Gonçalo grew up in the small coastal town of Torres Vedras, Portugal. He graduated in chemistry from the University of Lisbon in 2004 and moved to the University of Oxford, UK where he completed his D.Phil. in 2008 under the supervision of Prof. Ben Davis. At Oxford, he worked on reaction engineering for site-selective protein modification. Then, he was awarded a Marie-Curie Fellowship for his postdoctoral studies with Prof. Peter H. Seeberger. After a short period in Portugal working as a Group Leader at Alfama Lda. (a spin-out company dedicated to the development of Carbon Monoxide-Releasing Molecules), Gonçalo moved to the ETH, Zürich to join the group of Prof. Dario Neri. At ETH, and as an EMBO Fellow, he developed new vascular targeting antibody-drug conjugates for cancer therapy.

Gonçalo began his independent research career in 2013 after being awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship and is now a University Lecturer in Chemical Biology at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge. Simultaneously, he founded and is Director of the pioneering Chemical Biology and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Unit at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon. Gonçalo splits his time between his labs in Cambridge and Lisbon, and leads a research program at the interface of chemistry and biology with a focus on the development of new chemoselective reactions for the modification of biomolecules and their use to understand and influence human disease. Gonçalo is also a Fellow at Trinity Hall.

Gonçalo has published over 100 papers, with more than 70 as a senior or co-senior author, and 7 patents. His publications have been cited >4000 times, which results in an overall h-index of 34. He has been the recipient of numerous awards during his career, such as the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry Young Investigator Award in Academia (2013), the European Young Chemist Award Silver Medal and the European Prize in Chemical Biology by RSEQ (both 2014), the Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigator Lectureship and the Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison–Meldola Memorial Prize (both 2016), and the MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship (2018). For his efforts in translational research, Gonçalo has been recognized by the Ministry of Health of Portugal for relevant services to Public Health and Medicine. Finally, he has also received a prestigious Starting Grant from the European Research Council.