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

IMG_5080_siteThe 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

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.

Rocha E Silva LF, Ramalhete C, Nogueira KL, Mulhovo S, Ferreira MJU, Pohlit AM. In vivo evaluation of isolated triterpenes and semi-synthetic derivatives as antimalarial agents. Eur J Med Chem 2015; 102: 398-402.

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.

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.

Mónico A, Nim S, Duarte N, Rawal MK, Prasad R, Di Pietro A, Ferreira MJU. Lathyrol and epoxylathyrol derivatives: Modulation of Cdr1p and Mdr1p drug-efflux transporters of Candida albicans in Saccharomyces cerevisiae model. Bioorg Med Chem. 2017 Jul 1;25(13):3278-3284. 16.

Group Members

PhD Students

Master Students

  • Cristina Silva
  • João Gomes


  • Andreia Mónico
  • Rafael Baptista