Francisco Ambrósio graduated in Biochemistry in 1994 at the University of Coimbra and received his MSc and PhD in Cell Biology from the same University in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Since 2010, he has been a Principal Investigator at the Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences (IBILI), Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra (FMUC), and the Group Leader of ‘Retinal Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation Lab’. He has also been leading the ‘New Targets and Therapeutics for Chronic Diseases’ research group at CNC.IBILI consortium.
His main scientific interests are focused on the field of Vision Sciences and Neuroscience, more specifically in the pathogenic mechanisms underlying retinal dysfunction and degeneration in retinal degenerative diseases (diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration), paying particular attention to the role played by inflammation and microglial cells, as well as to blood-retinal barrier dysfunction. He has been interested in identifying potential new drug targets and developing advanced therapies (using viral vectors, nano and microparticles) to treat retinal degenerative diseases. More recently, he has become interested in the concept ‘Retina as a Window to the Brain’. The retina is known to be affected in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Since the retina can be assessed by non-invasive methods, it might be evaluated to identify new and early biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases.
Francisco Ambrósio has established several international collaborations with leading experts in the field of Vision Sciences. He authored 84 peer-reviewed publications, has been cited more than 2250 times and has an h-index of 29. He has supervised and co-supervised 7 post-docs, 20 PhD students and 19 MSc students.
Francisco Ambrósio has been successful in attracting competitive funding, from national and international agencies and pharmaceutical companies, and managing Research Programs (3.0 million €). He is Associate Editor of ‘Ophthalmic Research’, and was president of the Portuguese Association of Biochemists (2000-2004), secretary-general and co-founder of the Portuguese Society of Stem Cells and Cellular Therapy (2005-2007), secretary-general, vice-president and president of the Portuguese Biochemical Society (2005-2014), and vice-director for Scientific Research at Faculty of Medicine (2012-2015).
A.R. Santiago, S.C. Rosa, P.F. Santos, A.J. Cristóvão, A.J. Barber and A.F. Ambrósio. Elevated glucose changes the expression of ionotropic glutamate receptor subunits and impairs calcium homeostasis in retinal neural cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006, 47:4130-4137. doi: 10.1167/iovs.06-0085. PMID: 16936133.
A.R. Santiago, A.J. Cristóvão, P.F. Santos, C.M. Carvalho and A.F. Ambrósio. High glucose induces caspase-independent cell death in retinal neural cells. Neurobiol. Dis. 2007, 25:464-472. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2006.10.023. PMID: 17239603.
I.M. Araújo, B.P. Carreira, T. Pereira, P.F. Santos, D. Soulet, A. Inácio, B.A. Bahr, A.P. Carvalho, A.F. Ambrósio and C.M. Carvalho. Changes in calcium dynamics following the reversal of the sodium-calcium exchanger have a key role in AMPA receptor-mediated neurodegeneration via calpain activation in hippocampal neurons. Cell Death Differ. 2007, 14:1635-1646. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4402171. PMID: 17585341.
E.C. Leal, A. Manivannan, K. Hosoya, T. Terasaki, J. Cunha-Vaz, A.F. Ambrósio and J.V. Forrester. Inducible nitric oxide synthase isoform is a key mediator of leukostasis and blood-retinal barrier breakdown in diabetic retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007, 48:5257-5265. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0112. PMID: 17962481.
B.P. Carreira, M.I. Morte, A. Inácio, G. Costa, J. Rosmaninho-Salgado, F. Agasse, A. Carmo, P. Couceiro, P. Brundin, A.F. Ambrósio, C.M. Carvalho and I.M. Araújo. Nitric oxide stimulates the proliferation of neural stem cells bypassing the epidermal growth factor receptor. Stem Cells 2010, 28:1219-1230. doi: 10.1002/stem.444. PMID:20506358.
E.C. Leal, J. Martins, P. Voabil, J. Liberal, C. Chiavaroli, J. Bauer, J. Cunha-Vaz and A.F. Ambrósio. Calcium dobesilate inhibits the alterations in tight junction proteins and leukocyte adhesion to retinal endothelial cells induced by diabetes. Diabetes 2010, 59:2637-2645. doi: 10.2337/db09-1421. PMID: 20627932.
C.A. Aveleira, C.M. Lin, S.F. Abcouwer, A.F. Ambrósio and D.A. Antonetti. TNF-α signals through PKCζ/NF-κB to alter the tight junction complex and increase retinal endothelial cell permeability. Diabetes 2010, 59:2872-2882. doi: 10.2337/db09-1606. PMID: 20693346.
G.N. Costa, J. Vindeirinho, C. Cavadas, A.F. Ambrósio and P.F. Santos. Contribution of TNF receptor 1 to retinal neural cell death induced by elevated glucose. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 2012, 50: 113-123. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2012.04.003. PMID: 22522145.
Castilho, C.A. Aveleira, E.C. Leal, N.F. Simões, C.R. Fernandes, R.I. Meirinhos, F.I. Baptista and A.F. Ambrósio. Heme oxygenase-1 protects retinal endothelial cells against high glucose- and oxidative/nitrosative stress-induced toxicity. PLoS One 2012, 7(8):e42428. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042428. PMID: 22879979.
A. Gonçalves, C. Marques, E. Leal, C.F. Ribeiro, F. Reis, A.F. Ambrósio and R. Fernandes. Dipeptidyl peptidase-IV inhibition prevents blood-retinal barrier breakdown, inflammation and neuronal cell death in the retina of type 1 diabetic rats. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 2014, 1842:1454-1463. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.04.013. PMID: 24769045.
R. Socodato, C.C. Portugal, I. Domith, N.A. Oliveira, V.S. Coreixas, E.C. Loiola, T. Martins, A.R. Santiago, R. Paes-de-Carvalho, A.F. Ambrósio and J.B. Relvas. c-Src function is necessary and sufficient for triggering microglial cell activation. Glia 2015, 63:497-511. doi: 10.1002/glia.22767. PMID: 25421817.
A. Castilho, A.F. Ambrósio, E. Hartveit and M.L. Veruki. Disruption of a neural microcircuit in the rod pathway of the mammalian retina by diabetes mellitus. J. Neurosci. 2015, 35:5422-5433. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5285-14.2015. PMID: 25834065.
M.H. Madeira, F. Elvas, R.S. Boia, F.Q. Gonçalves, R.A. Cunha, A.F. Ambrósio and A.R. Santiago. Adenosine A2AR blockade prevents neuroinflammation-induced death of retinal ganglion cells caused by elevated pressure. J. Neuroinflammation 2015, 12:115. doi: 10.1186/s12974-015-0333-5. PMID: 26054642.
J. Martins, F. Elvas, D. Brudzewsky, T. Martins, B. Kolomiets, P. Tralhão, C.R. Gøtzsche, C. Cavadas, M. Castelo-Branco, D.P. Woldbye, S. Picaud, A.R. Santiago and A.F. Ambrósio. Activation of Neuropeptide Y receptors modulates retinal ganglion cell physiology and exerts neuroprotective actions in vitro. ASN Neuro. 2015, 7(4). pii: 1759091415598292. doi: 10.1177/1759091415598292. PMID: 26311075.
M.H. Madeira, R. Boia, F. Elvas, T. Martins, R.A. Cunha, A.F. Ambrósio and A.R. Santiago. Selective A2A receptor antagonist prevents microglia-mediated neuroinflammation and protects retinal ganglion cells from high intraocular pressure-induced transient ischemic injury. Transl. Res. 2016, 169:112-128. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2015.11.005. PMID: 26685039.
M.H. Madeira, A. Ortin-Martinez A, F. Nadal-Nícolas, A.F. Ambrósio, M. Vidal-Sanz, M. Agudo-Barriuso and A.R. Santiago. Caffeine administration prevents retinal neuroinflammation and loss of retinal ganglion cells in an animal model of glaucoma. Sci. Rep. 2016, 6:27532. doi: 10.1038/srep27532. PMID: 27270337.
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