A chelator is a molecule or anion that has the capacity to bind a metal ion through at least two coordinate bonds. The chemical entity that is formed upon chelation is designated a metal-chelate. Chelation is the chemical tool generally used in Life to bind metal ions to biomolecules, namely proteins and nucleic acids, as well as to uptake and/or deliver metal ions.
CHEL2LIFE - Chelators to Life Sciences - is the research laboratory led by Maria Rangel, a multidisciplinary group hosted at LAQV@REQUIMTE, and located at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of FCUP. Maria Rangel is an Associate Professor at Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas de Abel Salazar of University of Porto.
Maria Rangel is a Bioinorganic Chemist whose domains of specialization are Inorganic and Physical Chemistry and that has large experience in the fields of Coordination Chemistry and Spectroscopy. Since her Ph. D. has worked in the area of coordination chemistry and has acquired expertise in synthesis and characterization of transition metal complexes. She has developed a strong theoretical and experimental expertise on EPR Spectroscopy and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy and a good experience on other spectroscopic methods like NMR, UV/VIS, FTIR and MS which have been used mostly as characterization tools.
Her research interests are centered in Bioinorganic Chemistry and the research focus is on the design of molecules that may be of use in novel therapeutic strategies to fight Infection, Iron Overload and Diabetes. The first two are related with a particular interest in Iron Biology and the third with the potential insulin-like effect of Zinc and Vanadium complexes. The design of metal ion chelators is the common factor. In the first two diseases the drug is the chelator itself while in the third the drug is a metal-chelate. The labelling of chelators with molecules that allow visualization of their pathways within the cell and the study of their interaction with biological membranes by means of spectroscopic methods is a fascinating and relevant area for the development of new drugs. The work in this area has led to the development of metal ion sensors for analytical application.
More recently her interest in Fe Biology has been extended to Plant Nutrition and to the development of Fe sensing methods.