Dr Rodrigo Medeiros is a multidisciplinary researcher, with a passion for neuroscience, immunology, genetics and pharmacology. He was educated at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, where he earned a BSc in pharmacy and a MSc and PhD in pharmacology. His PhD thesis focused on the impact of inflammatory process in Alzheimer’s disease. Rodrigo then pursued postdoctoral training at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where he discovered the fundamental role of muscarinic and calpain signalling pathways in Alzheimer’s disease. He subsequently became a researcher at the UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) and founded the Neurula Lab. In 2016, Rodrigo brought Neurula to QBI and joined forces with the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research to fight neurodegenerative diseases. The broad goal of the Neurula Lab is to advance knowledge of the healthy and diseased brain to a point where rational strategies can be developed for the early diagnosis, prevention and cure of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
Role of the immune system in neurodegeneration
Dr Medeiros discovered that Alzheimer's disease promotes defects in fundamental molecular events that limit and resolve inflammation, and demonstrated that such changes account for a substantial portion of the disease pathogenesis. Currently, his lab is undertaking the challenge of using and developing novel animal models in parallel with studies on affected human subjects to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms linking inflammation to β-amyloid, tau pathology and cognitive decline. Understanding these mechanisms will allow definition of the biological pathways involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and identify potential therapeutic targets for the management of this devastating disorder.
Impact of comorbidities in brain ageing and disease
The Neurula Lab also studies the impact of comorbidities in neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. We seek to understand how concurrent diseases that commonly occur in the elderly may modulate neurodegeneration and age-related changes in the brain. We have been particularly interested in bacterial infections and diabetes as major regulators of biological processes, and are developing genetic and pharmacological agents to manipulate these pathways in Alzheimer’s disease.
Fisher A, Bezprozvanny I, Wu L, Ryskamp DA, Bar-Ner N, Natan N, Brandeis R, Elkon H, Nahum V, Gershonov E, LaFerla FM, Medeiros R (2016) AF710B, a novel M1/σ1 agonist with therapeutic efficacy in animal models of Alzheimer's disease. Neurodegener. Dis.16: 95-110.
Dunn HC, Ager RR, Baglietto-Vargas D, Cheng D, Kitazawa M, Cribbs DH, Medeiros R (2015) Restoration of lipoxin A4 signaling reduces Alzheimer's disease-like pathology in the 3xTg-AD mouse model. J. Alzheimer’s Dis. 43: 893-903.
Medeiros R, Castello NA, Cheng D, Kitazawa M, Baglietto-Vargas D, Green KN, Esbenshade TA, Bitner RS, Decker MW, LaFerla FM (2014) α7 nicotinic receptor agonist enhances cognition in aged 3xTg-AD mice with robust plaques and tangles. Am. J. Pathol. 184: 520-529.
Medeiros R, Kitazawa M, Passos GF, Baglietto-Vargas D, Cheng D, Cribbs DH, LaFerla FM (2013) Aspirin-triggered lipoxin A4 stimulates alternative activation of microglia and reduces Alzheimer disease-like pathology in mice. Am. J. Pathol. 182: 1780-1789.
Medeiros R, LaFerla FM (2013) Astrocytes: conductors of the Alzheimer disease neuroinflammatory symphony. Exp. Neurol. 239: 133-138.
Medeiros R, Chabrier MA, LaFerla FM (2013) Elucidating the triggers, progression, and effects of Alzheimer's disease. J. Alzheimer’s Dis..Suppl. 1: S195-S210.
Medeiros R, Kitazawa M, Chabrier MA, Cheng D, Baglietto-Vargas D, Kling A, Moeller A, Green KN, LaFerla FM (2012) Calpain inhibitor A-705253 mitigates Alzheimer's disease-like pathology and cognitive decline in Aged 3xTg-AD mice. Am. J. Pathol.181: 616-625.
Medeiros R, Kitazawa M, Caccamo A, Baglietto-Vargas D, Estrada-Hernandez T, Cribbs DH, Fisher A, LaFerla FM (2011) Loss of muscarinic M1 receptor exacerbates Alzheimer's disease-like pathology and cognitive decline. Am. J. Pathol.179: 980-991.
Medeiros R, Baglietto-Vargas D, LaFerla FM (2011) The role of tau in Alzheimer's disease and related Disorders. CNS Neurosci. Ther. 17: 514-524.
Medeiros R, Figueiredo CP, Pandolfo P, Duarte FS, Prediger RD, Passos GF, Calixto JB (2010) The role of TNF-α signaling pathway on COX-2 upregulation and cognitive decline induced by β-amyloid peptide. Behav. Brain Res. 209: 165-173.
Medeiros R, Prediger RD, Passos GF, Pandolfo P, Duarte FS, Franco JL, Dafre AL, Di Giunta G, Figueiredo CP, Takahashi RN, Campos MM, Calixto JB (2007) Connecting TNF-α signaling pathways to iNOS expression in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease: relevance for the behavioral and synaptic deficits induced by β-amyloid protein. J. Neurosci. 27: 5394-5404.