Iola Melissa Fernandes Duarte
  Principal Researcher  
  phone: 234 401 418  
  extension: 24 918  
  department: Chemistry  
  office: 29.3.31  
  group: 5 - biomedical and biomimetic materials
  line: 3 - sustainability and health
  direct url:  
Short CV

Researcher ID:


Iola F. Duarte (born 1975) is a Principal Researcher at CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro (UA), since April 2015. She has a first degree in Biochemistry & Food Chemistry (1997), and a PhD in Chemistry (2003) from the University of Aveiro, having worked as a post-doctoral fellow in in joint projects between CICECO/UA and Imperial College of London (2003-2006) / Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra (2006-2007).

Duarte’s major domain of specialization is in the use of advanced analytical techniques for the comprehensive metabolic profiling (metabolomics) of biological samples (cells, tissues and biofluids) and the study of metabolism changes as a function of external stimuli or pathophysiological alteration. Presently, her main research interests comprise the characterization of immune metabolic deregulations in chronic inflammatory diseases and the development of immunomodulatory strategies to achieve therapeutic benefit. She is also interested in nanotoxicology and nanomedicine research, concerning the in vitro and in vivo biological effects of nanomaterials.

I.F. Duarte has published 10 book chapters, 63 papers and 12 abstracts in SCI peer-reviewed journals (> 1900 citations without self-citations, h-index 27), and presented over 50 oral communications in conferences, including 25 invited lectures. She has coordinated 6 research projects with competitive funding and has participated as task coordinator and team member in 3 and 6 other projects, respectively. She has supervised 3 post-docs (1 ongoing) and 8 PhD students (5 ongoing). In 2007, Iola was awarded the Prize L’Oréal PT for Women in Science and, in 2010, she was the recipient of the Portuguese League Against Cancer grant.

In regard to teaching experience, I.F. Duarte has been Invited Assistant Professor at the Health Sciences Department (UA) between 2007 and 2010, and, since 2011, she has collaborated in the teaching of several curricular units at the Chemistry Department (UA), to both undergraduate and post-graduate students, mainly in the fields of Biochemistry, Macromolecular Chemistry and Metabolomics.

Scientific Interests

- Toxicity and biological assessment of (nano)materials with biomedical applications;

- Metabolism of immune cells and metabolic immunomodulation;

- Metabolism of tumour cells and metabolic effects of anticancer therapies (drugs, nanomedicines, photothermal therapy);

- NMR spectroscopy and metabolomics.

Present Research Group

Post-doctoral associates:  Helena Oliveira

PhD students: Ângela Guerra, Diana Belchior, Matias Cardoso, Ana Sofia Dias, Tatiana Silva

MSc students: Tiago Conde, Luís Mendes, Cristiana Albuquerque, Inês Santos, Inês Deus

Main present collaborators


- Dr. Fátima Duarte, Centro de Biotecnologia Agrícola e Agro-Alimentar do Baixo Alentejo e Litoral (CEBAL), Beja.

- Dr. Maria Luísa Corvo, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa (FFUL).

- Dr. Rita Fior, Fundação Champalimaud, Lisboa


- Dr. Philipp Seib, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.

- Dr. María Jesus Vicent, Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Valencia, Spain.

- Dr. M. Teresa Portolés and Dr. María Vallet-Regí, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

- Prof. Ruth Duncan, Professor Emerita Cardiff University, UK.

Teaching Activity

Proteómica e Metabolómica, MSc Courses in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, UA.

Química Macromolecular, MSc Course in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, UA.

Nutrição e Dietética, First Degree in Gerontology, Health School, UA.

Laboratório MH1, First Degree in Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences Department, UA.

Bioquímica I, First Degrees in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Department of Chemistry, UA.

R&D projects

Principal Investigator (PI)

- Impact of silk-based nanomedicines on the cellular metabolome, Ref. 12101 DD1720 RDF - Grant 1715, 2015-2018, financing: Research and Development Grant from the University of Strathclyde.

- Metabolic profiling: a novel tool for evaluation of the toxicological and biological effects of nanomaterials, Ref. PTDC/SAU-TOX/120953/2010, 2012-2015, financing: FCT.

- Metabolic profiling and biochemical differentiation of human lung tumours by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) methods, Ref. PTDC/QUI/68017/2006, 2008-2011, financing: FCT.

- Metabolomic study of lung cancer: metabolic signatures in tissues and biofluids, Ref. CIMAGO 04/12, 2012-2014, financing: CIMAGO, Faculty of Medicine of Coimbra (FMUC), PT.

- Development of new methods to diagnose and monitor lung cancer based on metabolomic signatures, 2011-2012, financing: Portuguese League Against Cancer.

- Investigation of tumour biochemistry and metabolic biomarkers in tissues, cells and biofluids, 2008-2011, financing: L’Oréal PT, FCT, UNESCO National Committee.

- Biochemical characterisation of stomach, endometrial and lung tumour tissues by High Resolution Magic Angle Spinning (HRMAS) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Ref. CIMAGO 14/06, 2006-2009, financing: CIMAGO (FMUC), PT.

 Team member

-  A Metabolomics-guided Bioreactor for Improved Bone Engineered Implants, Ref. 02/SAICT/2017/28835, 2018-2021, financing: FCT.

- TEAMING Grant agreement No 739572, The Discoveries Centre for Regenerative and Precision Medicine, 2017-2024, financing: HORIZON 2020.

- Future asthma management helped by non-invasive sampling:  contributes for the definition of a rapid and non-invasive diagnostic tool, Ref. PTDC/QUI-QUI/117803/2010, 2012-2015, financing: FCT.

- New Valorization Strategies for Eucalyptus spp. Bark Extracts, Ref. PTDC/AGR-FOR/3187/2012, 2013-2015, financing: FCT.

- Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine, Ref. SCT-2011-02-030-4872, 2012-2015, financing: PORC-MaisCentro.

- Search for new markers of therapy response in lung cancer, Ref. CIMAGO 03/12, 2012-2014, funding CIMAGO (FMUC), PT.

- A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)-based metabonomic study of health disorders of fetus and mother during pregnancy: towards biochemical characterisation and early diagnostics, Ref. PTDC/QUI/66523/2006, 2008-2011, financing: FCT.

- Implantable scaffolds for local osteossarcoma chemotherapy, Ref. PTDC/SAU-BEB/66896/2006, 2007-2010, financing: FCT.

Selected Publications

Cicuéndez M, Flores J, Oliveira H, Portolés MT, Vallet-Regí M, Vila M, Duarte IF. Metabolomic response of osteosarcoma cells to nanographene oxide-mediated hyperthermia. Materials Science and Engineering: C 2018, 91, 340-348.

Carrola J, Pinto RJB, Nasirpour M, Freire CSR, Gil AM, Santos C, Oliveira H, Duarte IF. NMR metabolomics reveals metabolism-mediated protective effects in liver (HepG2) cells exposed to subtoxic levels of silver nanoparticles. Journal of Proteome Research 2018, 17, 1636-1646.

Guerra AR, Duarte MF, Duarte IF. Targeting tumor metabolism with plant-derived natural products: emerging trends in cancer therapy. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2018, 41, 10663-10685.

Gil AM, Fernandes MH, Duarte IF. Metabolomics in biomaterials research. In: Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, Elsevier, 2018.

Arminan A, Mendes L, Carrola J, Movellan J, Vicent MJ, Duarte IF. HIF-1a inhibition by diethylstilbestrol and its polyacetal conjugate in hypoxic prostate tumour cells: Insights from NMR metabolomics. Journal of Drug Targeting 2017, 25, 845-855.

Jarak I, Carrola J, Barros AS, Gil AM, Pereira ML, Corvo ML, Duarte IF. Metabolism modulation in different organs by silver nanoparticles: an NMR metabolomics study of a mouse model. Toxicological Sciences 2017, 159, 422–435. 

Saborano R, Wongpinyochit T, Totten JD, Johnston BF, Seib FP, Duarte IF. Metabolic reprogramming of macrophages exposed to silk, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) and silica nanoparticles. Advanced Healthcare Materials 2017, 6, 1601240.

Lamego I, Marques MPM, Duarte IF, Martins AS, Oliveira H, Gil AM. Impact of the Pd2Spermine Chelate on Osteosarcoma Metabolism: An NMR Metabolomics Study. Journal of Proteome Research 2017, 16, 1773–1783.

Carrola J, Bastos V, Jarak I, Oliveira-Silva R, Malheiro E, Daniel-da-Silva AL, Oliveira H, Santos C, Gil AM, Duarte IF. Metabolomics of silver nanoparticles toxicity in HaCaT cells: structure–activity relationships and role of ionic silver and oxidative stress. Nanotoxicology 2016, 10, 1105-1117.

Guerra AR, Duarte IF, Duarte MF. Role of Isoprenoid Compounds on Angiogenic Regulation: Opportunities and Challenges. Current Medicinal Chemistry 2016, 23, 9, 911-928.

Ferreira NGC, Saborano R, Morgado R, Cardoso DN, Rocha CM, Soares AMVM, Loureiro S, Duarte IF. Metabolic responses of the isopod Porcellionides pruinosus to nickel exposure assessed by 1H NMR metabolomics. Journal of Proteomics 2016, 137, 59-97.

Rocha CM, Barros AS, Goodfellow BJ, Carreira IM, Gomes A, Sousa V, Bernardo J, Carvalho L, Gil AM, Duarte IF. NMR metabolomics of human lung tumours reveals distinct metabolic signatures for adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Carcinogenesis 2015, 36(1), 68-75.

Duarte IF, Diaz SO, Gil AM. NMR metabolomics of human blood and urine in disease research. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 2014, 93, 17-26.

Duarte IF, Ladeirinha A, Lamego I, Gil AM, Carvalho L, Carreira IM, Melo JB. Potential markers of cisplatin treatment response unveiled by NMR metabolomics of human lung cells. Molecular Pharmaceutics 2013, 10 (11), 4242–4251.

Duarte IF, Rocha CM, Gil AM. Metabolic profiling of biofluids: potential in lung cancer screening and diagnosis. Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics 2013, 13 (7), 737-48. 

Duarte IF, Gil AM. Metabolic signatures of cancer unveiled by NMR spectroscopy of human biofluids. Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy 2012, 51-74.


ongoing scientific supervisions