Our research group is focused on drug discovery from natural products, particularly at the initial stages of drug development.
In the search for more efficient and safer drug candidates, the imperious necessity for developing and optimizing new screening assays has emerged. Within this context, our research strategies have been firstly directed towards the miniaturization and validation of bioassays, in particular cell- based systems, and their adaptation to robotics and automated environments. Secondly, we have conducted the searching for bioactive compounds in the combinatorial libraries or in the natural product extracts utilizing whole cells, cell fractions or key enzymes as target molecules. In fact, this strategy involving the screening of natural products has been shown to provide a complementary structural diversity to synthetic chemistry and has offered new low molecular weight lead compounds. Thus, our work has also been aimed to the generation and screening of extract/compound libraries of biogenic origin for pharmaceutical purposes. Additionally, a great deal of efforts has been devoted to the bioactivity- guided microfractionation of extracts, with computer- assisted chromatographic tools.
The combination of all these strategies is given us the chance of approaching the drug discovery from natural products with an innovative view, according to the demands of contemporary biochemical and pharmaceutical research. We truly believe that multidisciplinary- scientific cooperation is an essential issue within drug discovery approaches, and thus we are always open to new collaborative links.
Professor Pia M. Vuorela, Principal Investigator
Tel: +358 2 215 4267 (office)
Fax: +358 2 215 4010