Duarte completed his B.Sc in Marine Biology (Portugal) and later developed an interest in microbiology, which led him to pursue an M.Sc in Applied Microbiology (Portugal). Duarte developed his M.Sc thesis at Queen’s University Belfast (UK). Later, he completed his Ph.D. in molecular biology at the University of Galway (Ireland), where he studied the chimeric protein complex and sensory organelle designated as the stressosome in the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
Now at Umeå University, Duarte is a Postdoc in Jörgen Johansson lab. His current project consists of investigating the structural changes of RNAs and their impact on the regulation of virulence in the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. In bacteria, RNAs are known to fold in specific structures, changing when certain conditions are met. Such conditions may consist of specific metabolites that bind to the target RNA altering its structure and enabling one or more genes to be upregulated and thus leading the bacteria to a virulent state. Using RNA modification reagents, Duarte aims to identify these RNA structures and characterize their role in the virulence of S. aureus.