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Maria Duca research group

Member of COST Epichembio (CM1406)


• Follow us on twitter ! @MariaDuca_ICN

• Our paper Modulation of oncogenic miRNA biogenesis using functionalized polyamines just published in Scientific Reports (Ed. Nature).

• Our work in the program of Nice RNA 2018 meeting on feburary 7th with an oral presentation !!

Main Research Activities

Medicinal Chemistry : design and synthesis of multimodal RNA ligands for the selective targeting of non coding RNAs

Biochemistry and biophysics : study of small molecules/nucleic acids interactions

Current projects (Funding)

Therapeutic innovations in antibiotics : focus on the targeting of toxin-antitoxin systems using small-molecule RNA binders (ANR-PRC ANR-17-CE18-0009, 2018-2021)
Treating cancer as an infectious disease with antibiotics (INCa PLBio 2017-160, 2018-2020)
Synthetic small molecules inducing the differentiation of cancer stem cells (Projet Fondation ARC, 2017-2018)
Collaboration with Institut de Recherche Servier for the design of new compounds targeting the oncogenic microRNA network in glioblastoma (2017-2020)
New epigenetic approaches in glioblastoma treatment (Maturation SATT SudEst, 2017-2018)

Past projects

  • Targeting oncogenic microRNAs : toward new chemotherapies (ANR-JCJC 2012-2015)
  • Functional analysis of small molecules interfering with oncogenic miRNAs : induction of glioblastoma stem cells differentiation (« Emergence Cancéropole PACA »)
  • Structure-activity relationship study about a new series of small molecules inducing glioblastoma stem-cells differentiation (SATT-SudEst)


  • Dr. Fabien DARFEUILLE and Dr. Cathy STAEDEL, INSERM U869 - University of Bordeaux
  • Dr. Thierry VIROLLE, Institut de Biologie Valrose (iBV) - University of Nice
  • Dr. Alexandre DAVID, Institut de Génomique Foncionnelle (IGF) - Montpellier

Recent publications

Di Giorgio, A., Tran, T.P.A., Duca, M. Small–molecule approaches toward the targeting of oncogenic microRNAs : roadmap fort he discovery of microRNAs modulators Future Med. Chem. 2016 8, 813.

Vo, D.D., Tran, T.P.A. Staedel, C., Benhida, R., Darfeuille, F., Di Giorgio, A., Duca, M. Oncogenic microRNAs biogenesis as a drug target : structure-activity relationship studies on novel aminoglycoside conjugates Chem. Eur. J. 2016 22, 5350-5362.

Tran T.P.A., Vo D.D., Di Giorgio A., Duca M.
Ribosome-targeting antibiotics as inhibitors of oncogenic microRNAs biogenesis : old scaffolds for new perspectives in RNA targeting
Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2015 23, 5344-5344.

Vo, D.D., Staedel, C., Zehnacker, L., Benhida, R., Darfeuille, F., Duca, M.
Targeting the production of oncogenic microRNAs with multimodal synthetic small molecules
ACS Chem. Biol. 2014, 9, 711.

Joly J.P., Mata G., Eldin P., Briant L., Fontaine-Vive F., Duca M., Benhida R.
Artificial nucleobase-amino acid conjugates : a new class of TAR RNA binding agents
Chem. Eur. J. 2014 20, 2071-2079.

PhD students, post-doc and undergraduate students

Céline Martin, IE, 2017-2018
Chloé Maucort, PhD, 2017-2020
Anita Rayar, post-doc, 2017-2018
Klara Aradi, post-doc, 2018-2019


Serena De Piccoli, Master 2, 2016
Thi Phuong Anh TRAN, PhD, 2013-2016
Oleg Borodin, Master 2, 2016
Dr. Duc Duy VO, Post-doc, 2012-2014
Jean-Patrick JOLY, PhD, 2009-2013
Coralie CHARRAT, Master 2, 2012
Guillaume MATA, Master 2, 2012
Lorena ZARA, Master 2, 2013


- Pharmacognosy et Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Master 2 Professionnel FOQUAL, Department of Chemistry, University of Nice

- Biology, Master 2 Professionnel FOQUAL, Department of Chemistry, University of Nice