Colloquium_21_10_26 Henrique de Assis Lopes Ribeiro
From Richard Ressler
Title: Multi-scale mechanistic modelling of the host defense in invasive aspergillosis
Speaker: Henrique de Assis Lopes Ribeiro, Laboratory for Systems Medicine, UF-Health, University of Florida
Date: Tuesday October 26th, 2021
Abstract: Fungal infections of the respiratory system are a life-threatening complication for immunocompromised patients. Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, caused by the airborne mold Aspergillus fumigatus, has a mortality rate of up to 50% in this patient population. The lack of neutrophils, a common immunodeficiency caused by, e.g., chemotherapy, disables a mechanism of sequestering iron from the pathogen, an important virulence factor. This paper shows that a key reason why macrophages are unable to control the infection in the absence of neutrophils is the onset of hemorrhaging, as the fungus punctures the alveolar wall. The result is that the fungus gains access to heme-bound iron. At the same time, the macrophage response to the fungus is impaired. We show that these two phenomena together enable the infection to be successful. A key technology used in this work is a novel dynamic computational model used as a virtual laboratory to guide the discovery process. The paper shows how it can be used further to explore potential therapeutics to strengthen the macrophage response.
Bio: Henrique de Assis Lopes Ribeiro is a Post-doc at the laboratory of Systems medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. His primary research focus is on mathematical and computational modeling of the immune system. His research interest includes the use of agent-based modeling, ordinary differential equation, and Boolean networks.
Dr. Henrique is a biologist by training and completed a Ph.D. in bioinformatics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He then undertook two postdoctoral appointments in the Istituto per le Applicazioni del Calcolo "Mauro Picone" in the Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (IAC-CNR) in Rome, Italy. During his period in Italy, Dr. Henrique developed a computational model of immune response to cutaneous leishmaniasis. After that, he moved to the Center for Quantitative Medicine at UConn Health, where he developed a computational model of immune response to Aspergillus fumigatus.