Biodiscovery for health

Principal Investigator:
Ralph Urbatzka

My group is interested in the bioactivity screening and elucidation of molecular mechanism of natural products from aquatic ecosystems (freshwater, estuarine, marine). Here, we use a combination of phenotypic assays and physiologically relevant screening models, namely zebrafish larvae or advanced cell culture techniques. The focus is to discover novel natural products for metabolic diseases (obesity, diabetes, steatosis). The main organism will be cyanobacteria, actinobacteria, microalgae or macroalgae, but also other marine organism. Proof of concept of promising compounds will be done in relevant disease models, in particular using the zebrafish model, and the molecular mechanism of action will be deciphered by applying various molecular methodologies. The aim of this group is the valorization of aquatic/marine resources for human diseases, and in particular for metabolic diseases.

Publications Highlights

Regueiras, A, Huguet, Á, Conde, T, Couto, D, Domingues, P, Domingues, MR, Costa, AM, Silva, JLd, Vasconcelos, V, Urbatzka, R.(2022). Potential Anti-Obesity, Anti-Steatosis, and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Extracts from the Microalgae Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorococcum amblystomatis under Different Growth Conditions. Mar. Drugs, 20, 9. 

Bellver, M.; Costa, S.L.d.; Sanchez, B.A.; Vasconcelos, V.; Urbatzka, R. (2021). Inhibition of Intestinal Lipid Absorption by Cyanobacterial Strains in Zebrafish Larvae. Mar. Drugs, 19, 161. 

Sousa M.L., Ribeiro T., Vasconcelos V., Linder S., Urbatzka R. (2020). Portoamides A and B are mitochondrial toxins and induce cytotoxicity on the proliferative cell layer of in vitro microtumours. Toxicon, 175: 49-56.

Sousa M.L., Preto M., Vasconcelos V., Linder S., Urbatzka R. (2019). Antiproliferative effects of the natural oxadiazine nocuolin A are associated with impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Frontiers in Oncology, 9 (APR). .

Freitas S., Silva N.G., Sousa M.L., Ribeiro T., Rosa F., Leão P.N., Vasconcelos V., Reis M.A., Urbatzka R. (2019). Chlorophyll derivatives from marine cyanobacteria with lipid-reducing activities. Marine Drugs, 17 (4).