Image credits: Ordem dos Farmacêuticos (Secção Regional do Centro)
Last Friday, November 10th, the “Remédios n(d)o Mar” Conference took place, the result of a collaboration between the Order of Pharmacists (Regional Section of the Center) and CESAM. This initiative represented another contribution to disseminate the discussion around one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – “Life Below Water.”
The opening session of the event had the presence of Dr. Anabela Mascarenhas, President of the Regional Board of the Order of Pharmacists in the Center, and Professor Dr. Artur Silva, Vice-Rector of the University of Aveiro. After the opening, Bruno Nunes, CESAM/DBio researcher, delivered the first afternoon lecture titled “Ecotoxicological Effects of Pharmaceutical Substances – Occurrence, Fate, and Toxicological Issues in Environmentally Exposed Organisms.” The researcher, involved in organizing this event, points out that the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment is now an indisputable reality, and many of these substances have the ability to alter physiological, biochemical, and metabolic parameters, even at the low concentrations found in the aquatic ecosystem, in multiple species. It is therefore urgent to adopt measures for monitoring, quantifying effects, and preventing the entry of these substances into the aquatic environment, with the pharmacist’s intervention being critical to raise awareness among the population about the environmental risks arising from improper disposal of medications.
Felisa Rey, in collaboration with Rosário Domingues, both CESAM/DQua researchers, followed with the presentation on “Marine Organisms as a Source of Bioactive Lipids: Origin, Benefits, and Biotechnological Applications.”
Finally, the round table, moderated by Professor Dr. Félix Carvalho, Professor at FFUP and President of the Northern Regional Section of the Order of Pharmacists, provided the opportunity to broaden the discussion among experts investigating in various areas, all with the ocean as a common foundation. In addition to addressing various concerns related to ocean contamination, including microplastics, drug residues, or phosphates, several research lines were presented that offer hope to reverse the destruction affecting one of our most vital natural resources, the ocean.
Contributing to this debate were Adelaide Almeida, Bruno Nunes, Felisa Rey, and Marcelino Miguel Oliveira, CESAM researchers, as well as Miguel Santos from the Faculty of Sciences of UP and researcher at CIMAR, and Paula Sobral from the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of UNL and researcher at MARE.
In addition to intellectual and scientific exchange, the event marked the inauguration of a photographic exhibition by Nuno Gonçalves, a pharmacist with a profound passion for underwater photography. Gonçalves recently won the title of “Underwater Photography Champion” at the 19th World Underwater Photography Championship, held in Cuba from October 9th to 14th, 2023.
The exhibition will be in the atrium of the Renato Araújo Auditorium at the University of Aveiro until November 17th. Don’t miss it!