Carla Vilela

Principal Researcher


Carla Vilela, born in Aveiro (Portugal), graduated in Chemical Engineering in 2004 and obtained a MSc degree in Materials Science and Engineering (EMMS) in 2008 at the University of Aveiro (UAVR, Portugal). During her MSc studies, she was awarded with a merit grant from the Joint European Masters Programme in Materials Science (EMMS). In 2008, CVilela started working as a grant holder on a National project (034/7.1/ADI/NOR) with Association Network for Competence in Polymers (Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto, FEUP, Portugal), which set the stage for the beginning of her PhD studies at UAVR (PhD grant SFRH/BD/44884/2008 awarded by the Portuguese Foundation from Science and Technology (FCT)) concerning the valorisation of vegetable oils as sources of novel macromolecular materials derived from renewable resources. After finishing her PhD in 2012, she participated as a grant holder in the National project PTDC/QUI-QUI/120982/2010 – Creating value from bio-wastes: suberin extraction and biotransformation in biocompatible ionic liquids aiming on novel biomaterials and compounds (University NOVA of Lisbon, Portugal). From June 2013 to December 2018, she was a post-doctoral researcher at CICECO – Aveiro Institute of Materials holding a postdoctoral fellowship (SFRH/BPD/84168/2012) awarded by FCT.

Currently, she is a Principal Researcher (research contract awarded by FCT, CEECIND/00263/2018) and a Principal Investigator of two national R&D projects (PTDC/BII-BIO/1901/2021 and CENTRO-01-0247-FEDER-113565) at CICECO, and her main research interests include the engineering of eco-friendly NANOCELLULOSE-based nanostructured conductive membranes for polymer electrolyte fuel cells, and the development of macromolecular-based materials containing BIOPOLYMERS and bioactive molecules for diverse applications (e.g., drug delivery, wound healing and active packaging). She already supervised 30 students (at BSc, MSc and PhD levels), 1 post-doctoral researcher and 3 research fellows. Her current research team includes 1 post-doctoral researcher, and 1 MSc and 6 PhD students.

CVilela is the author of 79 SCI papers (h-index: 28; citations: +2900), 3 books, 5 book chapters, 2 datasets, 6 patents, 8 abstracts of papers of the American Chemical Society, 10 conference proceedings, and more than 100 communications in national and international conferences . She has acted as invited Guest Editor for Applied Science (2018), Materials (2019-2021) and Nanomaterials (2019-2021) journals (MDPI), and is an active reviewer for international journals (e.g. Nature Commun., Carbohydr. Polym., Sci. Reports, Environ. Sci. Technol., ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., ACS Nano).

CVilela is an Associate Editor of Chemisrty Africa (Springer Nature), Editorial Board Member of Cogent Chemistry (Taylor & Francis Group) and Polysaccharides (MDPI), and Topical Advisory Panel Member of Nanomaterials (MDPI). She was a participant of the COST Action FP1405 (ActInPak, 2015-2019), and is a member of the European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE) and the Portuguese Materials Society (SPM).

Research group

BioPol4fun - Innovation in biopolymer based functional materials and bioactive compounds


Follow the group activities at: 

Selected Publications


Ongoing Supervisions



Nanocellulose/poly(methacryloyloxyethyl phosphate) composites as proton separator materials

Vilela, C; Gadim, TDO; Silvestre, AJD; Freire, CSR; Figueiredo, FML
2016, CELLULOSE, 23, 6, 3677-3689.

Bioactive Phytochemicals from Wild Arbutus unedo L. Berries from Different Locations in Portugal: Quantification of Lipophilic Components

Fonseca, DFS; Salvador, AC; Santos, SAO; Vilela, C; Freire, CSR; Silvestre, AJD; Rocha, SM

Chlorophyta and Rhodophyta macroalgae: A source of health promoting phytochemicals

Santos, SAO; Vilela, C; Freire, CSR; Abreu, MH; Rocha, SM; Silvestre, AJD
2015, FOOD CHEMISTRY, 183, 122-128.

Biobased polyesters and other polymers from 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid: a tribute to furan excellency

Sousa, AF; Vilela, C; Fonseca, AC; Matos, M; Freire, CSR; Gruter, GJM; Coelhob, JFJ; Silvestre, AJD
2015, POLYMER CHEMISTRY, 6, 33, 5961-5983.

Protein-based materials: from sources to innovative sustainable materials for biomedical applications

Silva, NHCS; Vilela, C; Marrucho, IM; Freire, CSR; Neto, CP; Silvestre, AJD
2014, JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY B, 2, 24, 3715-3740.

Nanostructured Bacterial Cellulose-Poly(4-styrene sulfonic acid) Composite Membranes with High Storage Modulus and Protonic Conductivity

Gadim, TDO; Figueiredo, AGPR; Rosero-Navarro, NC; Vilela, C; Gamelas, JAF; Barros-Timmons, A; Neto, CP; Silvestre, AJD; Freire, CSR; Figueiredo, FML
2014, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 6, 10, 7864-7875.

Screening of lipophilic and phenolic extractives from different morphological parts of Halimione portulacoides

Vilela, C; Santos, SAO; Coelho, D; Silva, AMS; Freire, CSR; Neto, CP; Silvestre, AJD

Lipophilic phytochernicals from banana fruits of several Musa species

Vilela, C; Santos, SAO; Villaverde, JJ; Oliveira, L; Nunes, A; Cordeiro, N; Freire, CSR; Silvestre, AJD
2014, FOOD CHEMISTRY, 162, 247-252.

The quest for sustainable polyesters - insights into the future

Vilela, C; Sousa, AF; Fonseca, AC; Serra, AC; Coelho, JFJ; Freire, CSR; Silvestre, AJD
2014, POLYMER CHEMISTRY, 5, 9, 3119-3141.

Thermoreversible nonlinear diels-alder polymerization of furan/plant oil monomers

Vilela, C; Silvestre, AJD; Gandini, A

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