Advanced Therapies

Lino Ferreira

PhD, Group Leader

The Group of Advanced Therapies aims at developing novel therapies for age-associated diseases such as cardiovascular and central nervous system disorders that can be moved from the bench to the bedside. To accomplish this goal, the group develops and uses technological platforms based on induced pluripotent stem cells and their derivatives (i.e. vascular cells, cardiomyocytes, etc…), advanced drug delivery systems (light-triggerable nanoparticles or bioengineered exosomes containing non-coding RNAs, proteins or small molecules), extracellular matrixes (hydrogels, nanofilms, scaffolds), and computational biology tools for the:

  1. Establishment of disease models for drug screening and disease mechanism study;
  2. Development of cell and molecular (including advanced drug delivery systems) therapies to treat age-associated diseases.

The group is formed by a young, dynamic and internationally-trained team that performs fundamental, pre-clinical and clinical research. The group has a total number of 40 members, 4 of them principal investigators, 1 MD, and 19 PhD-holding integrated members.

The group is led by the ERA Chair on aging at the University of Coimbra (Lino Ferreira; also an ERC holder), a strategic research area for the Center region of Portugal. In the last 5 years, the group has secured more than 5 million euros in National and International projects, and given the technology-oriented nature of the group, more than 10 patents were filed (5 licensed) and 3 spin offs created (Matera, Curemat and Exogenus Therapeutics).

For the next 5 years, the group aims to:

  1. develop therapies for ischemic diseases (e.g. stroke, chronic wounds and myocardial infarction) and central nervous system disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis);
  2. integrate genomic, phenotypic, structural and functional data to develop personalised treatments;
  3. study and reduce the impact of cardiovascular aging.

Group Members

Group Members

Group members are: Lino Silva Ferreira (PhD, Group Leader), Akhilesh Rai (PhD), Ana Carolina Caetano, Ana Filipa Branco (PhD), Andreia Vilaça, Ângela Sandoval, Arnab Banerjee (PhD),Artur Rodrigues (PhD), Carlos Jesus, Catarina Rebelo (PhD), Deolinda Santinha, Francesca Tomatis, Helena Aires, Hugo Fernandes (PhD),Inês Albino, Inês Ribeiro, Luís Estronca (PhD), Luís Monteiro, Marta Barão, Miguel Lino (PhD), Patrícia Martins (PhD), Patrícia Pitrez (PhD), Rafaela Ferrão, Ricardo Abreu, Ricardo Neves (PhD), Ricardo Santos, Rita Sá Ferreira, Sandra Pinhanços, Simão Santos, Sónia Pinho (PhD), Susana Rosa (PhD), Susana Simões (PhD), Tiago Reis, Tiago Rondão, Vítor Francisco (PhD).

Selected Publications

Henriques-Antunes, H*, Cardoso, RMS,* Zonari, A, Correia, J, Leal, EC, Jimenez-Balsa, A, Lino, M, Barradas, A, Kostic, I, Gomes, C, Karp, JM, Carvalho, E, Ferreira, L. Orchestrating the release of small extracellular vesicles by a light-triggerable hydrogel. ACS Nano 2019 (in press).

Lino, MM, Simões, S, Vilaça, A, Antunes, H, Zonari, A, Ferreira, L. “Modulation of angiogenic activity by light-activatable miRNA-loaded nanocarriers”. ACS Nano 2018, 12(6), 5207-5220.

Aday, S, Zoldan, J, Besnier, M, Carreto, L, Saif, J, Fernandes, R, Santos, T, Bernardino, L, Langer, R, Emanueli, C*, Ferreira, L*. “Synthetic microparticles conjugated with VEGF165 improve the survival and function of endothelial progenitor cells via microRNA-17 inhibition”. Nature Communications 2017, 8, 747.

Vazão, H*, Rosa, S*, Barata, T, Costa, R, Pereira, PR, Honório, I, de Vries MR, Papatsenko, D, Benedito, R, Saris, D, Khademhosseini, A, Quax, PH, Pereira, CF, Mercader, N, Fernandes, H, Ferreira, L. “High-throughput identification of small molecules that affect human embryonic vascular development”. PNAS 2017, 114(15), E3022-E3031. *Authors contributed equally.

Boto, C#, Quartin, E#, Cai, Y, Martin-Lorenzo, A, Cenador, MBG, Pinto, Gupta, SR, Enver, T Sanchez-Garcia, I, Li, D, Neves, R*, Ferreira, L*. “Prolonged intracellular accumulation of light-inducible nanoparticles in leukemia cells allows their remote activation”. Nature Communications 2017, 8:15204. *,# Authors contributed equally.

Pereira, MJN, Oyuang, B, Sunbdback, CA, Lang, N, Friehs I, Mureli S, Pomerantseva, I, McFadden J, Mochel, MC, Mwizerwa, O, del Nido, P, Sarkar, D, Masiakos, PT, Langer, R, Ferreira, LS*, Karp, JM*. “A highly tunable biocompatible and multifunctional biodegradable elastomer”. Advanced Materials 2013, 25(8), 1209-1215. *Authors contributed equally.

Santos, T, Ferreira, R, Maia, J, Agasse, F, Xapelli, S, Cortes, L, Bragança, J, Malva, JO, Ferreira, L*, Bernardino, L*. “Polymeric nanoparticles to control the differentiation of neural stem cells in the subventricular zone of the brain”. ACS Nano 2012, 6(12), 10463-10474. *Authors contributed equally.

Kraehenbuehl, TP, Langer, R*, Ferreira, LS*. “Three-dimensional biomaterials for the study of human pluripotent stem cells”. Nature Methods 2011, 8(9), 731-736. *Corresponding authors.

Maia, J, Santos, T, Aday, S, Agasse, F, Cortes, L, Malva, JO, Bernardino, L*, Ferreira, L*. “Controlling the neuronal differentiation of stem cells by the intracellular delivery of retinoic acid-loaded nanoparticles”. ACS Nano 2011, 5(1), 97-106. *Corresponding authors.

Ferreira L, Karp JM, Nobre L, Langer R. “New opportunities: The use of nanotechnologies to manipulate and track stem cells”. Cell Stem Cell 2008, 3, 136-146. NC: 274.

Selected Projects

ERA@UC, Project ERA Chair. European Commission (2016-2020). PI: Lino Ferreira.

NANOSTEM. European Commission (2018-2022). PI: Lino Ferreira.

Nano_Brain. European Commission (2019). PI: Lino Ferreira.

AGING-MODEL: An iPSC-derived vascular model of Progeria to identify mediators for smooth muscle loss, COMPETE 2020 - Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation, FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (2018-2021). PI: Lino Ferreira.

EXO-HEART: cardiac protection and regeneration mediated by systemic administration of targeted exosomes, COMPETE 2020 - Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation, FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (2018-2021). PI: Hugo Fernandes.

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