I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Computer Science Department of Rice University (Houston, TX), interested in computational biology and cancer immunotherapy. I work with structural modeling and analysis of protein-ligand complexes that play key roles in cellular immunity. My research will facilitate the development of safer and better personalized immunotherapy treatments, enabling structure-based selection of peptides that can be targeted by the immune system (e.g., tumor neoantigens), and computational prediction of dangerous off-target toxicities.
I attained my bachelor’s degree (BS) in Biomedicine in 2008, at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS, Brazil), and received my master’s degree (MS) in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the same university in 2011. During my doctorate degree (DSc), concluded in 2014, I applied bioinformatics tools to identify molecular features responsible for complex immunological phenomena, such as heterologous immunity. My research enabled in silico predictions of T cell cross-reactivity among viral epitopes, which were later confirmed by in vitro experiments. Currently, I am working in collaboration with a team from MD Anderson Cancer Center, developing structure-based methods that can be used to improve peptide-target selection in personalized cancer immunotherapy. I am also the coordinator of an association of Brazilian academics in Houston (PUB Houston), and a permanent contributor of the Brazilian Society of Immunology Blog (SBlogI).
More details can be found in my curriculum vitae.
- I wrote about the challenge of misinformation and fake news during the COVID-19 epidemics, for the Brazilian Society of Immunology Blog. The text (in Portuguese) can be found here.
- I was interviewed by a local news website from my hometown (Alegrete Tudo), about my experience under quarentine in the USA, and what could Brazil learn from the USA response to COVID-19.
- My research, in collaboration with Dr. Didier Devaurs, was featured in a publication at the website of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). The piece describes our use of the Comet supercomputer, at SDSC, to test the use of our meta-docking method (DINC) for predicting the binding modes of large ligands. The long-term goal of this project is to enable applications for personalized cancer immunotherapy.
- I wrote an update on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic for the Brazilian Society of Immunology Blog. The text (in Portuguese) can be found here. Updated information on the number of confirmed cases/deaths for Brazil can be found here, and worldwide here.
- My lastest abstract, titled “Sequence-based retrieval of potential targets for off-target toxicity in cancer immunotherapy”, was selected for poster presentation at the AMIA 2020 Informatics Summit.
- I gave a talk titled “Enabling structure-based data-driven selection of targets for cancer immunotherapy” at the Seventeenth Annual Rocky Mountain Bioinformatics Conference (Rocky19), a meeting of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). Dec 7, 2019, Aspen/Snowmass, CO.
- I gave a tutorial on “Current methods and open challenges for structural modeling in cancer immunotherapy” at the First International Symposium on Mathematical and Computational Oncology (ISMCO 2019). October 14, 2019 at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA.
- I gave a talk titled “Large-scale modeling of class I peptide-HLA complexes using APE-Gen” at the First International Symposium on Mathematical and Computational Oncology (ISMCO 2019). October 15, 2019 at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA.
- I gave a talk titled “Aplications of structural bioinformatics to cancer immunotherapy” at the XXII Semana Acadêmica da Biologia, Passo Fundo University, Brazil, on September 17, 2019.
- I was seleted with honorable mention to be a part of the School of Engineering’s Future Faculty Fellows Program, at Rice University (Houston, TX). The goal of the program is to help fellows to become more competitive for faculty positions, by providing support in preparing all elements of the faculty application and interview.
- I was selected to be a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Computational Cancer Biology Training Program (CCBTP). This fellowship is funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), grant number RP170593. The CCBTP is one of the training programs of the Gulf Coast Consortia for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (GCC).