Molecular Targets

Research Focus

"Natural products can be viewed as a population of privileged structures selected by evolutionary pressures to interact with a wide variety of proteins and other biological targets for specific purposes, a view supported by the fact that natural products have become effective drugs in a wide variety of therapeutic indications" (Koehn FE and Carter GT. Nat Rev Drug Discovery 4:206-220, 2005).

Our research focuses are

i) to understand the molecular interaction of natural products with proteins/signaling molecules within cells. Identification of biological targets will help to identify new pharmacological targets for drug discovery & development.

ii) to identify new active natural products by target- (nuclear receptors, transcription factors, phosphatases) or phenotype-oriented cellular screening models using material that was preselected by collaboration partners via in silico tools or ethnopharmacological knowledge.

The cellular models currently used in our lab focus on the prevention and/or treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Funded Projects

  • 2020 - 2023
    FWF – Project  P33778
    AMP(K)lifizierung des Nrf2 -Transkriptoms (Heiss)
  • 2019 - 2023
    FWF – Project P32600
    "Metabolic Immunomodulation" of natural products (Heiss)
  • 2019 - 2020
    Hochschuljubiläumsfonds - Projekt H-268438
    Anti-inflammatory aspects of neolignans from Magnolia officinalis (Ladurner)
  • 2017 - 2019
    Hochschuljubiläumsfonds - Projekt H-246128/2016
    Der wundheilenden Wirkung von Fichtenfaulpech auf der Spur (Göls/Glasl-Tazreiter/Heiss)
  • 2016 - 2019
    FWF - Project P29392
    Role of AMPK for the Nrf2-dependent celluar stress response.
  • 2016 - 2019
    BMWFW16402000014: SINO AUSTRIA III
    China: TCM-Research Cluster Austria III: Identification of natural products from Paridis rhizoma (Chonglou) as liver X receptor (LXR) and farnesoid X receptor (FXR) ligands.,P3_PREVIOUS_PAGE:30706,5
  • 2016 - 2019
    Austria Wirtschaftsservice: PRIZE
    Synthetische Lignane als Proliferationshemmer bei Cardiovasculären Erkrankungen.
    Joint project between Universitiy of Vienna and Technical Universitiy Vienna
  • 2016  – 2018
    ADSI - Austrian Drug Screening Institute
    Screening von Pflanzenxtrakten für die Behandlung von metabolischen Erkrankungen und der entzündlichen Erkrankungen des Magen-Darm-Traktes.
  • 2015 - 2017
    Herzfelder´sche Familienstiftung
    Metabolic Reprogramming - a target for natural products in the alleviation of agecompromised wound healing?
  • 2014 - 2016
    Hochschuljubiläumsfonds - Projekt H-297332
    Metabolomics-assisted dissection of molecular mechanisms underlying the action of natural products increasing macrophage efflux.
  • 2014 - 2016
    FWF – Project P25971
    Improved Cholsterol Efflux by Natural Products.
  • 2013 - 2015
    FFG Bridge – Projekt 841283
    Etablierung neu entwickelter Modelle des Metabolischen Syndroms als Screening Plattform für Phytodrogen.
  • 2012 - 2015
    Herzfelder´sche Familienstiftung
    Counteracting the age-related decline of antioxidant defense and metabolic function by activation of the transcription factor Nrf2.
  • 2012 - 2014
    EU Contract No. PIIF-GA-2009-252881
    TCM-VASC: Chinese Medicines used against Cardiovascular Disease.
  • 2011 - 2017
    Member of the Research platform “Active Aging” (University of Vienna; Head: Karl-Heinz Wagner)
    Joint project between the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Center of Sport Sciences
  • 2011 - 2014
    FWF-NFN-Project S10704-B13 (Project Part PP04)
    Drugs from nature targeting inflammatory.
  • 2011 - 2014
    FWF – Project P23317
    Antiproliferative and antimigratory activity of I3MO.
  • 2011 - 2014
    Project within the Graduate Program “Bioactivity Profiling & Metabolism” (University of Vienna)
    Natural Products and their Impact on miRNAs in Activated Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
  • 2011 - 2014
    Project within the Graduate Program “Bioactivity Profiling & Metabolism” (University of Vienna)
    Natural products and their protective effect against hyperglycemia- the role of activated Nrf2
  • 2011 - 2012
    Hochschuljubiläumsstiftung der Stadt Wien – Project H-1755/2010
    Natural products fighting insulin resistance
  • 2010
    Industrial collaboration project (Reata Pharmaceuticals, Tx, USA)
    Synthetic triterpenoids and their impact on endothelial cell function
  • 2009 - 2012
    EU Coordination action; no 223154
    GP-TCM: Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research in the Post-genomic Era
  • 2008 - 2011
    FWF-NFN-Project S10704-B03
    Drugs from nature targeting inflammatory.
  • 2008
    Hochschuljubiläumsstiftung der Stadt Wien – Project H-01509/2007
    Natural products against endothelial dysfunction under hyperglycemia
  • 2007 - 2010
    Project within the Graduate Program "Molecular Drug Targets" (University of Vienna)
    Virtual and Real screening of Natural Products to Find Effective Modulators of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase
  • 2006 - 2010
    FWF-Project P18982-B17 Resveratrol and Shp2
  • 2006 - 2009
    EU Contract No. LSHB-CT-2004-503467
    Pro Kinase Research:
    Protein kinases and phosphatases as targets for new anti-atherogenic compounds.
  • 2003 - 2006
    Corporate project with Prof. Angelika M. Vollmar, University of Munich (LMU): DFG Sachbeihilfe VO 376/10-1/2: Signaltransduction of apoptosis-induction by cephalostatin-1, isolated from a marine organism