Michel Naslavsky

Life Sciences

Michel Naslavsky is a biologist concerned with human ageing and the public health consequences of cognitive decline. His research aims to understand the complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to investigating how genomic ancestry and admixture influence genetic risks and brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s in Brazilians.

A biologist from the Federal University of Pernambuco, Michel also has a doctorate in genetics from the University of São Paulo, where he completed a post-doctorate. The scientist is a member of the American Society of Human Genetics and the Brazilian Association of Genetics, in addition to conducting research at the Big Data Analytics Laboratory at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein. In his free time, Michel is an enthusiast of cinema, literature, hiking and travelling. He shares his life with his two cats, Shine and Sagan, who accompany him on his gastronomic adventures and bird-watching moments on the balcony.


How do genomic ancestry and admixture modulate the effects of the APOE gene on white matter, myelination, and cognitive decline?
Science / Life Sciences

Societies are ageing, and the cognitive decline typical of Alzheimer’s disease has a major impact on public health. This condition is multifactorial; that is, several genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk. The interaction between these factors is very complex, and we know that genomic ancestry can modify risks. Ancestry mixing can reveal details about genetic risk, including changing the effects of genetic variants in the APOE gene, considered most important for Alzheimer’s. The gene encodes a protein with many functions, including the transport of lipids, cholesterol and the myelination process—the formation of white matter fibers in the brain, responsible for transmitting nerve impulses between regions of the cerebral cortex. The project aims to study how the ancestry and miscegenation of Brazilians, including around the APOE gene, interferes with these brain structures. We will analyze neuroimaging and lipidomics of older adults with and without cognitive decline. The study may clarify how important the genetic factors of mixed-race people are in brain changes, contributing to diagnostic methods for Brazilians and potentially new therapies.

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