Iola Melissa Fernandes Duarte

Principal Researcher

Short CV

Iola F. Duarte is currently a Principal Researcher in the field of cell metabolism and metabolomics at CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro (UA). She studied Biochemistry & Food Chemistry at the University of Aveiro, and received her Ph.D degree in Chemistry from the same University in 2003. After working as a post-doctoral fellow in joint projects between CICECO-UA and Imperial College London (2003-2006) / Faculty of Medicine-University of Coimbra (2006-2007), she became assistant researcher at CICECO-UA, under the FCT program Ciência 2007. Since 2015, she has held the position of Principal Researcher at the same institution, under the programs Investigador FCT 2014 (IF/01439/2014) and CEEC Individual 2018 scientific employment stimulus (CEECIND/02387/2018), having been awarded a permanent contract at UA in 2020. 

I.F. Duarte published over 95 papers, 75% in Q1 Journals, with > 3800 citations (h-index 37, source: Scopus). She is also (co)author of 10 book chapters and over 150 conference abstracts (of which 17 were published in SCI Journals). Additionally, I.F. Duarte has delivered 25 talks by invitation, 10 at International conferences and 15 at National meetings, and 10 oral communications (call for participation) at International meetings. She has coordinated 6 research projects with competitive funding and has participated as team member in 13 other projects. She has been a UA representative in a Collaboration Agreement with Bruker BioSpin and in two European Inter-Laboratory Comparisons (2014, 2016). I.F. Duarte has supervised 3 post-doctoral researchers, 10 PhD students (4 ongoing), 21 MSc students (4 ongoing), 19 undergraduates and 5 Scientific Initiation grantees. She has also hosted 8 researchers/students from foreign Universities (e.g., within the Erasmus+ Programme) and she has been awarded an Invited Professor position at the University of Bari to teach a Metabolomics Course (Oct-Nov 2019). Additionally, I.F. Duarte has been active in organizing scientific events, participating in Juris and evaluation panels, acting as Guest Editor, Editorial Board member and Reviewer for several Journals and promoting science dissemination. In 2021, she has been honored in the 3rd edition of the book 'Mulheres na Ciência' (Women in Science) by 'Ciência Viva', the national agency for scientific and technological culture.

Scientific Interests

- Metabolic rewiring and modulation of innate immune cells in the context of chronic inflammation.

- Tumour metabolism and metabolic interactions in the tumour microenvironment.

- Anti-cancer and immunomodulatory activity of phytochemicals and nanomaterials. 

- NMR spectroscopy and metabolomics.

Present Research Group

PhD students: Ana Sofia Dias, Beatriz Ferreira, Matias Cardoso, Tatiana Silva

MSc students: Bruna Vasques, Cristiana Tomaz, Diogo Lopes, Kalie Koroma


Teaching Activity

Biomoléculas, First Degree in Biomedical Sciences, Department of Medical Sciences, UA.

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

Bioquímica e Biofísica, First Degree in Nursing, ESSUA, UA.

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

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

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

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

R&D projects

Principal Investigator (PI)

- ATHEROFIT: Phytochemical-based metabolic immunomodulation to prevent/attenuate particulate matter-mediated atherosclerosis, Ref. OHM-Estarreja/2019-2128, 2019-2021, financing: LabEx DRIIHM, Device for Interdisciplinary Research on Human-Environments Interactions.

- Impact of silk-based nanomedicines on the cellular metabolome, Ref. 12101 DD1720 RDF Grant 1715, 2016-2018, 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.

- Metabolomic study of lung cancer: metabolic signatures in tissues and biofluids, Ref. CIMAGO 04/12, 2013-2015, financing: CIMAGO, Faculty of Medicine of Coimbra (FMUC), PT.

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

- 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

-  BIOIMPLANT: A Metabolomics-guided Bioreactor for Improved Bone Engineered Implants, Ref. POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031498, 2018-2021, financing: FCT.

- HOTsPOT: Novel upconversion nanoparticles for multimodal therapy of melanoma: photothermal therapy, photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy, Ref. POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031794, 2018-2021, financing: FCT.

- REFINECYANO: Using biorefinery to value cyanobateria pigments, Ref. POCI-01-0145-FEDER-030914, 2018-2021, financing: FCT.

- Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine, Ref. SCT-2011-02-030-4872, 2013-2015, financing: PORC-MaisCentro.

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

- Search for new markers of therapy response in lung cancer, Ref. CIMAGO 03/12, 2013-2015, funding CIMAGO (FMUC), PT.

- 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.

- 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

Calmeiro J, Mendes L, Duarte IF, Leitão C, Tavares AR, Ferreira DA, Gomes C, Serra J, Falcão A, Cruz MT, Carrascal MA, Neves BM. In-Depth Analysis of the Impact of Different Serum-Free Media on the Production of Clinical Grade Dendritic Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy. Frontiers in Immunology 2021, 11:593363.

Guerra ÂR, Soares BIG, Freire CSR, Silvestre AJD, Duarte MF, Duarte IF. Metabolic Effects of a Eucalyptus Bark Lipophilic Extract on Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Nontumor Breast Epithelial Cells. Journal of Proteome Research 2021, 20(1):565-575.

Guerra ÂR, Paulino AF, Castro MM, Oliveira H, Duarte MF, Duarte IF. Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Breast Epithelial Cells Differentially Reprogram Glucose and Lipid Metabolism upon Treatment with Triterpenic Acids. Biomolecules 2020, 10(8):1163.

Conde TA, Mendes L, Gaspar VM, Mano JF, Melo T, Domingues MR, Duarte IF. Differential Modulation of the Phospholipidome of Proinflammatory Human Macrophages by the Flavonoids Quercetin, Naringin and Naringenin. Molecules 2020, 25(15):3460.

Cicuéndez M, Fernandes M, Ayán-Varela M, Oliveira H, Feito MJ, Diez-Orejas R, Paredes JI, Villar-Rodil S, Vila M, Portolés MT, Duarte IF. Macrophage inflammatory and metabolic responses to graphene-based nanomaterials differing in size and functionalization. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 2020, 186:110709.

Mendes LF, Gaspar VM, Conde TA, Mano JF, Duarte IF. Flavonoid-mediated immunomodulation of human macrophages involves key metabolites and metabolic pathways. Scientific Reports 2019, 9(1):14906.

Totten J, Wongpinyochit T, Carrola J, Duarte IF, Seib FP. PEGylation-dependent metabolic rewiring of macrophages with silk fibroin nanoparticles. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2019, 11(16):14515-14525.

Dias AS, Almeida CR, Helguero LA, Duarte IF. Metabolic crosstalk in the breast cancer microenvironment. European Journal of Cancer 2019, 121:154-171.

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.

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.

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.


main active international collaborations

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

- Ciro Leonardo Pierri, Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.

- Elena Ciani, Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.

- Eneida de Paula, Department of Biochemistry and Tissue Biology, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brasil.

- Gustavo Goldman, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil.

- María Teresa Portolés, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.

- Raquel Moral Cabrera, Department of Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

- Peter Hoet, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Belgium.

Ongoing Supervisions


A Metabolomics-guided Bioreactor for Improved Engineered Bone Implants (BioImplant)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

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

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
biofluids metabonomics NMR spectroscopy pregnancy

ASTHMA: Future asthma management helped by non-evasive sampling: contributes for the definition of a rapid and non-evasive diagnostic tool (PTDC/QUI-QUI/117803/2010)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Asthma Non-invasive sampling Chromatographic and 1H NMR-based methodologies Metabolomic patterns

Biochemical characterization of stomach, endometrial and lung tumor tissues by high resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy (CIMAGO 14/06)

CoordinatorOther National

Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine (CENTRO-07-0924-FEDER-002030)

PartnerOther National

Eucalyptus triterpenic biological activity (PTDC/AGR-FOR/3187/2012)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Eucalyptus spp Ionic Liquids Antitumoral Activity Metabolomics

HOTsPOT - Novel upconversion nanoparticles for multimodal therapy of melanoma: pHOtothermal Therapy, PhOtodynamic therapy and chemoTherapy (HOTsPOT)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
MOTIVATION: Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and one of the most challenging malignancies to treat with a steeply rising incidence and a poor prognosis in advanced stages. Conventional clinical treatment of melanoma often fails in tumor complete eradication, due to the low response rates to single therapies, chemotherapy side ...


PartnerIndustry National
ILLIANCE Agenda embodies a complex ecosystem of integrated projects which aims at addressing the goal of carbon neutrality of the buildings sector, which represents 40% of global CO2 emissions. The adopted approach adopted is based on the development of complementary technologies associated with 3 core pillars, i.e.: health, comfort and...

Impact of silk-based nanomedicines on the cellular metabolome (12101 DD1720 RDF - Grant 1715)

Local CoordinatorOther International

Implantable scaffolds for local osteo-sarcoma chemotherapy (PTDC/SAU-BEB/66896/2006)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Osteosarcoma Implantable drug scaffolds Cyclodextrin-templated silicates Molecular capsules

Metabolic profiling and biochemical differentiation of human lung tumours by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods (PTDC/QUI/68017/2006)

CoordinatorFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Lung cancer Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Metabolic profiling Multivariate analysis (MVA)

Metabolic profiling: a novel tool for evaluation of the toxicological and biological effects of nanomaterials (PTDC/SAU-TOX/120953/2010)

CoordinatorFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
metabolic profiling and metabonomics silver nanoparticles toxicological and biological effects nanotoxicology

Metabolite-activated 3D stem cell differentiation into bone (BetterBone)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Strategies involving mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) osteogenic differentiation have emerged as promising tools in regenerative medicine. These work by either promoting in situ regeneration, or through newly-fabricated tissue grafts, potentially overcoming clinical complications related to more conventional therapies. However, bioengineered ...

Metabolomic study of lung cancer: metabolic signatures in tissues and biofluids (CIMAGO 04/12)

CoordinatorOther National

Metabolomics analyses for the identification of a set of biomarkers of apoptosis (H92H18000160006)

Local CoordinatorOther International

Phytochemical-based metabolic immunomodulation to prevent/attenuate particulate matter-mediated atherosclerosis (ATHEROFIT)

CoordinatorOther International
Exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. ATHEROFIT aims at preventing and/or attenuating air pollution-mediated atherosclerosis via phytochemical-based metabolic immunomodulation. Samples of PM2.5 will be collected at Estarreja air quality station using reference gravimetr...

Search for new markers of therapy response in lung cancer (CIMAGO 03/12)

Local CoordinatorOther National

Using biorefinery to value cyanobacteria pigments (REFINECYANO)

PartnerFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia


Metabolic Reprogramming of Breast Tumor-Educated Macrophages Revealed by NMR Metabolomics

Dias, AS; Almeida, CR; Helguero, LA; Duarte, IF
2023, CANCERS, 15, 4.

Metabolomics Insights into the Differential Response of Breast Cancer Cells to the Phenolic Compounds Hydroxytyrosol and Luteolin

Garcia-Guasch, M; Escrich, E; Moral, R; Duarte, IF
2023, MOLECULES, 28, 9.

Biological Impact of Organic Extracts from Urban-Air Particulate Matter: An In Vitro Study of Cytotoxic and Metabolic Effects in Lung Cells

Silva, TD; Alves, C; Oliveira, H; Duarte, IF

Exercise training impacts skeletal muscle remodelling induced by metabolic syndrome in ZSF1 rats through metabolism regulation

Nogueira-Ferreira, R; Santos, I; Ferreira, R; Fontoura, D; Sousa-Mendes, C; Falcao-Pires, I; Lourenço, AP; Leite-Moreira, A; Duarte, IF; Moreira-Gonçalves, D

PM2.5 chemical composition and health risks by inhalation near a chemical complex

Alves, C; Evtyugina, M; Vicente, E; Vicente, A; Rienda, IC; de la Campa, AS; Tomé, M; Duarte, I

Comparative Metabolomics Study of the Impact of Articaine and Lidocaine on the Metabolism of SH-SY5Y Neuronal Cells

da Silva, GHR; Mendes, LF; de Carvalho, FV; de Paula, E; Duarte, IF
2022, METABOLITES, 12, 7.

Endo- and Exometabolome Crosstalk in Mesenchymal Stem Cells Undergoing Osteogenic Differentiation

Bispo, DSC; Michalkova, L; Correia, M; Jesus, CSH; Duarte, IF; Goodfellow, BJ; Oliveira, MB; Mano, JF; Gil, AM
2022, CELLS, 11, 8.

H-1 NMR Profiling of Honey Bee Bodies Revealed Metabolic Differences between Summer and Winter Bees

Lee, S; Kalcic, F; Duarte, IF; Titera, D; Kamler, M; Mrna, P; Hyrsl, P; Danihlik, J; Dobes, P; Kunc, M; Pudlo, A; Havlik, J
2022, INSECTS, 13, 2.

Macrophage-targeted shikonin-loaded nanogels for modulation of inflammasome activation

Cardoso, M; Gaspar, VM; Ferreira, C; Silvestre, R; Duarte, IF; Mano, JF

Metabolic composition of the cyanobacterium Nostoc muscorum as a function of culture time: A 1H NMR metabolomics study

Macario, IPE; Veloso, T; Romao, J; Goncalves, FJM; Pereira, JL; Duarte, IF; Ventura, SPM

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