Prof. Catherine C. Neto - Current Projects

The Neto group research focuses on isolation, structural characterization and biological activities of proanthocyanidins and other phytochemicals from the cranberry plant and has several collaborative projects ongoing:

Anti-cancer properties of cranberries: Mechanisms of cranberry against colon and breast cancer, prostate cancer (in collaboration with UPEI), effects of cranberry phytochemicals on apoptosis, proliferation and inflammation pathways, changes in protein and gene expression influenced by cranberry, identification of anti-proliferative constituents and their active metabolites. Projects are funded by Cranberry Institute/Wisconsin Cranberry Board and UMass Dartmouth Cranberry Research Program. This is also a research priority area for the UMass CHRC.

Cranberry's antimicrobial effects: prevention of biofilm formation by oral and urinary bacteria (collaboration with WPI), identification of metabolites with antimicrobial activity, inhibition of growth of Candida spp. and other human fungal pathogens.

Analysis of foliar and fruit phytochemicals in cranberry cultivars that differ in resistance to insects and pathogenic fungi, identification of defense compounds (USDA-funded collaboration with UMass Cranberry Experiment Station); use of NMR fingerprinting and PCA analysis as a tool to study changes in secondary metabolites related to cultivar, location, plant stress (collaboration with Bruker Biospin)

Research Group And Opportunities


Current group members: Anne Liberty (PhD candidate/FTL), Eleni Yiantsidis (MS candidate), Brian Pereira (MS candidate), Anthony Dovell (MS candidate), Ravi Boddeti (PhD candidate), Prapti Behera (BMEBT PhD candidate), Brittani Patton (senior CHM major).

Opportunities for research in the Neto research group are currently available for students with an interest in training for a career in bioactive natural products, analysis of secondary metabolites or other projects in agricultural and food chemistry. Applications will be considered from students interested in pursuing a M.S. degree in Chemistry through UMass Dartmouth or a Ph.D. in Chemistry through our joint Ph.D. program with UMass Lowell. Ph.D. students in the BMEBT program are also encouraged to inquire about research opportunities. Postdoctoral applicants are welcome and will be considered as funding permits. Chemistry students in the Neto group may be eligible for research or teaching assistantships and are encouraged to pursue opportunities to present their research at meetings of the American Chemical Society (, the American Society of Pharmacognosy - Phytochemical Society (, and berry research meetings.

Photos of Neto Group at Meetings

Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduate majors with an interest in natural products, phytochemical isolation and analysis, nutrition and cancer or pest resistance are encouraged to discuss research opportunities with Dr. Neto after completing their first two years in the chemistry or biochemistry degree program. Biology majors who are also interested in chemistry are welcome. Undergraduate majors pursuing research under Dr. Neto’s guidance typically commit to a full year of research for credit and are eligible for student assistantships in the summer. In addition, interested students may apply for travel awards to present at research meetings.

Graduates of the Neto research group have been accepted to graduate programs at Tufts University, Virginia Tech, University of Rhode Island, Ohio State, Mass College of Pharmacy and George Washington University; medical schools including UMass Medical School and Nova Southeastern University; and R & D positions at Waters Corporation, Brunswick Labs, and International Specialty Products Corporation.