Alumnus Profile

Dr. Fabiola Zucchi

September 1, 2017

Visiting Professor

Department of Cell Biology, University of Brasilia

1. You were involved with the Alberta MS Network (endMS) during your time as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Lethbridge. For you, what was the most beneficial aspect of the Network?

I was involved with the former Alberta endMS Regional Research and Training Centre from 2009 to 2012, during my Postdoctoral training at Dr Gerlinde Metz laboratory, at Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN), University of Lethbridge (UofL). It was a very pleasant period of interaction with several members of the network. During this period, I have more closely worked with members from Dr Wee Yong lab, and with Charlotte Breakey, the former network manager. I have learnt about mouse EAE model, and I was a network champion serving as a bridge between Calgary and Lethbridge, helping to promote the weekly video talks, and to spread all the news aboutthe network within the CCBN.

I believe the most beneficial aspect of the network is the cooperative and friendly environment, combined with several learning and granting opportunities. During that time, I had the chance to attend and participate in several local discussions meetings, provincial and national events, where all trainees had close contact with all levels MS researchers. Furthermore, I had the chance of learning and helping on event organization, by serving as peer reviewer for selecting trainees’ abstracts, by presenting my own research, and preparing a workshop for the summer school, as well as serving as chair at the neuroimmunology course. Overall, I have had a great experience working with the network during my postdoctoral training. I truly thank the network and its members for the high quality and pleasant learning experience.

2. Can you tell us a little more about your current position and the work you are doing?

Since I returned to Brazil in 2012, after my Post-Doctoral training at University of Lethbridge, I have been working as Visiting Assistant Professor and Visiting Professor, at two public universities in Brazil, the State University of Mato Grosso (UNEMAT), and the University of Brasilia (UnB). During this time, I have taught undergraduate and graduate students, at traditional and Problem Based Learning (PBL) courses, for Biological and Health Sciences Degrees. Currently, I hold a Visiting Professor position in Immunology at Department of Cell Biology, at UnB, in Brasilia, DF, Brazil. Furthermore, I hold a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Excellence National Postdoctoral Program (PNPD) from Coordination for Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPESBrazil), at the Molecular Biology Graduate Program, at UnB.

I have been investigating the role of angiogenesis in the development of tuberculous (TB) meningitis in mice, under the research grant “Chamada Universal” from National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq-Brazil). The project emphasises multiple levels of biological organisation. From 1) microRNAs next generation sequencing investigations, passing by the 2) morphological and 3) physiological features, leading to 4) functional outcome, as observed by behavioural and electrophysiological features; followed by Mycobacterium bovis / BCG challenge. The experimental model used is a mouse central nervous system tuberculosis (CNS-TB) model, which was established during my PhD in Neuroscience, at University of Sao Paulo (USP). Additionally, using this mouse TB model, I have performed electrophysiological recordings from multiple cerebellar cells, at University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, under the research grant “University of Birmingham Brazil Visiting Fellows”. This model has been also applied for the understanding of the DNA-hsp65 vaccine protective mechanisms, and it provides a potential tool to investigate physiological mechanisms underlying the disease in the CNS.

Additionally to my current research line in Brazil, I have been investigating how stress history influences mother and offspring health outcomes, with Dr Gerlinde Metz, my former Postdoc Supervisor, following up projects previously started during my training in Canada.

3. Do you have any advice for our trainees?

Based in my previous experiences working with the network, I would recommend the current Alberta MS Network trainees: to explore all opportunities offered by the network; to engage with mentors, peers, mentees, and stakeholders for maximize the learning experiences; to focus on career development, as science is a very restrict field of work all around the world; and to have joy, what is the best part of doing science.



182A Heritage Medical Research Building
3330 Hospital Drive NW
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta  T2N 4N1

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