Cellular Function and Therapeutic Targeting

Group Leader

Cecília M. P. Rodrigues

PhD (1996) in Pharmacy (Biochemistry), Universidade de Lisboa
Postdoctoral research at University of Minnesota, USA
Full Professor, Biochemistry and Human Biology, 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. Our goals are pursued within two core areas of discovery: 1) Molecular targets of cell function, protection and repair; and 2) Novel biomarkers and therapeutics.

Cellular Function and Therapeutic Targeting 1


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: Cecília M. P. Rodrigues
Period: 2017-2019

Source: FEDER and FCT (02/SAICT/029097/2017)
Title: Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Emerging Biomarkers, Targets and Therapies
PI: Cecília M. P. Rodrigues
Period: 2018-2021

Source: H2020 Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
Title: Liver Investigation: Testing Marker Utility in Steatohepatitis (LITMUS)
PI: Quentin 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

Recent Most Relevant Publications

Afonso MB, Rodrigues PM, Simão A, Gaspar M, Carvalho T, Nunes P, Banales J, Castro RE, Rodrigues CMP. miRNA-21 is overexpressed in primary biliary cholangitis and contributes to liver injury and necroptosis in bile duct-ligated mice. Cell Death Differ 2018; 25 :857-872.

Rosa AI, Duarte-Silva S, Silva-Fernandes A, Nunes MJ, Neves Carvalho A, Rodrigues E, Gama MJ, Rodrigues CMP, Maciel P, Castro-Caldas M. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid improves motor symptoms in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Mol Neurobiol 2018. doi.org/10.1007/s12035-018-1062-4 [Epub ahead of print]

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: e2748.

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: e2390.

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
  • Márcia Costa
  • Mariana Ribeiro
  • Mohammad Mohib
  • Nuno Paiva


  • Constança Oliveira