Raquel Ferreira

Also known as:
Ferreira, R.

Keywords: Arteriovenous Malformations, Endothelial Cells, Microglia, Neuroinflammation, Neuropeptide Y, Biomaterials, Brain vasculature, Neurogenesis


Dr. Ferreira concluded her Applied Biology degree at University of Minho, Portugal. She performed her PhD studies under the supervision of Dr. João Malva at University of Coimbra, from 2006 to 2011 in the field of neuroinflammation, investigating the modulatory role of neuropeptide Y in microglia activity. In her work she discovered that microglial cells express NPY receptors and the activation of Y1 receptor has anti-inflammatory properties. Thus she extended the known modulatory role of NPY on peripheral immune cells to the brain resident macrophages. The following year she determined the involvement of histamine and its receptors on microglia inflammatory responses with Dr. Liliana Bernardino. She was the first to report histamine receptor 4 expression by microglia and how histamine can act as a pro-inflammatory molecule per se but acts as an anti-inflammatory mediator in the presence of lipopolysaccharide. This work involved the use of biomaterials, namely histamine-loaded microparticles which were developed in collaboration with Dr. Lino Ferreira, leading investigator in his field. Her findings led to a patent regarding the use of histamine receptor 4 agonists and biocompatible histaminergic-loaded microparticles for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. From 2012 to late 2013, Dr. Ferreira continued her postdoctoral studies in the field of human brain angiogenesis at the University of Southern California with Dr. Steven L. Giannotta and Dr. Florence Hofman focusing on the role of miR-18a in human cerebral arteriovenous malformation-derived endothelial cell function. She published two landmark research articles in which she first described the successful naked delivery of miRNA to (1) human primary endothelial cultures in vitro and (2) to an in vivo model of active brain angiogenesis with functionally relevant outcomes. This work lead to another patent focusing on new methods for miRNA delivery. Currently, she is a postdoctoral research associate at University of Beira Interior at the Health Sciences Research Centre, under the supervision of Dr. Liliana Bernardino and Dr. Fabienne Agasse.

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