Coordinator: Maria Lurdes Bastos
This Thematic Line (TL) encompasses 6 complementary Research Groups (RGs) dedicated to safety assessment, from human and environmental health perspectives.
In terms of human safety, the rationale of this TL is based on a natural (and desirable) workflow starting with in silico safety assessment, moving to experimental assays (in vitro and in vivo) and translation to clinical and epidemiological studies. Unquestionable is also the safety of the environment as proved by the universal effort to introduce in the market only compounds that are environmentally safe, requiring reliable methods for identification, risk assessment, and remediation of pollutants.
With these goals in mind, an integrative approach is employed, benefiting from complementary and synergic expertise of the participating RGs: Theoretical & Computational Biochemistry (TCB); Drug Targets & Biomarkers (DTB); Molecular Microbiology & Genomics (MMG); Medicinal Technology (MEDTECH); NanoImmunoTech (NIT) and Toxicology (TOXI).
Focus is given to the rational identification of efficacious and safe human drugs and cosmetics, evaluation of mechanisms of xenobiotic toxicity, improvement of environmental conditions, as well as elimination of infectious microorganisms while increasing the knowledge on safe and health-supportive ones. Altogether, safety assessment, both from human and environmental health perspectives, constitutes a recognized challenge for Academia, Industry, Regulatory entities and consumers/patients.
Based on experimental designs, research within this TL pursues through development of in silico, in vitro, and rationalized in vivo models for: i) evaluation of mechanisms of xenobiotics toxicity and exploitation of well-established medicines as new therapeutics/antidotes; ii) evaluation of safety and efficacy of new drugs/immunotherapies/nanomedicines as anti-cancer and as pharmacokinetic modulators and study pharmacokinetic parameters via in silico (TCB), in vitro and in vivo approaches (TOXI, NIT, DTB); iii) implementation of omic tools to identify safe and health-supportive microorganisms and non-invasive biomarkers of disease (MMG, TOXI, DTB, NIT); iv) evaluation of efficacy of those microorganisms towards developing biotherapeutics (MMG); v) improvement on identification of antibiotic-resistant infectious bacteria (MMG, NIT); vi) study the relation between patient adherence in its psychological and technological factors, and safety of pharmaceutical topic preparations (MEDTECH, TOXI, DTB); vii) development of cost-effective methodologies for environmental monitoring and remediation, plus strategies to safeguard food safety; viii) use of high-content screening methods to discover new biomarkers and Adverse Outcome Pathways to identify more sensitive, specific and reliable biomarkers of early diagnosis/prognosis of diseases and to predict pollutants toxicological risk (DTB, TOXI, NIT); ix) contribution to National and European Regulatory Organisms for Risk Assessment.