Acknowledgments.

Often is the case where the people who should read the acknowledgment section in your thesis don’t actually have the chance to do it.

Well, here it is.

The acknowledgments of my PhD thesis.

“At the end of this journey, I look back at the last four and half years and I am thankful for many people that crossed my path and shaped the way I do science, and most importantly, how they empower the discovery of my inner self.

First of all, to my mom and dad for their unconditional support and love. This would not have been possible without you. You always encouraged my pursuit of knowledge and creativity. You gave me freedom and strength to choose my own path and allowed me to learn from my own mistakes. Words are not enough to express my deepest gratitude to you. To my brother for all the games we played together, the movies and TV shows we watched together, the laughs and adventures we shared and the discussions about physics, maths, airplanes, biology and astronomy we had throughout the years. Thank you for caring and defending your little sis. To my beloved Ricardo, for always standing by me in the hardest moments of this thesis. Thank you for you love and for the peace you bring to my heart.

To my supervisor, Christen Mirth, thank you for taking me into your group and allowing me to grow as a young scientist. I admire your enthusiasm towards science and life in general. One of the best advices I ever received came from you – respect should be earned. It helped me go through some tough obstacles during my PhD and I am very grateful for your advice. To my co-supervisor, Élio Sucena, thank you for introducing me the, not so new anymore, ‘evo-devo’ field and encouraging me to be critical to every research, especially to my own work. I truly respect your critical and hypothesis-driven mind and your constant ´fight´ for a better ‘PhD life’ at IGC. Everything I know about fly pushing I learned with Beatriz Garcia-Fernández when I was a master student in Florence Janody’s Lab at IGC. I embraced her scientific rigor throughout my PhD thesis and it definitely paid off.

To present and past members of the Mirth Lab: Sara Lennox for her kind friendship. I truly miss our cultural trips in Lisbon and our ‘movie dates’. Marisa Oliveira and Takashi Koyama for scientific discussions. Maria João Carvalho for all the laughs and discussions about almost everything: science, movies, dance, love, future. The ‘four little ones’, Nuno Soares, Marisa Rodrigues, Andreia Oliveira and André Alves, thank you for the endless discussions in the fly room.

Thanks to all fellow PhD students, postdocs and lab technicians from Patrícia Beldade, Élio Sucena, Rui Martinho and Vítor Barbosa Labs for scientific feedback whenever it was needed and other more general matter: Maria Adelina Jerónimo, Marta Marialva, Elvira LaFuente, Leila Shirai, Roberto Keller, Inês Conceição, Filipa Marta, Barbara Vreede, Vítor Faria, Alexandre Leitão, Diogo Manoel, Kohtaro Tanaka, Rui Castanhinha, Nelson Martins, Luiz Gonzalez, Gastón Guilgur, Pedro Prudêncio, Paulo Navarro Costa, Triin Laos, Patrícia Silva and Raquel Santos. To the amazing class 2010 PIBS for their friendship and for starting this journey with me: Özlem Aybüke Işık, Leonor Duarte Margalha, Madalena Carneiro, Jorge Sousa, Marc Gouw, Jordi Salmona, Ewa Chrostek and Kryzstof Kus. To the fly community at IGC for making the fly room a fun place to work on: Ana Rita Marques, Sascha Werner, Swadhin Jana and Catarina Brás-Pereira.

Throughout my PhD I have attended several conferences and courses and I have met many wonderful people that enhanced my enthusiasm towards science. Thanks to Alistair McGregor and Casper Breuker for organizing the Eco-Evo-Devo Postgraduate Summer School at Oxford Brookes University. I attended the first edition when I was completely frustrated with my PhD project. After attending this course, I gained more confidence to overcome the obstacles in front of me. I must mention Karin Olsson and Onuralp Soylemez for keeping in touch. I would also like to thank Madan Babu, Aapo Kahilainen and Ossi Nokelainen, who I met during the European Meeting of PhD Students in Evolutionary Biology in Portugal, for their kind friendship and thoughtful advices about life, love, science and dance. To João Alpedrinha for giving me the opportunity to attend my very first conference dinner at the 2013 meeting of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology.

To my friends from college, who I kept in touch since, for continuously showing me ‘the bright side of life’: Sara Falcão, Diana Antunes, Andreia Penado, Ana Sofia Carvalho, Diana Rodrigues, Ana Marcelino and Pedro Almada. To my ‘dance crew’, the Crocodile Crew, for all our crazy and genuine moments in the dance classes, competitions and shows: Alexandra Guerreiro, Ana Almeida, Cátia Sá, Moniki and Rita Torrão. Thank you for keeping alive my love for dance.

Thank you all so much.”

PhD Defence 29.May.2015 (1)

Photo taken by Ricardo Ferreiro at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal, May 2015.

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