Organic and Biological Chemistry

This research line develops multidisciplinary research covering the synthesis, structure and molecular recognition processes of organic molecules and biomolecules of biological interest. Emphasis is placed in the relationships between stereochemical and structural issues, self-assembling properties and supramolecular status of compounds, the relevance of these aspects in biology and the possibility to control them to correct associated pathologies.


The activities in the Organic and Biological Chemistry research line are currently structured in three central axes, namely:

  1. Development of efficient methodologies in asymmetric synthesis through environmentally friendly stoichiometric and catalytic methods (organometallic catalysts and organocatalysis) and their application to the preparation of biologically and/or economically relevant organic molecules.
  2. Study of the interactions involving carbohydrates (oligosaccharides, glycoconjugates and glycomimetics) with other molecules and biomolecules (drugs, toxis, lectins, enzymes, nucleic acids) and their relevance to biological and pathological events.
  3. Investigation of the molecular recognition processes involving interactions between membrane proteins (ion channels and G-protein coupled membrane receptors) and bioactive peptides (e.g. tachykinins) and their implications in reproductive mechanisms.

These three axes extensively overlap, sharing highly multidisciplinary strategies and methodologies that combine synthetic, structural, computational, analytical, supramolecular, biological and pharmacological approaches. The thematic fields are also very permeable, favouring diversity, simultaneous participation of researches in more that one subject and external interactions. Ramifications of the central core have emerged in areas such as membrane channels, chemical ecology and food analysis through complementary collaborations.

While the research line has a strong fundamental component, it also brings a vocation for the transfer of the generated knowledge into applications that currently cover areas such as catalytic processes, agrochemicals, glycodrugs, nanomedicine and functional foods.