Microbial pathogens have evolved unique ways to interact with their hosts. It is therefore not surprising that pathogens have developed a large and diverse array of virulence factors well suited to interfere with or stimulate a variety of host-cell responses in order to invade, survive and replicate within their hosts. The understanding of how pathogens interact with their hosts is providing the basis for the development of novel therapeutic approaches as well as a number of very sophisticated tools for probing basic aspects of cellular physiology and immunology. As a result, we are beginning to define not only the molecular details of the host pathogen interactions but also potential targets to be manipulated from the host and the pathogen sides. Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other mycobacteria, HIV, Influenza virus, SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging viruses are target pathogens. The group offers expertise to assess the anti-microbial activity of new compounds targeting all these pathogens.
Host directed therapies for Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection
Decipher how pathogens manipulate antimicrobial proteins and peptides and their inhibitors in order to modulate their activity by developing new drug delivery systems for control the infection and/or the inflammation and improve the immune responses.
Mycobacterial Cell Surface and Pathogenesis
Maria João Catalão is deciphering how the atypical structure/modifications of the mycobacterial cell wall modulate its interaction with the immune system and contributes to high levels of antibiotic resistance.
Map-and-mutate antiviral strategy for design new antivirals
Helena Rebelo-de- Andrade is focusing on a map-and-mutate antiviral strategy directed to influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 and on the validation of candidate antiviral compounds. Toxicity, bioavailability and virology of API-OSILs for optimized drug formulations are also under evaluation.
HIV in neuroinflammation and neurodegenerescence
José Miguel Azevedo Pereira investigates the contribution of extracellular vesicles in the dissemination of HIV infection in central nervous system (CNS) and in neuroinflammation.
The identification of promising compounds targeting these infections could be an important breakthrough that ultimately may lead to the development of future clinical trials with the ultimate goal of contributing to the prevention and treatment of diseases with major impact on public health.