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Pharmaceutical Biology

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), especially for Gram negative organisms, is a major global public health threat. Every year, 25,000 Europeans die as a result of AMR. AMR also costs the EUR 1.5 billion annually, due to increased patent treatment and other societal factors. Among other issues, pathogen burden (exposures to acute or chronic infective agents) might enhance risks of cardiovascular diseases (a.o. Chlamydia pneumoniae), due to inappropriate therapy. Thus, novel approaches for explorations of anti-infectives are a necessity. 
We perform research and development of agents that have anti-infective activity, especially new mechanisms, that could impact resistance development or lead to drugs and formulations that could be used to combat organisms with multidrug resistance.
For the purpose of anti-infectives drug discovery we: 
  • explore phenotypic screening assays and follow-up target identification
  • explore the parvomes of terrestrial biomes, natural product libraries, synthetic and biogenic compounds, non-antibiotics, concomitant administrations
  • use the traditional way of lead refinement by synthesizing next generations of compounds, which we obtain via our collaborations with medicinal chemists
  • explore new modalities for preventing/treating infections by use of innovative formulations
We use:
  • laboratory/clinical strains of intracellular bacteria (Chlamydia spp.), microbial (planktonic/biofilms) cells, mammalian cells; in vivo models
  • high content screening; chemometrics; label free assaying; imaging; 3D printing etc.

Pia Vuorela received her M.Sc. (Pharm.) in 1988 from University of Helsinki, Finland. She got her Ph.D. in pharmacognosy from the University of Helsinki 1991 with the thesis entitled "Study on the isolation and chromatographic behaviour of coumarins from angelica (Angelica archangelica) roots" with the highest degree, laudatur. She became an adjunct professor in Pharmacognosy at the University of Helsinki in 1994. During ten years she setup her own research group in bioactivity screening, lectured in pharmaceutical microbiology, and was actively involved in building up the drug discovery and development center (nowadays Centre for Drug Research) at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. She has been professor in Pharmaceutical chemistry at Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, since August 2005.

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