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Research Team

Marine Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry

Isolation and structure elucidation of bioactive compounds from marine-derived fungi, marine sponges and marine invertebrates. Production of new specialized metabolites from marine-derived fungi with modification of culture media. Study of absolute configurations of marine-derived chiral molecules by electronic circular dichroism, X-ray crystallography and chiral-phase HPLC. Bioactive secondary metabolites from marine origin with antibacterial, anti-tyrosinase and anti-cholinesterase activities. Synthesis of bioactive novel marine natural products with potential as drug candidates/industrial applications (total synthesis, semi-synthesis, analogue-based design).

Structure-based design of potential drug candidates based on marine natural product leads, studies of structure-properties-activity relationships, optimization of bioactive compounds, and preformulation studies. Development of small molecules with low ecotoxicity, (bio)degradable, particularly, antifouling agents and new siderophore/siderophore-mimetic conjugates, as an innovative area to solve environmental problems. Sustainable synthetic procedures and purification methods to reduce negative environmental impacts. Enantiomeric studies on chiral bioactive compounds and their impact on environment. In vitro screening for several biological activities; study of cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of the most promising compounds, namely with targets related to tumorigenesis (mitosis) and inflammation (enzymes of the arachidonic acid cascade) and antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities (strategies for overcoming multidrug-resistance).

Principal Investigator

Team Leader

Madalena Maria Magalhães Pinto is a retired Full Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy (FFUP). She was coordinator at two Research Centers (CEQOFFUP and CEQUIMED); and currently is Researcher and Team Leader of the Group of Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry at Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), University of Porto, Portugal. Previous roles include Head of the Laboratory of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and founder and Director of the Master’s Degree Course in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (FFUP). She was/is PI and member of several Research Projects, author/co-author of 6 patents, more than 260 research papers, 4 books and 14 book chapters. Her research focuses on Medicinal Chemistry, involving total synthesis and molecular modification of pharmacologically active compounds, based on molecular models of plant and marine sources (antifouling, antitumor, anticoagulant and antiplatelet, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial, multidrug resistance reversal agents, etc.). She has a special interest in synthesis and bioenantioselectivity of chiral compounds, studies of structure-activity-properties relationship and molecular recognition of artificial receptors as new chiral stationary phases for liquid chromatography.

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Co-Principal Investigator
Team Leader

He is a Professor of Chemistry and Head of Chemistry Department of the Biomedical Sciences Institute Abel Salazar (ICBAS) of the University of Porto. He received his BSc from Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) in 1974, and PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of São Paulo in 1980, and post-doctoral position at the Department of Chemistry of the Florida State University, Florida, USA.  His research interest is Natural Products from plants, marine sponges, and soil and marine fungi. He is an Associate Editor of Marine Drugs and member of the Editorial Advisory Board of various journals. He is a coauthor of more than 130 research papers and several book chapters. 

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Research Projects

ACTONP53

Antiincrustante

ATLANTIDA

BLUEandGREEN

INNOVMAR

Navigating through marine-derived fungi:

NIAF

PT-OPENSCREEN

QUIMIOCARDIOTOX

SEA ANTIMICROBIALS

SEPIS4ENVIRONM

XANTIFOUL

Team members

PhD Student

Ana Rita Neves obtained her BSc in Biochemistry in 2013 at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and her MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2015 at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the same University. She worked as a grantee researcher in a financed project related to the discovery of antifouling agents at the Natural Products And Medicinal Chemistry group, at CIIMAR. Ana Rita Neves is currently a PhD student in the same group and studies new eco-friendly synthetic antifouling compounds inspired in natural antifouling molecules and their incorporation in marine coatings.

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Research Grant

Ana Sara Gomes holds a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology applied to Health Sciences from the University of Porto. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow under the project "Sustainable antifouling agents: from grape wastes to the sea with the green chemistry leading the way" of Prof. Marta Correia da Silva (PI).

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Researcher

Andreia Palmeira is an invited assistant lecturer at Department of Chemical Sciences, Laboratory of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Porto (UP). She obtained her degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the UP in 2007 and PhD in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry from the same university in 2011. She is a researcher at the Laboratory of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the UP, and a research collaborator at CIIMAR. The area of scientific activity is centered on Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, particularly on computational chemistry and structure and ligand-based computer-assisted drug design. Current research interests include the following: virtual screening and computer-assisted design of modulators of P-glycoprotein and modulators of p53/MDM2 interactions, and in silico analysis of mechanism of action.

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Researcher

Carla Fernandes is researcher at CIIMAR and assistant professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at FFUP. From September 2018, she is Member of Scientific Committee of Master Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at FFUP. Current interests include synthesis of bioactive marine-derived compounds, including cyclopeptides; synthetic methodologies based on eco-sustainable methods (circular economy approach); enantioselectivity studies; development of chiral columns; analytical and preparative enantioseparation by HPLC; chiral recognition mechanisms. She is (co)author of 1 Portuguese Patent, 2 books, 4 book chapters, 59 papers (h-index 23), and several communications. She supervised/co-supervised 5 PhD (2 completed), 18 master (13 completed), and 31 undergraduate students.

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Researcher

Carlos Afonso is an assistant professor at Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto. He received his degree in Pharmacy in 1981, his PhD in 1994 in Pharmacy from Faculty of Pharmacy -University of Porto and his aggregation in 2004 in Medicinal Chemistry from Faculty of Pharmacy -University of Porto. His research interests focus on drug discovery and drug design, organic synthesis, structural elucidation of organic compounds and environmental analysis. He is author of 44 scientific publications in international journals.”

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PhD Student

Cátia Vilas Boas is a PhD student in a government-financed project related to marine biofouling, with expertise in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry. Master in Quality Control since 2017 and BSc graduated in Applied Biology since 2015, Cátia worked at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR) has a grantee researcher in a financed project related to environmental fate evaluation of new non-toxic nature-inspired biocides. During her academic and professional career, Cátia Vilas Boas had the opportunity to submit 2 articles in reputable international journals, disseminate her research in several national and international scientific congresses.

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Researcher

Graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2002 from the University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS-CESPU).  PhD degree in the area of Biomedical Sciences from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto. Assistant professor at IUCS-CESPU. Researcher at the CIIMAR and IINFACTS – Institute of Research and Advanced Training in Health Sciences and Technologies. Research interests on occurrence studies of various classes of organic pollutants in different environmental matrices: development and validation of analytical methods and ecotoxicological assays.

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MSc Student
Human Resources

My name is Cláudia Pinto and I have a degree in Chemistry from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto since July 2019. In the same year, I entered the Master’s in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto. I am currently developing my dissertation which comprises the synthesis of chiral derivatives of flavonoids to perform enantioselectivity studies and evaluation of biological activity in tumor cell lines.

PhD student

Daniela Pereira completed the Integrated Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2014 at the Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Porto (FFUP). She was an invited assistant lecturer of Organic Chemistry subjects at Laboratory of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (LQOF), FFUP, from 2016 to 2019. Currently, Daniela Pereira is developing her PhD at LQOF/FFUP and CIIMAR, focusing the synthesis of nature-inspired non-toxic antifouling agents as a sustainable strategy to prevent marine biofouling, under supervision of Honorina Cidade (LQOF/FFUP and CIIMAR), Marta Correia da Silva (LQOF/FFUP and CIIMAR) and Joana Reis de Almeida (CIIMAR).

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PhD Student

Daniela Loureiro is graduated in Biochemistry by the University of Minho and holds a MSc in Industrial Pharmaceutical Chemistry by Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Coimbra. Currently, she is a PhD student of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Porto. Her PhD project based on synthesis of marine derived xanthones with antimicrobial activity.

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Researcher

Diana Resende received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Aveiro in 2014 and integrated the CIIMAR team in 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a researcher. As an Organic Chemist, Diana is interested in investigating the use of siderophores and siderophore mimetics to develop new and efficient strategies that could mitigate toxic heavy metal contamination and/or antimicrobial resistance. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of a FCT-funded “Siderophore efflux pump inhibitors (SEPIs) conjugates: A new concept for environmental problems” and a CIIMAR-funded COB research project “Impact of synthetic chelating agents on metal toxicity in deep-sea bacteria”.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
PhD Student

Fernando Durães obtained his MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2014 at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto. He has worked as a Research Grantee in a financed project related to the synthesis of bioactive compounds with capability to circumvent antimicrobial resistance, at the Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry Group, CIIMAR. Fernando Durães is currently a PhD student in the same group, and is pursuing the synthesis of new compounds with antimicrobial activity and bacterial efflux pump modulation, both in clinically relevant bacteria and in Cyanobacteria.

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PhD student

Francisca Carvalhal obtained her BSc in Biochemistry in 2015 at Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, and her MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2017 at Faculty of Pharmacy of the same University. After her graduation, she worked as a Research Grantee in a competitive project concerning synthesis of new bioactive compounds at CIIMAR. In 2019, she was awarded a scholarship from FLAD for an internship at Harvard Medical School to learn molecular biology techniques for high-throughput screening. Francisca is currently a PhD student at the Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry group at CIIMAR and is pursuing the discovery of new broad-spectrum antiviral compounds.

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Researcher

Honorina Cidade is a researcher in CIIMAR and assistant professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry of the Faculty of Pharmacy – University of Porto. She obtained her degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1995 and PhD in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry from University of Porto in 2001. Since 2013, she is member of the scientific board of the Master in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at FFUP. The area of scientific activity is centered on Medicinal Chemistry, particularly the synthesis of potential drug candidates based on natural product leads such as flavonoids, diarylpentanoids and xanthones.

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PhD Student

Joana Teixeira graduated in the Master’s in Chemical Engineering with a specialization on Biotechnology in 2017 from University of Porto. She pursued her studies in the University of Porto obtaining the master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, in 2019. Currently, she is a PhD Student of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto. Her PhD project focus on the synthesis of marine-inspired xanthones and marine-derived polysaccharides being evaluated their potential as chiral stationary phases.    

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PhD student

Joana Cardoso has a BSc in Chemistry from the Faculty of Science, University of Porto, and an MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto. She is currently a PhD student in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, with a thesis related to a multidisciplinary project to overcome antifungal resistance. It involves the design and synthesis of novel siderophore-antifungal conjugates with new central scaffolds to provide an effective and durable response to multidrug-resistant pathogens.

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MSc Student
Human Resources

My name is Joana Gomes and I have a degree in Chemistry from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto since September 2019. After completing my degree, I entered the Masters in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto. Right now, I’m in the 2nd year of my master’s, developing my dissertation, which aims to synthesize hybrids of cinnamic acid derivatives and chrysin derivatives as potential UV filters and antioxidants.

PhD student

Márcia Martins obtained her BSc in Biochemistry in 2019 at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and her MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 2021 at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the same University. She is currently a PhD student at the Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry Group at CIIMAR and is pursuing the discovery of new marine-inspired substance P antagonists as therapeutic agents for common and rare dermatological diseases.

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Researcher

Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and PhD in Biochemistry, both from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto. Associated Professor of Faculty of Health Sciences, University Fernando Pessoa. Researcher at Fernando Pessoa Energy, Environment and Health Research Unit/Biomedical Research Centre (FP-ENAS/CEBIMED) and at Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research/Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry team (CIIMAR).

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Researcher

Maria Elizabeth Tiritan is Assistant Professor at University Institute of Health Sciences and Invited Assistant at Faculty of Pharmacy – Porto University. Her research interests focus on chiral compounds: organic synthesis, enantiomeric purity evaluation, biological activity, biodegradation and enantioselective studies. Emergent contaminants, especially chiral substances, are also focus of her research interests.

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Researcher

Pharmaceutical Chemistry FFUP and Director board member of the Medicinal Chemistry and Biology Division of SPQ. Editor of Bioorganic Chemistry (Elsevier) and Associate Editor of Pharmaceuticals (MDPI).
Area of scientific activity centered on Medicinal Chemistry in particular, in the structure-based design and synthesis of potential drug candidates based on marine natural product leads.
Author of 5 Portuguese and 5 International Patent Applications in the area of drug discovery.

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Researcher

Maria Eugénia Ribeiro Pinto is an Assistant Professor at Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Porto University (FFUP) graduated in Pharmacy, FFUP, 1984 and PhD in Pharmacy (Microbiology).

Scientific interests: Research of new chemical compounds of synthetic and natural origin with potential antifungal activity; mechanisms of action and of resistance.

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PhD Student

Maria Miguel Coelho graduated in Forensic Laboratory Sciences by the University Institute of Health Sciences (IUCS-CESPU) in 2015 and obtained a master's degree in Clinical Analytical Toxicology at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto in 2018, where I am now a second year student. PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. My research interests focus on chiral compounds: organic synthesis, evaluation of enantiomeric purity, biological activity, biodegradation and enantioselective studies. As part of the master's thesis in Toxicology, I developed a study on the presence of chiral compounds present in the waters of the Douro River.

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PhD student

Mariana Almeida obtained her BSc in Biochemistry from Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto in 2019 and her MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto in 2021. Mariana is currently a PhD student of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto specializing in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry and she is working on the synthesis of siderophore-antibacterial adjuvant conjugates as well as in the evaluation of their antibacterial activities.

RESEARCH TEAMS:
Researcher

Ph.D in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, M.Sc. in Quality Control of Plant and Drug Substances, and B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Porto (FFUP).
Assistant Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at FFUP and Integrated Research Member of CIIMAR since 2014. Mentor of the Young Ambassadors of the European Marine Board. Member of the Editorial Board of the Marine Drugs.
Research focuses on sustainable synthesis of marine-inspired non-toxic antifouling agents to overcome environmental problems associated with biocides and difficulties in large production of marine natural products:
-funding as Principal Investigator with CIIMAR as proponent: PTDC/CTA-AMB/0853/2021 (€ 244.397,50) and PTDC/AAG-TEC/0739/2014 (€ 161.852,00);
-international patent applications published as Responsible Inventor: WO/2023/053059 (06/04/2023), United States patent US2021395264 AA (23/12/2021), European patent EP3897150 A1 (27/10/2021), Chinese patent CN113226035 A (06/08/2021), WO20128674 A1 (25/06/2020) and as co-Inventor: PCT/IB2022/062027 (11/12/2022);
-innovation awards: BIPacceleration 2022, BIPproof 2022, UITransfer 2023.

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PhD Student

Miguel Maia obtained his MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2013 at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto. He has worked as a Stability and Validation Specialist in the pharmaceutical industry for five years and is currently a PhD student at CIIMAR (Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry Group). Its research project focuses on the design and synthesis of novel compounds against Alzheimer’s disease.

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PhD Student

I have a master's degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (2019) from the Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto with a dissertation in the area of anticoagulant therapy. I am currently attending a Ph.D. at CIIMAR/Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto – “Synthesis and evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of marine-derived cyclic peptides and analogs”.

My personal and professional interests include any area of chemistry, but with particular motivation for pharmaceutical chemistry.

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MSc Student

Rita Lima obtained her degree in Biochemistry from University of Porto, Faculty of Sciences in 2019. Currently, Rita Lima is a Master's degree student of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University of Porto, Faculty of Pharmacy, and is working on the synthesis of conjugates of chitosan for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications.

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Research Grant

Sara Jacinta Godinho Salgado concluded the Integrated Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto in 22/09/2022 with a classification of 16/20. She attended continuing education courses during her academic career, particularly in the field of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Toxicology, and Digital health. Since January 2022, she has been a research team member in the project 'Sustainable antifouling agents: from grape wastes to the sea with the green chemistry leading the way' at CIIMAR. She is currently a PhD student in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry.

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Research Technician

Sara Cravo is a researcher at CIIMAR and Lab Technician of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Porto University. She has a degree in Chemistry from the University of Aveiro in 1995 and a post-graduate degree in Chemistry of Food and Natural Products from the same University in 2002.

Her scientific activity is centered on organic synthesis of compounds with potential activity and application; use of green chemistry synthetic techniques such as MAOS; new instrumental techniques as a way to improve research; chromatographic techniques applied to qualitative and quantitative analyses; laboratory safety.

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Main publications

Marine-derived indole alkaloids and their biological and pharmacological activities.

Wibowo, J. T., Ahmadi, P., Rahmawati, S. I., Bayu, A., Putra, M. Y., Kijjoa, A.

2022Mar. Drugs 20, 3
Anthraquinones and Their Analogues from Marine‐Derived Fungi: Chemistry and Biological Activities.

Ghoran, S. H., Taktaz, F., Ayatollahi, S. A., Kijjoa, A.

2022Mar. Drugs. 20, 474
Discovery of a New Chalcone-Trimethoxycinnamide Hybrid with Antimitotic Effect: Design, Synthesis, and Structure—Activity Relationship Studies.

Moreira, J., Silva, P. M. A., Barros, M., Saraiva, L., Pinto, M,. Bousbaa, H., Cidade, H.

2023Pharmaceuticals, 16, 879
Effect of Indole-Containing Pyrazino [2,1-b]quinazoline-3,6-diones in the Virulence of Resistant Bacteria.

Almeida, M. C., Szemerédi, N., Durães, F., Long, S., Resende, D. I. S. P., Costa, P. M., Pinto, M., Spengler, G., Sousa, E.

2023Antibiotics, 12, 922
The Chemical Space of Marine Antibacterials: Diphenyl Ethers, Benzophenones, Xanthones, and Anthraquinones.

Soares, J. X., Afonso, I., Omerbasic, A., Loureiro, D. R. P., Pinto, M. M. M., Afonso, C. M. M.

2023Molecules, 28, 4073
3,4‑Dioxygenated xanthones as antifouling additives for marine coatings: in silico studies, seawater solubility, degradability, leaching, and antifouling performance.

Vilas‑Boas, C., Silva, E. R., Resende, D., Pereira, B., Sousa, G., Pinto, M., Almeida, J. R., Correia‑da‑Silva, M., Sousa, E.

2023Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 30, 68987–68997
Development and evaluation of Pirkle-type chiral stationary phase for flash chromatography.

Gonçalves, L., Cravo, S., Fernandes, C., Tiritan, M. E.

2022J. Chromatogr. A, 1675