Medicinal Chemistry

Group Leader

Rui Moreira

PhD (1991) in Pharmacy (Pharmaceutical Chemistry), Universidade de Lisboa
Full Professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Therapeutics, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa
Program Area Leader, Drug Design at iMed.ULisboa

The Research

Medicinal Chemistry 1

MedChem group develops chemistry-led approaches to interrogate the biology and to modulate target-ligand interactions that underlie infection, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. Our long-term objectives include the development of:

– chemical probes to identify new biological small-molecule targets and apply these findings to design novel therapeutic tools for infectious diseases and neurodegenerative disorders.

– targeted therapies for cancer, such as ligands for targets that remain poorly ‘druggable’, including oncogenes and oncogenic transcription factors that regulate gene expression in a range of tumors. Taking advantage of unique metabolic signatures of many tumors, we also develop prodrugs endowed with tailored mechanisms of activation to selectively deliver cytotoxic payloads inside cancer cells

– computational tools to hunt promising molecules targeting cancer and infectious diseases. We develop in silico protocols that enable us to identify and prioritize compounds for confirmative biological experiments.



Recent achievements of the Medicinal Chemistry group at iMed.ULisboa.

Ongoing Projects

Source: COMPETE2020 and FCT (SAICT/30266/2017)
Title: Target@TB – Exploring a novel chemical tool to unveil new therapies and molecular targets for tuberculosis
Period: 2018-2021

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

Source: FCT (PTDC/BBB-BEP/2463/2014)
Title: ProbeCOPD – Protease activity-based probes for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease diagnostics
Period: 2016-2019

Source: FCT (PTDC/QEQ-MED/7042/2014)
Title: Small-molecule inhibitors of human proteasome: a step forward in anticancer drug discovery
Period: 2016-2019

Source: FCT (PTDC/QEQ-MED/7097/2014)
Title: Exploring TOR/PI3K kinases as targets for treating protozoan neglected tropical diseases
Period: 2016-2019

Recent Most Relevant Publications

Capela R, Magalhães J, Miranda D, Machado M, Sanches-Vaz M, Albuquerque I, Sharma M, Gut J, Rosenthal PJ, Frade R, Perry MJ, Moreira R, Prudêncio M, Lopes F. Endoperoxide-8-aminoquinoline hybrids as dual-stage antimalarial agents with enhanced metabolic stability. Eur J Med Chem 2018; 149: 69-78.

Pinheiro R, Braga C, Santos G, Bronze MR, Perry MJ, Moreira R, Brites D, Falcão AS. Targeting gliomas: can a new alkylating hybrid compound make a difference? ACS Chem Neurosci 2017; 8: 50-59.

Nunes RC, Ribeiro CJA, Monteiro A, Rodrigues CMP, Amaral JD, Santos MMM. In vitro targeting of colon cancer cells using spiropyrazoline oxindoles. Eur. J. Med. Chem. 2017, 139: 168-179.

Bonito CA, Nunes J, Leandro J, Louro F, Leandro P, Ventura FV, Guedes RC. Unveiling the Pathogenic Molecular Mechanisms of the Most Common Variant (p.K329E) in Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency by in Vitro and in Silico Approaches. Biochemistry 2016; 55: 7086-98

Lavrado J, Brito H, Borralho PM, Ohnmacht SA, Kim NS, Leitão C, Pisco S, Gunaratnam M, Rodrigues CMP, Moreira R, Neidle S, Paulo A. KRAS oncogene repression in colon cancer cell lines by G-quadruplex binding indolo[3,2-c]quinolines. Sc Rep 2015; 5: 9696.



Group Members

PhD Students

  • Ana Rita Acúrcio
  • André Campaniço
  • Andreia Almeida
  • Cláudia Braga
  • Diogo Silva
  • Filipa Gomes
  • Gustavo Silva
  • Jorge Grilo
  • Luís Carvalho
  • Luís Sobral
  • Margarida Espadinha
  • Patrícia Serra
  • Romina Guedes
  • Samina Kausar
  • Sara Garcia
  • Sofia Domingos
  • Valentina Barcherini

Master Students

  • Andreia Figueiredo
  • Andreia Gonçalves
  • Carlota Sousa
  • João Lopes
  • Maryam Heydarpour


  • Ana Rita Felix
  • Elizabeth Lopes
  • Lara Fidalgo
  • Pedro Fernandes