Medicinal and Biological Chemistry for Health (MEDLife)


Thematic line  – Medicinal and Biological Chemistry for Health (MEDLife)

Coordinator: Maria Matilde Soares Duarte Marques


The In-depth Interim Evaluation of the Horizon 2020 Framework Program (June 2017), concluded that Societal Challenge 1 (Health, Demographic Change and Well-being) remains a priority. As such, it is expected to persist as a strategic goal of the next EU Framework Program (FP9). It is also inscribed in the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
Along this line, topics such as the discovery of new medicines, formulations and drug delivery systems, understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease and toxicity, or the clinical validation of early disease biomarkers are well within the general objectives of MEDLife. The range of documented multidisciplinary skills, encompassing synthetic and analytical chemistry, biological chemistry, structural analysis and chemical toxicology, combined with a record of prior successful collaborations with pharmacologists and clinicians, and an adequate access to state-of-the-art infrastructures, provide a unique setting to undertake these challenges at CQE. Selected priority topics include:

DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF NEW THERAPEUTIC AND THERANOSTIC AGENTS: Mono- or multitarget organic, coordination and organometallic compounds as anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antidiabetic or antineurodegenerative agents; BioMOFs, Biobuffers, and biomimetic or bioinspired multinuclear metal complexes.

STRUCTURE-BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION/ACTIVITY CORRELATIONS: Binding to protein carriers; speciation in biological fluids and intracellular compartments; drug-receptor interactions.

CRYSTAL ENGINEERING FOR IMPROVED API PERFORMANCE: Improved in vivo performance or extended shelf life of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs); amorphous and co-amorphous APIs; ionic liquids to assess, control and avoid API polymorphism.

MASS SPECTROMETRY-BASED STRATEGIES FOR VALIDATION OF EARLY BIOMARKERS OF EXPOSURE TO ENDOGENOUS AND XENOBIOTIC AGENTS: Targeted and untargeted metabolomics and proteomics/adductomics to elucidate molecular mechanisms of toxicity and disease and identify risk factors.

SIGNALLING PATHWAYS AND BIOCHEMICAL REGULATION: Molecular cell modulation of redox-regulated biochemical pathways involved in response to environmental and endogenous challenges.

BIOCOMPATIBLE (NANO)MATERIALS: for controlled drug delivery, osteointegration or skin scaffolds.

MEDLife has strong intersections with all TLs, namely SYNCat and SUSChem, and benefits from input by most CQE groups. It is deeply engaged in the advanced training of young researchers (e.g., the ongoing MedChemTrain PhD program), and in outreach activities to the general public (open labs, seminars) and the media. Fostering joint projects with the pharmaceutical industry is a strategic goal. Likewise, participation in relevant European networks (e.g., EU-OPENSCREEN or the Human Biomonitoring Initiative, CarboMet, EIP-AHA) is part of a commitment to transfer health-driven knowledge and technology to society.