Chemical Education

Gender Equality




Polymer Therapeutics & Drug and Gene Delivery


The latest research has been focused in the development of novel delivery systems for the controlled release of drugs (paclitaxel, doxorubicin, cis-platin) and genes (siRNA) using especially designed polymer-based nanodevices.

Undergoing research work targets the early detection of ovarian cancer.




PURE dots: fluorescent polyurea dendrimers



We reported for the first time the synthesis of polyurea dendrimers. Taking advantage of using carbon dioxide as a solvent and as a reagent (C1 feedstock), polyurea (PURE) dendrimers were synthesised in supercritical carbon dioxide using tris(2-aminoethyl)amine as a mononer.

The incorporation of CO2 in the dendrimer backbone produces polymer with a blue emission, which intensity was found to be pH dependent. PURE-type dendrimers are water-soluble and biocompatible, showing no cytotoxicity even at high concentrations, the major drawback of reported dendrimers (e.g. PAMAM-type). Moreover, PURE dendrimers were found to form dendriplexes with siRNA (PUREG4-siRNA), being able to perform its deliver to cells with high transfection efficacy and efficiently shutdown the expression of a specific gene. Also, the PUREG4-siRNA dendriplex dramatically decline cell oxidative stress and cytotoxicity of the carrier system even at high concentrations when compared with PUREG4.


We also reported for the first time that POxylated polyurea dendrimers (PUREG4-OOxs) are highly effective materials for the preparation of fluorescent, pH-responsive, and water-soluble core–shell nanocarriers with IC50 lowering capacity. A 100-fold reduction of the IC50 of paclitaxel (Taxol®) was achieved using this novel vectors.

POxylated polyurea dendrimers: Smart core-shell vectors with IC50 lowering capacity, R.B. Restani, J. Conde, R.F. Pires, P. Martins, A.R. Fernandes, P.V. Baptista, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, Macromol. Biosci. 2015, 15, 1045-1051.

Polyurea dendrimer for efficient cytosolic siRNA delivery, R.B. Restani, J. Conde, P.V. Baptista, M.T. Cidade, A.M. Bragança, J. Morgado, I.J. Correia, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, RSC Adv. 2014, 4, 54872-54878.

Biocompatible polyurea dendrimers with pH-dependent fluorescence, R.B. Restani, P.I. Morgado, M.P. Ribeiro, I.J. Correia, A. Aguiar-Ricardo, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 5162-5165; Angew. Chem. 2012, 124, 5252-5255. 






Natural melanin: a potential pH-responsive drug release device, M. Araujo, R. Viveiros, T.R. Correia, I.J. Correia, V.D.B. Bonifacio, T. Casimiro, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, Int. J. Pharm. 2014, 469, 140-145.

Development of functional mesoporous microparticles for controlled drug delivery, R.B. Restani, V.G. Correia, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, J. Supercrit. Fluid. 2010, 55, 333-339.




Engineered gold nanoparticles



Nanogold POxylation: Towards always-on fluorescent lung cancer targeting, A.S. Silva, M.C. Silva, S.P. Miguel, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, I.J. Correia, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*. RSC Adv. 2016, 6, 33631-33635.

Design of oligoaziridine-PEG coatings for efficient nanogold cellular biotagging, A.S. Silva, V.P. Raje, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, P.S. Branco, P.F.B. Machado, I.J. Correia, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, RSC Adv. 2015.






Sensors & Green Photovoltaics


The research developed in the last years has been dedicated to the synthesis of fluorescent polymer-based sensors. The undergoing research work is devoted to the synthesis of novel polymer architectures for the design of biomimetic solar cells (artifical leaves) and supercapacitors, and fullerene-based oxygen and temperature luminescent  sensors.




Detection of trace explosives and chemical weapons





Polyurea dendrimer-perylene self-imprinted nanoshells for trace explosives detection, A. Braganca, M. Araujo, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, Part. Part. Syst. Charact. 2015, 32, 98-103.

Ultrasensitive microchip sensor based on boron-containing polyfluorene nanofilms, C. Ribeiro*, P. Brogueira, G. Lavareda, C.N. Carvalho, A. Amaral, L. Santos, J. Morgado, U. Scherf, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, Bionsen. Bioelectron. 2010, 26, 1662-1665.

Polyfluorenes with on-chain dibenzoborole units - synthesis and anion-induced photoluminescence quenching, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, J. Morgado, U. Scherf, J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem. 2008, 46, 2878-2883.




Detection of intracellular zinc and copper Fluorescent polymer biotags




Dual on-off and off-on switchable oligoaziridine biosensor, V.P. Raje, P.I. Morgado, M.P. Ribeiro, I.J. Correia, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, P.S. Branco, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, Biosen. Bioelectron. 2013, 39, 64-69.

Blue emission of carbamic acid oligooxazoline biotags, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, V.G. Correia, M.G. Pinho, J.C. Lima, A. Aguiar-Ricardo*, Mat. Lett. 2012, 81, 205-208.




Detection of bisphenol A 


Supercritical CO2-assisted synthesis of an ultrasensitive amphibious quantum dot-molecularly imprinted sensor, A. Lourenço, R. Viveiros, A. Moro, J.C. Lima, V.D.B. Bonifacio*, T. Casimiro*, RSC Adv. 2014, 4, 63338-63341.




Detection of trace oxygen • Nano-termomethers









Projects as Principal Investigator

  • Just in time dendrimers. PTDC/CTM/099452/2008. Funding: € 102k.

  • Artificial leaves. EXPL/CTM-ENE/1502/2013. Funding: € 50k.

Projects as Investigator

  • Multifunctional nanomaterials for fluorescence imaging and sensing. RECI/CTM-POL/0342/2012.

  • NMR Net - National Facility for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance: from Molecular Structure and Dynamics to Protein Function, Cell Physiology, and Metabolomics. RECI/BBB-BQB/0230/2012.

  • Rethinking bacterial cell wall synthesis: a combined synthetic and enzymatic approach. PTDC/QEQ-QOR/2132/2012.

  • MarinatProd-XXI: Marine bacteria as a new source of bioactive compounds. PTDC/QUI-QUI/101813/2008.

  • CHEM4ALL – ICT tools for teaching chemistry to blinds and visually impaired students. RIPD/APD/109547/2009.

  • Development of molecular recognition-based materials using supercritical fluid technology. Application to chromatography, catalysis and extraction. PTDC/QUI-QUI/102460/2008.

  • Smart small-scale devices: systems for controlled delivery of bioactive molecules, cell expansion and for sensing cell environment. MIT-Pt/BS-CTRM/0051/2008.

  • ActivPOL - Development of oxazoline and aziridine-based antimicrobial polymers using supercritical carbon dioxide technology. PTDC/QUI/73939/2006.

  • BIOPOL on-off - Production of switchable biopolymer based release devices. PTDC/CTM/70513/2006.

  • UNIME - Unimolecular electronics. PTDC/FIS/72831/2006.

  • ARCOCELL - Specially designed materials and architectures for organic photovoltaic cells. POCI/CTM/64127/2006.

  • Photovoltaic cells based on conducting polymers and anthocyanins. POCTI/CTM/58767/2004.

  • Preparation of chiral aziridines of synthetic utility. POCTI/QUI/37373/2001.

  • Development of light activated pesticides. PRAXIS XXI/2/2.1/QUI/324/94.




[Spectroscopy] [Time Resolved Spectroscopy] [Microscopy] [Calorimetry] [Other]



[Organic Chemistry Laboratory@Chemistry Building]







2015-present IST/UL - Portugal

Green Chemistry, Sensors and Organic Electronics

Senior Investigator at Centro de Quimica-Fisica Molecular and Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, IST/Universidade de Lisboa.

2014-2015 IT - Portugal

Organic Electronics

Principal Investigator at Instituto de Telecomunicacoes Lisbon.





2012  MIT - USA

Polymer Therapeutics

Visiting Researcher in the Hammond Lab at Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.




2008-2013 FCT/UNL - Portugal

Sustainable Chemistry

Assistant Researcher and Invited Assistant Professor of the MIT-Portugal Program. Research work developed in the Aguiar-Ricardo Lab at REQUIMTE/Chemistry Department of FCT/UNL.



2008 IT/ITN - Portugal

Organic Photovoltaics

Post-doc researcher at Instituto de Telecomunicacoes Lisbon, in collaboration with Prof. Jorge Morgado and Dr. Ana Charas. Research work developed at  Campus Tecnológico e Nuclear, IST Pole of Loures (former Instituto de Tecnologia Nuclear).




2007-2008 IFP - Germany

Molecular Electronics

Post-doc at Institut fur Polymertechnologie - Bergische Universitat Wuppertal in collaboration with Prof. Ullrich Scherf.





2002-2006 FCT/UNL - Portugal
Organic Chemistry

PhD student at REQUIMTE/Chemistry Department of FCT/UNL under the supervision of Prof. S. Prabhakar and Prof. Ana M. Lobo.


1997-2000 ITQB/UNL - Portugal
Photochemistry and Photophysics

Young Researcher at ITQB/UNL under the supervision of Prof. Antonio Macanita.


1996 FCT/UNL - Portugal

Organic Chemistry
Trainee at the Chemistry Department of FCT/UNL under supervision of Prof. Joao Aires-de-Sousa, Prof. Ana M. Lobo and Prof. S. Prabhakar.




Copyright © 2001 by VDB Bonifacio. All rights reserved. Powered by QRandGO.