Bachelor degree: Biology from University of Évora
Master degree: Neurosciences from Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon
PhD project: Control of Astroglia for Central Nervous System Repair
Institute: Instituto de Tecnologia Quimica e Biológica António Xavier ITQB UNL
Supervisor: Dr. Federico Herrera (ITQB)
CoSupervisor: Dr. João Conde (INESCMN and Department of Bioengineering)
Doctoral Program Started on September 1st 2016
The overall aim of this proposal is to lay the groundwork for the successful application of regenerative medicine in central
nervous system (CNS) disorders involving neuronal loss. The adult CNS has potential to produce new neurons and regenerate after injury. In practice, however CNS injury favors the generation of new astroglial cells and the glial scar versus axonal outgrowth and neurogenesis. Inhibition of astrogliogenesis and the glial scar could therefore contribute to CNS repair.
First, we will unravel the pathways that regulate astrogliogenesis by means of largescale genetic and pharmacological screenings on novel cellular models of this process. Second, we will create innovative optogenetic systems to target and control the behavior and fate of specific subpopulations of neurons and glia. And third, we will adapt new microfluidic devices to the study of astrogliogenesis.
We expect to provide new putative therapeutic targets and strategies for CNS regeneration. However, our proposal could have great impact on a wide range of scientific fields beyond regenerative medicine.
Oral Communications and invited talks:
Letra-Vilela R., Branco-Santos J., Catarina Almeida, Herrera F. (2016). Development of a new cellular model for the visualization and study of GFAP oligomerization in living cells. V Congresso da Ordem dos Biólogos and I Cimeira Ibérica (2016), Évora, Portugal.
Letra-Vilela R.(2015), Invited talk: “Uma experiência nas Neurociências”. Sinapse 2015, University of Évora, Évora, Portugal
Catarina Silva-Almeida, Ana Maia Rocha, Ricardo Letra-Vilela, Joana Silvestre-Ferreira, Joana Branco-Santos, Federico Herrera (2016). Optimization of a BiFC System to study the Stat3 dimerization in living cells. 1st Symposium on Aging Research, Coimbra, Portugal
Ricardo Letra-Vilela, Ana Catarina Almeida, Joana Branco-Santos, Ana Maia Rocha, Federico Herrera (2016). The flatworm Schmidtea Mediterranea as an in vivo model for the toxicity of up converting nanoparticles. 1st Conference and Spring School on Properties, Design and Applications of Upconverting Nanomaterials, Wroclaw, Poland
Letra-Vilela R., Rocha A.M., Gonçalves P., Branco-Santos J., Leites E., Sebastião A., Herrera F. (2015). The role of adenosine receptors on glutamate toxicity in the planaria Schmidtea mediterranea. XIV meeting of Portuguese Society for Neuroscience, Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal
Letra-Vilela R., Rocha A.M., Branco-Santos J., Leites E., Herrera F. (2015). Visualizing oligomerization of normal and mutant glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in living cells. XIV meeting of Portuguese Society for Neuroscience, Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal
Rocha A.M., Letra-Vilela R., Branco-Santos J., Leites E., Herrera F. (2015). Development of new cellular models for step-by-step dissection of Astrogliogenesis. XIV meeting of Portuguese Society for Neuroscience, Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal.