BMERC Seminar: Dr. Marcelo Castilho, PhD

February 14th, 2018



When:       Wednesday, April 4th, 12 pm

Where:     ENG ERB room 203, 44 Cummington Mall

Title:   Drug development efforts to fight neglected and infections diseases: A Brazilian tale of some success and a lot of hard work.

Speaker:    Dr. Marcelo Castilho, PhD.  Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.


Brazil is known for its warm weather, carnival, friendly people and for ranking among the countries whose population is exposed to at least five neglected-tropical diseases. Another major health issue in Brazil is the high prevalence of sickle-cell anemia, a hereditary diseases that mainly affects African descendants. As most big-pharma and biotech companies do not target these “markets”, national research centers and university research groups play a key-role in the identification of hits, as well as the lead optimization steps to develop novel drugs to treat those who suffers from such ailments . Accordingly, my research group at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) has employed in silico tools (pharmacophore modeling, docking, molecular dynamics, etc.) and in vitro assays (cellular, thermal shift assay, etc.) to identify compounds that might be useful to fight leishmaniasis and relief the symptoms of patients with sickle-cell anemia.

The experience gained from such studies has been employed to search for compounds that decrease Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence. The uncertainty about the targets druggability makes this task far from trivial though.