Graca Almeida-Porada, MD, PhD
Graca Almeida-Porada, MD, PhD, Professor
Almeida-Porada received her medical degree in 1985 from ICBAS, University of
Porto, Portugal, and obtained her Ph.D. in Pathology from the same University
in 1995. She completed her residency in 1987, and a fellowship in
Hematology/Transfusion Medicine in 1994 at Centro Hospitalar do Porto. She was a fellow at the University of
Connecticut Health Center and at the University of Nevada, Reno School of
Medicine. She has been a member of
several NIH study sections, she serves as an Editor, or on the Editorial Boards
of several scientific journals, she is the co-editor-in-chief of Current Stem
Cell Reports. She was inducted into Phi Beta Delta in 2006. She is the Co-founder of the International Fetal
Transplantation and Immunology Society. Dr. Almeida-Porada holds several patents
and has authored more than 200 scientific works including papers, abstracts,
and book chapters.
SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST:
- Study of the biological properties and
regenerative capabilities of stem cells, with the goal of understanding disease
processes and developing novel approaches to cell therapy and tissue repair.
- Development of cellular and gene delivery approaches
to treat genetic and immune-mediated diseases.
- Improving the outcome of stem cell transplantation
and gene therapy in fetal and neonatal patients for correction of genetic
- Reprogramming of stem/progenitor cells for
- Expansion platforms for stem/progenitor cells.
DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: The study of stem cell biology provides a unique tool to gain a better understanding into the myriad of interwoven pathways involved in development, specification of cell fate, and tissue regeneration/repair. Furthermore, it can unravel the complex cell-cell interactions that control migration/homing and differentiation of cells during injury/repair and following transplantation. The Almeida-Porada laboratory is interested in investigating these basic biologic processes, using bone marrow and cord blood-derived stem cells as model systems, and translating the knowledge obtained to develop cell-based therapies for different organs/diseases. Specifically, we are delineating the pathways and the factors that govern stem cell expansion and differentiation into specific fates, by studying stem cells in their own microenvironment, at the niche level, and upon transplantation in injury and non-injury models. We are also devising techniques to improve the engraftment of transplanted cells through manipulation of the recipient’s niches and modulation of the transplanted cells’ immunogenicity. Collectively, we envision that the key information generated from each of the ongoing projects will provide the necessary tools for developing: 1) ways to obtain and expand non-immunogenic tissue-specific progenitor cells to be used in tissue engineering; and 2) new and safer approaches to cell therapy, including manipulation of stem cell niches to stimulate proliferation of endogenous stem cells, and/or facilitate engraftment and accelerate recovery after stem cell transplantation.