Dr Sónia Henriques research is focused on ‘breaching cell membranes with cell penetrating peptides’. This relates to the use of cyclic cell penetrating peptides to cross cell membranes. Cyclic cell penetrating peptides can be used as carriers to deliver macromolecules inside cells. We are applying this approach in three ways. Firstly, to design a new generation of drugs against intracellular targets to treat cancer. Secondly, to optimise peptides to treat infectious diseases caused by bacteria. Finally, as research tools to modulate functions within microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, algae).

Dr Henriques combines expertise on cyclic disulfide-rich peptides, cell-penetrating peptides, antimicrobial peptides, and membrane biology. She has a strong background in biophysical methodologies to characterise peptide-membrane interactions. Her research activities involve biophysical studies (e.g. surface plasmon resonance, flow cytometry and fluorescence spectroscopy) with model membranes to identify the membrane properties that modulate peptide bioactivity, and correlating them with studies with cells.

Dr Henriques graduated in Biochemistry (2004) and obtained a PhD degree in Molecular Biophysics (2008) from University of Lisbon in Portugal. In 2008 she was awarded an ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship and started her postdoctoral research at UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB). In 2009, Dr Henriques was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship and was appointed as invited lecturer in Portugal (Medicine School, University of Lisbon). Dr Henriques returned to IMB in 2012 on reception of an ARC DECRA and she was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2015. She has conducted research in international and national universities including Université Libre de Brussels in Belgium, University of Southern Denmark, and the University of California Santa Barbara in USA. 

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