Dora Brites

Neuroinflammation, Signaling and Neuroregeneration

NeuroIn focus on neurodevelopmental disabilities, genetic susceptibilities, neuroinflammation and ageing causing homeostatic imbalance and predisposing to neurodegeneration. We investigate how glial phenotypes, neuro-immune deregulation, and paracrine distress lead to disease onset/progression. We aim to identify early biomarkers for non-invasive diagnosis, generate patient-specific stratification tools for disease modeling, and improve healthcare.

Targeting intercellular communication in neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation

Our goal is to unveil CNS disease mechanisms associated to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (AD/PD), gliomas, HIV, and addictive disorders, exploring immunophenotypic aberrancies, paracrine signaling and miRNA-vesicle trafficking, using imaging and omics. We seek to discover early pathological drivers for risk-stratified treatments, autologous therapy, and precision medicine. We foster translation of our research to clinics.

Behavioral and cognition dysfunctions by psychoactive substances

Our focus is to assess the short- and long-term neurotoxic and neuroinflammatory processes due to high use of synthetic cathinones.

Advanced disease modeling for neurodegenerative disorders

We aim to identify innovative targets and test therapeutic strategies using organ-on-a-chip platforms, as well as 2D/3D culture systems, based on neurons and glia generated from neural precursor or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of sporadic/familial patients, and from humanized mice disease models.

Neuroprotective and neuroregenerative strategies

We are interested in identifying and testing molecules, senolytics, functional-cell improvers and cellular/exosomal/secretome miRNA-based therapies, as well as in developing drug-delivery vehicles that regenerate the intrinsic CNS defenses and homeostasis balance, thus preventing/reducing neurodegenerative processes.

Barbosa M, Gomes C, Sequeira C, Gonçalves-Ribeiro J, Pina CC, Carvalho LA, Moreira R, Vaz SH, Vaz AR, Brites D. Recovery of depleted miR-146a in ALS cortical astrocytes reverts cell aberrancies and prevents paracrine pathogenicity on microglia and motor neurons. Front Cell Dev Biol 2021; 9: 634355. DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.634355.
Pomeshchik Y, Klementieva O, Gil J, Martinsson I, Hansen MG, de Vries T, Sancho-Balsells A, Russ K, Savchenko E, Collin A, Vaz AR, Bagnoli S, Nacmias B, Rampon C, Sorbi S, Brites D, Marko-Varga G, Kokaia Z, Rezeli M, Gouras GK, Roybon L. Human iPSC-derived hippocampal spheroids: An innovative tool for stratifying Alzheimer disease patient-specific cellular phenotypes and developing therapies. Stem Cell Reports 2020; 15:256-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2020.06.001.
Vaz AR, Falcão AS, Scarpa E, Semproni C, Brites D. Microglia susceptibility to free bilirubin is age-dependent. Front Pharmacol 2020; 11: 1012. DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2020.01012.
Cunha C, Santos C, Gomes C, Fernandes A, Correia AM, Sebastião AM, Vaz AR, Brites D. Downregulated glia interplay and increased miRNA-155 as promising markers to track ALS at an early stage. Mol Neurobiol 2018; 55: 4207-4224. DOI: 10.1007/s12035-017-0631-2.
Garcia G, Nanni S, Figueira I, Ivanov I, McDougall GJ, Stewart D, Ferreira RB, Pinto P, Silva RF, Brites D, Santos CN. Bioaccessible (poly)phenol metabolites from raspberry protect neural cells from oxidative stress and attenuate microglia activation. Food Chem 2017; 215: 274-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.07.128.

Dora Brites

Group Leader


Phone: 217946450

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Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa | Av. Professor Gama Pinto
1649-003 Lisboa | Portugal

Phone | +351 217 946 400
Fax | +351 217 946 470
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