Dr. Fernanda De Felice

Prof. Fernanda De Felice is an Adjunct Associate Professor of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies & Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada. She further holds a position as an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Neurosciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. She obtained her B.Sc. degree in Biological Sciences at UFRJ (1994), and her M.Sc. (1997) and Ph.D. (2002) degrees in Biological Chemistry from the Institute of Medical Biochemistry from UFRJ. Dr. De Felice performed her postdoctoral training on Neurobiology of Alzheimer’s disease under the supervision of Prof. William Klein at Northwestern University, IL, USA, from 2005 to 2008. Dr. De Felice research focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms linking Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to diabetes and to an unhealthy lifestyle. Clinical/epidemiological studies have linked AD to diabetes, with each disease increasing the risk of developing the other. Furthermore, diabetic patients are significantly more likely to develop cognitive deterioration, with dementia twice as frequent in diabetics than in normal subjects. How insulin resistance and an unhealthy lifestyle favor the development of dementia remains unclear. This is an intriguing question that currently attracts considerable interest in Alzheimer’s field. De Felice group has significantly contributed to the elucidation of the initial molecular connections between AD and diabetes, including the description of first cellular/molecular clues as to why neurons become resistant to insulin in AD. An important line of research at De Felice lab now explores possible neuroprotective actions of hormones in the central nervous system. Her research employs a multidisciplinary approach, combining in vitro and in vivo experiments in different animal models of disease, notably a novel non-human primate (NHP) model of AD recently developed and initially characterized in collaboration with Professor Douglas Munoz at Queen’s University. The research pipeline comprises in vitro experiments to identify cellular/molecular mechanisms of disease, followed by hypothesis testing in mouse and NHP models of AD and diabetes. The final critical step is to combine animal data with results from mild cognitive impairment and AD patients, and from normal elderly individuals.

Research from De Felice group has been published in prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation, EMBO Molecular Medicine, Journal of Neuroscience, and others. Recognition of the relevance of Prof. De Felice’s contributions to science by the society and scientific community can be better illustrated by some notable awards and honours she received over her career. Dr. De Felice was a fellow of competitive funding programs such as the Human Frontiers Science Program and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She was elected affiliated member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (2009) and of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS, 2008). She won the Career Development Award from the Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSP, 2008), the Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Neurochemistry (2007), among others. In 2015, Prof. De Felice was featured as one of the leading “Women in Metabolism” in the 10th Anniversary Special Issue of Cell Metabolism journal.

Dr. Fernanda De Felice Grants