Where Ideas grow
Pedro Brites
Principal Researcher
Pedro Brites graduated in Biology by the Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto and obtained his PhD in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Amsterdam. The research as a PhD student contributed to the identification the gene associated with the peroxisomal disorder Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata (RCDP; published in Nature Genetics) and to elucidate the molecular basis of this disease (two publications in the American Journal of Human Genetics). This work highlighted the role of plasmalogens, a class of ether-phospholipids, as key cellular constituents whose deficiency dictates the disease state and presentation. P.Brites subsequently characterized mouse models of two peroxisomal disorders to further understand the consequences of impaired peroxisomal functioning (published in Human Molecular Genetics and in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA). The importance of these mouse models was highlighted by the identification that a deficiency in plasmalogens modulates nervous tissue pathology (published in Brain) and by implementing pre-clinical therapeutic trials (published in PlosOne), pivotal in attaining translation impact. In 2009, P. Brites joined as a Postdoc the Nerve Regeneration group at the IBMC, Porto. In 2013, P. Brites was awarded an Investigator FCT position at IBMC to initiate independent research on the role of plasmalogens in membrane processes including axon growth, synapse formation and myelin synthesis. In this line of research, we unraveled that plasmalogens are crucial for the maintenance of healthy myelin sheaths (published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine) and indispensable mediators of cellular signaling at the plasma membrane (published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation).