Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Perugia

Full Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Head of Pharmaceutical Science Department

Department of Pharmaceutical Science
University of Perugia
Via del Liceo, 1
06123 Perugia

+39 075 5855153



Background and expertise of the representative

Violetta Cecchetti coordinates a medicinal chemistry research group (https://d2medchem.wixsite.com/unipg) at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Perugia, Italy. Her research is mainly focused on the design, synthesis and identification of new chemical entities endowed with specific biological activities with particular regard to the field of chemotherapeutic agents. In particular, she has significant expertise and experience in the synthesis of heterocyclic compounds realized through specific synthetic procedures involving classical organic chemistry as well as parallel, microwave-assisted and multicomponent chemistry.

Violetta Cecchetti is involved in several national and international research collaborations with the aim to identify novel preclinical drug candidates through a multidisciplinary approach combining medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, molecular and cellular biology. Within this frame, she successfully collaborated in the development and introduction into therapy of the first once-daily antibacterial fluoroquinolone, rufloxacin.

She is co-inventor of six patents, author of more than 110 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals and has presented many communications in national and international congresses. She acts as reviewer for both national/international research projects and for high-impact medicinal chemistry journals.

Research profile: Orcid: 0000-0001-8558-7004; h-index: 25; citations: 2051 (Scopus)

Organisation profile

The Department of Pharmaceutical Science (DSF) is organized in the three sections, namely i) Chemistry and Technology of Drugs; ii) Food and Nutrition Science; and iii) Biochemical and Health Science, and is composed by 52 scientists having different and specific expertise which favor the promotion and coordination of interdisciplinary research lines in the framework of pharmaceutical sciences.

The DSF main research objectives are the design, synthesis and control of novel bioactive molecules, as well as the development of new pharmaceutical drug delivery systems, food supplements, natural products, cosmetics, and medical devices. These studies are possible thanks to multidisciplinary cutting-edge skills and technologies in areas such as medicinal chemistry, organic/inorganic chemistry, computational chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, biology, hygiene, genetics and drug delivery technology.

DSF research activity is financially supported by Italian and European grants, and is conducted in a broad perspective of internationalization, thanks to the numerous scientific and educational collaborations with public institutions and national/international companies.

Notably, in 2018 the DSF was awarded as “Top Quality Department” by the MIUR (the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research), thus having access to financing funds (about 8 million euros) to strengthen and enhance the Department’s excellence of research, with investments in human capital, infrastructure and highly qualified educational activities. In particular, DELPHI (DiscovEry pLatform in PHarmaceutical scIences) is the acronym of the DSF funded project, which will focus its activities on the process of EPDD (Early Phase Drug Discovery) that will promote the discovery of candidate drugs to be included in the subsequent stages of clinical development.

Contribution to the network

The current research activity of the team coordinated by Violetta Cecchetti, concerns the discovery and optimization of antiviral agents (anti-HIV, anti-HCV, anti-flavivirus and anti-flu), small-molecules with anti-prion or immunomodulatory activity and bacterial efflux pumps inhibitors (EPIs) through a multidisciplinary approaches. Violetta Cecchetti can strongly contribute to this JPIAMR-VRI network thanks to her long lasting experience on the antimicrobial research field in terms of finding both new direct antibacterial agents and EPIs. EPIs can be considered as real Antimicrobial Resistance Breakers which more than kill the bacteria are able to restore the antibacterial activity of antimicrobial drugs effluxed by the EP, with secure benefits in terms of covering the gap in waiting the discovery of new antibacterials.

Cecchetti’s team will also contribute to the network with a proprietary compound library of more than 4,000 purified and structurally well-characterized small molecules.