dr. Alex Manicardi (PhD)

CRIG member
Alex Manicardi

Postdoctoral researcher - Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry Research group (OBCR) (UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Annemieke Madder (PhD)


Research focus

My research is focused on the optimization of the use of furan as pro-reactive moiety to be exploited in the formation of interstrand crosslink with target DNA and RNA in order to strengthen the suppression of aberrant genes or RNAs.
In particular, my research is focused on the application of this chemistry in combination with the use of peptide nucleic acids (PNAs), a DNA mimic, for target recognition and discrimination.
The aim of the research is to characterize and optimize the geometries of the reactive units in order to maximize the crosslink efficiency.
Two main research lines are actually under investigation:

  • optimization of the crossing toward a target DNA/RNA target, for therapeutic applications, and
  • the optimization of a PNA-PNA crosslink using target DNA/RNA as a template, for the realization of diagnostic tools.

Key publications

  • ‘A Peptide Nucleic Acid against MicroRNA miR-145-5p Enhances the Expression of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) in Calu-3 Cells’. Molecules, 2017. (PMID: 29286300).
  • ‘Combined Delivery of Temozolomide and Anti-miR221 PNA Using Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Induces Apoptosis in Resistant Glioma Cells’. Small, 2015. (PMID: 26395266).
  • ‘Modulation of the Biological Activity of microRNA-210 with Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNAs)’. ChemMedChem, 2011, (PMID: 22012891).
  • ‘C(5) modified uracil derivatives showing antiproliferative and erythroid differentiation inducing activities on human chronic myelogenous leukemia K562 cells’. Eur. J. Pharmacol., 2011. (PMID: 21958870).
  • ‘Peptide nucleic acids targeting miR-221 modulate p27Kip1 expression in breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells’. Int. J. Oncol. 2012. (PMID: 22992757).
  • ‘Peptide nucleic acids targeting β-globin mRNAs selectively inhibit hemoglobin production in murine erythroleukemia cells’. Int. J. Mol. Med. 2014. (PMID: 25405921).
  • ‘Uptake by human glioma cell lines and biological effects of a peptide-nucleic acids targeting miR-221’. J. Neurooncol., 2014. (PMID: 24595467).
  • ‘Label-free DNA biosensor based on a peptide nucleic acid-functionalized microstructured optical fiber-Bragg grating’. J. Biomed. Opt., 2013. (PMID: 23698322).
  • ‘Cellular Uptakes, Biostabilities and Anti-miR-210 Activities of Chiral Arginine-PNAs in Leukaemic K562 Cells’. ChemBioChem, 2012. (PMID: 22639449).
  •  ‘Furan-PNA: a mildly inducible irreversible interstrand crosslinking system targeting single and double stranded DNA’. Chem. Commun., 2016. (PMID: 27147261).


Contact & links

  • Lab address: Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry, Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry Research group (OBCR), Faculty of Sciences - Ghent University, Campus Sterre, Krijgslaan 281 S4
  • Linkedin 
  • Researchgate 
  • OrcID 
  • Alex Manicardi is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks