Twinning of research institutions

The ACORN Project

ACORN is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme aiming at placing the Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM), in Lisbon, within the core of a European network of laboratories that seeks to produce cutting-edge research in the field of gaseous signalling molecules (gasotransmitters).

Carbon monoxide (CO) is either synthesised internally in the organism, tissue or cell or is received externally. However, more in vivo research is still required to understand the release kinetics, their efficacy as therapeutic molecules and how to minimise off-target effects. iMM, has amongst other similar groups, led the way forward by synthesising carbon monoxide release molecules (CORMs), which possess pharmaceutical traits for releasing CO in a more precise manner to a local site, as opposed to using CO in its gaseous form. By developing a sustainable network of excellence with other internationally-leading organisations, iMM will be able to simultaneously contribute and be part of the leading pack of institutions that could unravel the role of carbon monoxide in health and disease leading to the development of a new class of therapeutic agents.

Start date and duration: 1st September 2018/ 3 years Total investment: €1000000

Main goals

  • Place iMM at the forefront of Science and Processes in Europe, specifically in Portugal
  • Incite an ambitious research community
  • Increase iMM’s participation in international collaborative projects
  • Promote an entrepreneurial and risk-taking spirit in iMM’s community
  • Potentiate a better integration of iMM in regional, national and European business communities and impacting EU policy
  • Leverage iMM’s research excellence and impact across its different research areas
  • A scientific and innovative boost to the region and country
  • Contribute to increased scientific awareness among the general public



  • Mentorship programme
  • Workshops
  • Expert visits
  • Summer schools
  • Consortium meetings
  • Dissemination and outreach

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 807281