quinta-feira, 26 de janeiro de 2012

André Báfica recebe International Early Career Award da Howard Hughes

Do site do howard hughes medical institute (aqui)
JANUARY 24, 2012 
World-Class Scientists Chosen for HHMI’s First International Early Career Award
Top biomedical scientists from 12 countries will receive an important boost at a critical time in their careers from HHMI’s inaugural International Early Career Scientist (IECS) awards.
The 28 recipients, chosen from 760 applicants, represent a wide range of disciplines, from neuroscience to virology to plant science. All the awardees trained in the United States as a graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow and have published important research. “These are the people who, 10 years from now, we expect will be the scientific leaders in their countries,” HHMI President Robert Tjian says.

André Báfica, M.D., Ph.D.
As a young medical student at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, André Báfica loved the intensity of emergency medicine. Although he planned to become an ER physician, he soon grew passionate for the field of tropical infectious diseases. He joined an immunology lab that provided a great deal of satisfaction. “Anything you can think of, you can test it yourself,” he says. “This is no job. It’s simply pleasure.”
Báfica fondly remembers marathon lab sessions with one of his medical school mentors, visiting fellow Johan Van Weyenbergh, that lasted until 2:00 or 3:00 A.M. “We’d discuss during the day and work during the night,” he says. The long hours paid off when the pair discovered a survival trick of the parasites that cause the tropical disease leishmaniasis, a serious problem in Brazil. The parasites spur cells to release molecules known as type I interferons, which enable the invaders to establish themselves in the body. Báfica also joined a clinical research project, under the supervision of Aldina Barral and Jackson Costa, and helped show that a drug prescribed for sluggish circulation heals the disfiguring skin ulcers associated with leishmaniasis.
This varied experience convinced Báfica that he could have “the best of both worlds—tropical medicine and basic research.” But he recognized that to continue in science, he needed a Ph.D., since, he says, M.D.s cannot be individual investigators on research grants in Brazil. During his Ph.D. research at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Báfica worked with immunologist Manoel Barral-Netto to decipher how the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium meddles with the body’s production of interleukin-12, an immune system signal that promotes attacks on pathogens.
He continued the work on TB as a postdoctoral fellow in immunologist Alan Sher’s lab at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and took an interest in another major worldwide plague, HIV. In combination, the two pathogens cause a different and more severe illness than either does alone.
“It’s not A plus B, it’s A times B,” Báfica explains, partly because the TB bacterium stimulates cells to manufacture more copies of HIV, and HIV impairs immunity against TB. In 2003, he and his colleagues revealed that this virus-promoting effect requires a specific pathogen-detecting protein, Toll-like receptor-2, that occurs mainly on immune cells. That discovery suggested a possible way to slash levels of HIV in people who have TB.
Báfica also uncovered several aspects of the body’s mechanism for controlling the TB bacterium. The microbe sparks a reaction from the immune system, but an excessive response can be harmful. As Báfica found, the body produces molecules called lipoxins that can tone down the immune reaction provoked by the bacterium, thus possibly averting self-inflicted damage. The paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and other labs are following up on this discovery, trying to determine whether blocking lipoxins can treat TB.
That same year, Báfica and colleagues reported that two kinds of Toll-like receptors work together to battle the TB bacterium. One receptor helps mobilize chemical defenses, whereas the other enables immune cells to gain access to lung tissues where the bacterium hides. The paper, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, was one of the first to show cooperation between such pathogen-detecting molecules.
Since 2007, when Báfica started his own lab at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil, he and his colleagues have zeroed in on one of the TB bacterium’s potential weak spots. Last year, they discovered that the microbe manufactures a protein, called sMTL-13, that the human immune system can recognize. The lab is now working to nail down the protein’s function, identify the pathogen-detector molecules that enable immune cells to spot sMTL-13, and determine what parts of the molecule immune cells key on. Ultimately, they want to know if the protein can boost the effectiveness of potential vaccines against TB.
Báfica also wants to understand why many people infected with TB show no symptoms of disease. Although the TB bacterium infects about one-third of the world’s people, only 5 to 10 percent of them fall ill. Determining how some people keep the bacterium in check might lead to better treatments for those who don’t. “The major challenge is to understand what’s going on with the people who control the disease,” says Báfica.
Dr. Báfica is Assistant Professor of Immunology at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.

André Báfica is studying the mechanisms by which the immune system senses infectious agents.

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17 comentários:

  1. Parabéns André, este é um Grant/Award mais que merecido. Temos muito orgulho de você porque descobrimos desde os primeiros semestres do curso de medicina na Faculdade de Medicina da Bahia, a sua capacidade e vontade de ser cientista. MD/PhD de verdade e dos nossos cursos, só temos mesmo que nos sentir orgulhosos e comemorar . Continuaremos descobrindo talentos e já temos novas descobertas, parecidos com você para o progresso da Ciência Brasileira

  2. Parabéns André, uma grande e merecida conquista.

  3. Parabéns André!!!

    vc fez por merecer, muito sucesso em Floripa!!!

  4. Grande André! É a premiação da competência, dedicação e comprometimento com a boa ciência. Um forte abraço,
    Samuel Goldenberg

  5. Grande mestre André!
    Parabéns meu caro.

  6. Parabens André!!! Abraço
    MAuricio Nogueira

  7. Parabéns André!
    Você serve de inspiração para a galera que está engatinhando como eu.
    Grande abraço

  8. Parabéns!! Estou super emocionada,vc merece e sempre será um exemplo para meu filho Rafael e para mim. Estou muito orgulhosa de vc amigo e irmão.Abraços!! Estarei sempre torcendo por vc.

  9. Maria Bellio (UFRJ)27 de janeiro de 2012 17:19

    Que maravilha, André!

  10. Caros amigos,

    Muito obrigado pelas palavras de apoio desta SOCIEDADE que sempre me acolheu muito bem.

    Estou aqui para servir a ciência brasileira e ao método científico.

    Abraços, Andre Bafica


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