My main research interest is to study of the immune response to mycobacterial infections, being my main focus of interest the acquired immune response and, more specifically the role of the thymus during chronic infections. We have observed that the thymus is a target organ for mycobacteria (Nobrega et al 2007; for a review on thymic infection, in general, please see Nunes-Alves et al., 2013). As a site for T cell “education” and differentiation, we discovered that infection of the thymus was responsible for the generation of T cells tolerant to mycobacterial antigens (Nobrega et al 2010). Additionally, we described that bacterial growth within the thymus is controlled by T cells that came from the periphery back to the thymus (Nobrega & Nunes-Alves et al 2013).
Moving from the mouse model to humans, but keeping my main interest on the immune response to infection, in particular on T cells during HIV infection, I am now interested in better understanding the mechanisms underlying the protective role of T cells during the immune response against tuberculosis and, why these cells are, in certain circumstances responsible for immunopathology. I am also interested in exploiting the factors involve on the immune reconstitution’s failure of HIV-infected individuals doing anti-retroviral therapy (Horta & Nobrega et al 2013).I have acquired expertise in several techniques that enable me to address main questions at the cellular and molecular level both in vitro (e.g. flow cytometry, microscopy, cell culture techniques, nucleic acid and gene expression analysis) and in vivo (e.g. cell and tissue transplantation assays using the mouse model, infection, antibiotic treatment). I have also gained competences to work in laboratories of biosafety level (BSL) 2 and 3.
At the moment, I am co-responsible for the flow cytometry unit at the ICVS.
Most relevant publications:
Nobrega, C.*, C.Nunes-Alves*, B.Cerqueira-Rodrigues, S. Roque, P. Barreira-Silva, S. M. Behar, and M.Correia-Neves. T cells home to the thymus and control infection. Journal of Immunology, 2013 190:1646-58. * These authors have equally contributed to this work.
Horta, A.*, C.Nobrega*, P. Amorim-Machado, V. Coutinho-Teixeira, P. Barreira-Silva,S.Boavida, P. Costa, R. Sarmento-Castro, A. G. Castro, and M. Correia-Neves. Poor Immune Reconstitution in HIV-Infected PatientsAssociates with High Percentage of Regulatory CD4(+) T Cells. PLoS One, 2013,8(2):e57336.* These authors have equally contributed to this work.
R. Duarte, A. Afonso, C. Ferreira, S. Roque, O.Vasconcelos, R. Sarmento-Castro, M. Tavares, C. Caldas, R. Greenwald, K.Lyashchenko, M. Correia-Neves, C.Nobrega, “A case-control study on the diagnostic potential of multi-antigenserologicaltests for tuberculosis”. Archives of Clinical Microbiology, 2012,3(2): 1.
C. Nobrega, S.Roque, C. Nunes-Alves, A. Coelho, I. Medeiros, A.G. Castro, R. Appelberg, M. Correia-Neves, “Dissemination of mycobacteria tothe thymus renders newly generated T cells tolerant to the invading pathogen”,Journal of Immunology,2010, 184: 351.
C. Nobrega, P.J. Cardona, S. Roque, P. Pinto do Ó, R. Appelberg,M. Correia-Neves, “The thymusas a target organ for mycobacterial infections”,Microbes and Infection, 2007,9: 1521.