Vania Prado

Vania Pradop


D.D.S. University of Itauna
Ph.D. Federal University of Minas Gerais
Office:  Robarts Research Institute
p. 519.663.5777 x. 36889
f. 519.663.3789 
Visit: Dr. Prado at Robarts Research Institute
See Publications by Vania Prado on PubMed

The focus of my laboratory is to develop novel therapeutic approaches to target neurotransmitter transporters and ion channels to ameliorate diverse pathologies in humans.  Neurotransmitter transporters are responsible for maintaining adequate stores of chemical messengers that are necessary for neuronal communication. In particular, we are interested in the cholinergic system.  During aging and in many types of age-related dementia such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease, altered release of the cholinergic transmitter acetylcholine seems to underlie some of the cognitive and behavioral deficits observed in these patients. Hence we have generated a collection of genetically modified mice to test the role of cholinergic transporters for maintaining the synthesis and storage of acetylcholine in nerve terminals. This research will test the possibility that these cholinergic transporters can function as drug targets to improve acetylcholine release, an important therapeutic approach in dementia, myasthenia and other disturbances of the cholinergic system.  In addition, we are developing novel recombinant proteins that are active on ion channels and have the potential to be used as therapeutic drugs.  These recombinant toxins, originally identified in the venom of a Brazilian spider, have been shown to be effective in controlling pain and cardiac arrhythmia in animal models.


Souza A. H., Ferreira J., Cordeiro M. N., Vieira L. B., De Castro C. J., Trevisan G., Reis H., Souza I. A., Richardson M., Prado M. A., Prado V. F. and Gomez M. V. (2008) Analgesic effect in rodents of native and recombinant Ph alpha 1beta toxin, a high-voltage-activated calcium channel blocker isolated from armed spider venom. Pain 140, 115-126.

Ribeiro FM, Ferreira LT, Marion S, Fontes S, Gomez MV, Ferguson SS, Prado MA, Prado VF. (2007) SEC14-like protein 1 interacts with cholinergic transporters. Neurochem Int. 50(2):356-64.

Prado V. F., Martins-Silva C., de Castro B. M., Lima R. F., Barros D. M., Amaral E., Ramsey A. J., Sotnikova T. D., Ramirez M. R., Kim H. G., Rossato J. I., Koenen J., Quan H., Cota V. R., Moraes M. F., Gomez M. V., Guatimosim C., Wetsel W. C., Kushmerick C., Pereira G. S., Gainetdinov R. R., Izquierdo I., Caron M. G. and Prado M. A. (2006) Mice deficient for the vesicular acetylcholine transporter are myasthenic and have deficits in object and social recognition. Neuron 51, 601-612.

Carneiro AM, Kushmerick C, Koenen J, Arndt MH, Cordeiro MN, Chavez-Olortegui C, Diniz CR, Gomez MV, Kalapothakis E, Prado MA, Prado VF. (2003) Expression of a functional recombinant Phoneutria nigriventer toxin active on K+ channels. Toxicon. 41(3):305-13.

Barbosa J Jr, Ferreira LT, Martins-Silva C, Santos MS, Torres GE, Caron MG, Gomez MV, Ferguson SS, Prado MA, Prado VF. (2002) Trafficking of the vesicular acetylcholine transporter in SN56 cells: a dynamin-sensitive step and interaction with the AP-2 adaptor complex. J Neurochem. 82(5):1221-8.