Theoretical and Computational Biochemistry

Theoretical and Computational Biochemistry

The TCB Group develops research in computational and theoretical sciences and is focused on 4 main lines of research - enzymatic catalysis, drug discovery, nanotechnology and crude oil desulfurization.

Our success in unraveling enzymatic mechanisms has granted us the recognition of the international scientific community and we have been invited to numerous plenary talks. In an effort to bridge fundamental and applied research, the group is also collaborating with several major companies in drug development, such as Bial, in order to develop different inhibitors for different enzymes. We have devised a protocol for drug discovery, which is granting us with major successes in the area of designing drugs.

Regarding projects with environmental impact, we are improving/accelerating the process of crude oil desulfurization, making it cleaner and less expensive, through the use of new, tailor-made enzymatic biocatalysts. Theoretical models have been developed to correlate amino acid sequence patterns with the formation of alpha-helix motifs and protein function. In parallel we conducted reactivity studies of chemical molecules that are important in biological processes.
The innovative approaches used to address these topics are internationally recognized and are the basis of several pieces of software used world-wide, as VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics) plug-ins. These plug-ins are related to molecular docking, virtual screening and computational mutagenesis, all of them invaluable methodologies in Drug Discovery.

In 2013-2017 the TCB group has published 151 papers in WoS journals with 992 citations as well as 4 books/book chapters, 4 computer softwares with novel algorithms; supervised 15 PhD and 13 MSc theses; participated in 1 international project and 15 national projects (9 as PI), with an approximate total funding of 1.1M€.

TCB Research Labs
Recent publications
Cerqueira, NMFSA; Fernandes, PA; Ramos, MJ. 2018. Visualizing the Microscopic World. Interdisciplinary Sciences-Computational Life Sciences, 10, DOI: 10.1007/s12539-017-0255-2
Pereira, AT; Ribeiro, AJM; Fernandes, PA; Ramos, MJ. 2017. Benchmarking of density functionals for the kinetics and thermodynamics of the hydrolysis of glycosidic bonds catalyzed by glycosidases. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF QUANTUM CHEMISTRY, 117, DOI: 10.1002/qua.25409
Moreira, C; Ramos, MJ; Fernandes, PA. 2017. Clarifying the Catalytic Mechanism of Human Glutamine Synthetase: A QM/MM Study. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 121, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b02543
Fernandes, HS; Ramos, MJ; Cerqueira, NMFSA. 2017. The Catalytic Mechanism of the Pyridoxal-5 '-phosphate-Dependent Enzyme, Histidine Decarboxylase: A Computational Study. CHEMISTRY-A EUROPEAN JOURNAL, 23, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201701375
Ferreira, P; Sousa, SF; Fernandes, PA; Ramos, MJ. 2017. Improving the Catalytic Power of the DszD Enzyme for the Biodesulfurization of Crude Oil and Derivatives. CHEMISTRY-A EUROPEAN JOURNAL, 23, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201704057