Located between
Cambridge and Lisbon,
our laboratory works
at the interface of Chemistry
and Biology, with a focus
on protein chemistry and
targeted cancer therapeutics.

LATEST NEWS

November 2021

Our work in collaboration with Prof. Tuomas Knowles on how shear forces affect the rates of biomolecular reactions has been highlighted in Chemistry World. Our latest method uses biophysically mimetic microfluidic reactors to model the shear stresses that occur in capilliaries and the resultant effects on reactions and protein structure. Check out the Chemistry World article and our research paper.

LATEST NEWS

April 2021

Our work in collaboration with Prof. Vera Moiseenkova-Bell from the Perelman School of Medicine, US, on allosteric antagonist modulation of TRPV2 by piperlongumine to impair progression of glioblastoma has been highlighted in EurekAlert! and Público.
Our latest method uses advanced computer modelling to identify targets for natural products with anticancer properties. This work uses piperlongumine to treat an aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma, and initial results in mice have been exceptionally positive. Check out the EurekAlert! and Público (in Portuguese) articles and our research paper.

ABOUT OUR WORK

about our work

Nature has produced an intricate machinery to covalently diversify the structure of proteins after their synthesis in the ribosome. At the core of our research and in an attempt to mimic nature, we are engineering reactions that allow for post-expression modification of proteins at selected sites. We use such reactions to selectively install particular modifications on proteins for many biological and therapeutic applications. For example, we are developing strategies for site-selective protein labelling in live cells by combining the introduction of small-sized non-proteinogenic tagged amino acids with very rapid chemoselective reactions. We aim to apply these to label and monitor disease-associated proteins under native conditions without interfere with the protein’s innate structure, function, activity and localisation as well as cellular functions.
Another important aspect of protein modification is for example the conjugation of cytotoxic molecules to antibodies to improve efficacy and reduce side effects of cancer treatments. Gonçalo’s laboratory is engineering new reactions that can be performed site-selectively on native antibodies, i.e. without the need for sequence engineering.
These are two examples among other lines of research in our lab that have in common the use of synthetic aqueous chemistry to address challenges in biology and medicine. Our ultimate goal is to see the widespread use of our findings and methodologies by other laboratories around the world and to directly assist in the design and discovery of new drugs with improved selectivity and efficacy for treating cancer.

ABOUT OUR WORK

about our work

Nature has produced an intricate machinery to covalently diversify the structure of proteins after their synthesis in the ribosome. At the core of our research and in an attempt to mimic nature, we are engineering reactions that allow for post-expression modification of proteins at selected sites. We use such reactions to selectively install particular modifications on proteins for many biological and therapeutic applications. For example, we are developing strategies for site-selective protein labelling in live cells by combining the introduction of small-sized non-proteinogenic tagged amino acids with very rapid chemoselective reactions. We aim to apply these to label and monitor disease-associated proteins under native conditions without interfere with the protein’s innate structure, function, activity and localisation as well as cellular functions.
Another important aspect of protein modification is for example the conjugation of cytotoxic molecules to antibodies to improve efficacy and reduce side effects of cancer treatments. Gonçalo’s laboratory is engineering new reactions that can be performed site-selectively on native antibodies, i.e. without the need for sequence engineering.
These are two examples among other lines of research in our lab that have in common the use of synthetic aqueous chemistry to address challenges in biology and medicine. Our ultimate goal is to see the widespread use of our findings and methodologies by other laboratories around the world and to directly assist in the design and discovery of new drugs with improved selectivity and efficacy for treating cancer.

University of Cambridge
Department of Chemistry
Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1223336305
gb453@cam.ac.uk

Instituto de Medicina Molecular
Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa
Av. Prof. Egas Moniz - 1649-028 Lisboa
Portugal
gbernardes@medicina.ulisboa.pt

University of Cambridge
Department of Chemistry

Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK

Tel: +44 (0) 1223336305
gb453@cam.ac.uk

Instituto de Medicina Molecular
Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa

Av. Prof. Egas Moniz - 1649-028 Lisboa
Portugal

gbernardes@medicina.ulisboa.pt