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MMBio - Marie Curie Training Network

Enrico Cadoni


I studied Pharmacy at “La Sapienza” University of Rome, where I took my MSc in October 2017, under the supervision of Prof. Antonello Mai. During my studies I was fascinated by medical and chemical subjects, from medicinal chemistry to pharmacology, and particularly those subjects focussing on the application of chemistry in medically relevant problems. Thanks to the Erasmus+ project I had the chance to carry out a master’s thesis in medicinal chemistry abroad, at the University of Lisbon, in the research group “iMed” coordinated by Prof. Rui Moreira and under the supervision of Prof. Alexandra Paulo. Here I synthesized and biologically evaluated new DNA G-Quadruplex (G4) ligands with anti-cancer activity, based on pyridine-2,6-dicarboxamide structure. The capacity of the compounds to induce and stabilize G4 structure was evaluated with biophysical and biochemical tests, based respectively on FRET melting assay and a PCR stop assay, on therapeutically relevant G4-forming sequences (c-Myc, k-Ras, human telomere…).
This experience brought me to apply for the position within the MMbio training network, with the hope to gain interesting results from the therapeutic point of view which I have never lost sight of.

Training and Transferable Skills:

  • Organic Synthesis
  • Flash Chromatography
  • PCR
  • Electrophoresis
  • FRET Melting assay
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and spectrum analysis
  • Solid-Phase Synthesis

Research Projects:
Within the past few years the interest on “biological” drugs has become more and more relevant for the future therapies, considering the large number of diseases that could be targeted in a precise and more secure way through oligonucleotide based strategies. My PhD research will explore the synthesis of oligonucleotides and their functionalization in order to obtain higher therapeutic efficacies. In fact, one of the main challenges to make this family of compounds relevant as therapeutics, is the delivery of these molecules inside the cell and the cellular nucleus, while avoiding degradation by cellular enzymes. On the other hand the high affinity binding to certain relevant nucleic acid targets can be enhanced by the introduction of crosslinking moieties able to covalently capture the target of interest. My research project will be focusing on these two topics.


Duarte, A. R., Cadoni, E., Ressurreição, A. S., Moreira, R. and Paulo, A. (2018), Design of Modular G-quadruplex Ligands. ChemMedChem 13(9), 869-893. Read online