Protein Biophysical Chemistry Group

Rui M. M. Brito

rmb pic

Associate Professor

PhD, PI, Group Leader

Email: rbrito@ci.uc.pt

Ph. (+351) 239 854 451

Fax (+351) 239 827 703

Rui M. M. Brito got his PhD in Biochemistry at Rice University, Houston, USA, in 1992, working on the characterization of protein-ligand interactions by NMR and other biophysical techniques. He then joined the group of Prof. Christopher Dobson at the University of Oxford, UK, for 2 years, working on protein folding and stability, before returning to Portugal. He is now a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry (Faculty of Science and Technology) of the University of Coimbra, and leader of the Structural and Computational Biology group at the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC). Additionally, he is in charge of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory of the Coimbra Chemistry Center and he is the national coordinator of the international volunteer computing platform Ibercivis.

His main research interests are:

  • protein structure, stability and folding: their relationship to function and pathology;
  • molecular mechanisms of amyloid formation;
  • protein-ligand interactions and rational drug design;

and in his group several methodological approaches are used, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence spectroscopy and computational methodologies such as molecular dynamics (MD) and molecular modelling.

Rui. M. M. Brito has supervised more than 30 undergraduate, Master and PhD students in Biological Chemistry and Biochemistry, which then moved to the industry in Portugal, or pursued further studies or scientific careers in Portugal or abroad. Moreover, he often participates in advanced training of young researchers through lecturing in MSc and PhD programs at the University of Coimbra and other Universities.

Selected Publications
  • Henriques, E.S, Brito, R.M.M., Soares, H., Ventura, S., de Oliveira, V.L., Parkhouse, R.M.E. (2011) "Modeling of the Toll-like receptor 3 and a putative Toll-like receptor 3 antagonist encoded by the African swine fever virus", Protein Sci. 20(2), pp. 247-255. 
  • Simões, C.J.V., Mukherjee, T., Brito R.M.M., Jackson, R.M. (2010) "Toward the Discovery of Functional Transthyretin Amyloid Inhibitors: Application of Virtual Screening Methods", J. Chem. Inf. Model. 50(10), pp. 1806-1820.
  • Rodrigues, J.R., Simões, C.J.V., Silva, C.G., Brito, R.M.M. (2010) "Potentially amyloidogenic conformational intermediates populate the unfolding landscape of transthyretin: insights from molecular dynamics simulations", Protein Sci. 19(2), 202-219.
  • Simões, C.J.V., Rivero, A., Brito, R.M.M. (2010). "Searching for Anti-Amyloid Drugs with the Help of Citizens: the “AMILOIDE” Project on the IBERCIVIS Platform". ERCIM News 82, 25-26.
  • Swain, M., Silva, C.G., Loureiro-Ferreira, N., Ostropytskyy, V., Brito, J., Riche, O., Stahl, F., Dubitzky, W., and Brito, R.M.M. (2010). "P-found: Grid-enabling distributed repositories of protein folding and unfolding simulations for data mining". Futur. Gener. Comp. Syst. 26(3), 424-433.
  • Pereira, M., Costa, V.S, Camacho, R., Fonseca, N.A., Simões, C., and Brito, R.M.M. (2009). "Comparative Study of Classification Algorithms Using Molecular Descriptors in Toxicological DataBases". Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics 5676, 121-132.
  • Camacho, R., Alves, A., Silva, C.G., and Brito, R.M.M. (2008) "On Mining Protein Unfoling Simulation Data with Inductive Logic Programming", Advances in Soft Computing 49, 175-179.
  • Correia, B. E., Loureiro-Ferreira, N., Rodrigues, J. R. and Brito, R. M. M. (2006). "A structural model of an amyloid protofilament of Transthyretin". Protein Sci. 15(1), 28-32.
  • Vaz, D. C., Rodrigues, J. R., Sebald, W., Dobson, C. M. and Brito, R. M. M. (2006). "Enthalpic and entropic contributions mediate the role of disulfide bonds on the conformational stability of Interleukin-4". Protein Sci. 15(1), 33-44.
  • Azevedo, P.J., Silva, C.G., Rodrigues, J.R., Loureiro-Ferreira, N. and Brito, R.M.M. (2005) "Detection of Hydrophobic Clusters in Molecular Dynamics Protein Unfolding Simulations Using Association Rules", Lecture Notes in Computer Sciences 3725, 329-337.
  • Berrar, D., Stahl, F., Silva, C.G., Brito, R.M.M, Dubitzky, W. (2005) "Towards data warehousing, mining of protein unfolding simulation data",  J. Clin. Monit. Comput. 15(4-5), pp. 307-317.
  • Brito, R.M.M., Dubitzky, W., Rodrigues, J.R. (2004) "Protein Folding and Unfolding Simulations: a New Challenge for Data Mining", OMICS 8(2), 153-166.
  • Brito, R. M. M., Damas, A. M., and Saraiva, M. J. S. (2003). "Amyloid Formation by Transthyretin: From Protein Stability to Protein Aggregation" (review). Current Medicinal Chemistry - Immun. Endoc. & Metab. Agents 3(4), 349-360.
  • Quintas, A., Vaz, D. C., Cardoso, I., Saraiva, M. J. M., and Brito, R. M. M. (2001). "Tetramer Dissociation and Monomer Partial Unfolding Precedes Protofibril Formation in Amyloidogenic Transthyretin Variants". J. Biol. Chem. 276(29), 27207-27213.
  • Shnyrov, V.L., Villar, E., Zhadan, G.G., Sanchez-Ruiz, J.M., Quintas, A., Saraiva, M.J.M., Brito, R.M.M. (2000) "Comparative Calorimetric Study of Non-amyloidogenic and Amyloidogenic Variants of the Homotetrameric Protein Transthyretin",  Biophys. Chem. 88(1-3), 61-67.