Cellular Morphogenesis Laboratory
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The Cellular Morphogenesis Laboratory is located in the Anatomy Department of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of UFRJ and it is run by Professor Vivaldo Moura Neto. The laboratory has a tradition in studying cytoskeleton proteins, which are important in several aspects of cellular structure and function such as the organization of the intracellular space, as well as cellular sustenance. The Laboratory team studies the interaction between cells in the organization of tissues, as a basis for the formation of organs and anatomic functional systems. It also researches into the interaction of cells that make up the brain: the neurons, the glia cells and the cells capable of forming blood vessels of the brain. The Laboratory group carries out experimental research in brain tumors: the gliomas. For this purpose, it interacts with the Neurosurgical and Neuropathological areas of the University Hospital of UFRJ. The Laboratory’s projects can be presented in a summarized form as below:

The effect of thyroid hormones on the cellular interactions in the nervous system: within this area, the team is interested in studying proliferation and differences between neurons and glia cells treated, in cultures, with the thyroid hormone T3. The goal is to understand the response of these cells in the absence of the hormone, hypothyroidism, or in the excess of it, hyperthyroidism. The laboratory verified that the hormone induces both cell types to produce molecules called growth factors. These studies represent a future possibility to have a better understanding of the damages caused by the dysfunction of T3 hormone.

The interaction between the glia cells and neurons: an important cross-talk between these cells permits the development of the brain. The cells exchange molecular signals, proteins and tiny molecules that are important for their differentiation and proliferation in order to have a healthy development of the nervous system. Some of the identified molecules could be useful for therapeutic trails designed to correct ‘errors’ of biological development in the future.

Brain tumors, mainly of the glioblastomas type, are mostly fatal, since surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are not always effective. The laboratory team has studied the interaction of these tumors with normal brain cells, both in vitro and in vivo . The team’s goals at this point are: to find new molecules that could help to improve the diagnosis of brain tumors; to describe the invasive properties of these tumors; to find molecules that could control their proliferation and also to find out how the healthy cells surrounding (the brain environment) the tumor react to its presence. Also it is very important to understand how the blood vessels around the tumor are formed as they have an important role in the nourishment of these tumor cells.

The glia reaction and the inflammatory response in the nervous system is another area of investigation. The team aims to understand how the glial cells in the brain react to inflammatory processes caused by infectious agents such as prion, Dengue virus and the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The team expects to find out which responses of the reactive glia are common to all agents and which ones apply to specific types of agents. When an infection occurs, a population of cells, called microglia, is mobilized to act in the region and its role in the inflammatory process is a question of great importance for the Cellular Morphogenesis Laboratory.

Laboratory team:
Vivaldo Moura Neto, MD, PhD, Full Professor - vivaldo@anato.ufrj.br

Pos-doctoral fellows (starting 2005)
Helena Lobo Borges, MD, Postdoc (CNPq)
- hborges@anato.ufrj.br
Jane Cristina de Oliveira Faria Amaral, PhD Associate Professor -
Loraine Campanati Araújo de Andrade, PhD, Postdoc.
Flávio Lara, PhD in Biochemistry, Postdoc.
PhD students, starting 2004
Luciana Ferreira Romão (CAPES) currently aborad -
Sheila Cristina de Souza Martins, MSc (CNPq) -
Giselle Pinto de Faria, Msc (CAPES) - giselle@anato.ufrj.br
Silvia Patrícia Mendes Costa, MSc (CAPES) -
Tércia Rodrigues Alves, MSc (FAPERJ nota 10) -
Ana Claudia Rozenfeld, MSc -
Undergraduate students, starting 2004
Suzana Assad Kahn (CNPq/balcão)
- suzanakahn@yahoo.com.br
Bruno de A. C. de Carvalho Pontes (CNPq/balcão)
- brunoaccpontes@gmail.com
Angélica Zumpichiatti dos Santos (Não bolsista) -
Rosenilde Carvalho de Holanda Alonso
- rose@anato.ufrj.br
Rosangela dos Santos Ramos -

atualização: 11/12/2005