Drug discovery and development are both very expensive and time consuming: of all compounds investigated for use in humans, only a small fraction are approved by each country, due to several restrictions. And yet, many developments have been made as a result of the intensive research that has been carried out over the past few decades.
More than 130 years after Louis Pasteur created the first rabies vaccine, and almost 90 years after Alexander Fleming discovered the antibacterial effects of penicillin, we now present you our first transversal panel, covering various aspects of the conception of drugs, from their design to their production and consumption. The goal is to go along their conceptional pathway, in a simplistic way, with presentations on molecular modelling and drug discovery, production of pharmaceuticals and, finally, the end of the line: drug delivery systems.

Maria João Ramos

University of Porto, Portugal
Dr. Maria João Ramos has been a Professor in Theoretical Chemistry at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, since 1995. She heads the Theoretical and Computational Biochemistry Research Group but is still Associate Director, of the Centre for Computational Drug Discovery at Oxford. Currently, she is the Vice-Rector for Research & Development at the University of Porto!
Dr. Maria João Ramos will cover the “scratch” part of this panel, talking about what can be gained from computer simulations in terms of predicting the properties of molecules/molecular aggregates and rationalizing experimental observations. She has published over 300 scientific papers her scientific research focuses mainly on computational enzymatic catalysis and drug discovery, all aiming at a better understanding of the functions and applications of enzymes.

Gabriel Monteiro

Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal
After having graduated in Biology, at the University of Coimbra, Prof. Gabriel Monteiro did his masters (1991) and PhD (1998) in Biotechnology at Instituto Superior Técnico, where he is currently an associate professor. He teaches the courses of Biomolecular Engineering, Cell and Tissue Engineering and Gene Therapy.
His research is focused on the design and manufacturing of plasmid and minicircle biopharmaceuticals, to be used as DNA vaccines and gene therapy vectors for transient cell modification. In his talk, the production of plasmid biopharmaceuticals will thus be under scrutiny.

Carmen Freire

CICECO - Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal
Carmen Freire studied Chemistry in the University of Aveiro (UA) (degree in Chemistry in 1998). Then, in 2003 she has got a PhD degree in Chemistry, also by the UA. And, in the period of 2003-2005 she had a post-doc fellow position in the Department of Chemistry of UA and in the École Française de Papeterie et des Industries Graphiques (presently Pagora) (Institute Polytechnique de Grenoble). In 2006 she became a staff member of CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials as Auxiliary researcher and since June 2013 as Principal Researcher (Line Biorefineries and Bio-based Materials).
Her research interests are centered on production and applications of biogenic nanofibers (bacterial nanocellulose and protein fibrils (amyloid fibrils)); new functional biocomposites and paper materials; nanostructured bio-based materials for biomedical applications (wound healing and drug delivery) and active packaging; design of hybrid materials based on biopolymers and inorganic nanophases (theranostic systems, catalysis and conducting materials); and isolation, characterization and chemical transformations of bioactive natural compounds (including biopolymers).