Maria José Umbelino Ferreira

Natural Products Chemistry

The Natural Products Chemistry group is focused on the identification and development of novel hit/lead-drug candidates from natural sources though both isolation and molecular derivatization of novel bioactive chemical scaffolds from plants.

Targeting Multidrug Resistance (MDR) in cancer

We are focused on identifying effective plant-derived anticancer compounds and derivatives with emphasis on targeting multidrug-resistant cancer cells. Particularly, our main goal is to discover ABC-transporter modulators (P-gp, MRP1; ABCG2) and MDR-selective compounds against resistant cancer cells.

Antimicrobials for killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria

We are also interested in identifying compounds against resistant bacterial strains, from African medicinal plants used in traditional medicine.

Raimundo L, Paterna A, Calheiros J, Ribeiro J, Cardoso DSP, Piga I, Neto SJ, Hegan D, Glazer PM, Indraccolo S, Mulhovo S, Costa JL, Ferreira MJU, Saraiva S. BBIT20 inhibits homologous DNA repair with disruption of the BRCA1–BARD1 interaction in breast and ovarian cancer. Br J Pharmacol 2021, 3627–3647, DOI:10.1111/bph.15506.
Cardoso DSP, Kincses A, Nové M, Spengler G, Mulhovo S, Aires-de-Sousa J, dos Santos DJVA, Ferreira MJU. Alkylated monoterpene indole alkaloid derivatives as potent P-glycoprotein inhibitors in resistant cancer cells. Eur J Med Chem 2021; 210: 112985. DOI:10.1016/j.ejmech.2020.112985.
Ferreira RJ, Spengler G, Orthaber A, dos Santos DJVA, Ferreira, MJU. Pedrolane, a Polycyclic Diterpene Scaffold Containing a Bicyclo[2.2.1]heptane System, from Euphorbia pedroi. Org Lett 2021; 23: 274–278. DOI:10.1021/acs.orglett.0c03647.
Reis MA, Matos, A M, Duarte N, Ahmed OB, Ferreira RJ, Lage H, Ferreira, MJU Epoxylathyrane Derivatives as MDR-Selective Compounds for Disabling Multidrug Resistance in Cancer. Front Pharmacol 2020; 11, DOI:10.3389/fphar.2020.00599.
Mónico A, Ramalhete C, André V, Spengler G, Mulhovo S, Duarte MT, Ferreira, MJU. Cucurbalsaminones A-C, Rearranged Triterpenoids with a 5/6/3/6/5-Fused Pentacyclic Carbon Skeleton from Momordica balsamina, as Multidrug Resistance Reversers. J Nat Prod 2019; 82: 2138−2143 DOI:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b00019.

Maria José Umbelino Ferreira

Group Leader


Phone: (+351) 217946474 (Ext. 379)

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Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa | Av. Professor Gama Pinto
1649-003 Lisboa | Portugal

Phone | +351 217 946 400
Fax | +351 217 946 470
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