Tarciso Velho

Life Sciences

Tarciso Velho, a biologist from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, also holds a master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Caxias do Sul. He furthered his academic journey in the United States, earning a doctorate in neuroscience from Oregon Health and Science University. During his post-doctoral studies, he had the opportunity to work at esteemed institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His scientific research aims to explain how genetic mutations can impact the brain, particularly in relation to speech. Currently, Tarciso is a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. Outside his professional commitments, Tarciso finds relaxation in long bike rides, spanning 30 to 50 km, and brewing his own beer. He also enjoys immersing himself in books, of which “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond and “An Anthropologist on Mars” by Oliver Sacks are among his favorites.


Modular Transgenic Strain Systems for Modeling Speech Defects and Brain Disorders in the Zebra Finch
Science / Life Sciences

In neurobiology, form and function are highly interconnected. Small mutations in genes can lead to changes in their outcomes, RNA and proteins. These changes, in turn, can lead to disturbances in the structure and functioning of the brain, i.e., a neurological disorder. To understand how mutations influence form and function in the brain, studying them in animals with relevant behavior is necessary. For vocal learning, which is inherent to speech development, such models do not yet exist. In order to overcome this barrier and investigate how mutations linked to speech disorders affect brain circuits, we propose to generate a modular system of transgenic strains in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). This system, based on the Cas9 endonuclease, could be used to manipulate specific genes through the inclusion of guide RNA (gRNA). In order to test our system, we plan to generate two genetic models of human disorders that affect language: autism and persistent stuttering.

Amount invested

R$ 100,000,00

Open Calls

Science Call 1
  • Topics
  • Behavior
  • Brain disorders
  • cérebro
  • Mutation
  • Neurological disorders
  • Protein
  • RNA
  • Transgenic strains