We are a multidisciplinary team dedicated to design and engineer minimal biomimetic systems, namely combining designed molecular recognition agents with functional biobased materials, which together find applications in Bioseparation, Sensing & Diagnostics.
The main topics of research involve:
1. Biobased functional materials in gas sensing & artificial olfaction;
2. Sustainable & biobased materials towards alternative purification processes of biological products;
3. Design & discovery of biological and synthetic affinity ligands for capture and release of biopharmaceuticals and biological markers.
Learning from Nature to develop mimetic systems, using peptide and protein systems
Affinity-triggered hydrogels: Using a bottom-up approach with one of the strongest known natural affinity pairs, the avidin-biotin system, we showed that natural multivalency must be obeyed to guide the autonomous self-assembly of multicomponents into robust hydrogels. Our approach provided the basis for the design of multicomponent hydrogels inspired in Nature and Biology, which represent important tools for mild cell encapsulation, a requisite for tissue and cell therapies.
Sensors from cork: Our study focused on developing a new class of environmentally-friendly optical gas sensing materials composed of the biopolymer suberin extracted from plants and a nematic liquid crystal. Our results further corroborate the potential to valorize underutilised agro/food residues into gas sensing materials for artificial olfaction purposes. Find more here.
- “Sea2See: Bio-inspired materials for fish spoilage control”, FCT-MCTES, Total and Unit funding: €248,604, Cecília Roque (PI).
- “ACCuseD - ACCuseD renAl Cell Carcinoma Detection Renal Cancer detection: a translational metabolomics research based on Volatile Organic Compounds fingerprinting”, FCT-MCTES, Total funding: €239,499, Unit funding: €11,633, Cecília Roque & Arménio Barbosa (Collaborators)
- “SCENT: Hybrid gels for rapid microbial detection”, EC-ERC, Total funding: €1.5M, Unit funding: €1.5M, Cecília Roque (PI).
- “Viral Capture and Puri cation System: Smart macroporous structures for the af nity puri cation of retroviral particles”, FCT-MCTES, Total funding: €147,000, Unit funding: €121,200, Cecília Roque (PI).
- “CHImerASE – Integrated platform for de novo design and development of a chimeric enzyme for high-value chemicals”, EC- ERA-IB,Total funding: €328,846, Unit funding: €99,996, Ricardo Branco (PI), Cecília Roque (Collaborator).
Fernandes, CSM; Pina, AS; Roque, ACA. 2021. Affinity-triggered hydrogels: Developments and prospects in biomaterials science. BIOMATERIALS, 268, DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120563
Rodrigues, R; Palma, SICJ; Correia, VG; Padrao, I; Pais, J; Banza, M; Alves, C; Deuermeier, J; Martins, C; Costa, HMA; Ramou, E; Pereira, CS; Roque, ACA. 2020. Sustainable plant polyesters as substrates for optical gas sensors. MATERIALS TODAY BIO, 8, DOI: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2020.100083
Rebordao, G; Palma, SICJ; Roque, ACA. 2020. Microfluidics in Gas Sensing and Artificial Olfaction. SENSORS, 20, DOI: 10.3390/s20205742
Matos, MJB; Pina, AS; Roque, ACA. 2020. Rational design of affinity ligands for bioseparation. JOURNAL OF CHROMATOGRAPHY A, 1619, DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2020.460871
Padrao, I; Fernandes, CSM; Esteves, C; Fernandes, T; Pina, AS; Roque, ACA. 2020. Versatile and Tunable Poly(Ethylene Glycol)-Based Hydrogels Crosslinked through the Ugi Reaction. ChemPlusChem, 85, DOI: 10.1002/cplu.202000743