Biologist José Henrique Oliveira, an alumnus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, holds a master’s and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the same institution. He completed a post-doc fellowship at Stanford University. His research project focuses on understanding how the mosquito, the vector for dengue, gets infected in the first place.
Currently serving as a lecturer at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, José Henrique is an early riser. His daily routine begins with a refreshing swim in the sea, accompanied by the sight of the sun rising over the coast of Santa Catarina. This invigorating start to his day sets the tone for his ongoing exploration of the intricacies of the dengue mosquito.
Despite their significant differences, humans and mosquitoes share several characteristics. For instance, our cells bear a striking resemblance to mosquito cells, and both are susceptible to the dengue virus. However, there are also notable differences, particularly in our ability to react to and defend against viral infections. Mosquitoes, for instance, are far more efficient and never fall ill from a dengue infection, demonstrating a tolerance to the virus. We aim to understand how this tolerance occurs. We hypothesize mosquitoes possess a unique form of defense rooted in highly efficient antioxidant responses. In this project, we plan to attempt to inhibit this response. If the antioxidant response is crucial, its inhibition could lead to adverse effects for the mosquitoes, such as loss of appetite, reduced biting frequency, and even death. Our ultimate goal is to prevent mosquitoes from transmitting dengue fever to humans.