Natural Products Chemistry

Group Leader

Maria José Umbelino Ferreira

PhD (1990) in Pharmacy (Pharmaceutical Chemistry), Universidade de Lisboa
Associate Professor with Habilitation, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa

The Research

The Natural Products Chemistry group provides expertise in the identification and development of novel hit/lead-drug candidates from natural sources. Having a background in organic and medicinal chemistry, and advanced spectroscopic techniques, the isolation, structural elucidation and molecular derivatization of novel bioactive chemical scaffolds from plants are our major skills.
The research interests of the group include two main areas:
I – Cancer
Development of selective and effective P-glycoprotein (P-gp) modulators guided by in silico studies;
Discovery of compounds able to selectively kill multidrug-resistant cancer cells, overexpressing the drug efflux pump P-gp;
Development of effective apoptosis inducers;
II – Infectious diseases
Development of hit/lead compounds against infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, from African medicinal plants;
Development of efflux pump inhibitors of resistant bacteria.


Recent achievements of the Natural Products group at iMed.ULisboa.

Ongoing Projects

Source: FCT-SAICTPAC/0019/2015
Title: Precision oncology by innovative therapies and technologies
PI: Cecília Rodrigues
Period: 2017-2020

Recent Most Relevant Publications

Reis MA, Ahmed OB, Spengler G, Molnár J, Lage H, Ferreira MJU. Exploring jolkinol D derivatives to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer. J Nat Prod 2017; 80: 1411-1420.

Paterna A, Kincses A, Spengler G, Mulhovo S, Molnár J, Ferreira MJU. Dregamine and tabernaemontanine derivatives as ABCB1 modulators on resistant cancer cells. Eur J Med Chem 2017; 128:247-257.

Ferreira RJ, Bonito CA, Cordeiro MDS, Ferreira MJU, Dos Santos DJVA. Structure-function relationships in ABCG2 insights from molecular dynamics simulations and molecular docking studies. Sci Rep 2017, 7: 15534

Paterna A, Gomes SE, Borralho PM, Mulhovo S, Rodrigues CM, Ferreira MJU. Vobasinyl-Iboga alkaloids from Tabernaemontana elegans: cell cycle arrest and apoptosis-inducing activity in HCT116 colon cancer cells. J Nat Prod 2016; 79: 2624-2634.

Pereira F, Madureira AM, Sancha S, Mulhovo S, Luo X, Duarte A, Ferreira MJU. Cleistochlamys kirkii chemical constituents: antibacterial activity and synergistic effects against resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains. J Ethnopharmacol 2016; 178: 180-187.

Group Members

PhD Students

Master Students

  • Cristina Silva
  • João Gomes
  • Sara Jogo