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Associate Professor of Organic chemistry [CHIM/06]

Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry (CHIM/06)

Courses: Organic Chemistry I and Laboratory (Mod. 2), at the B.D. course of Chemistry (M-Z)

               Structural Characterization of Organic Compounds and Laboratory, at the M.D. course of Chemical Sciences, Curriculum COB

               Natural Compounds for pharmaceutical and food industry, at the M.D. course of Chemical Sciences, Curriculum COB

Main research topics:

A. Extraction, purification, spectroscopic characterization (MS, NMR) of compounds from natural matrices (medicinal and fruit plants, biomass, tannins, etc.)

B. Study of antioxidant activity and inhibition of metabolic enzymes of natural and synthetic compounds or extracts enriched in polyphenols of natural origin.

C. Chemical and enzymatic modification of bioactive natural compounds. Biomimetic and enzyme-mediated synthesis. Study of structure-activity relations and optimization of biological properties.

D. Characterization by mass spectrometry of molecules and macromolecules of natural origin with particular regard to the agro-food sector.

E. Proteins structural characterization by proteomics approaches

F. Metabolomic analysis by NMR


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6212-5154


CINECA IRIS Institutional Research Information System: link al sito

Vera Muccilli graduated in Industrial Chemistry in 2002 from University of Catania with summa cum laude. In 2006 she obtained a PhD in Chemical Sciences from the same University with a thesis on the application of mass spectrometry to the characterization of cereal proteins. During the Ph.D. course, she worked for some months in Centro Nacional de Biotenologìa, Unidad de Analisis Estructural de Proteinas, Campus de la UAM, Cantoblanco, Madrid-ES focusing her research on the quantification of gluten proteins in celiac foods. In 2006 the Italian Chemical Society - Mass Spectrometry Division awarded her as young researcher in mass spectrometry. She has collaborated with Consorzio di Ricerca G.P. Ballatore, Raddusa (Catania), CREA-ACM Acireale, (Catania) and with Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria-Policlinico Vittorio Emanuele Catania. In 2008, 2011, 2012 she was a lecturer of the II level Master in “Methodologies in Mass Spectrometry and Applications” and in 2014 she was lecturer of mass spectrometric application for a training course organized by the University of Palermo. Between 2011-2013 she was a research fellow at the University of Catania with a project on the proteomic investigation of cereal allergens. In June 2015 she received her Postgraduate Specialization Degree in Clinical Biochemistry from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Catania. Since January 2015 to September 2021 she has been a Researcher of Organic Chemistry (fixed-term contract) at the University of Catania. Her scientific production is documented by papers published in peer-reviewed international journals and communications presented at national and international conferences.


Academic Year 2021/2022

Academic Year 2020/2021

Academic Year 2019/2020

Academic Year 2018/2019

Academic Year 2017/2018

Academic Year 2016/2017

Academic Year 2015/2016

Dr. Vera Muccilli is carrying out her research within the programs developed by the Chemistry of Bioactive Natural Products Group.

Recent research activity:

1. Extraction, purification, spectroscopic characterization (MS and NMR) of compounds from natural sources (medicinal and fruit plants, biomasses, etc.)

  • Extraction of polyphenols from pistachio hard shells (A. E. Maccarronello, N. Cardullo, A. M. Silva, A. Di Francesco, P. C. Costa, F. Rodrigues, V. Muccilli. From waste to bioactive compounds: a response surface methodology approach to extract antioxidants from Pistacia vera shells for postprandial hyperglycaemia management, Food Chemistry,  21 January 2024, 138504)
  • Extractions and characterization of tannins from Schinopsis lorentzii with antioxidant and hypoglycemic activities (N. Cardullo, V. Muccilli, V. Cunsolo, C. Tringali. “Mass spectrometry and 1H-NMR study of Schinopsis lorentzii (Quebracho) tannins as a source of hypoglycemic and antioxidant principles”. Molecules 25, 3257 (2020)

2. Evaluation of the antioxidant activity and inhibition of metabolic enzymes by natural and synthetic compounds or extracts enriched in polyphenols.

  • Evaluation of tannins as inhibitors of metabolic enzymes (N. Cardullo, V. Muccilli, L. Pulvirenti, A. Cornu, L. Pouységu, D. Deffieux, S. Quideau, C. Tringali. “C-glucosidic ellagitannins and galloylated glucoses as potential functional food ingredients with anti-diabetic properties: a study of α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibition”. Food Chemistry, 313, 126099 (2020)). 

3. Chemical and enzymatic modification of natural bioactive compounds. Biomimetic and enzyme-mediated synthesis. Study of structure-activity relationships and optimization of biological properties.

  • Synthesis of isoflavones analogues as potential antiobesity agents (Natural Isoflavones and Semisynthetic Derivatives as Pancreatic Lipase Inhibitors (N. Cardullo, V. Muccilli, L. Pulvirenti, C. Tringali “Natural Isoflavones and Semisynthetic Derivatives as Pancreatic Lipase Inhibitors” Journal of Natural Products, 84, 3, 654–665 (2021))
  • Synthesis of neolignans analogs as potential antiobesity agent (Sciacca, C., Cardullo, N., Pulvirenti, L., Di Francesco, A., Muccilli, V. “Evaluation of honokiol, magnolol and of a library of new nitrogenated neolignans as pancreatic lipase inhibitors” Bioorganic Chemistry, 134, 106455 (2023).)
  • Synthesis of chlorogenic acid anaolgs as hypoglycemic agents (N. Cardullo, G. Floresta, A. Rescifina, V. Muccilli, C. Tringali “Synthesis and in vitro evaluation of chlorogenic acid amides as potential hypoglycemic agents and their synergistic effect with acarbose” Bioorganic Chemistry, 117, 105458 (2021).

4. Metabolomic analysis by NMR

  • Metabolomic analysis of transgenic lemon fruit (V. Muccilli, A. Vitale, L. Sheng, A. Gentile, N. Cardullo, C. Tringali, C. Oliveri, R. La rosa, M. Di Guardo, S. La Malfa, Z. Deng, G. Distefano. “Substantial Equivalence of a Transgenic Lemon Fruit Showing Postharvest Fungal Pathogens Resistance”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 68, 3806–3816 (2020))



  • National grant: PRIN PNRR 2022: OLD BUT GOLD! Identification of molecular platforms for age-associated diseases to promote healthy and active aging (P2022MWY3P)
  • National grant: PRIN 2017:STOLEN MOLECULES - Stealing natural products from the depot and reselling them as new drug candidates (2017A95NCJ_003)
  • Starting Grant – University of Catania- Piano di incentivi per la ricerca di Ateneo 2020/2022 (Pia.ce.ri.) Linea di intervento 3 Titolo: NADIA “composti NAturali bioattivi contro il DIAbete

Research Agreements:

  • BASF SE, Carl-Bosch-Strasse 38, 67056 Ludwigshafen, Germany. Search for potential herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
  • “Diagnosis, therapy, and molecular basis of chronic and neglected diseases”. Agreement with Prof. Glaucio Valdameri, Head of the Laboratory of Cancer Drug Resistance, Universitade Federal do Paranà, Cutiriba, PR Brasil (CAPES PrInt-UFPR)
  • EU-OPENSCREEN ERIC, Robert-Roessle-Strasse 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany. Screening of synthetic compounds for evaluation of biological activity and possible applications
  • Poliab srl, Catania. Evaluation of the polyphenol content in feed enriched with pomace and grape seed flour(Progetto Smiling-Programma Operativo Regionale Siciliana FESR 2014-2020 –Azione 1.1.5 )
  • Zoetis, Catania. Comparative evaluation of 4 different batches of doramectin by nuclear magnetic resonance analysis

Ongoing PhD projects:

  • "From Natural Polyphenols to Synthetic Bioactive Analogues", Dr. Claudia Sciacca, International Doctorate in Chemical Sciences, XXXVI cycle
  • "Exploitation of agricultural and forestry waste: from the recovery of bioactive compounds for nutraceutical applications, to the production of activated carbon for the development of innovative air treatment filters for the inactivation of viruses (including COVID) and bacteria". Dr. Anna Elisabetta Maccarronello, XXXVII PON 

-Member of the Scientific Committee of International Summer School on Natural Products (ISSNP) 

-Reviewer of Antibiotics, Arabian Journal of Chemistry, Food Chemistry, Food & Function, Foods, Frontiers, Genes, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Journal of Food Biochemistry, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Journal of Food Science, Journal of Plant Physiology, Journal of Proteome Research, Journal of Proteomics, Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Molecules,  Natural Products Research, Phytochemicals, Plants, Plant Molecular Biology Reports, Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.

-Component of the Steering Committee of the Italian Chemical Society-Sicily Section (2016-2018)

-Topic Editor and Guest Editor di Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049; CODEN: MOLEFW)

-Guest editor of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158; CODEN: FOODBV)

-Associate Editor of Journal of Integrated Omics (ISSN 2182-0287)