Foi uma boa viagem, em parte pela companhia. Transcrevo por isso os agradecimentos da minha tese, que está escrita em inglês.
I would like to thank my two supervisors. Professor Maria Arménia Carrondo for creating the conditions that allowed me to perform this work, for being there in decisive moments and supporting me in critical occasions. Dr. Francisco Enguita for all the teaching, motivation, energy, decisive contributions and friendship. It was really a privilege to have worked so closely and learn with him.
The PhD is a journey and we travel alongside travel mates. Sometimes we are lucky and the journey is more pleasant. I think I was very fortuned. Ana Toste Rego was one of the first travel mates. We shared long days at the York Structural Biology Laboratory, performing delicate molecular biology work, sometimes really working “four hands”.
David Aragão’s friendship and sense of humour gave me great confidence. His help was very valuable in many occasions; he was an excellent and patient guide to the Linux and non-trivial crystallography software world.
Daniele de Sanctis, a very good ally and friend that shared his experience and knowledge with me, countless times. Not only within the crystallography scope, but also in the Italian cooking field!
Mário Correia was a reliable lab partner and good friend. Always available to help, make suggestions and troubleshoot discussions.
I thank Colin McVey for helpful brainstorms and suggestions, and to help troubleshoot software setup issues.
Also, Pedro Matias for sharing his expertise and experience with me. He gave me valuable insights and suggestions and was a great help with data collection, numerous times.
Ricardo Coelho was my good and friendly desk neighbour for all this years. He was always available to reliably perform very delicate crystal manipulation operations and to give good suggestions for crystal optimization.
Diana Plácido and Tânia Oliveira for their friendship and confidence, for listening to me and for good advice.
For the final parts of my travel, I have to specially thank Ana Teresa Gonçalves for her inspiring motivation and genuine friendship.
I cannot forget Catarina Silva, a great friend and a precious ally. Always keen to help and to undertake constructive actions.
I’d also like to thank all that received me at the York Structural Biology Laboratory, specially Dr. Mark Fogg and Dr. Keith Wilson.
For financial support I thank Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (PhD grant SFRH/BD/13738/2003). The research also received funding by the European Commission under the SPINE project, contract-no. QLG2-CT-2002-00988 under the RTD programme “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources”.
Above all I would like to thank my family. For always believing and supporting me when needed, for creating the conditions and the environment that allowed me to pursue my education even when that wasn’t so easy. My grandmother was born in 1909, in a small village in Portugal. Although she had a prodigious memory, she never had the opportunity to learn how to read. My grandmother past away in the second year of my PhD, during a short three weeks stay at the York Structural Biology Laboratory. I don’t think she missed not being here to see me defend my thesis; I’m sure she would had rather be at my hypothetical wedding or hold a grand-grandson. My grandfather had a four-year formal education, in the time Portugal was still a kingdom. He embraced quite an adventure when decided to move to the agitated Lisbon of the First Republic. He came with nothing and worked hard to offer his two daughters the best education he could. He had a struggling and long life, and eventually died when I was in the second year of university. Thanks to the efforts of my grandparents, my mother and my aunt where able to study more than anyone in the family before. I can’t forget my uncle, who was also an important element in my path. I would like to thank them all, for making the hardest parts of the way that leads me here.