Marica Engström profile picture
Senior Researcher, Institute of Biomedicine


+358 29 450 3168
+358 50 412 2651

Areas of expertise

bioanalytical chemistry
natural product chemistry


Since my undergraduate studies, I have had one main mission that keeps me endlessly enthusiastic about natural compound chemistry; to better understand how polyphenols are responsible for the positive effects they have on human and animal health as well as environment and how to utilize this information in various polyphenol-based applications. As many of these aspects initially occur from polyphenol-protein interactions, it has naturally become one of my main interests. In addition to basic chemistry, I have been lucky to be involved in more applied research as well; this helps to keep an open mind and to see things in a wider perspective.

My current research focuses on the modification and semisynthesis of novel, Nature insipred polyphenolic compounds and their use as multitargeted anti-infective drugs to combat antimicrobial resistance.

One of the most fascinating aspects related to polyphenol bioactivity is their structure-activity relationships. The aim of these structure-activity studies is to be able to predict the activities of yet non-studied compounds based on their structural features. The ultimate goal is to find out the most active plant species without the need to isolate and separately test all of their metabolites for potent bioactivities. To get there, one of course needs to isolate, purify and characterize a large set of compounds to be tested for the desired activities. Similarly, their qualitative and quantitative analysis from plant samples is a prerequisite for understanding their biological functions - an area where there is always room for improvements!

I have always had a strong interest on instruments and all kind of technical work as well, thus, it is no surprise that one of my main missions is to further develop analytical methods for the analysis of various (natural) compounds, their different properties and bioactivities. In addition to methods based on sophisticated instruments, such as LC-MS/MS, it is important to develop methods that are simple to operate and could also be used with limited resources. For example, simple and rather unspecific methods that allow the estimation of how suitable some plant is to be used as environmentally friendly forage, could easily and without significant costs be used in different research environments, starting from developing countries. When available, the more specific and expensive methods could be used as complementary together with the unspecific ones.


I am co-supervising undergraduate and graduate students, and doctoral doctoral researchers. I give lectures, and have been teaching on laboratory courses at the university level.


I am Study Director/ Principal Investigator at the Bioanalytical Laboratory, and participate in project coordination and all parts of method development and quantitative analysis of preclinical and clinical samples in a GLP-certified environment.

My own research focuses on natural products and their metabolites: development of analytical methods, modification of polyphenols, semisynthesis of novel, Nature inspired polyphenols, their structure-bioactivity relationships and sustainable chemistry.


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Effects of individual traits vs trait syndromes on assemblages of various herbivore guilds associated with central European Salix (2024)

Leong, Jing V.; Mezzomo, Priscila; Kozel, Petr; Volfová, Tereza; de Lima Ferreira, Paola; Seifert, Carlo L.; Butterill, Phillip T.; Freiberga, Inga; Michálek, Jan; Matos-Maraví, Pável; Weinhold, Alexander; Engström, Marica T.; Salminen, Juha-Pekka; Segar, Simon T.; Sedio, Brian E.; Volf, Martin
(A1 Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä lehdessä )

Dietary proanthocyanidins promote localized antioxidant responses in porcine pulmonary and gastrointestinal tissues during Ascaris suum‐induced type 2 inflammation (2022)

FASEB Journal
Andersen-Civil Audrey Inge Schytz, Myhill Laura J., Gökgöz Nilay Büdeyri, Engström Marica T., Mejer Helena, Ling Zhu, Zeller Wayne E., Salminen Juha-Pekka, Krych Lukasz, Lauridsen Charlotte, Nielsen Dennis S., Thamsborg Stig M., Williams Andrew R.
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Comparative analysis of the anthelmintic efficacy of European heather extracts on Teladorsagia circumcincta and Trichostrongylus colubriformis egg hatching and larval motility (2022)

Parasites and Vectors
Shepherd Fransesca, Chylinski Caroline, Hutchings Michael R., Lima Joana, Davidson Ross, Kelly Robert, Macrae Alastair, Salminen Juha-Pekka, Engström Marica T., Maurer Veronica, Steinshamn Håvard, Fittje Susanne, Morell Perez Angela, Rosa García Rocío, Athanasiadou Spiridoula
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Use of agro-industrial by-products containing tannins for the integrated control of gastrointestinal nematodes in ruminants (2022)

Hoste Hervé, Meza-OCampos Griselda, Marchand Sarah, Sotiraki Smaragda, Sarasti Katerina, Blomstrand Berit M., Williams Andrew R., Thamsborg Stig M., Athanasiadou Spiridoula, Enemark Heidi L., Acosta Juan Felipe Torres, Mancilla-Montelongo Gabriella, Castro Carlos Sandoval, Costa-Junior Livio M., Louvandini Helder, Sousa Dauana Mesquita, Salminen Juha-Pekka, Karonen Maarit, Engstrom Marika, Charlier Johannes, Niderkorn Vincent, Morgan Eric R.
(Vertaisarvioitu katsausartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A2))