Mychael Lourenço graduated with a B.A. in biology and an M.A. and Ph.D. in genetics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He was a visiting researcher at Columbia University in the United States during his doctorate. Today, he is an associate professor of neuroscience at UFRJ and an associate editor of the Journal of Neurochemistry. His project focuses on the process of protein synthesis in some nerve cells and the involvement of these proteins in memory formation. The research has great potential for understanding how the brain works and creating new therapeutic ways of recovering memory.
His leisure time is dedicated to reading, mainly fiction, from the classics to more contemporary writers such as García Márquez and Chico Buarque. As well as books, he enjoys classic rock, jazz, and Brazilian pop “without too much moderation.”
Our brain is a complex organ that performs various functions, from thinking and storing memories to planning for the future and experiencing emotions. This diversity of functions is achieved through a complex interplay of regulatory mechanisms, from molecular modifications to changes in neural circuits.
While we have known for decades that producing new proteins in neurons is essential for these processes, the role of protein synthesis in other cell types in the brain is less understood. This project investigates whether protein synthesis in astrocytes and microglia, two cell types increasingly implicated in complex brain functions, is important for establishing memories and controlling mood.
The project will also explore whether events that disrupt the proper functioning of these cells and impact protein synthesis can make the brain more susceptible to neurodegenerative conditions.