Areas of expertise
I am a Biological Scientist with Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbiology. During my Ph.D., I developed drugs that treat metastatic melanoma by modulating innate and adaptive immune responses. Since then, I have devoted my career to the understanding of cancer immunobiology and the development of adjuvant immunotherapy approaches. I built a network of international collaborators, including clinicians and basic researchers from the UK, USA, Brazil, Portugal, and Finland. As a postdoc, I developed my training in the UK and Finland, working with translational medical research, and applying state-of-the-art approaches including CyTOF, NanoString, and DSP. I recently awarded a prestigious Academy of Finland fellowship to develop my research in the development of new treatments that improve cancer immunotherapy. More details at https://miorg.fi/
At the Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, UK.
2018 - 2019 Lectures in the North West Cancer Research Seminar Series. Topic: Immunotherapy and Immune profile of Melanoma
At the Experimental Oncology Unit, Federal University of São Paulo.
2015 - 2017 Lectures on Cancer Immunology and Advanced Molecular and Cellular Immunology at the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology.
At the Ibirapuera University, São Paulo
2015 - 2016 Lectures on Immunology, Microbiology, Epidemiology, Health promotion in the elderly, Molecular Biology
In Europe, the highest incidence rates of melanoma occur in Nordic countries and Switzerland, where the inhabitants are predominantly light-skinned. In Finland, melanoma is the 5th most prevalent form of cancer with 1.669 new cases per year (Globocan 2018, WHO).
Immunotherapies that target immune checkpoint regulatory (ICR) molecules, such as the cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1), also called immune checkpoint blockers (ICB) have become standard treatments for metastatic melanoma and other cancer types, achieving impressive clinical improvements.
However, only a subset of cancer patients shows clinical benefits with these treatments. In metastatic melanoma, 20% of patients with distant metastasis achieve 5-year survival following immunotherapies using ICB, and the vast majority are refractory or will relapse the initial treatments by developing resistance mechanisms.
Therefore, understanding the fundamental mechanisms that underlie ICB resistance in metastatic melanoma, and developing strategies that mitigate these mechanisms are critical steps to unleash the full power of ICBs.
By applying state-of-the-art technologies, including Mass Cytometry and Digital Spatial Profiling (NanoString), we are uncovering novel pathways associated with ICB resistance, mostly involved in the mechanisms of T lymphocyte suppression, which will provide new directions towards combinatory therapies for metastatic cutaneous and uveal melanoma.
These strategies are based on the combination of new drugs developed in MIORG (https://miorg.fi), or the validation of already approved molecules in clinical trials for the management of other diseases. These treatments are selected as potential candidates to modulate or reverse the immune profile of metastatic melanoma associated with innate and acquired resistance to immunotherapies.
My research is aligned with sustainable development by engaging a participatory society for citizens. We are committed to promoting equal opportunities to enable all people to have access to the most recent updates related to the field of metastatic melanoma prognostication and therapy in Finland and worldwide.