Maria Luisa Sá e Melo graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Porto and obtained her PhD in Chemistry from the University of London in 1979, under the guidance of Prof. David N Kirk, in steroid synthesis. She was appointed Full Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Coimbra, Portugal (1999), where she has spent most of her career. As first President of the Medicinal Chemistry Group of the Portuguese Society of Chemistry (2007-2010), she has settled the group in the Society and in the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry. She leads the Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery Research Group at CNC – Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Coimbra and coordinates the Master Course in Drug Design and Development at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Coimbra. Her research interests lie in the area of drug discovery and development with the focus on lead finding and optimization for new anticancer drugs. Chemo-enzymatic methodologies to produce high value chiral molecules and analysis of their biological functions are complementary areas of research. More recently the development of new multi-target therapeutic strategies for neglected infectious diseases, such as malaria, led her interest for novel approaches in drug discovery.