At the intersection between physiology and immunology, biologist Cibele Rocha Resende has a project to unravel some of the mysteries of the human heart. A thorough exploration of macrophages, resident cells in the heart that may be the messengers between the heart muscle and physiological stressors. A fundamental point to understand the homeostatic responses that keep our vital organ in balance.
Graduated in biological sciences from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Cibele quickly pursued a doctorate in physiology and biochemistry at the same institution. She has three postdoctoral periods, one at Washington University in Saint Louis, United States. The biologist is also a member of the American Heart Association and the Brazilian Society of Physiology. Outside of the classrooms and laboratories at UFMG, Cibele dedicates herself to two passions: coffee and reading.
This project is anchored at the interface between two areas of knowledge: Physiology and Immunology. Although the presence of macrophages resident in various tissues of the body is not new (such as microglia in the brain, Kupffer cells in the liver, etc.), it was only with the emergence of more sophisticated techniques in the last decade that it was possible to identify and characterize macrophages resident in the heart. These cells are involved in several important biological functions, such as blood vessel formation and electrical conduction. In this project, we intend to investigate the existence of cellular communication between resident macrophages and the heart muscle cell, the cardiomyocyte. We hypothesize that macrophages present in cardiac tissue can detect physiological changes and contribute to a homeostatic response that will help the heart adapt to a stressful stimulus.