February 27, 2018

Public lecture: Endocrine and Paracrine Control of Folliculogenesis in the Zebrafish

Endocrine and Paracrine Control of Folliculogenesis in the Zebrafish, by Prof Wei GE

Prof Wei GE
(Dean FHS, Univ. Macau)

About the Talk

Ovarian folliculogenesis is one of the most dynamic physiological and developmental processes in vertebrates. Despite numerous studies on this issue in mammals, the molecular mechanisms that control follicle development, especially the early phase of folliculogenesis, still remain poorly understood.  Gonadotropins are primary endocrine hormones that control ovarian development and function.  In addition, various local paracrine and autocrine factors in the ovary also play important roles in this process.  Although the endocrine and paracrine controls of folliculogenesis have been studied in fish, there has been a lack of genetic data on their functional importance, mostly due to unavailability of the gene knockout approach in fish models.  Using zebrafish as the model and the emerging genome editing technologies, TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9, we have analyzed the roles of both endocrine hormones such as FSH and LH from the pituitary and local ovarian paracrine factors such as GDF9 in controlling folliculogenesis.  Our data showed that follicle development in the zebrafish involves both external endocrine hormones and internal paracrine factors in the ovary.

About the Speaker

Professor Wei GE is currently a Chair Professor and Associate Dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau.  He received his BSc from Nanjing University, MSc from the Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and PhD from University of Alberta, Canada. After obtaining his PhD, he received a postdoctoral scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to work at the National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB), Japan. In 1995, he joined The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) where he established his teaching and research career. He was a professor at the School of Life Sciences at CUHK in 2013 when he moved to University of Macau (UM) where he helped establish the Faculty of Health Sciences. While working at CUHK, he established the Programme of Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) at both undergraduate and graduate levels and served as the founding director of the Programme.


January 28, 2018

Introductory Statistics Using R / R語言統計學入門課程 course

ISE, USJ, Macao: Feb, 26星期一to Mar, 13星期二 : 18:30 – 21:30H.

The course introduces basic statistical analysis with the open source software R, a programming language for statistical computing with graphical capabilities.

The benefits of R software:

  • R is free. R is open-source and runs on UNIX, Windows, and Macintosh.
  • R has an excellent built-in help system.
  • R has excellent graphing capabilities.
  • Students can easily migrate to the commercially supported S-Plus program if commercial software is desired.
  • R’s language has a powerful, easy to learn syntax with many built-in statistical functions.
  • The language is easy to extend with user-written functions.
  • R is a computer programming language. For programmers, it will feel more familiar than others and for new computer users, the next leap to programming will not be so large.


December 11, 2015

Heavy Metals and Pesticides

Heavy Metals and Pesticides

The role of mangroves on the bioaccumulation and citogenotoxic effects of metals and pesticides on the food web of a sub-tropical coastal system

Research Team: 
Chan Shek Kiu (PI) | Karen Arano-Tagulao (co-PI) | Nora Tam (Team Member) | Eduardo Rocha (Team Member) | Patricia Teixeira Cardoso (Consultant). 

Mangrove ecosystems are unique habitats which offer a great variety of goods and services to the ecosystem and to the society. Unfortunately, they have been globally threatened by urbanization and industrialization which have triggered widespread overexploitation of the world’s mangrove forests despite their ecological and economic importance.

In South China, namely in Macao, the health and integrity of mangroves are aggravated due to substantial discharge of industrial sewage into the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) from the coastal cities. Among different types of pollutants in the sewage, trace metals are of special concern since alarming levels of cadmium, lead and zinc were annually discharged into the Pearl River, potentially causing far-reaching ramifications on human health and ecosystems.

Besides metals contamination, pollution by pesticides is of great concern because of their ability to cause, in a global scale and years ahead from the present, severe environmental, ecologic and health consequences.
Despite the numerous studies on phytoremediation, little attention has been to the role of mangroves on the bioaccumulation and citogenotoxic effects of metals and organic compounds on the food web and consequently on human health. So, the main objectives of this project are:
1) to do a spatial/seasonal characterization of the abiotic parameters as well as contaminants (metals and pesticides), the latter through a time-integrated passive sampling method, in mangrove vegetated versus non-vegetated areas;
2) to do an in situ characterization of the metals and pesticides levels at the biotic compartments along the food web (primary producers, primary consumers and predators) in mangrove vegetated versus non-vegetated areas;
3) to evaluate the in situ genotoxic effects and oxidative stress responses to contaminants exposure in vegetated versus non-vegetated areas;
4) to study the bioaccumulation and elimination kinetics and oxidative stress responses in the edible bivalve Geloina erosa to trace metals and pesticides exposure during a field transplant experiment.
Through the implementation of this project it is possible to better understand the role of mangroves on the protection of fauna and human health against these pollutants and establish possible management and conservation strategies.
Funded by FDCT, reference no. 117/2014/A3. Research Team: Chan Shek Kiu (PI, ISE/USJ), Karen Arano-Tagulao (co-PI, ISE/USJ), Patricia Teixeira (Consultant, CIIMAR, University of Porto), Nora Tam (Team member, City University of Hong Kong), Eduardo Rocha (Team Member, University of Porto)


February 2, 2015



WELCOME to the Mag.I.C project!

MagIC – Petrology and Geochemistry of Igneous Rocks from Macao: Implications for the Crustal Evolution of Southern China / 澳门火成岩之岩石学与地球化学—对华南地壳演化的影响)

This project aimed to develop a detailed digital cartographic map of the igneous rocks of Macao, useful for professionals from different areas and to understand the geological history of the territory. The main results included: (1) absolute age determination from Macau magmatic events; (2) based on mineralogical and geochemical studies we have constrained the magma evolution and; (3) we contributed to a deeper understanding of the South China tectono-magmatic evolution.

Project reference: FDCT 043/2014/A1 (2014-2018)

updated on Mar 2021


Ph.D. Principal Investigator (PI) from ISE, USJ, Macau

Ph.D. Team member from FCUL/IDL, Portugal

XinYu Gao

Ph.D Team member from GIG, CAS – 中国科学院广州地球化学研究所 , China

Luisa Duarte

Ph.D. Consultant from LNEG

Varon Lou

M.Sc. Research Assistant from ISE, USJ, Macau

Ph.D. Student from ISE, USJ, Macau. Dissertation on Dec 5, 2019 – Thesis

Ricardo Borges

Research Assistant (GIS) from ISE, USJ, Macau


Igneous rocks, in particular granitic ones, are of utmost importance to assess the tectonothermal evolution of continents and to decipher their geodynamic setting. During Mesozoic ages, the Southeastern China region (Cathasya block), where Macao is localized, was affected by granitic plutonism generated during the Indosinian (Triassic) and Yanshanian orogenies (Jurasic-Cretaceous), overprinting all previous events in the South China Fold Belt (SCFB). In Macao, the most complete document reporting the geology of the territory was published, in 1992, under Luísa Ribeiro coordination, the consultant of this project. It consists of the Macao Geological Map 1:5000 scale, and its memoir, where the main geological units and structures of Macao were presented. Until the beginning of this project proposal, there was a significant gap in the knowledge of the geology and geodynamic evolution of Macao compared with surrounding areas. The geology of Hong Kong and Guangdong (also included in the Cathaysia block) has been the subject of numerous SCI publications. In contrast, there were no SCI publications on the geology of Macao. To fill this gap, this project focused in obtaining new scientific knowledge about the origin and evolution of the territory of Macao, and also to spread and publish this new knowledge within the local and international scientific community. In his project, we developed a new trilingual digital geological map of Macao and, among several new scientific discoveries accomplished along the execution of the work, we emphasize the determination of the age of Macao magmatic rocks as well as of its geodynamic evolution. Briefly, Macao granites were emplaced in two main periods ranging from 164.5 ± 0.6 Ma to 162.9 ± 0.7 Ma and 156.6 ± 0.2 Ma to 155.5 ± 0.8 Ma, separated by ca. 6 Ma. Inherited zircons point to the existence of a basement with ages up to Paleo-Proterozoic and late Archean in the region. In addition, younger dacitic rocks were dated at 150.6 ± 0.6 Ma and <120 Ma. Macao granitic suite was incrementally assembled during a period of ca. 9 Ma and the transition from granitic magmatism (Middle to Upper Jurassic) to the younger dacite dykes (Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous) most likely correspond to a change in the regional tectonic setting. Isotope and geochemical compositions together with model ages and mixing modelling strongly suggest that Macao granitic magmas were generated by partial melting of infracrustal medium-to-high K basaltic Paleo-Proterozoic to Mesoproterozoic protoliths heated by, and mixed to some degrees with, the contemporaneous underplating and/or intrusion of hot, mantle-derived magmas. The Jurassic Macao granites are interpreted as being produced in an intraplate extensional setting related to the foundering of a previously flat-slab (Paleo-Pacific plate) beneath SE China continent.



火成岩,尤其是花岗岩,对于揭开大陆的构造演化和动力学背景之谜至关重要。中生代时期,澳门所处的华东南板块(华夏古陆)受印支期(三叠纪)和燕山构造期所产生的花岗质岩浆影响,叠印了华南褶皱带以往所有的活动。澳门在地质和地理上归属于华夏陆块,从而为理解华南的地壳演化过程提供制约。1992年,在本项目顾问路易莎·里贝罗(Luísa Ribeiro)的协调下,澳门境内最完整的官方地质报告文件出版。在该研究报告中,介绍了澳门主要的地质单元和结构,其中还包含了比例为1:5000的澳门地质图。
在这个项目所取得的一系列新科学发现中,我们会重点强调澳门岩浆岩年龄的厘定及其地球动力学的演化过程。总的来说,澳门的花岗岩侵入活动主要分为两期,164.5 ± 0.6 Ma(百万年)到 162.9 ± 0.7 Ma为第一期, 156.6 ± 0.2 Ma 到155.5 ± 0.8 Ma为第二期,中间相隔约6Ma。花岗岩中的继承锆石指示该地区存在着一个古元古代至晚太古代的古老基底。此外,也发现更年轻的英安质岩石的年龄为150.6 ± 0.6 Ma和<120 Ma。澳门的花岗岩套是在一个约9Ma的时期内逐步侵位形成的,从中晚侏罗纪的花岗质岩浆活动向晚侏罗-早白垩的英安质岩墙的转变很可能对应于区域构造环境的变化。

Task 1. – Digital Cartography
To refine the knowledge on the main lithologies areal distribution in order to develop a detailed digital map of the igneous rocks from Macao.
Task 2. – Petrography
To obtain a detailed characterization of the mineralogy and petrography of igneous rocks from Macao and compare these results with data from correspondent geological areas from the Cathaysian block.
Task 3. Geochronology
The main goal of this task was to precisely date the magmatic events preserved in the geological region where Macao is included. 
Task 4 – Geochemistry
The main goal of this task was the construction of a petrogenetic model for each of the igneous lithotypes from the geological region where Macao is included by a detailed characterization of their geochemical properties (whole-rock major and trace elements, rare earth elements, and isotopic signatures).
For results and outputs see the Geology of Macau webpage and publications
Collaboration with other institutions
  • IDL – Instituto Don Luiz
  • LNEG – Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (Laboratório de Geologia e Minas), Portugal
  • JSGL – Jack Satterly Geochronology Laboratory, Canada
  • GeoFCUL – Departamento de Geologia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
  • HKU – University of Hong Kong
Companies and public institutions that contributed to the project

With field visits and samples:
MPS – Macau Professional Services, Limited, Macau
LECM – Macau Laboratory of Civil Engineering / 澳門土木工程實驗室, Macau
LNEG – Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (Laboratório de Geologia e Minas), Portugal

CGGC – China Gezhouba Group Corporation, Macau
中德工程有限公司, Macau
南光石油化工有限公司, Macau
Macau Golf and Country Club / 澳門高爾夫球鄉村俱樂部, Macau

Other contributions:
SMG – Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau / 地球物理暨氣象局, Macau

Mag.I.C. Publications and Communications
  • Quelhas, P, Mata J and Dias, A Á (2021c) Magmatic evolution of garnet-bearing highly fractionated granitic rocks from Macao, Southeast China: Implications for granite-related mineralization processes. Journal of Earth Sciences. In Press. JES-07-2020-0330. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12583-020-1389-4 
  • Quelhas, P, Borges. R, Dias, A. Á, Ribeiro, L, Costa, P Mata, J. (2021b) Geological Map of the Macao Special Administrative Region (China). Journal of Maps In press.
  • Quelhas P, Mata J, Dias Á A (2021a) Evidences for mixed contribution of mantle, lower and upper crust to the genesis of Jurassic I-type granites from Macao, SE China. GSA Bulletin. 133 (1-2): 37–56.. https://doi.org/10.1130/B35552.1
  • Quelhas, P., Dias, Á A., Mata, J., Don, D., Ribeiro, L. (2019) High-precision geochronology of Mesozoic magmatism in Macao, Southeast China: evidence for multistage granite emplacement. Geoscience Frontiers. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2019.04.011
  • Quelhas P, Dias Á A, Mata J & Wayne Davis D (2019) Goldschmidt Abstracts, 258. 21st August. Barcelona. https://goldschmidt.info/2019/abstracts/abstractView?id=2019004459
  • Quelhas, P., Mata, J., Lou, U. T., Ribeiro, M. L., Borges, R., Dias, Á A (2018). A origem e evolução dos magmas graníticos de Macao à luz de dados de geoquímica elementar e isotópica / Source and evolution of Macao granitic magmas: insights from wholerock geochemistry and isotopic signatures. XIV Congresso de Geoquímica dos Países de Língua Portuguesa e XIX Semana de Geoquímica (XIV CGPLP/XIX SG, international conference. 25-29 March 2018, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal.
  • Dias, Á A (2017) Opening talk about the geology of MacaoISE, Macao. Meeting on Mesozoic magmatism of Macao and Hong Kong in the context of SE China geodynamics / 澳門與香港的中生代岩漿作用 (oral communication) 22-27 April 2017, ISE, Macau
  • Quelhas, P. (2017) Mesozoic magmatism in Macao: What is known so far and future developments. Mesozoic magmatism of Macao and Hong Kong in the context of SE China geodynamics / 澳門與香港的中生代岩漿作用 (oral communication)22-27 April 2017, ISE, Macau
  • Quelhas, P., Mata, J., Lou, U. T., Ribeiro, M. L., Borges, R., Dias Á A. (2017) New Geochemical Constraints on I-Type Granites of Macao: Petrogenesis and Geodynamic Implications. 27th Goldschmidt Conference. 2126, 06d 13-18, August 2017. Paris, France
  • Quelhas P M, Mata J, Lou U T, Ribeiro M R and Dias Á A (2016) Mesozoic Granitic Magmatism in Macao, Southeast China. AGU Fall meeting 12-16 December 2016, San Francisco, USA
  • Dias Á A, Quelhas P, Lou U, Mata J & Ribeiro M L (2016) Petrology and Geochemistry of Granitic Rocks from Macao. 26th Goldschmidt Conference, Yokohama, Japan. 61, 05c. POSTER
  • Dias, Á A (2015) Presentation of the Magic Project. First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
  • Quelhas, P (2016) Preliminary data from Macau petrology: Summary of the field work and first petrographic analysis. First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
  • Lou, V (2015) Plutonic Rocks from SE China focused in Macau (what is mentioned in the Chinese references). First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
  • Gao X-Y (2015) Presentation of GIG-CAS (The Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) and its facilities. First Meeting on the Geology of Macao, Macao
For more information visit: 
Geology of Macau and Mag.I.C project in the News (Portuguese language)
Other references
  • Ribeiro, M.L. (2010) Macau, evolução do conhecimento geológico, Ciências Geológicas – Ensino, Investigação e sua História, Volume VII – Geologia das Ex-Colónias da Ásia e Oceania: Lisbon, Sociedade Geológica de Portugal, p. 259 – 266. http://repositorio.lneg.pt/bitstream/10400.9/1301/1/34425.pdf
  • So, CL & Ribeiro, ML (1997) Portugal Macao Geology. Encyclopedia of World Regional Geology. pp. 620 – 621 E.M. Moores & R. W. Fairbridge, (eds). Encyclopedia of Earth Sc. Series. Chapman & Hall, London.
  • Ribeiro, M. L., Macedo, C. A. R., Ramos, J. M. F., and Dias, R. P. (2000) K – Ar ages for the Macao granites (SE China) and the magmatic migration at the Yenshianian times, in Proceedings Congresso Internacional de Geologia, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. p. G1804006.
  • Ribeiro, M. L., Ramos, J. M. F., Pereira, E., and Dias, R. P. (1992) Carta Geológica de Macau na escala 1:5000 (inclui Notícia Explicativa): Serviços Geológicos de Portugal.
  • Marques, F. M. S. F. (1988) Contribuição para o conhecimento geológico e geotécnico do Território de Macau. Master thesis: FCUL, 184 p.
  • Carrington da Costa, J., and Lemos, M. S. (1964) Fisiografia e Geologia da Província de Macau: Centro de Informação e Turismo.
  • Lemos, M. S. (1963) Esboço Geológico da Província Ultramarina de Macau, Escala 1/25 000: Centro de Informação e Turismo.
  • Carrington da Costa, J. (1944) Geologia da Província de Macau, Bol. Soc. Geol. de Portugal, Volume III: Porto, Imprensa Moderna, Ltd., p. 47.


November 25, 2014


Environmental Endocrine Disruptors: Current Situation in Macao, Neurobehavioral Effects and Bioremediation Strategies

Funded by FDCT, reference 011/2014/A1.


Macao is situated downstream to the heavily industrialized Pearl River Delta region. This places the territory and its inhabitants at risk from the effects of exposure to environmental aquatic pollutants originated from industrial activity. Several reports have confirmed high levels of pollutants in the coastal waters of Macao but systematic studies evaluating their prevalence in aquatic ecosystems and their bioavailability in organisms and in the food chain are lacking. The project will focus on a class of pollutants that has been gaining particular attention in recent years, environmental endocrine disruptors (EEDs). EEDs are chemical pollutants from various sources that interfere with the endocrine system in both animals and humans and that have been overlooked in many environmental surveys, in spite of a great wealth of research demonstrating detrimental effects on human health in all physiological domains. Although there is no available data for EEDs levels in Macao, their concentration in other areas of the Pearl River is of concern. This situation urges for more studies focusing on the prevalence of these pollutants in the environment in Macao, on their effects in organisms and humans, and on possible remediation strategies. The project is divided into three tasks. First, the levels of some common EEDs in water, sediments and biological samples collected in Macao will be quantified to assess the degree of environmental contamination, bioavailability in aquatic organisms and potential risks to human health. Second, the physiological effects of some of these pollutants on neurologic function and behavior will be tested using as a model species a fish common in Macao coastal waters, and thus potentially exposed to EEDs, the mudskipper Boleophthalmus pectinirostris. Third, new possibilities for the use of microorganisms in bioremediation strategies to combat the prevalence of these pollutants in the environment will be investigated.

David Gonçalves
Principal Investigator 

The Vocal Brain of Fish

November 11, 2014

The Vocal Brain of Fish

Development of Auditory Processing and Vocal Motor Control

The question of how brain coordinates vocal output is relatively unknown. While human and bird vocal communication is relatively complex, studying simpler models such as fish can provide important insights for understanding the development of fundamental units in the central nervous system for how to build auditory-vocal systems. Feedback from the auditory systems can be critical for the control of vocal behavior in many animals, including humans. In fish, auditory feedback on vocal activity remains unknown. Moreover, the relation between the development of the auditory sense and the vocal differentiation remains uninvestigated in this taxon. Preliminary data shows that the Lusitanian toadfish, Halobatrachus didactylus, uses an unusual sophisticated vocal repertoire for fish (more than five different calls) to communicate during various social contexts and this ability starts remarkably early in life. The aim of this project is threefold: (1) investigate whether and/or how auditory sensitivity, distribution of the inner ear sensory haircells, and auditory processing central units change throughout ontogeny in H. didactylus; (2) study the development of the vocal repertoire, sound generating system (swimbladder), and vocal motor control brain nuclei; and (3) evaluate whether auditory feedback plays a role in shaping vocalizations and vocal neural networks during development.

This work will consist on the first attempt to evaluate the relationship between the development of the auditory and the vocal systems in a fish species and will allow to determine whether both systems have evolved independently or in parallel. As vocal networks in all vertebrates seemed to have evolved from an ancestrally shared brain area originated in fish, we predict that our data will provide valuable insights into the evolutionary history of the brain circuits for complex behaviors such as the use of sound for social communication.

Funded by FDCT, reference 019/2012/A1.


Raquel O. Vasconcelos
Ph.D. CoCoordinator from ISE, USJ, Macau

Andreia Ramos
Research Assistant from University of Lisbon, Portugal

Ciara Valdoria
Research Assistant from ISE, USJ, Macau

Patrícia Chaves
Reasearch Assistant from ISPA, Portugal

Paulo J. Fonseca,
Co-investigator from University of Lisbon, Portugal

Joseph A. Sisneros
Co-investigator from University of Washington, WA, USA

November 11, 2014

Behavioral Plasticity Meets Neuroplasticity

Brain Neurogenesis in the polymorphic fish Salaria pavo

Funded by FDCT, reference 012/2012/A1.


The study of the mechanisms associated with the production of new neurons in the adult brain, neurogenesis, is of paramount importance both for clinical and non-clinical reasons. Adult mammals, and humans in particular, have a very limited capacity for producing and integrating new neurons in existing networks or in places where neuronal death has occurred. This contrasts with lower vertebrates (fish, amphibian) where neurogenesis is widespread throughout the brain and where regeneration of large portions of the brain after injury, with a concomitant recovery of function, is possible. Interestingly, the high levels of behavioral plasticity observed in lower vertebrates, such as those associated with functional sex-change or alternative reproductive phenotypes, are not found in mammals. This suggests that drastic shifts in behavior within the same animal require a major reorganization of neuronal networks only possible by the recruitment of new neurons. We will test this hypothesis by studying the process of brain neurogenesis in a fish, the peacock blenny Salaria pavo. The project aims to contribute to the general understanding of the functional significance of neurogenesis in the adult brain.


David Gonçalves 

Ph.D. Principal Investigator (PI) from ISE, USJ, Macau

Rui Oliveira 

(team member)

Pedro Vieira

Ph.D. Student from ISE, USJ, Macau

Freda Lam

(lab technician)