Amanda Ribeiro Guimaraes

Amanda Ribeiro Guimaraes

Oraingo lanpostua / Puesto actual

I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie post-doctorate researcher fellow at the Departamento de Química Orgánica I, Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU).

Nire Europako proiektua / Mi proyecto europeo

My MSCA project aims to study via computational chemistry methods the reaction mechanism between the DNA and an anticancer drug candidate (synthetized in our lab) as well as to understand the structural damage that this molecule is able to provoke in the DNA’s double helix. The administration of DNA-damaging molecules consists one of the most useful chemotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer. Those molecules react with the DNA to form complexes named crosslinks, which are able to cause irreversible damage in the DNA structure, which triggers a series of events that results in the cancer cell death.

The computational chemistry methods based on quantum mechanics and molecular modelling constitute key tools for a better understanding of DNA damage as the structures of the distorted crosslinks are quite challenging to be experimentally obtained.

Formakuntza eta ikerketa-ibilbidea/Formación académica y trayectoria investigadora

I obtained my PhD (2018) and Master’s degree (2013) at São Carlos Institute of Chemistry, University of São Paulo (IQSC-USP) in Brazil. My research was focused on the on the generation, the contraction and the polarization of Gaussian basis sets (mathematic functions) for atomic and molecular calculations. Currently, I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie researcher fellow working on the in silico investigation of molecules with great potential to act as a chemotherapeutic agent to treat cancer. My research activities has been developed at the University of the Basque Country in Donostia/San Sebastián from June 2021.

Ikerketan aritzeko motibazioa/Mi motivación para dedicarme a la investigación

I am in love with science since I was little. The science lessons at school always grabbed my full attention especially in the Chemistry and Biology classes. I remember the first time my teacher told us about the fascinate DNA double helix structure. Luckily, I had excellent science teachers committed to find the best way explain the challenging topics and clarify our doubts.

The positive influence of my teachers encourage me to choose the scientific career without a second thought. As a researcher, I feel as if I am a child solving a puzzle that always gives me good grasps of the nature every time when I place the right pieces on the right place. 

Aritzen naizen taldea eta ikerketa-lerroak/Grupo y líneas de investigación que desarrollo

I work at the Bioorganic Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry and Molecular Modelling (QBQSMM) research group at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).

My research line is called Theoretical Chemistry, which is a field that uses computational tools to understand chemical phenomena.  My research activities consists in obtain molecular properties through simulations using computational codes designed to perform classical and quantum mechanics calculations.

Europako proiektuaren testuinguruan garatzen ari zaren ikerketa-ildoa / Línea de investigación que estás desarrollando en el contexto del proyecto europeo

The computational study that I am carrying out as MSCA fellow considers two main approaches:

The study of the reaction between a DNA nitrogenous basis and the drug candidate through a quantum mechanics (QM) method to calculate the energies involved in the chemical reaction. This gives us the insights into the easiest (less energetic) reaction pathway that the reagents take to form the transitions structures and the products.

We are also performing Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. MD is a computational method that uses the Newton’s equation of motion to calculate the evolution of a system in time. This technique has helped us to understand the structural changes that the drug candidate causes in the DNA’s double helix.

Nire ikerketa-ibilbidean aipatzen dut…/En mi trayectoria investigadora destaco…

My work as a researcher gave the opportunity experience different countries and their cultures while attending meeting, conferences and short courses. I had the privilege to meet and work with fabulous people who taught me not only science but also many lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Etorkizunari begira/Mirando al futuro

The MSCA fellowship constitutes a significant starting point in my professional development, as my ambition for the future is to start my own research group and to provide my students with an interdisciplinary research environment in the theoretical chemistry field. Albeit based in Europe, I am also keen on collaborating with the Federal University of Maranhão – where I studied Industrial Chemistry at undergraduate level – by developing projects focused on the theoretical chemistry field, as a way to contribute to the improvement of scientific research in the Brazilian state of Maranhão.