a member of the AACR Metastasis and Tumor Microenvironment Steering Committees, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and he holds a Visiting Professor Faculty Appointment at the Peking Union Medical School, Beijing, China. Dr. Lyden engages in full time research at WCM and treats children with brain malignancies at MSKCC.

Maria de Sousa MD, PhD, FRCPath

Scientific Director

Maria de Sousa is best known for her original contribution to the definition of the structure and ecology of the thymus dependent system while a Calouste Gulbenkian Fellow in the Lab of Delphine Parrott at ICRF, Mill Hill, London (Parrott, de Sousa and East, 1966). Created the neologism Ecotaxis (de Sousa, 1971) to define the ability of cells of different origins to migrate to different microenvironments. As Lecturer at Glasgow University did the first experiments on lymphocyte adhesion with the Cell Biologist Adam Curtis. As associate Member and Associate Professor at Cornell Medical College, directed the Laboratory of Cell Ecology at the Sloan Kettering Institute of Cancer Research in New York. In New York postulated that the Immune system could have a surveillance task of the toxicity of iron (de Sousa, Smithyman and Tan, Am J Pathol 1978). The postulate led her to be interested in the study of the T cell system in Hereditary hemochromatosis. Started to work in Oporto, as Full Professor of Immunology in 1985. This move benefited largely from APBRF’s support. Started an MSc in Immunology that merged with other MScs in the University in 1996 (see gabba.up.pt). The discovery of the gene for Hemochromatosis as an “immunological” gene in 1996 (Feder et al. Nature Genetics, 1996) after de Sousa’s first description in 1994 of spontaneous iron overload in beta2- microglobulin knock out mice (de Sousa et al., 1994) transformed decisively the importance of the original postulate. Anomalies of some lymphocyte numbers relating to severity of iron overload in patients with HH were detected throughout the years from the continuous clinical studies of Graça Porto. She has been the Scientific Director of APBRF since 1985.
Maria de Sousa had a decisive role in introducing the practice of external evaluation of research projects as Chair of the co-coordinating committee for the Health Sciences of the Portuguese National Science Foundation in the 80s- 90s (Int.J.Develop Biol, in press, 2009), and was instrumental in the development of Graduate teaching in Portugal by setting up a MSc in Immunology in Oporto in 1985 and helping create the Graduate Program on Basic and Applied Biology (GABBA) in Porto University since 1996 (gabba.up.pt).

Dr. de Sousa is an Emeritus Professor in the University of Porto and adjunct Professor in Weil Cornell Medic Center, and also a member of EMBO and EMBO committee for Young European Investigators, a corresponding member of the Portuguese Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and a member of IBIS, and a Member of the “Ordens Honoríficas Committee” nominated by the President of the Republic of Portugal. She is a founding member of APBRF and has recently published a book on Portuguese Science and Scientists, in Portuguese, whose title may translate into “Once said, now written”.

Mark Smith

Portfolio Manager

Mark has served as President and CEO of ChartMark Investments, Inc. since the company’s founding in 2001. Prior to founding ChartMark, Mark spent seven years as Associate Vice President and financial advisor with Morgan Stanley, where he provided strategic, financial planning and investment advice to a wide variety of clientele. Prior to his career with Morgan Stanley, Mark spent one year as an analyst with The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.B.A. in Finance in 1993. His analytical work and client consulting experience in a Wall Street enviro nment gives Mark the ability to discern client needs as they relate to the financial markets. Mark’s interaction with world class investors and fund managers creates a well-developed view and critical understanding of macroeconomic environments, industry trends, and specific company performance dynamics. In addition, his daily experience as a former stockbroker provides an excellent foundation for daily portfolio management. Mark also had management roles at Morgan Stanley and the Federal Reserve, thus adding to the leadership and organizational competence of our company. Mark’s focus is on daily management of the company, portfolio management and company strategic direction.

During 2007 Mark was named by the Tulsa Business Journal as one of Tulsa’s “40 under 40”. In addition The Journal Record named Mark to their 2007 class of “Achievers Under 40”.

In addition to his role as President of ChartMark Investments, Inc., Mark also sits on the Board of Directors and is the Chair of Entrepreneurship for Tulsa’s Young Professionals. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Leadership Tulsa and the American Portuguese Biomedical Research Foundation in New York.

Scott Milburn


Scott is a 1993 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting where he studied under past APBRF treasurer Bob Williams. He has worked over 25 years in the energy industry in various positions that included accountant, auditor, trader, and Chief Financial Officer, and is currently a natural gas liquids trader for WPX Energy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has served on several not for profit boards, is past treasurer and president of Rebuilding Together Tulsa, and is currently on the board of New Hope Oklahoma, and the White Cross scholarship fund. He also serves as the chapter advisor of the Sigma Chi chapter at the University of Oklahoma.

André Sousa PhD

Director of Communications

André Sousa graduated from the University of Porto in Biology. After three years researching the effects of pollutants on aquatic ecosystems at the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research, he decided to shift gears and did his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Nenad Sestan at Yale University School of Medicine, as part of the 11th edition of the GABBA program. His research focused on developmental neuroscience, particularly on investigating which genes are expressed in different regions of the brain throughout development, and how the differences in expression levels of some of these genes may account for the observable structural differences in the brain. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in neurobiology at Yale studying human-specific gene expression patterns in the developing brain and how evolutionary differences may account for different outcomes in disease states.

Dr. Sousa is the founding president of the Association ATG – All Time GABBAs and the Director of Communications of APBRF since 2014.

Maria Pilar Mourão-Ferreira


Maria Pilar Mourão-Ferreira graduated from Lisbon University in German Philology. After the Revolution of April 1974 was part of the Parliament Assembly for the draft and writing of the new Portuguese Constitution. Was chief of cabinet of the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State near the Council of Ministers. She was the Director of the International Relations and European Affairs Office of the National Secretariat for the Rehabilitation and Integration of Disabled People and she has a distinguished record in international relations.