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 exploitation of furan derivatives as pro-reactive moieties in combination with the use of peptide nucleic acids (PNAs, a class of DNA mimics), coiled-coil peptides, and small molecules able to recognize specific secondary structures of DNA. These systems are exploited for the formation of interstrand crosslinks with target DNA and RNA sequences, for the suppression of aberrant genes or RNAs, for target identification, or the construction of supramolecular entities.
The aim of the research is the characterization and optimization of the geometries and reactivities of these derivatives to maximize their reaction efficiency.
The main research lines under investigation are:

  • optimization of the crossing toward a target DNA/RNA target, for therapeutic and target identification applications
  • realization of new methodologies for sequence-selective G4 and i-motif alkylation 
  • optimization of proximity-induced reactions exploiting peptides and PNAs

Key publications

  • 'Teaching photosensitizers a new trick: red light-triggered G-quadruplex alkylation by ligand co-localization'. Chem. Commun., 2021
  • 'A Peptide-Nucleic Acid Targeting miR-335-5p Enhances Expression of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) Gene with the Possible Involvement of the CFTR Scaffolding Protein NHERF1'. Biomedicines, 2021.
  • 'Direct plasmonic detection of circulating RAS mutated DNA in colorectal cancer patients'. Biosens. Bioelectron., 2020.
  • 'High Levels of Apoptosis Are Induced in the Human Colon Cancer HT-29 Cell Line by Co-Administration of Sulforaphane and a Peptide Nucleic Acid Targeting miR-15b-5p'. Nucleic Acid Ther., 2020.
  • 'Efficient cell penetration and delivery of peptide nucleic acids by an argininocalix [ 4 ] arene'. Sci. Rep., 2019.
  • ‘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).
  •  ‘Furan-PNA: a mildly inducible irreversible interstrand crosslinking system targeting single and double stranded DNA’. Chem. Commun., 2016. (PMID: 27147261).
  • ‘Combined Delivery of Temozolomide and Anti-miR221 PNA Using Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Induces Apoptosis in Resistant Glioma Cells’. Small, 2015. (PMID: 26395266).
  • ‘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).

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