Peptides are being pursued as alternative therapeutics, as they can be safer and less likely to develop resistance than conventional drugs. Peptide Therapeutics and Membrane Biology research group is focused on investigating how peptides interact with cell membranes and exert their function, thereby accelerating the development of safer peptide-based drugs. We work at the interface of basic and applied research.

Fields of interest

  • Development of peptide-based drugs to treat melanoma
  • Characterization and redesign of host defense peptides to treat bacterial infections
  • Understanding how peptide therapeutics interact/cross cell membranes
  • Characterization of cancer cell membrane properties
  • Design of peptides able to inhibit protein:protein interactions involved in cancer progression
  • Use of cell-penetrating peptides as drug delivery systems

Methodologies applied in our research

  • Surface Plasmon Resonance to follow peptide-lipid interactions
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy to characterize interactions of peptides with cells or model membranes
  • Characterization of cell membrane properties using fluorescent dyes
  • In vitro screening of toxicity, anticancer and antimicrobial properties
  • Confocal microscopy to follow location of peptides inside cells
  • Flow cytometry to follow internalization of peptides inside cells

Research training opportunities for visitors, PhD and honours students

For information on available projects, please contact Dr Sónia Henriques.