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Date published: September 19, 2023

September Postdoctoral Spotlight: Milton Pereira, PhD


This month, we are excited to feature Milton Pereira, PhD, as our Postdoc Spotlight! Dr. Pereira is a postdoc in the labs of Drs. Ricardo Gazzinelli and Douglas Golenbock in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. 

What is your research focus?  

My research is focused on understanding how innate immune responses protect the host against protozoan parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii and Trypanosoma cruzi. In Dr. Gazzinelli’s lab, I began studying the mechanisms of neutrophil extracellular traps (NET) formation in neutrophils exposed to T. gondii. Recently, we shifted our attention to dendritic cells in an attempt to understand key signaling events that lead to the production of interleukin-12 (IL-12). In this study, recently submitted for publication, we found that activation of endosomal toll-like receptors in dendritic cells triggers signaling events that are different from those observed in macrophages. Importantly, we uncovered a key transcription factor that is responsible for IL-12 production in dendritic cells, but not macrophages, and is essential in controlling the infection in vivo.  

Why did you choose UMass for your postdoctoral studies? 
I chose UMass due to its reputation. It has some of the most competitive labs in the field of innate immunity. Another factor that made this an easy decision is the fact that this department encourages collaboration. 

 Where is your favorite place to travel for vacation and why? 
I really enjoy going to the Azores islands. This tiny Portuguese archipelago has some of the most amazing landscapes I have ever seen. The food and weather are also amazing.  

 What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? 
My favorite game is probably Dungeons and Dragons. Fellow nerds looking for a player to join their group, let me know!