|Manuel Sobrinho Simões
Scientist and doctor
Manuel Alberto Coimbra Sobrinho Simões was born on 8 September 1947, in Porto, in the parish of Cedofeita. He is the oldest of four sons of Manuel Sobrinho Rodrigues Simões, doctor, teacher and researcher in the field of Biochemistry, and of Maria Alexandrina Martins Coimbra Simões, a housewife.
Due to his father's absent-mindedness, he was registered with the surnames Coimbra Rodrigues Simões, which was not the same as his sister's, Luísa Eugénia, Teresa Paula and Joana Coimbra Sobrinho Simões, a mistake which was corrected later.
He grew up in a traditional family household, first in Antas and later in Paranhos. Some of his neighbours were teachers Hargreaves and Emídio Ribeiro, of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto. He attended the primary school "Escola 33 A", where he was taught by Maria da Graça.
In the academic year 1957-1958, he enrolled in Alexandre Herculano High School, in Porto, completing his secondary education in 1963-1964 with the final average mark of eighteen out of twenty, for which he was awarded his first two prizes: the National Prize and the "Rotary Club do Porto" Prize.
In the academic year 1964-1965, he enrolled in Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, where, once again, he achieved excellent grades, earning the respect of his teachers and many awards, for example, the Rotary Club do Porto Award, an award from the Engenheiro António de Almeida Foundation, the Prof. Dr. Luís de Pina award and the Boehringer Ingelheim award.
During his studies, he became very interested in Pathology, mostly influenced by some of his teachers, such as Daniel Serrão.
As a student, he won the university table-tennis championship and travelled abroad during the school holidays with the prize money received and with the help of his grandfather.
Furthermore, on 6 July 1970, still as a student, he assumed the post of "Monitor além Quadro" [extra-staff Monitor] of Pathological Anatomy.
He completed the degree in Medicine in 1971 with the final mark of nineteen out of twenty, and was appointed Eventual Assistant of Pathological Anatomy on 5 March in the following year, a post he held until 17 September 1974.
In the meantime, on 31 May 1972 he married Maria Augusta da Cunha, a doctor, and had three children: Manuel, João and Joana.
Between 1 September 1975 and 31 December 1976, he did his military service, which had been constantly postponed because he was studying.
Some years later, in 1979, he took his PhD exams in Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, presenting the dissertation entitled "Carcinoma oculto de Tireóide. Proposta de interpretação biopatológica" [which addressed the issue of thyroid carcinomas] and the complementary work "Alguns aspectos da depleção linfocítica na doença de Hodgkin" [on lymphocytes and Hodgkin disease]. His work was approved unanimously with honours. In that same year, he sat the public exams for the position of specialist at S. João Hospital, with the final mark of 19.4 out of 20. He was then appointed "Assistant Professor Extra-Staff" of Pathological Anatomy.
Between October 1979 and July 1980, he took his post-Doctorate studies in Oslo, at the "Norsk Hydro´s Institute for Cancer Research", on "Microscopia Electrónica" [Microscopic Electronics]. Thanks to this work and the connections he established during this period, he was recognized at international level, especially in the field of Thyroid Pathology, and set out on a long journey of scientific research outside Portugal.
On his return to Portugal, on 14 October 1980, he rose to the position of Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, and later, on 18 July 1988, he was appointed Full Professor of the 4th Group (Pathology) at the same university.
In 1989, he set up and directed the research unit IPATIMUP (Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto), which rated "excellent" in the last evaluation conducted by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology]) and is one of the three European laboratories accredited by the American College of Pathologists. This research unit performs hundreds of diagnostic consultations for hospitals and oncology institutes in Europe and America.
Sobrinho Simões was Adjunct Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at the Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, in Philadelphia; assessor of the Gastric Cancer Research Consortium, formed by the Cancer Institute of Norway and the University of Zhengzhou; an expert in Molecular Pathology of the American Board of Pathology; and a guest specialist of the Telepathology Centre of the International Union against Cancer, based in Charité, Humboldt University, in Berlin.
As a member of the European Society of Pathology, he vorganized the first two intercontinental Pathology congresses with the Latin-American Society of Pathology (2000 and 2004); in 2000, he formed the Moscow division of the European School of Pathology; he directed the 18th European Congress of Pathology, in Berlin, in September 2001, and developed the Ankara division of the Ankara European School of Pathology, in 2003.
He is a member of the scientific councils of the European School of Pathology, of the European Course on Cell Pathology and of the European Association for the Prevention of Cancer, and is part of the Editorial Committee of Directors of Anatomical and Surgical Pathology of the USA (ADASP).
He is the author and co-author of hundreds of articles published in international journals, of the Handbook of the International Union against Cancer ("Comprehensive Tumour Terminology" - 2000), of the book on "Ultrastructural Pathology", published in the USA in 1990, and in Japan in 1995; he co-edited the book "Os Outros em Eu" [The Others in Me], under the framework of PORTO 2001 – European Capital of Culture, and several chapters of the book "Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of Endocrine Organs", published by the World Health Organization in 2004. In 2017 he published the book Os Portugueses – De onde Vimos, o que Somos, prefaced by the President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, which assembles his speeches in the awradings og the Pessoa Prize (2002), Ciência VIVA Prize (2016) and in the commemorations of the Portugal Day, Day of Camões, Portugal, and the Portuguese Communities.
Manuel Sobrinho Simões enjoys spending his free time with his family, often in Moledo where he owns a holiday home. Some of his favourite hobbies include reading, cinema, and TV programmes, for example the North-American series House. M. D., riding his bicycle in the city's park, and Futebol Clube do Porto, of which he is not such a devoted fan as he was during his youth, when he was a club member and watched several sports matches.
In 2015 he was voted the most influential pathologist in the world by the british magazine The Pathologist. In 2017, the year of his academic jubilation, he was awarded with the Grand Cross of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada, and on march 22, 2018, during the celebrations of the 107th anniversy of the University of Porto, he was distinguisehed with the tittle of Emeritus Professor.
(Text by Bruno Pinheiro, 2008)