Peptide science Group @ UPorto



Peptide-based biomaterials for bone and skin regeneration have been at the core of our research over the part decade, in close collaboration with INEB. Funding was given by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), in order to promote research focused at the creation of biocompatible chitosan (PTDC/CTM/101484/2008) or alginate (PTDC/SAU-BEB/101235/2008) biopolymers functionalized with bioactive peptides. These may be designed to have either strong antimicrobial action against MRSA and GRSA bacteria that cause osteomyelitis or osteogenic-growth promoting properties. More recently, we were awarded grant POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031781, for funding project "AntINFECT: Bioengineered Advanced Therapies for Problematic Infected Wounds".

Membrane-active peptides such as antimicrobial peptides (AMP) and cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) are currently prepared in our lab by solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) methodologies. These peptides are interesting from a therapeutic viewpoint, both per se as antimicrobials, or as "Trojan Horses" for intracellular delivery of other cargoes aimed at, for instance, gene therapy or translocation of antimalarials. Different projects in membrane-active peptides (MAP) are currently held in collaboration with many different research groups both in Portugal and abroad.
Recently, our group's Research Associate Cátia TEIXEIRA, has been awarded a research grant (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-31798) to work on the repurposing of AMP towards applications in the agro-food industry.

Malaria chemotherapy is amongst our earliest scientific endeavours, in line with our special interest on chemical approaches to tropical parasitic diseases. Our research effort towards the development of novel antimalarial agents is led in close collaboration with other research groups, such as the Medicinal Chemistry group@iMed.UL, the Centro da Malária e outras Doenças Tropicais@IHMT and the Unidade da Malária@IMM.UL. We have been particularly focused on "recycling" old antimalarials whose therapeutic properties may be somewhat hampered by bioavailability or toxicity issues. Presently, we are interested in covalent and ionic derivatives of primaquine, chloroquine and mepacrine, aimed at improving the drugs' therapeutic properties in order to get multiple-stage antimalarials. Funding by FCT, through projects PTDC/QUI/65142/2006 and PTDC/QUI-QUI/116864/2010 was also instrumental for the consolidation of our research in this field.