HSC – Heterocycles for Societal Challenges


The expertise in synthetic organic chemistry, especially nitrogen-based heterocycles and carbohydrates, acquired by members of the group “Heterocycles for Societal Challenges” (HSC) have been applied to the design, preparation and characterization of a wide range of novel molecules, mainly tailored to meet the societal needs in terms of new drug candidates or materials.

The group maintains intense collaborative activities reflecting that current research is developed at the interface of organic chemistry with areas such as biology and medicine, physics, materials science and nanotechnology.


Fernanda Proença

Fernanda Proença


New drug candidates:

The search for new drug candidates reflects the requirements of a society where life expectancy is increasing, reinforcing the need to find solutions for age-related and chronic diseases. Part of the group members has been involved in the synthesis of a broad range of heterocyclic compounds, sugar derivatives and macrocycles either through metal-catalysed reactions or by new synthetic methods, including asymmetric synthesis. Most of the molecules are selected on the basis of in silico screening or molecular docking studies on the relevant targets. The biological activity of the new compounds is tested through external collaborations, in particular as anticancer (Dep.Biologia, ICVS-3Bs, IBMC) and/or antiangiogenics (IPBragança, IPATIMUP and FMUP), antipsychotics (Fac.Farmácia-USCompostela) and antimicrobials (Univ. Fernando Pessoa – Porto, Fac. Farmácia-UP), including the search for new and improved antiturbercular agents (ICVS-3Bs). Studies on the encapsulation of new fluorescent anticancer compounds in nanoliposomes has been developed for drug delivery in collaboration with CFUM.



The quality of our lives is also profoundly influenced by the development of new technological solutions. The access to new molecules provides the basis for the discovery of new materials with improved/specific properties. Part of the group members is dedicated to the design and preparation of new heterocycles for nonlinear optical, photochromic, catalytic and sensor applications, including the synthesis of heterocyclic pi-conjugated systems for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), optical chemosensors, imaging probes or for dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSCs). The optical and electronic properties of the novel heterocyclic systems are evaluated in solution and in solid matrixes through national and international collaborations. In particular as nonlinear optical (CF-UM, Bordeaux Univ-France), photochromic (CQ-UTAD, Barcelona University- Spain), OLEDs (Curtin University-Australia, Bologna University – Italy, University of Coimbra), chemosensor (Polytechnic University of Valencia-Spain) and DSSCs materials (Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto).Carbon nanotubes (CNT) present extraordinary mechanical, thermal and electrical properties and are powerful candidates for diverse industrial applications, depending on the capacity to promote efficient interactions with different substrates. This relies on the appropriate chemical functionalization of the CNT surface and members of the research group developed expertise in this area and in the use of functionalized CNT as precursors of graphene nanoribbons. The research proceeds namely for the modulation of induced pluripotent stem cells differentiation and for composite or sensor applications.



Recent HSC Publications:

Research Groups:

Latest news:
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2018 - Centro de Química - Universidade do Minho

Financiado por fundos nacionais através da FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia,
I.P., no âmbito do Projetos Estratégicos UID/QUI/00686/2013 , UID/QUI/00686/2016 e UID/QUI/00686/2018

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