I am a Molecular and Cellular Biologist, with a Master (2008) and a Ph.D. (2012) in Oncology from the Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA-RJ, Brazil). My research is focused on NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) and IRF2BP2 (interferon regulatory factor 2 binding protein 2) proteins during cell cycle regulation, transformation and lymphocyte activation.
I moved to San Diego in 2012 to join Dr. Rao’s lab with a post-doc fellowship from CNPq-Brazil to construct transgenic mice for the IRF2BP2 gene. IRF2BP2 protein binds to NFAT and represses its transcriptional activity. In Rao’s lab I also investigated the molecular mechanisms of T cell exhaustion in cancer, where NFAT also has a pivotal role.
Currently, I work in Dr. Hogan’s lab, where I conducted a high-throughput screening to identify inhibitors of the NFAT-AP-1 interaction. The activation of NFAT in the absence of AP-1 (activation protein 1) is involved in T cell tolerance, while a productive immune response requires the physical interaction between NFAT and AP-1. A proper inhibitor of the NFAT-AP-1 interaction might find valuable applications to treat auto-immune and inflammatory diseases, where the productive arm of the immune response is exacerbate. We are now following up with some compounds identified in the high-throughput screening.
I desire to follow up a career in scientific research focusing on the molecular and cellular mechanisms deregulated in autoimmune diseases and cancer, to improve the treatment of human diseases.