Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP)

Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Day Neurodegenerative diseases and treatment options Thursday, April 21, 2022 | 1-2:30 p.m.

LSAMP Day will be hosted on WebEx:

https://bhcc.webex.com/bhcc/j.php?MTID=m9615e70dd4ef418d2859a1a13881b4c4

Meeting number: 2318 866 0242
Password: DKpm73eRFc5
Join by video system: Dial 23188660242@bhcc.webex.com You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.
Join by phone: 1-650-479-3208 Call-in toll number (US/Canada) Access code: 231 886 60242

Join LSAMP in a discussion on Neurodegenerative diseases and treatment options featuring Speaker Joao D. Pereira, Ph.D., Scientist II, Nereid Therapeutics, who will discuss MGH Research and Career Paths. Offered in partnership with UMass Boston, the LSAMP grant at BHCC supports opportunities for internships and career development for minority students majoring in STEM.

Download the event flyer.

Agenda

1-1:05 p.m. Welcome
Suman Mukherjee, Ph.D., LSAMP Coordinator
Laura C. Rubin, Ph.D., Dean, Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

1:05-1:15 p.m. Introduction and Examples of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Suman Mukherjee, Ph.D., LSAMP Coordinator

1:15-1:25 p.m. Internship Experience by BHCC STEM Students, A Project to Help and Support for Healthcare of Indigenous Community
Sharmila Khada Thapa, IT Technology Transfer Option major
Simona Matiukaite, Computer Science major

1:25-1:35 p.m. STEM Internship Opportunity
Katharine V. Colello, Learn and Earn Coordinator

1:40-2:15 p.m. Joao D. Pereira, Ph.D., Scientist II, Nereid Therapeutics
MGH Research and Career Paths

2:15-2:30 p.m. Q&A with Dr. Pereira

Speaker

Joao D. Pereira, Ph.D., Scientist II, Nereid Therapeutics
MGH Research and Career Paths

Pereira obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Cambridge, U.K, in 2012, with a thesis on the role of the epigenetic modifier Ezh2 in neocortical development, mentored by Dr. Rick Livesey. He then joined Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital as a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Wainger.

Pereira‚Äôs work focused on human models of neurodegenerative diseases, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's Disease, using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and organoids, complex cellular models that replicate features of human organs. In ALS, the first pre-symptomatic event is the loss of innervation at the level of the specific motor neuron/muscle synapse, the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). 

Due to species-specific distinctions between animal models and human motor neuron biology, the NMJ has been challenging to study in a human context. Dr. Pereira developed a model of sensorimotor organoids, complex in vitro cultures that differentiate into multiple cellular components affected by ALS, including motor neurons, skeletal muscle, astrocytes, and microglia. These cellular components interact, spontaneously forming functioning neuromuscular junctions, and the skeletal muscle shows motor-neuron-dependent contractions. Comparing genome-edited human iPSC cell lines carrying causal mutations for ALS to control lines, Dr. Pereira isolated multiple distinct disease phenotypes at the level of the neuromuscular junction, opening the way for new therapeutic approaches. After becoming an Instructor in Neuroscience, Dr. Pereira developed deep learning and artificial intelligence approaches to characterizing other rare neurodegenerative diseases. 

Pereira has recently joined Nereid Therapeutics, where he continues to develop neuronal models of neurodegenerative diseases at an industry level.