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Yeast Molecular Biology Lab


We are interested in the molecular mechanisms that allow some opportunistic yeast species to exploit the host and cause disease, with the goal of developing more effective disease prevention and treatment strategies.

Catarina Pimentel
Investigadora Auxiliar
PhD 2007, Universidade de Coimbra

Phone (+351) 214469624
Extension 69624




Research Interests

Using innovative and interdisciplinary approaches, we target the following research topics:

  • Crosstalk between metals and antifungal drugs 

Metals play a central role in host–pathogen interactions. We have found that metals also strongly affect the activity of antifungal drugs against medically important opportunistic fungi. Therefore, one of the main targets of our research is to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying metal-antifungal interactions and to evaluate whether they can be of relevance under particular medical settings.

  • Alternative antifungal drugs

As fungi are eukaryotic organisms, the development of new antifungals, nontoxic to the host, is a demanding task, which has greatly hindered the investment in new drugs. Our research addresses this issue and aims to advance antifungal drug development by (i) devising ways to prevent fungi from meeting metal needs; (ii) driving the synthesis of in-house made compounds combining known antifungals and metal-binding groups and (iii) searching for natural products of marine origin that function as antifungals and/or potentiate the activity of current antifungal drugs

  • New diagnostic tools

There is an urgent need to develop rapid diagnostics, enabling real-time identification of fungal pathogens and antimicrobial resistances directly from biological samples. Such tools would allow clinicians to determine drug administration in a matter of hours, rather than days (as it currently stands). We have recently set up two alternative diagnostic tests based on simple, rapid and inexpensive RT-LAMP and RT-PCR assays capable of discriminating SARS-CoV-2 variants from saliva samples we are currently extending the developed methodologies to detect drug resistant infections.


Group Members


  • Catarina Amaral, PhD Researcher

  • Sofia da Silva, PhD Researcher

  • Andreia Dóris Pedras, PhD student

  • Cláudia Malta Luís, PhD Student

  • Diana Grilo, MSc student

  • Gonçalo Afonso, BI fellow

  • Inês Morais, BI fellow

  • Teresa Pissarro, BI fellow


  • Ana Carolina Gaspar Cordeiro, PhD


Selected Publications

  1. Gaspar-Cordeiro, A; Afonso, G; Amaral, C; da Silva, S; Pimentel, C. “Zap1 is required for Candida glabrata response to fluconazole”. FEMS Yeast Research, 22 1 (2022):

  2. Amaral, C; Vicente, C; Caetano, S; Gaspar-Cordeiro, A; Yang, Y; Cloetens, P; Romão, CV.; Rodrigues-Pousada, C; Pimentel, C. "An Internal Promoter Drives the Expression of a Truncated Form of CCC1 Capable of Protecting Yeast from Iron Toxicity". Microorganisms 9 6 (2021): 1337.

  3. Amaral, Catarina; Antunes, Wilson; Moe, Elin; Duarte, Américo G.; Lima, Luís M. P.; Santos, Cristiana; Gomes, Inês L., Gonçalo S Afonso , Ricardo Vieira , Helena Sofia S Teles, Marisa S Reis, Manuel A Ramalho da Silva, Ana Margarida Henriques, Miguel Fevereiro, M Rita Ventura, Mónica Serrano, Catarina Pimentel. "A molecular test based on RT-LAMP for rapid, sensitive and inexpensive colorimetric detection of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical samples". Scientific Reports 11 1 (2021): 10.1038/s41598-021-95799-6

  4. Gaspar-Cordeiro, A.; da Silva, S.; Aguiar, M.; Rodrigues-Pousada, C.; Haas, H.; Lima, L. M. P.; Pimentel, C.. "A copper(II)-binding triazole derivative with ionophore properties is active against Candida spp.". JBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry 25 8 (2020): 1117-1128. 01828-6. 10.1007/s00775-020-01828-6


Laboratory's Website

For further information visit the laboratory's website (available soon)


Biologia Molecular de Leveduras (PT)

O nosso grupo está interessado em compreender os mecanismos moleculares que permitem que algumas leveduras oportunistas explorem o hospedeiro e causem doença. O nosso objectivo é contribuir para o desenvolvimento de estratégias mais eficazes na prevenção e tratamento de doenças fúngicas.


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