Research Lab

Blue Biotechnology & Biomedicine


Lab Members

Lab leader

PhD student

Research Interests

Our research focuses on the discovery and development of lead-like agents for drug discovery and biotechnological applications. We use several state-of-the-art techniques for the identification of new bioactive small molecules with antimicrobial, anti-biofilm, antifouling and anticancer activities from marine-derived actinomycete sources collected off the Atlantic Macaronesia ecoregion. Our lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to Blue Biotechnology and Biomedical research combining Marine Natural Products Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Metabolomics, Genomics, Chemo and Bioinformatics, Chemical Ecology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Material Sciences.

Research Highlights
Targeting actinomycetes from marine sediments for the discovery of drug lead-like compounds

Pioneers in the targeted studies of actinomycetes from marine origin as a source for the discovery of bioactive natural products scaffolds, in Portugal.

To date, we have built a collection of over 400 taxonomic characterized marine-derived actinomycetes. These were used to generate small molecule libraries that were screened against bacterial pathogens and cancer cell lines. In particular, the chemistry, diversity and biogeographical patterns of marine actinomycete taxa from the Madeira Archipelago were tackled. The diversity of chemically rich marine actinomycete groups like MAR4 and MAR1 was broadened by the recovery of novel phylotypes.

Our research highlights the importance of bioprospecting efforts at unexplored regions of the ocean in order to recover strains belonging to distinct marine groups that may produce novel and interesting chemistry (Prieto-Davó et al, FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 2016; Letzel et al, ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, 2017).

Bioprospecting marine natural products for therapeutic and biotechnological applications

We have performed drug-lead dereplication using MS/MS networking, drug-lead structure elucidation through 1D, 2D NMR spectroscopic techniques and HR-MS spectrometry (Anelize et al, FRONTIERS IN MARINE SCIENCE, 2018; Anelize et al, ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, 2018 (under revision).

Identified metabolites have been object of a multidisciplinary biotechnological R&D strategy focused the development of novel and innovative marinederived biotechnological applications through its incorporation into polymeric matrices of different nature, such as antimicrobial and anti-biofilm wound dressings and marine antifouling paints and coatings (patent requests: PT20161000084914; PT20161000085046).


Representative Projects

  • "Ocean bioprospecting: targeting marine actinomycetes as a source for lead-like drug discovery", FCT funding, FCT-MCTES, IF/00700/2014, Total funding: €221,300, Unit funding: €221,300, Susana P. Gaudêncio (PI).
  • “Ocean Treasures: Ocean Sediments from Madeira Archipelago - a new source of innovative and bioactive compounds”, FCT-MCTES, PTDC/QUIQUI/119116/2010, Total funding: €120,994, Unit funding: €110,797, Susana P. Gaudêncio (PI).
  • “Marine Bacteria as a Novel Resource for Drug Discovery”, Marie Curie Co-fund Welcome II-DFRH/WIIA/102/2011, EU 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement PCOFUND-GA- 2009-246542, Total funding: €249,000, Unit funding: €249,000, Susana P. Gaudêncio (PI).
  • “Marine actinomycetes proteomics to synthetic biology – targeting Madeira Archipelago biodiversity”, EU funding Instruct project PID: 1153, Total funding: €6,000, Unit funding: €6,000, Susana P. Gaudêncio (PI).
  • H2020-MSCA-RISE-2016, Project ID: 734641 “NANOMED -Nanoporous and Nanostructured Materials for Medical Applications”. Total funding: €972,000, Unit funding: €171,000, Svetlana Lyubchik (PI).
  • H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015, Project ID: 690968, “NANOGUARD2AR-Nanomaterials-based innovative engineering solutions to ensure sustainable safeguard to indoor air”. Total funding: € 1,386,000, Unit funding: €306,000, Svetlana Lyubchik (PI).

Selected Publications

Letzel, AC; Li, J; Amos, GCA; Millan-Aguinaga, N; Ginigini, J; Abdelmohsen, UR; Gaudencio, SP; Ziemert, N; Moore, BS; Jensen, PR. 2017. Genomic insights into specialized metabolism in the marine actinomycete Salinispora. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, 19, DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13867
Prieto-Davo, A; Dias, T; Gomes, SE; Rodrigues, S; Parera-Valadezl, Y; Borralho, PM; Pereira, F; Rodrigues, CMP; Santos-Sanches, I; Gaudencio, SP. 2016. The Madeira Archipelago As a Significant Source of Marine-Derived Actinomycete Diversity with Anticancer and Antimicrobial Potential. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01594
Roca, C; Lehmann, M; Torres, CAV; Baptista, S; Gaudencio, SP; Freitas, F; Reis, MAM. 2016. Exopolysaccharide production by a marine Pseudoalteromonas sp strain isolated from Madeira Archipelago ocean sediments. New Biotechnology, 33, DOI: 10.1016/j.nbt.2016.02.005
Pereira, F; Latino, DARS; Gaudencio, SP. 2015. QSAR-Assisted Virtual Screening of Lead-Like Molecules from Marine and Microbial Natural Sources for Antitumor and Antibiotic Drug Discovery. MOLECULES, 20, DOI: 10.3390/molecules20034848
Gaudencio, SP; Pereira, F. 2015. Dereplication: racing to speed up the natural products discovery process. NATURAL PRODUCT REPORTS, 32, DOI: 10.1039/c4np00134f