Dr. Julio Cesar Batista Ferreira
Dr. Julio Cesar Batista FerreiraAssociate Professor, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dr. Ferreira received his PhD in Cardiovascular Physiology from the University of Sao Paulo. As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, he worked on protein-protein interactions that regulate mitochondrial dynamics. He firsst characterized the role of a calcium-sensitive PKC (PKCβII) in mitochondrial dynamics through mitofusin 1 and developed a selective peptide that blocks this interaction and improves heart failure outcome. Dr. Ferreira also helped to elucidate the role of mitochondrial dynamics in cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury where excessive mitochondrial fission contributes to long-term cardiac dysfunction. At University of Sao Paulo since 2012, his lab set out to study the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 and its association with human diseases. This enzyme plays a critical role in detoxifying aldehydes that accumulate through oxidative stress and to which we are exposed from the environment. They provided evidence that activating ALDH2, using a small compound discovered by Mochly-Rosen lab (Alda-1), is sufficient in protect against aldehyde-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and improve heart failure outcome. They also demonstrated that ALDH2 activator counteracts the deleterious effects of an ALDH2 inactivating mutation (termed ALDH2*2) during ischemia-reperfusion injury. More recently, Ferreira’s lab has been studying the impact of exercise on muscle fitness in health and disease. His lab has shown that exercise promotes a cardiac and skeletal muscle anti-remodeling effect followed by improved outcome in different physiological and pathological conditions. They provided evidence that the positive impact of exercise on cardiac muscle occurs thorough a better clearance of damaged and dysfunctional mitochondria; therefore recovering the synergy between cardiac mitochondrial quality control and bioenergetic efficiency in heart failure.