research group

DEFENDER: DEsign, synthesis and pre-clinical evaluation oF hEterocyclIc compouNDs with potEntial neuRoprotective activity

Main research area

Drug design, Pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, Organic synthesis, Analysis, Toxicology, Biotransformation, Neuropharmacology

Leading researchers

Prof. Alexander Zlatkov, DSci – Department of Pharmaceutical chemistry,
Faculty of Pharmacy, MU-Sofia

Prof. Virginia Tzankova, PhD – Department of Pharmacology, pharmacotherapy and toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, MU – Sofia

Members of the research team

  • Prof. Magdalena Kondeva-Burdina, PhD;
  • Prof. Karolina Lyubomirova, PhD;
  • Assoc.Prof. Maya Georgieva, PhD;
  • Assoc.Prof. Denitza Stefanova, PhD;
  • Head Assist. Prof. Javor Mitkov, PhD;
  • Head Assist. Prof. Iva Valkova, PhD;
  • Head Assist. Prof. Diana Tzankova, PhD;
  • Head Assist. Prof. Yordan Yordanov, PhD

Research goals

The presented data on the therapeutic potential of heterocyclic compounds in
neurodegenerative diseases give us a reason to focus our work on developing new synthetic approaches to the production of unknown purine and purine-analog derivatives and poly-substituted pyrroles, designed as active substances with potential neuroprotective properties, as well as their subsequent toxicological, pharmacological and ADME characterization.

Research goal 1: Design of compounds from purine and pyrrole heterocyclic moieties, using structure-based (molecular docking) and ligand based (QSAR and pharmacophore evaluations) in silico approaches for preliminary identification of most promising structures from the evaluated classes.

Research goal 2: Study of the synthesis of new derivatives of purine and pyrrole heterocyclic groups based on classical methods and MW assisted approaches for obtaining the identified as most promising molecules.
Elucidation of the structure of the target compounds with suitable theoretical and experimental methods. Applying theoretical approaches of the pharmacophore profile and ADME properties of the synthesized compounds.
Development, validation and application of new UV spectrophotometric and HPLC methods for quantitative analysis and evaluation of the chemical stability and stability under physiological conditions of the newly synthesized compounds.

Research goal 3: Preclinical characterization by combining in silico, in vitro and in vivo experimental approaches for pharmacological and toxicological assessment of the newly synthesized structures.

Research goal 4: ADME properties assessment and biotransformation studies in vitro and in vivo, including identification and quantitation of possible metabolites. The research goals can be achieved only by joining the skills and competence of an interdisciplinary team, including, chemists, pharmacists, bioinformatics, toxicologists, and pharmacologists, which is crucial to achieve the objectives of the project within the timeframe of the research program.