Carbohydrate Chemistry

Carbohydrate Chemistry

Carbohydrate Chemistry

Principal Investigator

Amélia Pilar RauterAmélia Pilar Rauter
Associate Professor with Habillitation, Ph. D. (1982), Technische Universität Graz, Austria

aprauter@fc.ul.pt, +351-217500952 (ext 28560)

Research

Based on a sustainable model, starting from sugars or from natural resources towards new functional food ingredients/drug leads for food/pharmaceutical industries, the Carbohydrate Chemistry Group aims to provide economic and social benefits in terms of prevention of functional decline and ageing, nutrition, health and biosecurity. Highly committed in international networking and advanced training, the group pursues Excellency in research, focusing on problem-solving approaches of societal challenges.

Its participation in the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) A3 Action Plan directed its research main objectives, also defined for both the CQB strategic areas related to the Chemistry for a clean environment and a healthy ageing. With the leadership of the Portuguese team of the EU project PERSSILAA, the Group has intervention in the development of a new service model to prevent frailty, integrating nutrition, physical and cognitive function. Its mission includes the coordination of an interactive website and development of various modules, offering guidance about how to improve food habits, focusing on functional food ingredients based on carbohydrate/polyphenols with innovative mechanisms of action, generated from natural resources (plants, algae). A parallel area based on polyphenol oligomers has been explored relying on their identification in museum piece collections for the understanding of tangible and intangible European cultural heritage.

Inspired by nature, we continue to look for new structures to prevent disease and retard ageing. Synthetic approaches succeeded to access sugar-based leads with intervention in cancer and other degenerative diseases, namely those involving amyloid disorders, e.g. diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Both the amyloid and cholinergic hypotheses are pursued, also with the generation of selective nanomolar anticholinesterase leads. These results will be explored within the approved EU Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) drug discovery project.

Overcoming antibiotic bacterial resistance is a major concern and development of new antibiotics against anthrax remains mandatory. Within a COMPETE SI I&D Co-promotion project with AtralCipan we are developing a new family of carbohydrate-based antibiotics particularly active over Bacillus anthracis, and exploiting the novel mechanisms of action in the quest for innovative agents for biosecurity.