The AMAZING project, AMAZonian snake toxins: creatING value from bioresources, was awarded 300 k€ in the scope of the Occasion of the Celebrations of the V Centenary of the Circumnavigation Voyage – 2019, launched by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
Paula Gomes, member of the Molecular Synthesis research group of LAQV and Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, coordinates the project in collaboration with Paula Gameiro from the Nanoplatforms research group (co-principal investigator) and other LAQV members (Cátia Teixeira, Ricardo Ferraz, and Lucinda Bessa). The AMAZING project aims at exploring the antimicrobial potential of peptides extracted from the venom of snake species that are endemic to the Ecuadorian Amazonia and which remain largely unexplored. Therefore, it tackles one of the major threats to society - the multi-resistant infectious agents, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
“The quest for new medicines to fight persistent infections is a top priority for the World Health Organization. In this connection, antimicrobial peptides of natural origin, as those to be pursued in AMAZING, are being increasingly regarded as promising alternatives to currently available antibiotics” – says Paula Gomes. Hence, the AMAZING project combines a promising solution for one of the biggest public health challenges of our time with sustainable exploitation of natural resources, as explained by Paula Gomes - “In retrospect, a major key for the success of the AMAZING proposal was likely the fact that it truly embraces the Magellan circumnavigation spirit, by crossing the Atlantic and reaching the Pacific, to explore Amazonian bioresources, without damaging them. AMAZING encloses the potential to deliver peptides of therapeutical interest not only at a global scale, but also to benefit the Amazonian region itself, where infectious diseases like malaria and leishmaniasis are endemic.”
Besides LAQV, AMAZING benefits from a highly interdisciplinary team with valuable collaborations from malaria experts from the Instituto de Medicinal Molecular – Universidade de Lisboa (Miguel Prudêncio), and the Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical – Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Fátima Nogueira); leishmaniasis experts from the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, in Brazil (Danilo Ciccone Miguel); and snake venom experts from the Universidad Regional Amazonica (José Rafael de Almeida) and the Universidad Tecnologica Indoamerica (David Salazar Valenzuela), in Ecuador.
LAQV in the news:
Do you want to know more about Paula Gomes? Check out her interview with the Notícias Universidade do Porto.