Cellular Function and Therapeutic Targeting

Group Leader

Cecília Maria Pereira Rodrigues

PhD (1996) in Pharmacy (Biochemistry), Universidade de Lisboa
Postdoctoral research at University of Minnesota, USA
Full Professor, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa
Coordinator, iMed.ULisboa


The Research

Celfun_groupOur goal is to identify novel mechanism-based molecular targets for therapeutic intervention, by focusing on the discovery and regulation of signalling pathways involved in cell death, differentiation and proliferation. We use experimental models of liver, gut and brain disorders involving inflammation, degeneration and regeneration, and test therapeutic strategies at the preclinical level that may influence disease progression. Transcriptome and proteome profiles are translated to humans using patient samples, available via collaborations with various hospitals. We have developed bile acids as a group of promising endogenous modulators of cell death/survival, protected by patents and licensed by spin-off pharmaceuticals. These goals are pursued within two core areas of discovery: 1) Molecular targets of cell function, protection and repair; and 2) Novel therapeutic strategies


General representation of research activities

Ongoing Projects

Source: FCT (PTDC/BIM-MEC/0895/2014)
Title: New Drugs to Treat Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver and Progression to Cancer
PI: Cecília M. P. Rodrigues
Period: 2016-2018

Source: COMPETE2020 and FCT (SAICTPAC/0019/2015)
Title: POINT4PAC – Precision Oncology by Innovative Therapies and Technologies
PI: CMP Rodrigues
Period: 2017-2019

Source: Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
Title: Liver Investigation: Testing Marker Utility in Steatohepatitis (LITMUS)
PI: Q Anstee (Newcastle University, UK); Participant: CMP Rodrigues
Period: 2017-2020

Source: H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks
Title: Foie Gras – Bioenergetic Remodeling in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
PI: Paulo Oliveira (CNC, Univesity of Coimbra); Partipant: CMP Rodrigues
Period: 2017-2019

Source: Gilead Sciences International
Title: Role of Mitofusin 2 in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Targeting by microRNAs
PI: Rui E. Castro
Period: 2015-2017

Recent Most Relevant Publications

Rodrigues PM, Afonso MB, Simão AL, Carvalho CC, Trindade A, Duarte A, Borralho PM, Machado MV, Cortez-Pinto H, Rodrigues CMP, Castro RE. miR-21 ablation and obeticholic acid ameliorate non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in mice. Cell Death Dis 2017; 8(4): e2748.

Pereira DM, Simões AES, Gomes SE, Castro RE, Carvalho T, Rodrigues CMP, Borralho PM. MEK5/ERK5 signaling inhibition increases colon cancer cell sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil through a p53‑dependent mechanism. Oncotarget 2016; 7: 34322-40.

Afonso MB, Rodrigues PM, Simão AL, Ofengeim D, Carvalho T, Amaral JD, Gaspar MM, Cortez-Pinto H, Castro RE, Yuan J, Rodrigues CMP. Activation of necroptosis in human and experimental cholestasis. Cell Death Dis 2016; 7(9): e2390.

Moutinho M, Nunes MJ, Correia JC, Gama MJ, Castro-Caldas M, Cedazo-Minguez A, Rodrigues CMP, Björkhem I, Ruas JL, Rodrigues E. Neuronal cholesterol metabolism increases dendritic outgrowth and synaptic markers via a concerted action of GGTase-I and Trk. Sci Rep 2016; 6: 30928.

Morgado AL, Rodrigues CMP, Solá S. MicroRNA-145 regulates neural stem cell differentiation through the Sox2-Lin28/let-7 signaling pathway. Stem Cells 2016; 34: 1386-95.

Group Members

Master Students

  • Ágata Carreira
  • Ana Poim
  • Carolina Tavares
  • Mariana Mendes
  • Mariana Ribeiro
  • Marta Fernandes
  • Mohammad Mohib
  • Nuno Paiva