Luisa Pinto

  • Major Depression
  • antidepressants
  • neurobiological mechanisms
  • adult brain cytogenesis
  • neurophysiology
  • behaviour
  • neuroglial networks
  • brain plasticity
  • neurodegeneration
  • iPSCs

Luísa Pinto is graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Coimbra and performed an internship at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) on therapeutic tools for Parkinson’s Disease. She holds a PhD in Neurosciences by the Ludwig‐Maximilians‐Universität München (Germany). She is currently an Assistant Researcher with tenure and team coordinator of the “Brain circuits and neuron-glia adaptations” thematic line at ICVS, focusing on novel therapeutics for Depression and Neurodegenerative Disorders. She is also an Invited Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Minho, CEO of the start-up company “BNML–Behavioural & Molecular Lab” and co‐founder Member of the European College of NeuroPsychopharmacolgy (ECNP) Thematic Network on Resilience.
With the goal of establishing a mechanistic link between brain neuro-glio plasticity and depression, research in her group led to i) demonstration that hippocampal cytogenesis is essential for the sustained remission from depression using animal models; ii) deeper understanding of processes implicated in the onset, treatment and recurrence of depression by characterizing the cellular signatures of antidepressants; iii) first proof that AP2y crucially modulates adult glutamatergic neurogenesis and cognition; iv) uncover a critical role of epigenetic mechanisms, namely TET3, in brain plasticity and hippocampal-dependent behaviors. Her research skills cover stem cell biology; assessment of neuroplastic events; behavioural tests; electrophysiological techniques; stem cell cultures, pre‐clinical animal models and iPSCs generation. Luísa Pinto currently coordinates a team of 1 Post-Doc, 5 PhD students and 1 MSc student. She authored and co‐authored more than 70 scientific publications, cited above 2000 times (h index=28).
She has received several distinctions for her work including the Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact (runner up, 2019).

Scientific Highlights

1 – 1st Prize of the 13th edition of the Young Entrepreneur Award sponsored by the Portuguese Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE); 2 – CEO of the start-up company BNML – Behavioural & Molecular Braga, Portugal; 3 – Co-founder Member of the European College of NeuroPsychopharmacolgy (ECNP) Thematic Network on Resilience; 4 – Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact; 2019 Brain Sciences, USA; 5 – Patent: Luisa Pinto, António Pinheiro, João Bessa, Mónica Morais, Nuno Sousa, “Immuno-Golgi as a tool for analyzing neuronal 3D-dendritic structure in phenotypically charaterized neurons”, National patent nº105555; European Patent n.º 12718746.6, N/Ref.: PPE 48174/13. 6 – Scientific publication: Silveira-Rosa, T., Mateus-Pinheiro, A., Correia, J.S., Silva, J.M., Martins-Macedo, J., Araújo, B., Machado-Santos, A.R., Alves, N.D., Silva, M., Loureiro-Campos, E., Sotiropoulos, I., Bessa, J.M., Rodrigues, A.J., Sousa, N., Patrício, P.* and Pinto, L.* (2022). Suppression of adult cytogenesis in the rat brain leads to sex-differentiated disruption of the HPA axis activity. Cell Proliferation, Feb;55(2):e13165. 7 – Scientific publication: Loureiro-Campos, E., Mateus-Pinheiro, A., Patrício, P., Soares-Cunha, C., Silva. J., Sardinha, V.M., Mendes-Pinheiro, B., Silveira-Rosa, T., Domingues, A.V., Rodrigues, A.J., Oliveira, J.F., Sousa, N., Alves, N.D.* and Pinto, L.* (2021). Constitutive AP2gamma deficiency reduces postnatal hippocampal neurogenesis, inducing anxious-like phenotype and memory impairments in juvenile mice that either persist or emerge during adulthood. eLife, 10:e70685; 8 – Scientific publication: Mateus-Pinheiro, A., Patrício, P., Alves, N.D., Martins-Macedo, J., Caetano, I., Silveira-Rosa, T., Araújo, B., Mateus-Pinheiro, M., Silva-Correia, J., Sardinha, V.M., Loureiro-Campos, E., Rodrigues, A.J., Oliveira, J.F., Bessa, J.M., Sousa, N., Pinto, L.* (2021). Hippocampal cytogenesis abrogation impairs inter-regional communication between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and promotes the time-dependent manifestation of emotional and cognitive deficits. Molecular Psychiatry, Dec 26(12): 7154–66; 9 – Scientific Publication: Antunes C., MSc, Da Silva J.D., Guerra-Gomes S., Alves N.D., Ferreira F., Loureiro-Campos E., Branco M.R., Sousa N., Reik W., Pinto L.* and Joana Marques J.* (2021). Tet3 ablation in adult brain neurons increases anxiety-like behavior and regulates cognitive function in mice. Molecular Psychiatry, May;26(5):1445-1457; 10 – Scientific Publication; Mateus-Pinheiro, A., Alves, N.D., Patricio, P., Machado-Santos, A.R., Campos, E., Silva, J., Sardinha, V., Reis, J., Schorle, H., Oliveira, J.F., Ninkovic, J., Sousa, N., and Pinto, L.* (2017). AP2γ controls adult hippocampal neurogenesis and modulates cognitive, but not anxiety or depressive-like behavior. Molecular Psychiatry. Dec 22(12):1725-1734. – Featured article;