Drug Research

Major interests

The mission of this research line is to discover biologically active molecules, safely and efficiently target bioactive compounds, and develop analytical methods for determination of pharmaceuticals in biological and environmental matrices. 
The specific objectives are:
i) to screen for bioactive compounds
Research activities include: screening for old and new synthetic compounds with therapeutic potential; elucidation of the mechanisms of activity and preclinical assays of leading compounds.
ii) to develop safe and efficient delivery systems
Research activities include: new drug delivery nanosystems for antitumoral drugs; f characterization and exploration of food-grade bacteria able to produce bioactive conjugated fatty acids (CLA, CLNA).
iii) to develop efficient chromatographic analytical methods
Research activities include: development of efficient chromatographic analytical methods for preparation and analysis of enantiomers of pharmaceuticals and illicit chiral substances; assessment of their ecotoxicological effects on aquatic species.
iii) to identify variables that influence adherence to topical treatment
Research activities include: Guidelines for adequate use of topical treatment amongst Portuguese patients with chronic dermatoses; development of therapeutic monitoring tools.
iv) disseminate good practices to promote adherence to treatment with topical medicines
Activities include: disseminating good practices at community pharmacies to promote adherence to and effectiveness of treatment with topical medicines; information and education of pharmacists and patients. 

Current Projects


Publications Highlights

Castro R., Cavaleiro F.I., Rangel L.F, Rocha S., Severino R., Casal G., & Santos M.J. (2018). Myxozoan parasites of the European sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax (Teleostei: Moronidae): Correlates of infections at the micro- and macroenvironment scales. Aquaculture 485: 17-24

Silva MF, Ribeiro C, Gonçalves VMF, Tiritan ME, Lima Á. Liquid chromatographic methods for the therapeutic drug monitoring of methotrexate as clinical decision support for personalized medicine: A brief review. Biomed Chromatogr. 2018; 32(5):e4159.

Tiritan, M.E., Fernandes, C., Maia, A.S., Pinto, M., Cass, Q.B. (2018). Enantiomeric ratios: Why so many notations? Journal of Chromatography A. 2018. J Chromatogr A. 2018 Sep 28;1569:1-7.

Sousa, J.C.G, Ribeiro, A.R., Barbosa, M.O., Ribeiro, C., Tiritan, M.E., Pereira, M.F.R., Silva, A.M.T. (2018). Monitoring of the 17 EU Watch List contaminants of emerging concern in the Ave and the Sousa Rivers. Science of The Total Environment. In Press

Azevedo, C., Feltran, R., Rocha, S., Matos, E., Maciel, E., Oliveira, E., Al-Quraishy, S. and Casal, G. (2018). Simultaneous occurrence of two new myxosporean species infecting the central nervous system of Hypopygus lepturus (Teleostei, Hypopomidae) from Roraima State, Brazil. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

Azevedo, C., Rocha, S. and Casal, G. (2018) Ultrastructural aspects of the developmental phases of Perkinsus atlanticus / P. olseni (Perkinsidae) trophozoites infecting the gills of clams, including encapsulation by host haemocytes. EC Microbiology 14.11 (2018)

Fernandes, C., Phyo, Y., Silva, A.S. , Tiritan, M.E., Kijjoa, A., Pinto, M.M.M. (2018). Chiral stationary phases based on small molecules: an update of the last seventeen years. Separation & Purification Reviews, 47: 89–123.

Couto, C. M. C. M., Ribeiro, C., Maia, A., Santos, M., Tiritan, M. E., Ribeiro, A. R., Pinto E., & Almeida, A. (2018). Assessment of Douro and Ave River (Portugal) lower basin water quality focusing on physicochemical and trace element spatiotemporal changes. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, 1-11

Henriques, A., Ribeiro, D., Sarmento, B., Silva, P.M.A., Bousbaa, H. (2018). Mitosis inhibitors in anticancer therapy: when blocking the exit becomes a solution. Cancer Letters, vol. 440–441 (64-81)

Ribeiro, C., Couto, C., Ribeiro, A.R., Maia, A.S., Santos, M., Tiritan, M.E., Pinto, E., & Almeida, A. (2018) Distribution and environmental assessment of trace elements contamination of water, sediments and flora from Douro River estuary, Portugal. Science of the Total Environment, 639, 1381-1393.

Teixeira, A., Vasconcelos, V, Teixeira, M., Almeida, V., Azevedo, R., Torres, T., Sousa Lobo, J.M. Costa, P.C., Almeida, I.F. (2018) Mechanical properties of topical anti-psoriatic medicines: Implications for patient satisfaction with treatment. AAPS PharmSciTech. (accepted)

Rocha, S., Azevedo, C., Oliveira, E., Alves, A., Antunes, C., Rodrigues, P. and Casal, G. (2018). Phylogeny and comprehensive revision of mugiliform-infecting myxobolids (Myxozoa, Myxobolidae), with the morphological and molecular redescription of the cryptic species Myxobolus exiguus. Parasitology (2018) 10:1-18.

Vasconcelos V, Teixeira A, Almeida V, Teixeira M, Ramos S, Torres T, Sousa Lobo JM, Almeida IF. (2018). Patient preferences for attributes of topical anti-psoriatic medicines. J Dermatolog Treat. 2018 Nov 23:1-19.

Cartaxo AL, Costa-Pinto AR, Martins A, Faria S, Gonçalves V.M.F., Tiritan ME, Ferreira H, Neves NM. (2018). Influence of PDLA nanoparticles size on drug release and interaction with cells. J Biomed Mater Res Part A. 2018:9999:1–12.

Teixeira A., Oliveira C., Teixeira M., Gaio AR., Sousa Lobo JM., Almeida IF., & Almeida V. (2017). Development and validation of a novel questionnaire for adherence with topical treatments in psoriasis, QATOP. Am J Clin Dermatol. Aug;18(4):571-581.

Henriques A.C., & De Marco P.(2015). Methanesulfonate (MSA) catabolic genes from marine and estuarine bacteria. PLoS One 10(5), e0125735.

Fernandes, C., Masawang, K., Tiritan, M.E., Sousa, E., De Lima, V., Afonso, C., Bousbaa, H., Sudprasert, W., Pedro, M., Pinto, M.M. (2014). New chiral derivatives of xanthones: Synthesis and investigation of enantioselectivity as inhibitors of growth of human tumor cell lines. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 22 (3), pp. 1049-1062.

Ribeiro A.R., Santos L.H.M.L.M., Maia A.S., Delerue-Matos C., Castro P.M.L., & Tiritan M.E. (2014). Enantiomeric fraction evaluation of pharmaceuticals in environmental matrices by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A, 1363, pp. 226-235.


Drug Research Team

PhD Members

PhD Students

MSc Students

Research Fellowship


Research Technician