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 Joao Paulo  Costa Pinho

Joao Paulo Costa Pinho

Joao Paulo Costa Pinho

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Advisor : Stanley Stevens

Program

Ph.D.

Our lab mostly employ mass spectrometry(MS)-based proteomics to study the effects of ethanol exposure on models ranging from cell lines to mice. MS is a powerful and versatile approach. As such, it can be geared to obtain comprehensive and deep proteomic coverage of complex biological samples as well as sensitive characterization of low-abundance post-translational modifications, depending on the conditions used. My project mainly focuses on microglia, a component of the innate immune system in the brain. Ethanol exposure affects microglial activation phenotypes depending on whether said exposure is chronic or acute and what other stimuli microglia are receiving. Since the various microglial activation states are well understood in terms of secreted molecules and expressed proteins, MS-based proteomics is an ideal tool to understand how a certain stimulus (like ethanol) impacts the cell's behavior and protein expression profile. Furthermore, we employ MS to characterize not only the identity and abundance of proteins, but also their modifications. That is specially interesting when one considers that modifications to core histone tails (mainly methylation and acetylation) play a determining role in transcription regulation. By measuring how certain conditions and stimuli affect histones, we obtain insight into the mechanisms regulating the phenotypic changes observed in the cells' behavior.