Joao Pedra, Ph.D.

Personal biography

I completed my college and Master of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry in Brazil. Then, I immigrated to the United States and received a doctoral degree in Entomology at Purdue University where I was mentored by Dr. Barry Pittendrigh (currently at the University of Illinois). My post-doctoral training was focused on microbial pathogenesis and immunology at Yale University under the supervision of Dr. Erol Fikrig (Chief of Infectious Diseases/HHMI Investigator). As an independent investigator, I first joined the University of California-Riverside. In 2013, I relocated to the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Medicine.

Outside of the lab, my wife Tanja and I enjoy coffee shops, locally-owned restaurants, museums and theaters. On the weekends, we play with our two daughters, Emilia and Kiara, or just listen to Brazilian jazz or classical music.

Current projects

The Pedra laboratory studies immunity, pathogenesis and disease transmission by rickettsial agents. Rickettsial agents cycle between an arthropod vector and a mammalian host, therefore, we strive to understand the mechanisms of pathogen immunity in the mammalian host and the arthropod vector. We are also interested in uncovering the molecular and cellular events that enable pathogens to evade host and vector immunity. The Pedra laboratory truly integrates the disciplines of entomology, microbiology and immunology to understand vector-borne diseases. This holistic approach places our research in a unique niche within the infectious disease community.






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