Mara Guadalupe Freire Martins
  Research Coordinator  
   
  phone: 234401422  
  extension: 24922  
  e-mail: maragfreire@ua.pt  
  department: Chemistry  
  office: 29.3.33  
   
  group: 5 - biomedical and biomimetic materials
 
  line: 3 - sustainability and health
 
isi web of knowledgeSM search factor: Freire MG  
  direct url: http://www.ciceco.ua.pt/MaraFreire  
     
Short CV

Mara G. Freire graduated in Chemistry in 2003 by University of Aveiro, Portugal, and received the “Best Chemistry Student Award” from Dow Portugal. By the end of 2007 she completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering, with specialization in Bioengeneering, by University of Aveiro, having during her PhD studies trainees at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France, followed by post-doctoral activities at ITQB2, New University of Lisbon, Portugal. In 2012, Freire was an invited professor at Tiradentes University, Sergipe, Brazil. From 2013 to January 2014, Freire was an Assistant Researcher at CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, Chemistry Department, University of Aveiro, Portugal, and since February 2014 she is a Coordinator Researcher at the same institution. Currently, Mara Freire is the Coordinator of Group 5 of CICECO, Biomedical and Biomimetic Materials, and a member of the Cooperation and Scientific Dissemination Committee of the Chemistry Department at University of Aveiro. Since January 2017 she is a Member of the Young Scientists Seminar of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences.

Since 2005, Freire published more than 160 papers in international peer reviewed journals, 7 book chapters and edited one book, and has over 6000 citations (excluding self-citations) and an h-index of 50. She has participated in 18 R&D projects. Currently, Freire is the principal investigator of a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

The pedagogical capacity of Freire is supported by recurrent teaching activities of Physical Chemistry, Thermodynamics, and Alternative Solvents Technologies at University of Aveiro, Portugal. Furthermore, she has completed the supervision of 8 post-doctoral researchers, 6 PhD students, 36 MSc students and 27 BSc students, and is currently supervising 7 post-doctoral researchers, 10 PhD students and 2 MSc students.

Websites:

http://www.ciceco.ua.pt/MaraFreire

Researcher ID: http://www.researcherid.com/rid/B-8458-2008

ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8895-0614

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mara-freire/17/47b/aa2

Scopus Author ID: 7102299235

Scientific Interests

Since the beginning of her research activities (total of 14 years of scientific experience),  Freire has been working in the following scientific domains: Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering/Bioengenering, Chemistry/Physical Chemistry and Health Sciences. Her research interests cover the following topics:

Development of cost-effective purification processes for value-added biopharmaceuticals

The production cost of high-quality biopharmaceuticals for large-scale applications still remains higher than other drug therapies due to the current lack of efficient purification strategies. To overcome this drawback, we are focused on the development of cost-effective purification processes for several value-added biopharmaceuticals, namely antibodies, recombinant proteins, and nucleic-acids-based products. Simultaneously to the development of separation processes, we are also working on the optimization of immunization protocols and on the biopharmaceuticals production.

Development of efficient pre-treatment techniques for biological samples envisaging early-stage diagnoses

The early detection of some diseases, including cancer, is pivotal and can increase their therapeutic success rate. Nowadays, there are some well-known biomarkers which are indicative of the presence of cancer or other diseases; yet, in most situations, their concentrations in human fluids, such as in urine and serum, are well below the detection limit of the currently used analytical equipment. To overcome these limitations, our research team is is focused on the development of pre-treatment strategies for biological fluids (simultaneous purification and concentration approaches) to improve the detection and quantification of several diseases biomarkers.  

Development of more sustainable recovery processes for value-added compounds with therapeutic properties from biomass

The consumption of natural compounds with therapeutic features is highly advantageous compared to their synthetic counterparts (which usually lead to adverse effects). However, these products are typically extracted by volatile and often toxic solvents, and obtained with low yields and low purity levels. Trying to overcome these drawbacks, we have been investigating the use of aqueous solutions of ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents as alternative solvents for the selective extraction of target compounds, mainly with therapeutic features from biomass, as well as from biomass by-products and wastes. Attempts on integrated/biorefinery approaches, always bearing in mind the new challenges of the circular economy and the need to reduce and reuse waste and raw materials, are priority issues in this line of research. The cytotoxicity and biological activities of the extracted compounds are also appraised in this line of research. 

Synthesis and applications of ionic liquids as therapeutic drugs

Several therapeutic drugs exhibit low solubility in biological fluids, displaying thus low bioavailability, and sometimes requiring the use of vehicles for drug delivery which, in turn, may be toxic. To overcome these drawbacks, we are focused on the synthesis of novel ionic-liquid-based drugs with analgesic, anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidant activities for pharmaceutical and medical applications, and on the evaluation of their in vitro and in vivo toxicity and their neuroprotection capacity. These novel drugs display a high potential to prevent neurodegeneration-based conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. 

research group

Post-doctoral researchers

Sousa A. C. A., “MultiRespira - Multidisciplinary approach to understand the role of environmental contaminants in respiratory diseases in Estarreja Region”. Grant from CNRS-Labex DRIIHM (France). University of Aix-Marseille, France; Public-Health Institute from University of Porto (ISPUP), Portugal; University of Beira Interior, Portugal; University of Aveiro, Portugal. Co-Supervisor. Started in October 2017.

Santos, E. S., “Cultivation of Mediterranean Plants in Technosols from Mining Areas and their Exploration as Sources of Natural Value-Added Compounds”. University of Aveiro, Portugal; Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Portugal; Santiago de Compostela University, Spain. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Supervisor. Started in September 2017.

Sharma, M., “Synthesis and use of bio-based ionic liquids for the selective extraction and purification of antibodies”. University of Aveiro, Portugal; CSIR-Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute, India. European Research Council (ERC) Grant. Supervisor. Started in October 2016.

Pedro, A. Q. H., “Recombinant expression of different Campylobacter jejuni colonization-associated proteins and their purification for hen immunization”. University of Aveiro, Portugal; University of Beira Interior, Portugal. European Research Council (ERC) Grant. Supervisor. Started in April 2016.

Neves, M. C., “Supported Ionic Liquids for the Purification of Immunoglobulin Y (IgY)”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Supervisor. Started in February 2014.

Neves, C. M. S. S., “Characterization of Novel Reversible Ionic-Liquid-based Aqueous Biphasic Systems and their Use for Fractionation of Complex Mixtures”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Co-supervisor. Started in October 2015.

Madeira, P. P., “Development of a Cost-Effective kit for the Extraction and Preservation of RNA using Ionic Liquids”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Co-supervisor. Started in January 2016.

PhD students

Capela, E. V., “Purification of Monoclonal Antibodies (Immunoglobulin G, IgG) using Aqueous Biphasic Systems composed of Bio-based Ionic Liquids”. University of Aveiro, Portugal; Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Supervisor. Started in May 2017.

Dinis, T. V., “Development of Ionic-Liquid-based Supported Materials for the Purification of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA)”. University of Aveiro; Beira Interior University, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Supervisor. Started in October 2015.

Morais, E, “Deep Eutectic Solvents as Efficient Media for the Extraction of Polysaccharides in Biorefinery Processes”, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Co-Supervisor. Started in September 2017

Pedro, S.I.N., “Deep Eutectic Solvents as Acctive Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Biopolymer-based Drug Delivery Systems”, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Co-Supervisor. Started in September 2017

Belchior, D. C. V., “Development of new platforms for the concentration of cancer biomarkers”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Ciência sem Fronteiras Grant. Supervisor. Started in November 2015

Quental, M. V., “Purification of antibodies (Immunoglobulin Y, IgY) using aqueous biphasic systems composed of novel ionic liquids with buffering characteristics”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Supervisor. Started in October 2015.

Faria, E. L. P., “Extraction of Value-Added Compounds from Eucaliptus spp. with Ionic Liquids and their Solutions”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Ciência sem Fronteiras Grant. Supervisor. Started in December 2014.

Almeida, A. M. R., “Development of a Purification Platform for IgY using Ionic-Liquid-Based Systems”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. European Research Council (ERC) Grant. Supervisor. Started in February 2014.

Ferreira, A. M., “Purification of Monoclonal Antibodies using Ionic-Liquid-Based Aqueous Biphasic Systems”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Grant. Supervisor. Started in March 2014.

Bernardo, S. C. S., “Development of Purification Strategies for Polyclonal Antibodies”. University of Aveiro, Portugal. European Research Council (ERC) Grant. Supervisor. Started in March 2014.

Teaching Activity
Selected Publications
  1. Passos, H.; Costa, S. H.; Fernandes, A. M.; Freire, M. G.; Rogers, R. D.; Coutinho, J. A. P., “A Triple Salting-Out Effect is Required for the Formation of Ionic-Liquid-Based Aqueous Multiphase Systems”, Angew. Chem. Int. Edit. 56 (2017) 15058-15062. 
  2. e Silva, F. A.; Pereira, J. F. B.; Kurnia, K. A.; Ventura, S. P. M.; Silva, A. M. S.; Rogers, R. D.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “Temperature Dependency of Aqueous Biphasic Systems: an Alternative Approach for Exploring the Differences between Coulombic-dominated Salts and Ionic Liquids”, Chem. Commun. 53 (2017) 7298-7301.
  3. Ferreira, A. M.; Cláudio, A. F. M.; Valega, M.; Domingues, F. M. J.; Silvestre, A. J. D.; Rogers, R. D.; Coutinho, J.A.P.; Freire, M. G., “Switchable (pH-driven) aqueous biphasic systems formed by ionic liquids as integrated production-separation platforms”. Green Chem. 19 (2017) 2768-27773.
  4. Neves, C. M. S. S.; Silva, A. M. S.; Fernandes, A. M.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M.G., “Towards an Understanding of the Mechanisms behind the Formation of Liquid-Liquid Systems formed by Two Ionic Liquids”, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 8 (2017) 3015-3019.
  5. Ventura, S. P. M.; Silva, F. A.; Quental, M. V.; Mondal, D.; Freire, M. G.; Coutinho, J. A. P., “Ionic-Liquid-Mediated Extraction and Separation Processes for Bioactive Compounds: Past, Present, and Future Trends”, Chem. Rev. (2017) 6984-7052. 
  6. Capela, E. V.; Quental, M. V.; Domingues, P.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “Effective Separation of Aromatic and Aliphatic Amino Acids Mixtures using Ionic-Liquid-based Aqueous Biphasic Systems”, Green Chem. 19 (2017) 1850-1854.
  7.  Mondal, D.; Sharma, M.; Quental, M. V.; Tavares, A. P. M.; Prasad, K.; Freire, M. G., “Suitability of Bio-Based Ionic Liquids for the Extraction and Purification of IgG Antibodies”, Green Chem. 18 (2016) 6071-6081.
  8. Passos, H.; Luís, A.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “Thermoreversible (Ionic-Liquid-Based) Aqueous Biphasic Systems”, Sci. Rep. 6 (2016) Article number: 20276.
  9. Dinis, T. B. V.; Passos, H.; Lima, D. L. D.; Esteves, V. I.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “One-step Extraction and Concentration of Estrogens for an Adequate Monitoring of Wastewaters Using Ionic-Liquid-Based Aqueous Biphasic Systems”, Green Chem. 17 (2015) 2570–2579
  10. Taha, M.; Almeida, M. R.; Silva, F. A.; Domingues, P.; Ventura, S. P. M.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “Novel Biocompatible and Self-buffering Ionic Liquids for Biopharmaceutical Applications”, Chem. Eur. J. 21 (2015) 4781–4788.
  11. Passos, H.; Freire, M. G.; Coutinho, J. A. P., “Ionic liquid Solutions as Extractive Solvents for Value-Added Compounds from Biomass”, Green Chem. 16 (2014) 4786-4815.
  12. Cláudio, A. F. M.; Swift, L.; Hallett, J.; Welton, T.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “Extended Scale for the Hydrogen-Bond Basicity of Ionic Liquids”,  Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 16 (2014) 6593-6601.
  13. Pereira, J. F. B.; Rebelo, L. P. N.; Rogers, R. D.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Freire, M. G., “Combining Ionic Liquids and Polyethylene Glycols to Boost the Hydrophobic-hydrophilic Range of Aqueous Biphasic Systems”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15 (2013) 19580-19583.
  14. Freire, M. G.; Cláudio, A. F. M.; Araújo, J. M. M.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Marrucho, I. M.; Canongia Lopes, J. N.; Rebelo, L. P. N., “Aqueous Biphasic Systems: A Boost Brought About by using Ionic Liquids”, Chem. Soc. Rev. 41 (2012) 4966-4995.
  15. Tariq, M.; Freire, M.G.; Saramago, B.; Coutinho, J. A. P.; Canongia Lopes, J. N.; Rebelo, L. P. N., “Surface Tension of Ionic Liquids and Ionic Liquid Solutions”, Chem. Soc. Rev. 41 (2012) 829-868.
  16. Freire, M. G.; Pereira, J. F. B.; Francisco, M.; Rodríguez, H.; Rebelo, L. P. N.; Rogers, R. D.; Coutinho, J. A. P., “Insights into the Interactions that Control the Phase Behaviour of Novel Aqueous Biphasic Systems Composed of Polyethylene Glycols and Ionic Liquids”, Chem. Eur. J. 18 (2012) 1831-1839.
  17. Freire, M. G.; Neves, C. M. S. S.; Marrucho, I. M.; Canongia Lopes, J. N.; Rebelo, L. P. N.; Coutinho, J. A. P., “High-Performance Extraction of Alkaloids using Aqueous Two-Phase Systems with Ionic Liquids”, Green Chem. 12 (2010) 1715-1718.
  18. Freire, M. G.; Neves, C. M. S. S.; Carvalho, P. J.; Gardas, R. M.; Fernandes, A. M.; Marrucho, I. M.; Santos, L. M. N. B. F.; Coutinho, J. A. P., “Mutual Solubilities of Water and Hydrophobic Ionic Liquids”, J. Phys. Chem. B 111 (2007) 13082-13089.
  19. Freire, M. G.; Gomes, L.; Santos, L. M. N. B. F.; Marrucho, I. M., Coutinho, J. A. P., “Water Solubility in Linear Fluoroalkanes Used in Blood Substitute Emulsions”, J. Phys. Chem. B 110 (2006) 22923-22929.
  20. Freire, M. G.; Dias, A. M. A.; Coelho, M. A. Z.; Coutinho, J. A. P.;Marrucho, I. M., “Aging Mechanisms of Perfluorocarbon Emulsions using Image Analysis”, J. Colloid Interface Sci. 286 (2005) 224-232.
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