Rodrigo de Almeida
Principal Investigator, PhD Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (2004)
The main goal of our group is to advance the state-of-the art of membrane lipid domains, providing means for improved assessment of their involvement in drug mechanisms of action, pointing directions to develop new drugs/drug-formulations.
Biological membranes are organized into (micro)domains consisting of regions with different lipid and protein composition, properties and functions. Furthermore, several pathologies, including cancer and neurodegenerative conditions, are characterized by specific alterations in lipid composition and hence membrane biophysical properties. Moreover, the molecular mechanism of action of many drugs involves at some point their effect on membrane lipid organization (the membrane-lipid therapy principle). Thus, fundamental research on membrane domains in both physiological and pathological situations will take place in parallel with the study of compounds that can potentially promote health and prevent functional decline. Several molecular biophysical approaches will be used to tackle the complex interactions between these agents and biomembranes, proteins and DNA, with potential benefits for society, in alignment with the thematic line “Human Health: Molecular Interventions and Regulation Mechanisms”.
In addition, we address the following topics:
- Development of synthetic receptors for chiral resolution of drugs and for the transmembrane transport of anions.
- Research of natural pesticide for control of insect vectors of human pathogens (e.g. malaria and dengue).
These topics are also within the scope of the thematic line “Chemistry and Biochemistry for a Clean Environment“.