M. Helena Vasconcelos
Name: M. Helena Vasconcelos
E-mail: hvasconcelos@ipatimup.pt
Academic Degree: PhD

M. Helena Vasconcelos
M. Helena Vasconcelos
Member of

Short CV

M. Helena Vasconcelos is presently Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences of FFUP (Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto) and Leader of the Cancer Drug Resistance Group at i3S/IPATIMUP. She obtained her first degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from FFUP, Portugal (1991), an MSc in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1993) and a PhD from the Department of Chemistry, University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1996). She then moved to Ireland for a post-doctoral position as temporary Researcher at the University of Cork, which was followed by another post-doc position at IPATIMUP. She initiated her teaching career in 1999, while continuing her research career at IPATIMUP and later at i3S.

Helena's research focuses on the identification and validation of biomarkers and therapeutic targets to overcome drug resistance in cancer. She has been focusing on studying Extracellular Vesicles as a source of biomarkers of drug resistance and their role in the intercellular communication between tumour cells and between those cells and the tumour microenvironment. In addition, she studies the activity of approved drugs and novel small molecules to counteract drug resistance mechanisms. Her work has led to the validation of therapeutic targets and the identification of "hit" small molecules.

Helena has been the PI of national research grants and has served as referee of research projects for national and international funding agencies. She has been a member of numerous scientific and organizing committees of national and international Meetings, Conferences and Workshops. She is also an Editor of the journals "Cancers" and "Molecules". Helena has also been a Management Committee Substitute Member of COST Action BM1202 “European Network on Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease” and was Work Group Leader and Management Committee Member of COST Action CA17104 “New diagnostic and therapeutic tools against multidrug resistance tumors”. She was member of the Team, as Academic Consultant, of a COST Innovators Grant “Pan-European Educational Platform on Multidrug Resistant Tumours and Personalised Cancer Treatment - PANDORA". Helena is a co-coordinator of PNEV - Portuguese Network on Extracellular Vesicles.

She has supervised or co-supervised 9 PhD students who have successfully completed their degree and is currently supervising or co-supervising 8 other PhD students. She has successfully supervised or co-supervised 25 MSc students and is currently co-supervising 1 further MSc student. Helena has also guided 4 hired researchers at post-doctoral level, 7 researchers with post-doctoral grants and has trained numerous young researchers with initiation to research grants (BIs) or technician grants (BTI). She has published more than 125 peer-reviewed papers in international journals and 5 book chapters, having an h-index of 40. Researcher ID: J-9547-2013; ORCID: 0000-0002-7801-4643


Supervisor of
Carolina Castro, Visiting Researcher
Visiting Researcher
Patrícia Gonçalves, Master Student (theoretical phase)
MSc student
Bárbara Polónia, PhD Student
PhD student
Beatriz Matos, Visiting Researcher
Visiting Researcher
Catarina Rodrigues, PhD Student
Cristina Xavier, Collaborator
External Consultant
Francisca Carvalhal, PhD Student
PhD student
Helena Branco, PhD Student
PhD student
Matheus Lima, Research Trainee
Mélanie Barbosa, PhD Student
Rita Rebelo, PhD Student
PhD student
Sara Silva, PhD Student
PhD student

PI (running)

PI (closed)
First Author
1. Vasconcelos MH, Passirani C, Riganti C
2. Vasconcelos MH, Alcaro S, Arechavala-Gomeza V, Baumbach J, Borges F, Brevini TAL, Rivas JL, Devaux Y, Hozak P, Keinänen-Toivola MM, Lattanzi G, Mohr T, Murovska M, Prusty BK, Quinlan RA, Pérez-Sala D, Scheibenbogen C, Schmidt HHHW, Silveira I, Tieri P, Tolios A, Riganti C
Joining European Scientific Forces to Face Pandemics. Trends in microbiology 29: 92-97, 2021. [Editorial Material] 
3. Vasconcelos MH, Caires HR, Abols A, Xavier CPR, Line A
Extracellular vesicles as a novel source of biomarkers in liquid biopsies for monitoring cancer progression and drug resistance. Drug resistance updates : reviews and commentaries in antimicrobial and anticancer chemotherapy 47: 100647, 2019. [Review] 
Special Issue: New Approaches to Counteract Drug Resistance in Cancer. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 22: 1, 2016. [Editorial Material] 
5. Vasconcelos MH, Maia LF, Sousa C, Beleza SS, Guimarães JE
Evidence for a specific intracellular localization of an antisense oligonucleotide in k562 cells. Journal of pharmacological sciences 99: 105-8, 2005. [Article] 
 PMID: 16141637.
6. Vasconcelos MH, Beleza SS, Quirk C, Maia LF, Sambade C, Guimarães JE
 PMID: 10773404.
Senior Author
2. Xavier CPR, Belisario DC, Rebelo R, Assaraf YG, Giovannetti E, Kopecka J, Vasconcelos MH
The role of extracellular vesicles in the transfer of drug resistance competences to cancer cells. Drug resistance updates : reviews and commentaries in antimicrobial and anticancer chemotherapy 62: 100833, 2022. [Review] 
3. Xavier CPR, Castro I, Caires HR, Ferreira D, Cavadas B, Pereira L, Santos LL, Oliveira MJ, Vasconcelos MH
miRNAs mediated drug resistance in hematological malignancies. Seminars in cancer biology  , 2021. [Article - Epub ahead of print] 
5. Sousa D, Lima RT, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Gonzalez E, Royo F, Xavier CPR, Falcón-Pérez JM, Vasconcelos MH
6. Barbosa MAG, Xavier CPR, Pereira RF, Petrikaite V, Vasconcelos MH
7. Pinto V, Bergantim R, Caires HR, Seca H, Guimarães JE, Vasconcelos MH
9. Palmeira A, Sousa E, Köseler A, Sabirli R, Gören T, Türkçüer I, Kurt Ö, Pinto MM, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.3390/ph13060132 PMID: 32630514.
10. Sousa D, Matthiesen R, Lima RT, Vasconcelos MH
11. Assaraf YG, Brozovic A, Gonçalves AC, Jurkovicova D, Line A, Machuqueiro M, Saponara S, Sarmento-Ribeiro AB, Xavier CPR, Vasconcelos MH
The multi-factorial nature of clinical multidrug resistance in cancer. Drug resistance updates : reviews and commentaries in antimicrobial and anticancer chemotherapy 46: 100645, 2019. [Review] 
12. Teixeira A, DaCunha DC, Barros L, Caires HR, Xavier CPR, Ferreira ICFR, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.1039/c8fo02466a PMID: 31165800.
13. Pereira JM, Peixoto V, Teixeira A, Sousa D, Barros L, Ferreira ICFR, Vasconcelos MH
Achillea millefolium L. hydroethanolic extract inhibits growth of human tumor cell lines by interfering with cell cycle and inducing apoptosis. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association 118: 635-644, 2018. [Article] 
14. Magalhães DB, Castro I, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Pereira JM, Barros L, Ferreira ICFR, Xavier CPR, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.1039/c8fo00446c PMID: 29790547.
15. Bizarro A, Sousa D, Lima RT, Musso L, Cincinelli R, Zuco V, De Cesare M, Dallavalle S, Vasconcelos MH
16. Pereira JM, Peixoto V, Teixeira A, Sousa D, Barros L, Ferreira ICFR, Vasconcelos MH
Achillea millefolium L. hydroethanolic extract has phenolic compounds and inhibits the growth of human tumor cell lines Free radical biology & medicine 120: S145-S145, 2018. [Meeting Abstract] 
17. Castro I, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Xavier CPR, Vasconcelos MH
gamma-H2AX, CYP3A and CYP2J2 overexpression in a drug-resistant acute myeloid leukemia cell line Free radical biology & medicine 120: S84-S84, 2018. [Meeting Abstract] 
18. Magalhães DB, Castro I, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Pereira JM, Barros L, Ferreira ICFR, Xavier CPR, Vasconcelos MH
19. Teixeira A, DaCunha DC, Caires HR, Xavier CPR, Barros L, Ferreira ICFR, Vasconcelos MH
Eucalyptus globulus Labill. decoction extract inhibits the growth of human tumor cell lines Free radical biology & medicine 120: S144-S144, 2018. [Meeting Abstract] 
20. Lopes-Rodrigues V, Di Luca A, Mleczko J, Meleady P, Henry M, Pesic M, Cabrera D, van Liempd S, Lima RT, O'Connor R, Falcon-Perez JM, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.1038/srep44541 PMID: 28303926.
21. Lopes-Rodrigues V, Oliveira A, Correia-da-Silva M, Pinto M, Lima RT, Sousa E, Vasconcelos MH
22. Lopes-Rodrigues V, Sousa E, Vasconcelos MH
Curcumin as a Modulator of P-Glycoprotein in Cancer: Challenges and Perspectives. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland) 9: 1, 2016. [Review] 
 doi: 10.3390/ph9040071 PMID: 27834897.
23. Lopes-Rodrigues V, Di Luca A, Sousa D, Seca H, Meleady P, Henry M, Lima RT, O'Connor R, Vasconcelos MH
24. Xavier CP, Pesic M, Vasconcelos MH
Understanding Cancer Drug Resistance by Developing and Studying Resistant Cell Line Models. Current cancer drug targets 16: 226-37, 2016. [Article] 
 PMID: 26563882.
25. Lima RT, Sousa D, Paiva AM, Palmeira A, Barbosa J, Pedro M, Pinto MM, Sousa E, Vasconcelos MH
Modulation of Autophagy by a Thioxanthone Decreases the Viability of Melanoma Cells. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 21: 1343, 2016. [Article] 
26. Reis FS, Sousa D, Barros L, Martins A, Morales P, Ferreira IC, Vasconcelos MH
Leccinum vulpinum Watling induces DNA damage, decreases cell proliferation and induces apoptosis on the human MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association 90: 45-54, 2016. [Article] 
27. Pereira JM, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Xavier CP, Lima MJ, Lima RT, Ferreira IC, Vasconcelos MH
28. Lopes-Rodrigues V, Di Luca A, Sousa D, Seca H, Meleady P, Henry M, Lima RT, O'Connor R, Vasconcelos MH
Data supporting the shedding of larger extracellular vesicles by multidrug resistant tumour cells Data in Brief 6: 1023–1027, 2016. [Article; Data Paper] 
Special Issue: New Approaches to Counteract Drug Resistance in Cancer. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 22: 1, 2016. [Editorial Material] 
30. Reis FS, Morales P, Ferreira ICFR, Vasconcelos MH
Mushrooms as a Source of Compounds that Induce Programmed Cell Death in Tumour Cells Recent Progress in Medicinal Plants 43: ., 2016. [] 
31. Sousa D, T Lima R, Vasconcelos H
Intercellular Transfer of Cancer Drug Resistance Traits by Extracellular Vesicles Trends in molecular medicine  595-608, 2015. [Review] 
32. Reis FS, Lima RT, Morales P, Ferreira IC, Vasconcelos MH
Methanolic Extract of Ganoderma lucidum Induces Autophagy of AGS Human Gastric Tumor Cells. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 20: 17872-82, 2015. [Article] 
33. Lopes-Rodrigues V, Seca H, Sousa D, Sousa E, Lima RT, Vasconcelos MH
The network of P-glycoprotein and microRNAs interactions. International journal of cancer 135: 253-63, 2014. [Review] 
 doi: 10.1002/ijc.28500 PMID: 24122334.
34. Seca H, Lima RT, Almeida GM, Sobrinho-Simoes M, Bergantim R, Guimaraes JE, Vasconcelos MH
Effect of miR-128 in DNA Damage of HL-60 Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology 15: 492-502, 2014. [Article] 
 PMID: 24846063.
35. Oliveira M, Reis FS, Sousa D, Tavares C, Lima RT, Ferreira IC, Santos TD, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.1039/c4fo00258j PMID: 24892846.
36. Lima M. João, Sousa D, Lima RT, Carvalho Ana Maria, Ferreira I.C.F.R., Vasconcelos M H
37. Santos T, Oliveira M, Sousa D, Lima R T, Martins A, Ferreira I, Vasconcelos M H
38. Seca H, Lima RT, Vasconcelos MH
miRNAs in cancer drug resistance and drug sensitivity MicroRNAs: key regulators of oncogenesis. Editor: S. Babashah. Publisher: Springer International Publishing Switzerland  11, 2014. [] 
39. Seca H, Lima RT, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Guimaraes JE, Almeida GM, Vasconcelos MH
Targeting miR-21 Induces Autophagy and Chemosensitivity of Leukemia Cells. Current drug targets 14: 1135-43, 2013. [Article] 
 PMID: 23834154.
40. Queiroz MJ, Peixoto D, Calhelha RC, Soares P, Dos Santos T, Lima RT, Campos JF, Abreu RM, Ferreira IC, Vasconcelos MH
41. Santos T, Tavares C, Sousa D, Vaz J, Calhelha R C, Martins A, Almeida G M, Ferreira I, Vasconcelos M H
42. Lima RT, Seca H, Palmeira A, Fernandes MX, Castro F, Correia-da-Silva M, Nascimento MS, Sousa E, Pinto M, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.1111/cbdd.12109 PMID: 23350710.
43. Lima Raquel T., Nascimento M . S. José, Vasconcelos M. Helena
EBV-associated cancers: Strategies for targeting the virus Microbial pathogens and strategies for combating them: science, technology and education 3: 1608-1618, 2013. [] 
44. Vaz J A, Almeida G, Ferreira I C.F.R., Martins A, Vasconcelos M H
45. Vaz J, Ferreira I CFR, Tavares C, Almeida G M, Martins A, Vasconcelos M H
46. Lima RT, Busacca S, Almeida GM, Gaudino G, Fennell DA, Vasconcelos MH
MicroRNA regulation of core apoptosis pathways in cancer. European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990) 47: 163-74, 2011. [Review] 
47. Queiroz MJ, Calhelha RC, Vale-Silva LA, Pinto E, Almeida GM, Vasconcelos MH
49. Palmeira A, Sousa E, Fernandes MX, Pinto MM, Vasconcelos M H
Multidrug resistance reversal effects of aminated thioxanthones and interaction with cytochrome P450 3A4. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences 3: 31-45, 2011. [Article] 
50. Lima RT, Seca H, Brás S, Nascimento MS, Vasconcelos MH
 doi: 10.1159/000323627 PMID: 21540588.
51. Lima RT, Seca H, Soares P, Nascimento MS, Vasconcelos MH
EBV interferes with the sensitivity of Burkitt lymphoma Akata cells to etoposide. Journal of cellular biochemistry 112: 200-10, 2011. [Article] 
 doi: 10.1002/jcb.22920 PMID: 21069730.
52. Palmeira A, Paiva A, Sousa E, Seca H, Almeida GM, Lima RT, Fernandes MX, Pinto M, Vasconcelos MH
Insights into the in vitro antitumor mechanism of action of a new pyranoxanthone. Chemical biology & drug design 76: 43-58, 2010. [Article] 
53. Queiroz MJ, Calhelha RC, Vale-Silva LA, Pinto E, Lima RT, Vasconcelos MH
54. Seca H, Almeida GM, Guimarães JE, Vasconcelos MH
miR signatures and the role of miRs in acute myeloid leukaemia. European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990) 46: 1520-1527, 2010. [Review] 
Chemosensitization effects of XIAP downregulation in K562 leukemia cells. Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 18: 98-102, 2006. [Article] 
 PMID: 16572900.
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