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Yasco Aracava, PhD

Academic Title:

Research Associate

Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health

Additional Title:

Division of Translational Toxicology

Location:

MSTF, 9th floor, Suite 900A

Phone (Primary):

(410)706-3563

Education and Training

Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health, Div. of Translational Toxicology, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Ph.D. Physiology, University of São Paulo

B.S. Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Research Interests

Our research interest is focused on the study of interactions of drugs of interest on the function of nicotinic receptors and other ionotropic receptors, such as the glutamate and GABA receptors,  using the electrophysiological whle-cell patch-clamp techniques.  We have been more specifically studying the molecular interactions of anticholinesterase inhibitors of medical interest, such as those with potential to ameliorate the Alzheimer's disease as well as those to act as an antidote against toxic organophosphorus pesticides or nerve agents.  More recently, we have been studying the molecular targets of ketamine and some of its metabolites on both pre- and post-synaptic glutamate receptors.  To this end, spontaneous miniature synaptic and whole-cell currents are recorded from pyramidal neurons at the CA1 region of fresh rat and mouse hippocampal slices. For the whole-cell currents we use a specially designed U-tube system that allows a fast and time-controlled delivery and cleaning of the drug solution.

Another line of research interest involves the EEG recording and analysis of signals from freely moving animals previously implanted with telemetry transmitters. The study of the efficacy of antidotes such as galantamine on the seizures caused by organophosphorus compounds in comparison with approved drug treatment not only in diminishing mortality but in halting the seizures and its recurrence upon exposure to these toxic drugs and thereby reducing the incidence of delayed neurodegneration, learning/memory defficiency, psychological disorders, etc. This goal is specially relevant in cases of chronic exposure to agricultural organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides, involving infants, pregnant women and adults at all ages.

Professional Activity

Research Associate at Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health, Division of Translational Toxicology, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Associate Professor, Pharmacology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Co-Director of the International Pharmacology Training Program between the UMSOM Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and the Laboratório de Farmacologia Molecular II, Instituto de Biofísica “Carlos Chagas Filho” in the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Part-time position as Research Assistant Professor, in volunteer capacity, in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics at UMSOM

Adjunct Professor, Physiology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Instructor, Pharmacology, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Instructor, Pharmacology, Fundação ABC Medical School, Brazil

Instructor, Pharmacology, Fundação Lusíadas Medical School, Brazil.

Lab Techniques and Equipment

Electrophysiology: We initially used patch-clamp techniques to record the nicotinic receptor mediated single-channel currents from freshly dissociated from skeletal muscles as well as from myoballs in culture.  Later we applied the whole-cell technique to record whole-cell currents from hippocampal neurons in culture to study the effects of anticholinesterase inhibitors with potential clinical use in the treatment of various stages of Alzheimer's disease. To this end, the U-tube system designed and manifactured at Dr EX Albuquerque's laboratory was key to allow the detection of functional nicotinic receptors, especially the alpha-7 subtype function due to its fast desensitization.  Currently, we are applying the whole-cell technique to fresh hippocampal slices to record both the spontaneous synaptic currents and the whole-cell currents generated by agonists and drug of interest via U-tube system.

EEG recording and analysis:  We are also recording EEG signals from surgically implanted telemetry transmitters in order to analyze the efficacy of antidotes such as galantamine in comparison to the conventional treatment.