Ana Preto

People Detail

Address : Department of Biology, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, Braga

Phone Number : 253601524

Research Area : Biodiversity

Position : Integrated members


Ana Preto is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology and senior researcher at CBMA in the University of Minho, and Consultant Researcher at IPATIMUP/i3S. She graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Faculty of Pharmacy in 1998 and completed her PhD in Human Biology by the Faculty of Medicine in 2004, both at the University of Porto. Ana Preto was a PhD student of the PhD Program GABBA and performed the PhD in IPATIMUP in collaboration with the Department of Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales, UK (2000/2004). From 2004 to 2007 had a Post-Doc position at IPATIMUP.


Research areas of interest: Unravel the role and mechanism of action of short chain fatty acids, namely acetate, propionate and butyrate produced by propionibacteria from the diet in colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention and therapy. Understand the role of KRAS mutations signalling pathways in autophagy/apoptosis regulation in CRC survival. Identification of new molecular targets/approaches for resistant metastatic CRC, which could inspire other groups to the development of new drugs for specific target of CRC cells. Study the molecular mechanisms of new anti-cancer drugs and nanoparticles using in vitro models. She has been collaborating with Andreia Valente (CQE, FCUL) in determining the effect and mechanism of action of new promising ruthenium compounds in CRC therapy. EDITORIAL BOARD - Associated Editor of Frontiers in Nutrition on the topic: “Cancer Metabolism and Nutrition: Impact in Tumor Biology and Therapy”. - Guest Associate Editor, Review Editor for Clinical Nutrition of Frontiers in Nutrition Journal. - Guest Editor of “Cells” on the Special Issue "Role of KRAS in Colorectal Cancer". Participation in research projects fund raising: 10 National (FCT), 2 from Pharmaceutical companies (Bayer and Novartis), 3 European (FP7, ITN Marie Currie, Portugal/Norte2020) and 1 USA (KoDiscovery). Is Co-PI of a National FCT project. Co-authored 2 Patents. Invited reviewer at peer-reviewed journals: Oncogene, Journal of Pathology, Molecular and Celular Biology, Endocrine Pathology, Virchows Archiv, BMC Cancer, Science Journal of Clinical Medicine, Cancer Research Journal, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Carcinogenesis, Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, Oncotarget, Cells, Aging, RSC Advances, PLOS ONE, Cell Death and Disease, Food and Function, International Journal of Molecular Science, Biochimie. Her results were published in top cancer-related journals, including Oncogene, BMC Cancer, Journal of Pathology, Cell Death and Disease, Oncotarget. Ana Preto also participates in several projects not directly related with her own research, with data published in Q1 journals, such as Nature Communications, Br J Cancer, Biochemistry Journal, Cancer Letters, Nanomedicine, Biomacromolecules, Faraday Discussions, Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, Modern Pathology reflecting her multidisciplinary scientific expertise. Bibliometric index: Google Scholar h-index= 27, Citations= 3700 ; Scopus h-index = 23; Citations = 2608 PUBMED:

Ongoing Projects

National Projects:
- Integrated member of CBMA strategic project financed by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT) strategic programme UID/BIA/04050/2019 funded by national funds through the FCT I.P.

- 2016: 2019- Team member of WP2 of EcoAgriFood: “Innovative green products and processes to promote Agri-Food BioEconomy”, NORTE Regional Operational Program, Priority Axis I – Strenghening Research, Technological Development and Innovation, NORTE-45-2015-02, Structured R&D&I Projects.

- 2018- Co-PI of the project financed by FCT PTDC/QUI-QIN/28662/2017: Lead4Target “Fighting metastatic cancers: prime time for ruthenium”.

USA projects:
• 2016-ongoing- 3BP “Anticancer effect of 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) in animal models systems of leucemia- acronym 3BP”,(KoDiscovery, CEO Young Co), Baltimore Maryland , United States USA.

Concluded Projects

National Projects:
- “Identification of biological markers of diagnosis and prognosis in thyroid carcinomas, using “differential display” technique”, supported by FCT. (1995-1998) (PRAXIS XXI/2/2.1/SAU/1187/95).
- “Biological role of BRAF oncogene activation in human carcinogenesis. Use of BAY 43-9006 as a BRAF inhibitor agent?”, supported by BAYER in 2005 (drug suply).
- “Oncogenic role of BRAF activation in thyroid carcinogenesis”, supported by FCT. (2005-2008) (POCTI/SAU-OBS/56175/2004).
- “BRAF and KRAS mutations in mismatch repair deficiency colon cancer. New prognostic and therapeutic tool?”, supported by FCT. (2005-2008) (POCTI/SAU-OBS/56921/2004).
- “In vitro studies of compounds with putative anti-oxidant activity, obtained from medicinal plants traditionally used in Portugal”, supported by UNICER. (2005-2008).
- “Role of raft domains in the modulation/alteration of the transducing pathways in normal thyroid and in papillary thyroid carcinoma”, supported by FCT. (2004-2007).
- “Biological role of BRAF activation in colon carcinogenesis. STI-571/Gleevec as a therapeutic agent?”, supported by NOVARTIS. (2004 a 2006).
- “Potential mechanisms of tolerance to wild-type p53 in human tumours using differentiated thyroid carcinoma as a prototype”, supported by FCT (2003-2006). (Projecto POCTI/CBO/41084/2001).
- "Elucidation of ceramide-induced apoptosis: modulation of Protein Kinase C isoforms". Coordenation: Manuela Côrte-Real, Departamento de Biologia da Universidade do Minho, supported by FCT (2008-2012) (Project FCT PTDC/BIA-BCM/69448/2006).
- “Phosphoregulation of Bax-dependent cell death (Phosphobax)”. Coordination: Manuela Côrte-Real, Department of Biology from the University of Minho. (2013-2016) (Project FCT-ANR/BEX-BCM/0175/2012).

- 2015/2017 Integrated member of CBMA strategic project financed by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT) -FCT I.P. CBMA-PEST 2015/2017 - UID/BIA/04050/2013.

Participation in European projects:
• 2009-2013- European project FP7 NMP-2008-4.0-1, Acronym NANOFOL - Folate-based nanobiodevices for integrated diagnosis/therapy targeting chronic inflammatory diseases. Coordination: University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. Large Scale Collaborative Project. Coordinator: Artur Cavaco-Paulo, Department of Biological Engeneering, University of Minho. University of Minho was WP1 task leader with the following team: Ana Preto, Andreia Gomes, Artur Cavaco-Paulo.

-2013:2017- Team member on the Europeu Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN): FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN - Marie Curie - proposal n° 317297 - acronym GLYCOPHARM.


Supervision of 26 Master students (2 ongoing).
Supervision of 11 PhD students (6 ongoing) and 2 Post-Doc.


Scientific publications: 68 publications (54 full articles in scientific journals with peer review; 14 abstracts published in proceedings of scientific meetings), one book chapter and 87 scientific communications in international conferences (24 oral communications and 63 posters).
- Cavaco Paulo A., Gomes A., Marques, R., Loureiro A., Preto A., Universidade do Minho. WO2012IB57082: Formulations for micelle formation comprising a protein and methods preparation thereof. Priority: PT20110106047 2011/12/07.
-Cavaco Paulo A., Preto A., Nogueira E., Gomes A., Universidade do Minho. WO2012IB57083: Liposomes and method for producing the same. Priority: PT20110106050 2011/12/07.

Selected Publications (out of 54 in peer-reviewed journals):
- Cazzanelli G, Pereira F, Alves S, Francisco R, Azevedo L, Dias Carvalho P, Almeida A, Côrte-Real M, Oliveira MJ, Lucas C, Sousa MJ, Preto A. “The Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a Model for Understanding RAS Proteins and their Role in Human Tumorigenesis”. Cells. 2018 Feb 19;7(2). pii: E14. doi: 10.3390/cells7020014. Review.
- Casanova M, Azevedo-Silva J, Rodrigues L, Preto A. “Colorectal cancer cells increase the production of short chain fatty acids by Propionibacterium freudenreichii impacting on cancer cells survival”. Frontiers in Nutrition, in press.
- Teixeira RG, Brás AR, Côrte-Real L, Tatikonda R, Sanches A, Robalo MP, Avecilla F, Moreira T, Garcia MH, Haukka M, Preto A, Valente A. “Novel ruthenium methylcyclopentadienyl complex bearing a bipyridine perfluorinated ligand shows strong activity towards colorectal cancer cells”. Eur J Med Chem. 2018 Jan 1;143:503-514. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.11.059.
- Ferro S, Azevedo-Silva J, Casal M, Côrte-Real M, Baltazar F, Preto A. “Characterization of acetate transport in colorectal cancer cells and potential therapeutic implications”. Oncotarget. 2016 Sep 21. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12156.
- Alves S, Castro L, Fernandes MS, Francisco R, Castro P, Priault M, Chaves SR, Moyer MP, Oliveira C, Seruca R, Côrte-Real M, Sousa MJ, Preto A. “Colorectal cancer-related mutant KRAS alleles function as positive regulators of autophagy”. Oncotarget. 2015 Oct 13;6(31):30787-802. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.5021
- Oliveira CSF, Pereira H, Alves S, Castro L, Baltazar F, Chaves SR, Côrte-Real M#, Preto A#. "Cathepsin D protects colorectal cancer cells from acetate-induced apoptosis through autophagy-independent degradation of damaged mitochondria". Cell Death and Disease. 2015 Jun 18;6:e1788. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.157. 2014
- Marques C, Oliveira CSF, Alves S, Chaves SR, Coutinho OP, Côrte-Real M, Preto A. “Acetate-induced apoptosis in colorectal carcinoma cells involves lysosomal membrane permeabilization and cathepsin D release”. Cell Death and Disease. 2013 Feb 21;4:e507. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.29.