Rafael Linden

Rafael Linden

Fellow: Awarded 2002
Field of Study: Neuroscience

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Dr. Linden received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil, and is currently a full Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenesis, and former Director of the Institute of Biophysics Carlos Chagas Filho at UFRJ. He is best known for his contributions to the understanding of the control of programmed cell death in the central nervous system. Currently, his research group pursues two main lines of research: (a) Development of gene therapy for retinal degenerations, in which the effects are studied of transduction of various genes upon the death of either ganglion cells or photoreceptors in murine models of glaucoma and retinal dystrophies, respectively; this work includes direct tests of certain therapeutic genes, studies of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection conferred by therapeutic genes, and development of better viral vectors for retinal transduction; and (b) Prion biology, in which research is directed at physiological properties of the prion protein, recently implied in Alzheimer’s disease, and abnormal conformers of which are associated with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies; these studies include the search and validation of candidate ligands associated with its signal transduction capabilities, aiming at defining the basic functional properties of the prion protein both within and outside of the nervous system.

His achievements in cellular and molecular neurosciences have led to his being named a Senior Investigator of the Brazilian National Research Council, a senior member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Latin American Academy of Sciences. In addition to his Guggenheim Fellowship, his honors include the Grand-Cross of the National Order of Scientific Merit, awarded to him by the President of the Republic of Brazil.


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