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maria pires pacheco

maria pires pacheco

phd student

Discipline: Biology
Luxembourg, Luxembourg


My name is Maria,
I’m a PhD student in the System Biology group of Pr. Thomas Sauter at the University of Luxembourg. My project is the fast reconstruction of compact context-specific metabolic models. In other words, I model the chemical reactions that take place in cells on my computer for different cell types and different states, i.e. illness in order to on understand how little imbalance in the metabolism can lead to diabetes or other metabolic diseases. These computer simulations, these models can help to predict for i.e. drugs act on a patient metabolism and so determine which treatment is the best for each patient.
The first hallmark of my thesis was the publication together with Dr. Nikos Vlassis and Pr.Thomas Sauter of FASTCORE and algorithm that creates metabolic models in about one second on an ordinary laptop. FASTCORE is several orders of magnitude faster than competiting algorithms. The low computational demands allow performing cross-validations, tests that allow improving the quality of models, which were barely possible with previous algorithms. Further low computational demands are required for the use of models in a daily basis as a help for diagnosis.

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