It is impossible to think about Infection and Immunity in Portugal and not think about the many contributions from Rui Appelberg during his outstanding career. It is impossible to study Mycobacteria infections and not think about Rui’s findings and vision. It was impossible to think of setting a meeting with Rui and not become fervent and nervous with the questions he would raise. It was impossible to discuss our projects with Rui and not to improve our research plan and experiments. It was impossible not to have a good and stimulating time with Rui. A month ago we were saddened and shocked by the sudden news that Rui Appelberg has passed away.

This is how Rui academically described himself:

Rui Appelberg got his M.D. in 1984, his PhD in 1992, and his “Agregação” in 2002 at the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas de Abel Salazar (ICBAS) of the University of Porto where he became Full Professor in 2003. He has been involved in the teaching of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection Biology. His research dealt with the study of Microbiology and Immunology of Infection at the IBMC where he was Group Leader until 2015. He now belongs to the staff of the Vilanova lab at the I3S. Specifically he studied the immune response, vaccines and the development of immune pathology to mycobacterial infections (Mycobacterium avium and M. tuberculosis). He published over one hundred papers in international journals indexed by PubMed. He was the PhD advisor of 12 students and co-advisor of several others. He is presently the PhD co-supervisor of one student at the University of Minho and another from the University of Porto. He won several scientific prizes including the First Pfizer Award for three times. He acted as Associate Editor of The Journal of Immunology and belongs to the Editorial Board of Infection and Immunity. Past collaborations included researchers from France, Spain, UK, USA, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany and Norway.

But Rui was much more than a brilliant scientist: he not only mentored many PhD students, but also many young scientists, always providing honest criticisms to the experiments and data interpretations, as well as helping in any way he could without any self-interest. Rui kept us in our tiptoes when discussing science, whilst at the same time providing an endless source of enthusiasm and motivation to excel to the highest level.

Rui was also an eager cyclist, a Nature lover, a photographer and a wonderful writer (please read on more here:

Rui will be terribly missed by his many collaborators, mentees and friends. From all of us: Thank you!”


Margarida Saraiva & Nuno Alves