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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Mercio Perrin

Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology
Mercio Perrin

Mercio Perrin

Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology

Office phone: 617-636-2933
Lab phone: 617-636-6788
Campus: Boston
Office: Jaharis 806
Jaharis 801
MD, Federal Medical School
PhD, Microbiology, Columbia University
Postdoctoral Training, Columbia University
Research synopsis: 

Our studies concentrate on the obligate intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the cause of a chronic debilitating disease (Chagas' disease) that afflicts millions of people world-wide. In the central nervous system, T. cruzi invades a variety of cell types, including astrocytes, microglia, and neurons. T. cruzi infection of the brain of immunologically competent individuals is of short duration, and causes no symptoms or pathology despite the induction of strong inflammatory response. We have found that T. cruzi encodes mimics of neurotrophic factors that potently activate neuron and glial cell survival and regeneration. One of these mimics, called parasite-derived neurotrophic factor (PDNF) activates neurotrophin receptors TrkA and TrkC, resulting cell survival and parasite invasion. The potent induction of neuroprotective mechanisms by PDNF is being exploited as drug development for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

Lab members: