Luís Pereira de Almeida
+351 304 502 906 (+239829190- ext 116)
Assistant Professor & Principal Investigtor
Group at CNC

Luís P. de Almeida has been working since 1998 in gene/molecular therapy approaches for the Central Nervous System (CNS). He authored one of the first papers showing that lentiviral vectors can be used to produce in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases (J Neurosci 2002), an approach that is now extensively used in the field and grew to become the core specialization of his group.
He is also a tenured Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy - UC, teaching under- and graduate levels, and as such coordinated the Masters in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and the BEB Doctoral Programme at CNC. During his early years as researcher, he had the opportunity to complement his research expertise abroad, first (2005) with Nicole Déglon at the CEA Institute of Biomedical Imaging in Orsay (France), and later, in 2010, with Stan Finkelstein at the MIT- Engineering Systems Division, USA, taking advantage of his sabbatical leaves from the academic/teaching duties.
His research activity is presently developed at CNC, where he is principal investigator and member of the Governing Board. His research lab is now devoted to working on gene and molecular therapy approaches to tackle CNS disorders, notably Huntington's, Parkinson's and the Machado-Joseph's disease (MJD). They have been particularly focused on the latter, studying its mechanisms and potential therapies including disease modifying and gene silencing approaches, autophagy activation and proteolysis inhibition. These research efforts are patent in at least 55 publications (48 papers and 7 book chapters), cited around 1300-1700 times, 30 of the papers featuring international collaborations. His most preeminent publications (16 with IF>7) have been published in the last 8 years, including one in PNAS, 5 in Brain and one in Annals of Neurology (the latter two ranking 4th in the Clinical Neurology area).
Over the years, Luís P. de Almeida has been successful in consistently attracting national and international competitive funding, and has been  also awarded several prizes, e.g., from the Portuguese Society for Neurosciences (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013), the Portuguese Society of Human Genetics (2009), and Fundação Pulido Valente.



Research Summary:
Selected Publications: 

1. Liliana S. Mendonça, Clévio Nóbrega, Hirokazu Hirai, Brian Kaspar, Luís Pereira de Almeida. Transplantation of cerebellar neural stem cells improves motor coordination and neuropathology of Machado-Joseph disease mice. Brain. 2015 Feb;138(Pt 2):320-35. doi: 10.1093/brain/awu352. Selected for presentation to the Press at SFN2014. [IF:9.196]

2. Dubinsky AN, Dastidar SG, Hsu CL, Zahra R, Djakovic SN, Duarte S, Esau CC, Spencer B, Ashe TD, Fischer KM, MacKenna DA, Sopher BL, Masliah E, Gaasterland T, Chau BN, Pereira de Almeida L, Morrison BE, La Spada AR. Let-7 Coordinately Suppresses Components of the Amino Acid Sensing Pathway to Repress mTORC1 and Induce Autophagy. Cell Metabolism. 2014 Oct 7;20(4):626-38. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.09.001. [IF:17.565]

3. Clévio Nóbrega*, Isabel Nascimento-Ferreira*, Isabel Onofre, David Albuquerque, Hirokazu Hirai, Nicole Déglon, Luís Pereira de Almeida. (2013) Silencing Mutant Ataxin-3 Rescues Motor Deficits and Neuropathology in Machado-Joseph Disease Transgenic Mice. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52396. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052396 *Equal contribution. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052396. [IF:3.234]

4. Isabel Nascimento-Ferreira, Clévio Nóbrega, Ana Vasconcelos-Ferreira, Isabel Onofre, David Albuquerque, Célia Aveleira, Hirokazu Hirai; Nicole Déglon, Luís Pereira de Almeida. Beclin-1 mitigates motor and neuropathological deficits in genetic mouse models of Machado-Joseph disease. Brain 2013. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awt144. [IF:9.196]

5. Ana T. Simoes; Nelio Goncalves; Arnulf Koeppen; Nicole Deglon; Sebastian Kugler; Carlos Bandeira Duarte; Luis Pereira de Almeida. Calpastatin-mediated inhibition of calpains in the mouse brain prevents mutant ataxin 3 proteolysis, nuclear localization and aggregation, relieving Machado-Joseph disease. Brain 2012 135: 2428-2439. DOI: 10.1093/brain/aws177 Awarded with Prize “Artigo Destaque” by the Portuguese Society for Neuroscience. [IF:9.196]

6. de Almeida LP, Ross CA, Zala D, Aebischer P, Deglon N: Lentiviral-mediated delivery of mutant huntingtin in the striatum of rats induces a selective neuropathology modulated by polyglutamine repeat size, huntingtin expression levels, and protein length. J Neurosci 22: 3473-83, 2002. [IF:6.344]

Other information: 

Ongoing Projects:
Role and mechanism of alpha-synuclein and ataxin-3 spreading in Parkinson and Machado-Joseph diseases. 2013 JPND (Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative diseases). Transnational call for “European research projects for Cross-Disease Analysis of Pathways related to Neurodegenerative Diseases. Ref. JPND-CD/0001/2013.

Towards the Understanding of Pathological Protein Processing and Toxicity in Machado-Joseph Disease. March 2013 to February 2016. Joint Call for European Research Projects on Rare Diseases Driven by Young Investigators (JTC 2012). E-Rare4/0003/2012.

Pioneer SCA Translational Grant Award 2014: Pharmacological activation of autophagy to alleviate Machado-Joseph disease. National Ataxia Foundation.

Marie-Curie Action ITN Treat-PolyQ - Industrial Academic Initial Training Network towards treatment of Polyglutamine Diseases (Leadership of the Portuguese Group). FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN GA no.264508.

Financiado por Fundos FEDER através do Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade – COMPETE 2020 e por Fundos Nacionais através da FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia no âmbito do projecto Estratégico com referência atribuida pelo COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007440

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