Maria Luísa Sá e Melo
+ 351 239 488 400
Full Professor Jubilate
Group at CNC

Maria Luisa Sá e Melo is licenciate in Pharmacy by the University of Porto,1967, PhD in Chemistry by the University of London, 1979, under the supervision of Professor David N Kirk in steroid synthesis and aggregate in Pharmacy by the University of Coimbra, 1999.

She has been Coordinator of the Pharmaceutical Studies Research Centre, UC, (1986-92 and 1994-2010), Vice-President of the Scientific Council, FFUC (1992-96 and 1998-2000), Director of the Laboratory Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UC (1996-2010), President of the Scientific Council, FFUC (2000-04), Coordinator of the Scientific Group of Chemistry, FFUC(2006-10), President of the Medicinal Chemistry Group of the Portuguese Chemistry Society (2007-2010) and Group Leader of the Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Group, CNC (2011-2013).

Group Leader of the Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery Group, CNC, since 2014.

Her expertise is focused in the Medicinal Chemistry of Steroids.



Area of Research: 

Drug discovery and development with emphasis on the   design, synthesis and evaluation of compounds with therapeutic activity.

The focus of the research is on lead finding and optimization of new anticancer drugs. Studies on the biology of cancer by modulating protein function with small molecules is also a research interest.

Biocatalysis and chemo-enzymatic syntheses to produce high value chiral drugs, difficult to obtain by conventional methods is a complementary area of research.

Research Summary:
Selected Publications: 

Kasal, A. and Buděšínský, M. and Mareš, P. and Krištofíková, Z. and Leitão, A.J. and Sá e Melo, M.L. and Silva, M.M.C. Neurosteroids: Can a 2alpha,3alpha-epoxy ring make up for the 3alpha-hydroxyl group? Steroids, 2016, 105, 12-18. (I F 2.639)

Salvador, J. A. R., Carvalho, J. F. S., Neves, M. A. C., Silvestre, S. M., Leitão, A. J. L., Silva M. M. C. & Sá e Melo, M. L. Anticancer steroids: linking natural and semi-synthetic compounds. Nat. Prod. Rep., 2013, 30, 324-374. (I F 10.107)

Carvalho, J. F.S., Cruz Silva, M. M.; Moreira, J.N. Simões, S.; Sá e Melo, M.L. Selective cytotoxicity of oxysterols through structural modulation on rings A and B. Synthesis, in vitro evaluation and SAR  J. Med. Chem., 2011, 54, 6375-6393. (I F 5.447)

Carvalho, J.F.S; Cruz Silva, M.M.; Moreira, J.N.; Simões, S.; Sá e Melo, M.L. Sterols as anticancer agents: synthesis of ring-B oxygenated steroids cytotoxic profile and comprehensive SAR analysis , J. Med. Chem., 2010, 53, 7632-7638. (I F 5.447)

Neves, M.A.C.; Simões, S.; Sá e Melo, M.L. Ligand-guided optimization of CXCR4 homology models for virtual screening using a multiple chemotype approach , J. Comput. Aided Mol. Des., 2010, 24, 1023-1033. (I F 2.990)

Financiado por Fundos FEDER através do Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade – COMPETE 2020 e por Fundos Nacionais através da FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia no âmbito do projecto Estratégico com referência atribuida pelo COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007440

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