Where Ideas Grow
M. Helena Vasconcelos
Group leader

M. Helena Vasconcelos is presently Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences of FFUP (Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto) and Leader of the Cancer Drug Resistance Group at i3S/IPATIMUP. She obtained her first degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from FFUP, Portugal (1991), an MSc in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1992) and a PhD from the Department of Chemistry, University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1996). She then moved to Ireland for a post-doctoral position as temporary Researcher at the University of Cork, which was followed by another post-doc position at IPATIMUP. She initiated her teaching career in 1999, while continuing her research career at IPATIMUP and latter at i3S.

Helena's research focuses on the identification and validation of biomarkers and therapeutic targets to overcome drug resistance in cancer. She has been focusing on studying Extracellular Vesicles as a source of biomarkers of drug resistance and their role in the intercellular communication between tumour cells and between those cells and the tumour microenvironment. In addition, she studies the activity of approved drugs and novel small molecules to counteract drug resistance mechanisms. Her work has led to the validation of therapeutic targets and the identification of "hit" small molecules.

Helena has been the PI of national research grants and has also served as referee of research projects for national and international funding agencies. She has been a member of numerous scientific and organizing committees of national and international Meetings, Conferences and Workshops. She is also an Editor of the journals "Cancers" and "Molecules". Helena has also been a Management Committee Substitute Member of COST Action BM1202 “European Network on Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease” and is currently Work Group Leader and Management Committee Member of COST Action CA17104 “New diagnostic and therapeutic tools against multidrug resistance tumors”. Helena is also a member of the Board of GEIVEX – Spanish Group of Innovation and Research in Extracellular Vesicles and a co-coordinator of PNEV - Portuguese Network on Extracellular Vesicles.

She has supervised or co-supervised 9 PhD students who have successfully completed their degree and is currently supervising or co-supervising 4 other PhD students. She has successfully supervised or co-supervised 18 MSc students and is currently supervising or co-supervising 3 further MSc students. Helena has also guided 4 hired researchers at post-doctoral level, 7 researchers with post-doctoral grants and has trained numerous young researchers with initiation to research grants (BIs) or technician grants (BTI). She has published 113 peer-reviewed papers in international journals, 2 peer-reviewed scientific papers in national (Portuguese) journals with referees and 4 book chapters, having over 10300 citations and an h-index of 32. Researcher ID: J-9547-2013; ORCID: 0000-0002-7801-4643

Selected Publications

Lopes-Rodrigues V., Di Luca A., Mleczko J., Meleady P., Henry M., Pesic M., Cabrera D., Van Liempd S., Lima R.T., O'Connor R., Falcon-Perez J.M., Vasconcelos M.H.,
Identification of the metabolic alterations associated with the multidrug resistant phenotype in cancer and their intercellular transfer mediated by extracellular vesicles. Scientific Reports7:, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 38] [IF: 4,1]
DOI: 10.1038/srep44541 SCOPUS: 85015308172.

Silva P.M.A., Ribeiro N., Lima R.T., Andrade C., Diogo V., Teixeira J., Florindo C., Tavares Á., Vasconcelos M.H., Bousbaa H.,
Suppression of spindly delays mitotic exit and exacerbates cell death response of cancer cells treated with low doses of paclitaxel. Cancer Letters394:33-42, 2017. [Journal: Article] [CI: 10] [IF: 6,5]
DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.02.024 SCOPUS: 85014640901.

Xavier C.P.R., Pesic M., Helena Vasconcelos M.,
Understanding cancer drug resistance by developing and studying resistant cell line models. Current Cancer Drug Targets16(3):226-237, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 14] [IF: 3]
DOI: 10.2174/1568009616666151113120705 SCOPUS: 84958952995.

Lopes-Rodrigues V., Di Luca A., Sousa D., Seca H., Meleady P., Henry M., Lima R.T., O'Connor R., Vasconcelos M.H.,
Multidrug resistant tumour cells shed more microvesicle-like EVs and less exosomes than their drug-sensitive counterpart cells. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects1860(3):618-627, 2016. [Journal: Article] [CI: 32] [IF: 4,7]
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2015.12.011 SCOPUS: 84953790097.

Sousa D., Lima R.T., Vasconcelos M.H.,
Intercellular Transfer of Cancer Drug Resistance Traits by Extracellular Vesicles. Trends in Molecular Medicine21(10):595-608, 2015. [Journal: Review] [CI: 81] [IF: 9,3]
DOI: 10.1016/j.molmed.2015.08.002 SCOPUS: 84942521471.

Oliveira A.S., Sousa E., Vasconcelos M.H., Pinto M.,
Curcumin: A natural lead for potential new drug candidates. Current Medicinal Chemistry22(36):4196-4232, 2015. [Journal: Article] [CI: 54] [IF: 3,5]
DOI: 10.2174/0929867322666151029104611 SCOPUS: 84960971101.

Freitas D.P., Teixeira C.A., Santos-Silva F., Vasconcelos M.H., Almeida G.M.,
Therapy-induced enrichment of putative lung cancer stem-like cells. International Journal of Cancer134(6):1270-1278, 2014. [Journal: Article] [CI: 46] [IF: 5,1]
DOI: 10.1002/ijc.28478 SCOPUS: 84891825186.

Lopes-Rodrigues V., Seca H., Sousa D., Sousa E., Lima R.T., Vasconcelos M.H.,
The network of P-glycoprotein and microRNAs interactions. International Journal of Cancer135(2):253-263, 2014. [Journal: Review] [CI: 46] [IF: 5,1]
DOI: 10.1002/ijc.28500 SCOPUS: 84900001904.

Seca H., Lima R.T., Lopes-Rodrigues V., Guimarães J.E., Almeida G.M., Vasconcelos M.H.,
Targeting miR-21 induces autophagy and chemosensitivity of leukemia cells. Current Drug Targets14(10):1135-1143, 2013. [Journal: Article] [CI: 78] [IF: 3,6]
DOI: 10.2174/13894501113149990185 SCOPUS: 84881353774.

Paiva A.M., Pinto R.A., Teixeira M., Barbosa C.M., Lima R.T., Vasconcelos M.H., Sousa E., Pinto M.,
Development of noncytotoxic PLGA nanoparticles to improve the effect of a new inhibitor of p53-MDM2 interaction. International Journal of Pharmaceutics454(1):394-402, 2013. [Journal: Article] [CI: 15] [IF: 3,8]
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2013.07.017 SCOPUS: 84884149481.