Maria H Ribeiro is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy (FFUL) in the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicines Department. She is the Group Leader of the Pharmaceutical Bioengineering, Biotechnology & Bioproducts (PharmaBB) at the Research Institute for Medicines (iMed), FFUL.
Since her PhD, M.H. Ribeiro leads an investigation in the Bioengineering and Biotechnology area aimed at solving pressing challenges with the major goal of the prevention of disease, health promotion and well-being. Exploring biotechnology processes targeted the development of bioactive compounds (e.g. small molecules and proteins) and new (bio)materials to contribute to a sound approach to the design, development and characterization of novel tools and set-ups towards therapeutics (against infectious, cancer and as neuroprotector), biomedical and functional food applications.
Turning enzymes into robust biocatalysts is one of the main challenges in biotechnology. In line with these targets, coordinates and participates in several scientific and pedagogical research projects and supervised doctoral, masters and national/international internships in Pharmaceutical and Food Biotechnology.
Her research interests are based on rational of (i) enzyme and cell-based culture systems with bioprocess intensification through miniaturization to bioseparations; ii) biofabrication (e.g. electrospinning, 3D-bioprinting) of polymeric biomaterials networks, namely hydrogels (e.g. PVA, chitosan, alginate, cellulose) tuning of mechanical and chemical properties, and biocompatibility, iii) biocatalysts performance improvement (e.g. immobilization, bioreactors, high-pressure); iv) innovative sustainable bioconversions from renewable resources to bioproducts (e.g. polyphenols, glycosides, glycoproteins, glycolipids, lipoamino acids), to be further evaluated regarding biologic activity, with pharmaceutical and food applications; v) development and characterization of gene/ biomolecules/drug delivery platforms.
The envisaged platform encompasses microscale networks with enzymatic systems of natural substrates to improve the bioactivity, related to the role of gut microbiome and bioavailability.