Rodrigo P A Barros

University of Houston, Houston, TX, United States

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Publications (17)136.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen and its receptors (ERs) influence many biological processes involved in physiology and pathology in men and women. ERs are involved in the etiology and/or progression of cancers of the prostate, breast, uterus, ovary, colon, lung, stomach, and malignancies of the immune system. In estrogen-sensitive malignancy, estrogen receptor β (ERβ) usually is a tumor suppressor and estrogen receptor α (ERα) an oncogene. ERβ regulates genes in several key pathways including tumor suppression (P53, PTEN); metabolism (PI3K); survival (AKT); proliferation (p45Skp2, cMyc and cyclin E); cell-cycle (p21WAF1, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1 (CDKN1A), p27Kip1 and cyclin-dependent kinase); protection from reactive oxygen species (glutathione peroxidase). ERs are also important in maintenance and function of healthy bone and brain in men and women. Because they are activated by small molecules ERs are excellent targets for pharmaceuticals. ERα antagonists have been used for many years in treatment of breast cancer and more recently pharmaceutical companies have produced agonists which are very selective for ERα or ERβ. ERβ agonists are being considered for preventing progression of cancer, treatment of anxiety and depression, as anti-inflammatory agents and as agents which prevent or reduce the severity of neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 09/2013; · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The serotonergic neurons of the dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus in the CNS are involved in fear, anxiety and depression. Depression and anxiety occur quite frequently in postmenopausal women, but estrogen replacement to correct these CNS disorders is at present not favored because estrogen carries with it an increased risk for breast cancer. Serotonin synthesis, release and reuptake in the DR are targets of pharmaceuticals in the treatment of depression. In the present study we have examined by immunohistochemistry, the expression of two nuclear receptors, that is, the estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ. We found that ERβ but not ERα is strongly expressed in the DR and there is no sex difference and no change with ageing in the number of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH)-positive neurons in the DR of wild-type (WT) mice. However, in ovariectomized (OVX) WT and in ERβ(-/-) mice, there was a marked reduction in the number of TPH-positive normal-looking neurons and a marked increase in TPH-positive spindle-shaped cells. These neuronal changes were prevented in mice 1-3 weeks (but not 10 weeks) after OVX by the selective ERβ agonist, LY3201, given as continuous release pellets for 3 days. The ERβ agonist had no effects on glucose homeostasis. Thus, the onset of action of the ERβ agonist is rapid but there is a limited window in time after estrogen loss when the drug is useful. We conclude that, rather than estradiol, ERβ agonists could be useful pharmaceuticals in maintaining functional DR neurons to treat postmenopausal depression.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 5 June 2012; doi:10.1038/mp.2012.62.
    Molecular Psychiatry 06/2012; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An estrogen receptor (ER) β ligand (LY3201) with a preference for ERβ over ERα was administered in s.c. pellets releasing 0.04 mg/d. The brains of these mice were examined 3 d after treatment had begun. Although estradiol-17β is known to increase spine density and glutaminergic signaling, as measured by Golgi staining, a clear reduction in spines was evident on the dendritic branches in LY3201-treated mice but no morphological alteration and no difference in the number of dendritic spines on dendritic stems were observed. In the LY3201-treatment group, there was higher expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) in layer V of cortex and in the CA1 of hippocampus, more GAD(+) terminals surrounding the pyramidal neurons and less glutamate receptor (NMDAR) on the neurons in layer V. There were no alterations in expression of Iba1 or in Olig2 or CNPase. However, GFAP(+) astrocytes were increased in the LY3201-treatment group. There were also more projections characteristic of activated astrocytes and increased expression of glutamine synthetase (GS). No expression of ERβ was detectable in the nuclei of astrocytes. Clearly, LY3201 caused a shift in the balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in favor of inhibition. This shift was due in part to increased synthesis of GABA and increased removal of glutamate from the synaptic cleft by astrocytes. The data reveal that treatment with a selective ERβ agonist results in changes opposite to those reported in estradiol-17β-treated mice and suggests that ERα and ERβ play opposing roles in the brain.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2012; 109(5):1708-12. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Rodrigo P A Barros, Jan-Åke Gustafsson
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    ABSTRACT: The metabolic syndrome has reached pandemic level worldwide, and evidence is that estradiol plays a key role in its development. The discovery of the second estrogen receptor, ERβ, in tissues previously not considered targets of estradiol was a breakthrough in endocrinology. In the present review, we discuss how the presence of ERβ and the previously described ERα in tissues involved in glucose and lipid homeostasis (brain, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, pancreas, liver, and heart) may have important implications to risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome. Imbalance of ERα/ERβ ratio in this "metabolic network" may lead to the metabolic syndrome.
    Cell metabolism 09/2011; 14(3):289-99. · 17.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The liver X receptors (LXRs) play a key role in cholesterol and bile acid metabolism but are also important regulators of glucose metabolism. Recently, LXRs have been proposed as a glucose sensor affecting LXR-dependent gene expression. We challenged wild-type (WT) and LXRαβ(-/-) mice with a normal diet (ND) or a high-carbohydrate diet (HCD). Magnetic resonance imaging showed different fat distribution between WT and LXRαβ(-/-) mice. Surprisingly, gonadal (GL) adipocyte volume decreased on HCD compared with ND in WT mice, whereas it slightly increased in LXRαβ(-/-) mice. Interestingly, insulin-stimulated lipogenesis of isolated GL fat cells was reduced on HCD compared with ND in LXRαβ(-/-) mice, whereas no changes were observed in WT mice. Net de novo lipogenesis (DNL) calculated from Vo(2) and Vco(2) was significantly higher in LXRαβ(-/-) than in WT mice on HCD. Histology of HCD-fed livers showed hepatic steatosis in WT mice but not in LXRαβ(-/-) mice. Glucose tolerance was not different between groups, but insulin sensitivity was decreased by the HCD in WT but not in LXRαβ(-/-) mice. Finally, gene expression analysis of adipose tissue showed induced expression of genes involved in DNL in LXRαβ(-/-) mice compared with WT animals as opposed to the liver, where expression of DNL genes was repressed in LXRαβ(-/-) mice. We thus conclude that absence of LXRs stimulates DNL in adipose tissue, but suppresses DNL in the liver, demonstrating opposite roles of LXR in DNL regulation in these two tissues. These results show tissue-specific regulation of LXR activity, a crucial finding for drug development.
    AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 04/2011; 301(1):E210-22. · 4.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Brown adipocytes are multilocular lipid storage cells that play a crucial role in nonshivering thermogenesis. Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is a unique feature of brown fat cells that allows heat generation on sympathetic nervous system stimulation. As conventional transcriptional factors that are activated in various signaling pathways, liver-X receptors (LXRs) play important roles in many physiological processes. The role of LXRs in the regulation of energy homeostasis remains unclear, however. Female WT, LXRαβ(-/-), LXRα(-/-), and LXRβ(-/-) mice were fed with either a normal diet (ND) or a high-carbohydrate diet (HCD) supplemented with or without GW3965-LXR agonist. LXRαβ(-/-) mice exhibited higher energy expenditure (EE) as well as higher UCP1 expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT) compared with WT mice on the HCD. In addition, long-term treatment of WT mice with GW3965 showed lower EE at thermoneutrality (30 °C) and lower Ucp1 expression level in BAT. Furthermore, H&E staining of the BAT of LXRαβ(-/-) mice exhibited decreased lipid droplet size compared with WT mice on the HCD associated with a more intense UCP1-positive reaction. Quantification of triglyceride (TG) content in BAT showed lower TG accumulation in LXRβ(-/-) mice compared with WT mice. Surprisingly, GW3965 treatment increased TG content (twofold) in the BAT of WT and LXRα(-/-) mice but not in LXRβ(-/-) mice. Furthermore, glucose transporter (GLUT4) in the BAT of LXRα(-/-) and LXRβ(-/-) mice was sixfold and fourfold increased, respectively, compared with WT mice on the ND. These findings suggest that LXRα as well as LXRβ could play a crucial role in the regulation of energy homeostasis in female mice and may be a potential target for the treatment of obesity and energy regulation.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2011; 108(1):403-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of a second estrogen receptor, ERbeta, and the finding that 5alpha-androstane-3beta,17beta-diol (3betaAdiol) strongly binds to ERbeta, have opened up a new aspect of estrogen signaling. Some of the major shifts in our understanding come from finding ERbeta in tissues which do not express ERalpha but are estrogen-responsive; these were called sites of 'indirect estrogen action'. Two key sites that fall into this category are the brain and the prostate. Studies of ERbeta in the past 10 years have led us to hypothesize that estrogen signaling depends on the balance between ERalpha and ERbeta, and that inadequate predominance of one or the other isoform could lead to disease.
    Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 09/2010; 21(9):545-52. · 8.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gallbladder cancer is a highly aggressive disease with poor prognosis that is two to six times more frequent in women than men. The development of gallbladder cancer occurs over a long time (more than 15 y) and evolves from chronic inflammation to dysplasia/metaplasia, carcinoma in situ, and invasive carcinoma. In the present study we found that, in female mice in which the oxysterol receptor liver X receptor–β (LXRβ) has been inactivated, preneoplastic lesions of the gallbladder developed and evolved to cancer in old animals. LXRβ is a nuclear receptor involved in the control of lipid homeostasis, glucose metabolism, inflammation, proliferation, and CNS development. LXRβ−/− female gallbladders were severely inflamed, with regions of dysplasia and high cell density, hyperchromasia, metaplasia, and adenomas. No abnormalities were evident in male mice, nor in LXRα−/− or LXRα−/−β−/− animals of either sex. Interestingly, the elimination of estrogens with ovariectomy prevented development of preneoplastic lesions in LXRβ−/− mice. The etiopathological mechanism seems to involve TGF-β signaling, as the precancerous lesions were characterized by strong nuclear reactivity of phospho-SMAD-2 and SMAD-4 and loss of E-cadherin expression. Upon ovariectomy, E-cadherin was reexpressed on the cell membranes and immunoreactivity of pSMAD-2 in the nuclei was reduced. These findings suggest that LXRβ in a complex interplay with estrogens and TGF-β could play a crucial role in the malignant transformation of the gallbladder epithelium.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(33):14763-14768. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glucose uptake and homeostasis are regulated mainly by skeletal muscle (SM), white adipose tissue (WAT), pancreas, and the liver. Participation of estradiol in this regulation is still under intense investigation. We have demonstrated that, in SM of male mice, expression of the insulin-regulated glucose transporter (GLUT)4 is reduced by estrogen receptor (ER)beta agonists. In the present study, to investigate the relative contributions of ERalpha and ERbeta in glucose homeostasis, we examined the effects of tamoxifen (Tam) on GLUT4 expression in SM and WAT in wild-type (WT) and ER-/- mice. ERbeta-/- mice were characterized by fasting hypoglycemia, increased levels of SM GLUT4, pancreatic islet hypertrophy, and a belated rise in plasma insulin in response to a glucose challenge. ERalpha-/- mice, on the contrary, were hyperglycemic and glucose intolerant, and expression of SM GLUT4 was markedly lower than in WT mice. Tam had no effect on glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity in WT mice. In ERalpha-/- mice, Tam increased GLUT4 and improved insulin sensitivity. i.e., it behaved as an ERbeta antagonist in SM but had no effect on WAT. In ERbeta-/- mice, Tam did not affect GLUT4 in SM but acted as an ERalpha antagonist in WAT, decreasing GLUT4. Thus, in the interplay between ERalpha and ERbeta, ERbeta-mediated repression of GLUT4 predominates in SM but ERalpha-mediated induction of GLUT4 predominates in WAT. This tissue-specific difference in dominance of one ER over the other is reflected in the ratio of the expression of the two receptors. ERalpha predominates in WAT and ERbeta in SM.
    AJP Endocrinology and Metabolism 05/2009; 297(1):E124-33. · 4.51 Impact Factor
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    Rodrigo Palazzo De Almeida Barros, Andrea Morani, Anselmo Moriscot, Ubiratan Fabres Machado
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    ABSTRACT: Pregnancy is accompanied by hyperestrogenism, however, the role of estrogens in the gestational-induced insulin resistance is unknown. Skeletal muscle plays a fundamental role in this resistance, where GLUT4 regulates glucose uptake. We investigated: (1) effects of oophorectomy and estradiol (E2) on insulin sensitivity and GLUT4 expression. E2 ( approximately 200nM) for 7 days decreased sensitivity, reducing approximately 30% GLUT4 mRNA and protein (P<0.05) and plasma membrane expression in muscle; (2) the expression of ERalpha and ERbeta in L6 myotubes, showing that both coexpress in the same nucleus; (3) effects of E2 on GLUT4 in L6, showing a time- and dose-dependent response. High concentration (100nM) for 6 days reduced approximately 25% GLUT4 mRNA and protein (P<0.05). Concluding, E2 regulates GLUT4 in muscle, and at high concentrations, such as in pregnancy, reduces GLUT4 expression and, in vivo, decreases insulin sensitivity. Thus, hyperestrogenism may be involved in the pregnancy-induced insulin resistance and/or gestational diabetes.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 07/2008; 295(1-2):24-31. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen receptors (ER) are important regulators of metabolic diseases such as obesity and insulin resistance (IR). While ERalpha seems to have a protective role in such diseases, the function of ERbeta is not clear. To characterize the metabolic function of ERbeta, we investigated its molecular interaction with a master regulator of insulin signaling/glucose metabolism, the PPARgamma, in vitro and in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed ERbeta -/- mice (betaERKO) mice. Our in vitro experiments showed that ERbeta inhibits ligand-mediated PPARgamma-transcriptional activity. That resulted in a blockade of PPARgamma-induced adipocytic gene expression and in decreased adipogenesis. Overexpression of nuclear coactivators such as SRC1 and TIF2 prevented the ERbeta-mediated inhibition of PPARgamma activity. Consistent with the in vitro data, we observed increased PPARgamma activity in gonadal fat from HFD-fed betaERKO mice. In consonance with enhanced PPARgamma activation, HFD-fed betaERKO mice showed increased body weight gain and fat mass in the presence of improved insulin sensitivity. To directly demonstrate the role of PPARgamma in HFD-fed betaERKO mice, PPARgamma signaling was disrupted by PPARgamma antisense oligonucleotide (ASO). Blockade of adipose PPARgamma by ASO reversed the phenotype of betaERKO mice with an impairment of insulin sensitization and glucose tolerance. Finally, binding of SRC1 and TIF2 to the PPARgamma-regulated adiponectin promoter was enhanced in gonadal fat from betaERKO mice indicating that the absence of ERbeta in adipose tissue results in exaggerated coactivator binding to a PPARgamma target promoter. Collectively, our data provide the first evidence that ERbeta-deficiency protects against diet-induced IR and glucose intolerance which involves an augmented PPARgamma signaling in adipose tissue. Moreover, our data suggest that the coactivators SRC1 and TIF2 are involved in this interaction. Impairment of insulin and glucose metabolism by ERbeta may have significant implications for our understanding of hormone receptor-dependent pathophysiology of metabolic diseases, and may be essential for the development of new ERbeta-selective agonists.
    PLoS Genetics 07/2008; 4(6):e1000108. · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • PLOS Genetics - PLOS GENET. 01/2008; 4(6).
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we compared the uterine tissue of estrogen receptor (ER)beta(-/-) mice and their WT littermates for differences in morphology, proliferation [the percentage of labeled cells 2 h after BrdUrd injection and EGF receptor (EGFR) expression], and differentiation (expression of progesterone receptor, E-cadherin, and cytokeratins). In ovariectomized mice, progesterone receptor expression in the uterine epithelium was similar in WT and ERbeta(-/-) mice, but E-cadherin and cytokeratin 18 expression was lower in ERbeta(-/-) mice. The percentage of cells in S phase was 1.5% in WT mice and 8% in ERbeta(-/-) mice. Sixteen hours after injection of 17beta-estradiol (E(2)), the number of BrdUrd-labeled cells increased 20-fold in WT mice and 80-fold in ERbeta(-/-) mice. Although ERalpha was abundant in intact mice, after ovariectomy, ERalpha could not be detected in the luminal epithelium of either WT or ERbeta(-/-) mice. In both untreated and E(2)-treated mice, ERalpha and ERbeta were colocalized in the nuclei of many stromal and glandular epithelial cells. However, upon E(2) + progesterone treatment, ERalpha and ERbeta were not coexpressed in any cells. In WT mice, EGFR was located on the membranes and in the cytoplasm of luminal epithelium, but not in the stroma. In ERbeta(-/-) mice, there was a marked expression of EGFR in the nuclei of epithelial and stromal cells. Upon E(2) treatment, EGFR on cell membranes was down-regulated in WT but not in ERbeta(-/-) mice. These findings reveal an important role for ERbeta in response to E(2) and in the organization, growth, and differentiation of the uterine epithelium.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2006; 103(48):18350-5. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a systemic disease characterized by imbalance of energy metabolism, which is mainly caused by inadequate insulin action. Recent data have revealed a surprising role for estradiol in regulating energy metabolism and opened new insights into the role of the two estrogen receptors, ERalpha and ERbeta, in this context. New findings on gene modulation by ERalpha and ERbeta of insulin-sensitive tissues indicate that estradiol participates in glucose homeostasis by modulating the expression of genes that are involved in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake. Drugs that can selectively modulate the activity of either ERalpha or ERbeta in their interactions with target genes represent a promising frontier in diabetes mellitus coadjuvant therapy.
    Trends in Molecular Medicine 10/2006; 12(9):425-31. · 9.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is highly expressed in both type I and II pneumocytes as well as bronchiolar epithelial cells. ERalpha is not detectable in the adult lung. Lungs of adult female ERbeta knockout (ERbeta-/-) mice have already been reported to have fewer alveoli and reduced elastic recoil. In this article, we report that, by 5 months of age, there are large areas of unexpanded alveoli in lungs of both male and female ERbeta-/- mice. There is increased staining for collagen and, by EM, abnormal clusters of collagen fibers are seen in the alveolar septa of ERbeta-/- mice. Immunohistochemical analysis and Western blotting with lung membrane fractions of ERbeta-/- mice revealed down-regulation of caveolin-1, increased expression of membrane type-1 metalloproteinase, matrix metalloproteinase 2 (active form), and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases 2. Hypoxia, measured by immunohistochemical analysis for hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha and chemical adducts (with Hypoxyprobe), was evident in the heart, ventral prostate, periovarian sac, kidney, liver, and brain of ERbeta-/- mice under resting conditions. Furthermore, both male and female adult ERbeta-/- mice were reluctant to run on a treadmill and tissue hypoxia became very pronounced after exercise. We conclude that ERbeta is necessary for the maintenance of the extracellular matrix composition in the lung and loss of ERbeta leads to abnormal lung structure and systemic hypoxia. Systemic hypoxia may be responsible for the reported left and right heart ventricular hypertrophy and systemic hypertension in ERbeta-/- mice.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2006; 103(18):7165-9. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen is known to influence glucose homeostasis with dominant effects in the liver, but the role of estrogen receptors in muscle glucose metabolism is unknown. In the present study, we investigated the expression of the two estrogen receptors, ERalpha and ERbeta, and their influence on regulation of the glucose transporter, GLUT4, and its associated structural protein, caveolin-1, in mouse gastrocnemius muscle. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that ERalpha and ERbeta are coexpressed in the nuclei of most muscle cells, and that their levels were not affected by absence of estradiol [in aromatase-knockout (ArKO) mice]. GLUT4 expression on the muscle cell membrane was not affected by loss of ERbeta but was extremely reduced in ERalpha(-/-) mice and elevated in ArKO mice. RT-PCR confirmed a parallel reduction in GLUT4 mRNA levels in ERalpha(-/-) mice. Upon treatment of ArKO mice with the ERbeta agonist 2,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)propionitrile, GLUT4 expression was reduced. By immunofluorescence and Western blotting, caveolin-1 expression was higher in ArKO mice and lower in ERbeta(-/-) and ERalpha(-/-) mice than in WT littermates. GLUT4 and caveolin-1 were colocalized in WT and ArKO mice but not in ERbeta(-/-) and ERalpha(-/-) mice. These results reveal that ERalpha is a positive regulator of GLUT4 expression, whereas ERbeta has a suppressive role. Both ERbeta and ERalpha are necessary for optimal caveolin-1 expression. Taken together, these results indicate that colocalization of caveolin-1 and GLUT4 is not an absolute requirement for muscle glucose metabolism but that reduction in GLUT4 could be contributing to the insulin resistance observed in ERalpha(-/-) mice.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2006; 103(5):1605-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The GLUT4 transporter plays a key role in insulin-induced glucose uptake, which is impaired in insulin resistance. The objective of the present study was to investigate the tissue content and the subcellular distribution of GLUT4 protein in 4- to 12-year-old control, obese and insulin-treated diabetic mongrel female dogs (4 animals per group). The parametrial white adipose tissue was sampled and processed to obtain both plasma membrane and microsome subcellular fractions for GLUT4 analysis by Western blotting. There was no significant difference in glycemia and insulinemia between control and obese animals. Diabetic dogs showed hyperglycemia (369.9 +/- 89.9 mg/dl). Compared to control, the plasma membrane GLUT4, reported per g tissue, was reduced by 55% (P < 0.01) in obese dogs, and increased by 30% (P < 0.05) in diabetic dogs, and the microsomal GLUT4 was increased by approximately 45% (P < 0.001) in both obese and diabetic animals. Considering the sum of GLUT4 measured in plasma membrane and microsome as total cellular GLUT4, percent GLUT4 present in plasma membrane was reduced by approximately 65% (P < 0.001) in obese compared to control and diabetic animals. Since insulin stimulates GLUT4 translocation to the plasma membrane, percent GLUT4 in plasma membrane was divided by the insulinemia at the time of tissue removal and was found to be reduced by 75% (P < 0.01) in obese compared to control dogs. We conclude that the insulin-stimulated translocation of GLUT4 to the cell surface is reduced in obese female dogs. This probably contributes to insulin resistance, which plays an important role in glucose homeostasis in dogs.
    Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 08/2004; 37(7):1095-101. · 1.14 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

501 Citations
136.12 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010–2013
    • University of Houston
      • • Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling
      • • Department of Biology and Biochemistry
      Houston, TX, United States
  • 2006–2011
    • Karolinska Institutet
      • Department of Biosciences and Nutrition
      Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2008
    • University of São Paulo
      • Departamento de Fisiologia e Biofísica (ICB)
      Ribeirão Preto, Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazil