Griffith University

Leonardo Lucantoni

Name: Leonardo Lucantoni
Position: Research Fellow
Research Area: Malaria
Qualifications: BSc(Hons) PhD

Biography: Leonardo joined the Discovery Biology team in 2011, where he has developed High-Throughput screening assays for the identification of compounds with inhibitory activity against all stages of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytogenesis and female gamete formation and screened tens of thousands of compounds. Leonardo is currently working on multiple hit-to-lead and lead-op projects funded by the Japanese Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), in collaboration with the Medicine for Malaria Venture (MMV), as well as various academic collaborations.

Discovery Biology:


Butler NM, Bremner JB, Willis AC, Lucantoni L, Avery VM, Keller PA. Desymmetrisation reactions of indigo with Grignard reagents for the synthesis of highly-selective antiplasmodial. The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2019 Aug 1 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31369270.

Pullella GA, Wdowiak AP, Sykes ML, Lucantoni L, Sukhoverkov KV, Zulfiqar B, Sobolev AN, West NP, Mylne JS, Avery VM, Piggott MJ. (2019) Total Synthesis of the Antimalarial Ascidian Natural Product Albopunctatone. Organic Letters. Jul 19; 21(14): 5519-5523.

Robertson LP, Lucantoni L, Duffy S, Avery VM and Carroll AR. (2019) Acrotrione: An Oxidized Xanthene from the Roots of Acronychia pubescens. Journal of Natural Products. 26; 82(4): 1019-1023.

Xue L, Shi DH, Harjani JR, Huang F, Beveridge J, Dingjan T, Ban K, Diab S, Duffy S, Lucantoni L, Fletcher S, Chiu FCK, Blundell SA, Ellis K, Ralph SA, Wirjanata G, Teguh S, Noviyanti R, Chavchich M, Creek DJ, Price R, Marfurt J, Charman SA, Cuellar M, Strasser J, Dahlin J, Walters MA, Edstein M, Avery VM and Baell JB. (2019) 3,3’-Disubstituted 5,5’-Bi(1,2,4-triazine) derivatives with Potent in vitro and in vivo Antimalarial Activity. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Mar 14; 62(5): 2485-2498.

Vinh NB, Drinkwater N, Malcolm TR, Kassiou M, Lucantoni L, Grin PM, Butler GS, Duffy S, Overall CM, Avery VM, Scammells PJ and McGowan S. (2019) Hydroxamic Acid Inhibitors Provide Cross-Species Inhibition of Plasmodium M1 and M17 Aminopeptidases. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 62(2): 622-640.

Butler NM, Hendra R, Bremner JB, Willis AC, Lucantoni L, Avery VM and Keller PA. (2018) Cascade reactions of indigo with oxiranes and aziridines: efficient access to dihydropyrazinodiindoles and spiro-oxazocinodiindoles. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. Aug 22; 16(33): 6006-6016.

Senadeera SPD, Lucantoni L, Duffy S, Avery VM, Carroll AR. (2018) Antiplasmodial β-Triketone-Flavanone Hybrids from the Flowers of the Australian Tree Corymbia torelliana. Journal of Natural Products. 27; 81(7): 1588-1597.

Buedenbender L, Robertson LP, Lucantoni L, Avery VM, Kurtböke Dİ, and Carroll AR. (2018) HSQC-TOCSY Fingerprinting-Directed Discovery of Antiplasmodial Polyketides from the Marine Ascidian-Derived Streptomyces sp. (USC-16018). Marine Drugs. May 30; 16(6): 189.

Vanaerschot M, Lucantoni L, Li T, Combrinck JM, Ruecker A, Kumar TRS, Rubiano K, Ferreira PE, Siciliano G, Gulati S, Henrich PP, Ng CL, Murithi JM, Corey VC, Duffy S, Lieberman OJ, Veiga MI, Sinden RE, Alano P, Delves MJ, Lee Sim K, Winzeler EA, Egan TJ, Hoffman SL, Avery VM and Fidock DA. (2017) Hexahydroquinolines are antimalarial candidates with potent blood-stage and transmission-blocking activity. Nature Microbiology. Aug 14; 2: 1403–1414.

Weidner T,  Lucantoni L,  Nasereddin A, Preu L,  Jones PG, Dzikowski R, Avery VM & Kunick C. (2017) Antiplasmodial dihetarylthioethers target the coenzyme A synthesis pathway in Plasmodium falciparum erythrocytes stages. Malaria Journal. May 15; 16(1): 192.

Lucantoni L, Loganathan S and Avery VM. (2017) The need to compare: assessing the level of agreement of three high-throughput assays against Plasmodium falciparum mature gametocytes. NATURE Scientific Reports. Apr 5; 7: 45992.

Pegoraro S, Duffey M, Otto TD, Wang Y, Rösemann R, Baumgartner R, Fehler SK, Lucantoni L, Avery VM, Moreno-Sabater A, Mazier D, Vial HJ, Strobl S, Sanchez CP and Lanzer M. (2017) SC83288 is a clinical development candidate for the treatment of severe malaria. Nature Communications. Jan 31; 8: 14193.

Fletcher S, Lucantoni L,  Sykes ML,  Jones AJ, Holleran JP,  Saliba KJ and  Avery VM. (2016) Biological characterization of chemically diverse compounds targeting the Plasmodium falciparum coenzyme A synthesis pathway. Parasites & Vectors. Nov 17; 9(1): 589.

Van Voorhis WC, Avery VM, Duffy S, Lucantoni L, Poulsen SA et al. (2016) Open Source Drug Discovery with the Malaria Box Compound Collection for Neglected Diseases and Beyond. PLOS Pathogens. Jul 28; 12(7): e1005763.

Lucantoni L, Fidock D and Avery VM. (2016) Luciferase-Based, High-Throughput Assay For Screening And Profiling Transmission-Blocking Compounds Against Plasmodium falciparum Gametocytes. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Mar 25; 60(4): 2097-2107.

Lucantoni L, Silvestrini F, Signore M, Siciliano G, Eldering M, Dechering KJ, Avery VM and P Alano. (2015) A simple and predictive phenotypic High Content Imaging assay for Plasmodium falciparum mature gametocytes to identify malaria transmission blocking compounds. Scientific Reports. Nov 10; 5: 16414.

Lucantoni L, Duffy S., Adjalley SH, Fidock SA, Avery, VM. (2013) Identification of MMV Malaria Box inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum early-stage gametocytes, using a luciferase-based high-throughput assay. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Dec; 57(12): 6050-6062.

Teguh SC, Klonis N, Duffy S, Lucantoni L, Avery VM, Hutton CA, Baell JB, Tilley L. (2013) Novel conjugated quinoline-indoles compromise Plasmodium falciparum mitochondrial function and show promising antimalarial activity. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2013 Aug 8; 56(15): 6200-6215.

Lucantoni L, Avery MV (2012) Whole-cell in vitro screening for gametocytocidal compounds. Future Medicinal Chemistry. [Invited review] 2012 December; 4(18): 2337-2360.


Griffith Sciences Equipment Scheme (2018)

Chief Investigator, Griffith University New Researcher Grant (2013).

Travel Awards:

Griffith University International Travel Fellowship (2017)

OzEMalaR – Australia Europe Malaria Research Cooperative Travel Award. (2014)

Selected abstracts/conferences:

Lucantoni L. Luciferase and Imaging based High-Throughput screening assays for Plasmodium falciparum gametocytocidal drug discovery. Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy, 24th March 2014. (invited seminar)

Lucantoni L, Duffy S, Adjalley SH, Fidock SA, Avery VM. A High-throughput luciferase-based assay identifies inhibitors of developing Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes. ASTMH 62nd Annual Meeting, Washington DC, USA, 13th-17th November 2013. (poster presentation)

Lucantoni L, Duffy S, Adjalley SH, Fidock SA, Avery VM. A High-throughput luciferase-based assay identifies inhibitors of developing Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes. ASTMH 62nd Annual Meeting, Washington DC, USA, 13th-17th November 2013. (poster presentation)

Lucantoni L, Duffy S, Adjalley SH, Fidock SA, Avery VM. High-throughput screening reveals different chemosensitivities of plasmodium falciparum developing gametocytes and asexual blood stages. Malaria in Melbourne, Melbourne, 14th-15th October 2013. (oral presentation)

Lucantoni L, Duffy S, Gulati S, Adjalley SH, Hoffman S, Fidock SA, Avery VM. Developing High-Throughput screens to identify P. falciparum gametocytocidal agents. Culture Systems for Malaria Meeting, Boston, USA, 3rd-4th April 2013. (poster presentation)



Gemma S, Camodeca C, Brindisi M, Brogi S, Kukreja G, Kunjir S, Gabellieri E, Lucantoni L, Habluetzel A, Taramelli D, Basilico N, Gualdani R, Tadini-Buoninsegni F, Bartolommei G, Moncelli MR, Martin RE, Summers RL, Lamponi S, Savini L, Fiorini I, Valoti M, Novellino E, Campiani G, Butini S. (2012). Mimicking the intramolecular hydrogen bond: synthesis, biological evaluation, and molecular modeling of benzoxazines and quinazolines as potential antimalarial agents. J Med Chem. 55(23):10387-404. doi: 10.1021/jm300831b

Fabris C, Ouédraogo RK, Coppellotti O, Dabiré RK, Diabaté A, Di Martino P, Guidolin L, Jori G, Lucantoni L, Lupidi G, Martena V, Sawadogo SP, Soncin M, Habluetzel A. (2012). Efficacy of sunlight-activatable porphyrin formulates on larvae of Anopheles gambiae M and S molecular forms and An. arabiensis: a potential novel biolarvicide for integrated malaria vector control. Acta Trop. 123(3):239-43. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2012.05.011

Yerbanga RS, Lucantoni L, Lupidi G, Dori GU, Tepongning NR, Nikiéma JB, Esposito F, Habluetzel A. (2012) Antimalarial plant remedies from Burkina Faso: Their potential for prophylactic use. J Ethnopharmacol. 140(2):255-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.01.014

Fabris C, Soncin M, Jori G, Habluetzel A, Lucantoni L, Sawadogo S, Guidolin L, Coppellotti O. (2012) Effects of a new photoactivatable cationic porphyrin on ciliated protozoa and branchiopod crustaceans, potential components of freshwater ecosystems polluted by  pathogenic agents and their vectors. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 11(2):294-301. doi: 10.1039/c1pp05154g

Lucantoni L, Magaraggia M, Lupidi G, Ouedraogo RK, Coppellotti O, Esposito F, Fabris C, Jori G, Habluetzel A. (2011) Novel, meso-substituted cationic porphyrin molecule for photo-mediated larval control of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 5(12):e1434. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001434

Tepongning RN, Lucantoni L, Nasuti CC, Dori GU, Yerbanga SR, Lupidi G, Marini C, Rossi G, Esposito F, Habluetzel A. (2011) Potential of a Khaya ivorensisAlstonia boonei extract combination as antimalarial prophylactic remedy. J Ethnopharmacol. 137(1):743-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.06.036

Chianese G, Yerbanga RS, Lucantoni L, Habluetzel A, Basilico N, Taramelli D, Fattorusso E, Taglialatela-Scafati O (2010). Antiplasmodial triterpenoids from the fruits of neem, Azadirachta indica. Journal of Natural Products 73(8): 1448-1452. doi: 10.1021/np100325q

Lucantoni L, Yerbanga RS, Lupidi G, Pasqualini L, Esposito F, Habluetzel A (2010). Transmission blocking activity of a standardized neem (Azadirachta indica) seed extract on the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei in its vector Anopheles stephensi. Malaria Journal 9:66. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-66

Dell’Agli M, Galli GV, Corbett Y, Taramelli D, Lucantoni L, Habluetzel A, Maschi O, Caruso D, Giavarini F, Romeo S, Bhattacharya D, Bosisio E (2009). Antiplasmodial activity of Punica granatum L. fruit rind. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 125(2):279-285. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.06.025

Habluetzel A, Lucantoni L, Esposito F (2009). Azadirachta indica as a public health tool for the control of malaria & other vector-borne diseases. Indian Journal of Medical Research 130(2):112-114.

Habluetzel A, Carnevali F, Lucantoni L, Grana L, Attili AR, Archilei F, Antonini M, Valbonesi A, Abbadessa V, Esposito F, van der Esch SA (2007). Impact of the botanical insecticide Neem Azal® on survival and reproduction of the biting louse Damalinia limbata on angora goats. Veterinary Parasitology 144: 328-337.

Lucantoni L, Giusti F, Cristofaro M, Pasqualini L, Esposito F, Lupetti P, Habluetzel A (2006). Effects of a neem extract on blood feeding, oviposition and oocyte ultrastructure in Anopheles stephensi Liston (Diptera: Culicidae). Tissue & Cell 38:361-371.


International patent application No. PCT/IB2011/054425 (07.10.2011). Composition comprising a photoactivatable larvicide

Italian patent application No. RM2010A000524 (08.10.2010). Composition comprising a photoactivatable larvicide.

Selected abstracts/conferences:

Ouédraogo RK, Fabris C, Sawadogo SP, Yerbanga SR, Lucantoni L, Diabaté A, Lupidi G, Coppellotti O, Jori G, Ouédraogo JB, Habluetzel A, Dabiré RK. Photolarvicidal diet formulations of a porphyrin derivate to potentiate malaria vector control. ASTMH 61st Annual Meeting, Atlanta, USA, 11th-15th November 2012. (poster)

Lucantoni L, Yerbanga RS, Lupidi G, Pasqualini L, Esposito F, Habluetzel A. Neem (Azadirachta indica) extracts reduce the parasitemia in Plasmodium berghei infected mice and block the development of the malaria parasite in its vector Anopheles stephensi. XXV Congresso Nazionale SoIPa, Pisa, Italy, 18th-21st June 2008. (presentation)

Lucantoni L, Habluetzel A, Ballarini A, Cocorocchio A, Lupidi G, Pasqualini L, Esposito F. Neem Azal®, a kernel extract of Azadirachta indica, blocks the transmission of the malaria parasites in the rodent model. World Neem Conference 2007, Coimbatore, India, 21st-24th  November 2007. (awarded the 3rd best poster prize)

Lucantoni L. Natural products for malaria vectors control: first results and perspectives. Malaria: il contributo italiano 100 anni dopo Camillo Golgi – Seminar. Brescia, Italy, 15th May 2006. (invited presentation)