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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Carolina Coelho

Dr Carolina Coelho

Lecturer in Biosciences

 Geoffrey Pope 325


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


I was always interested in microbes and the diseases they cause. I completed a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Porto, Portugal in my native Portugal. I did my graduate studies in joint-mentorship from Teresa Gonçalves at University of Coimbra and Arturo Casadevall at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx.

I continued my postdoctoral studies still in the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans with Arturo Casadevall, now at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore. This included work in deciphering kinetics of early invasion, and in role of key virulence factors in surviving inside macrophages and mediating brain invasion. Other work included obtaining insights into polysaccharide antigens, and testing protection to new carbohydrate conjugates.

Since 2019, I am a Group Leader and Lecturer in the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, studying innate immunity to C. neoformans infections.

Since 2022, I am a Senior Lecturer in the University of Exeter.

We use high content microscopy to decipher mucosal immunology in the upper airway and in the brain, particularly in the context of lethal meningitis, as well as other classical immunological tools. We will continue to work in the role of macrophage function and immunometabolism in mediating tissue protection and homeostasis.



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Research interests

Cryptococcus neoformans is responsible for almost 200,000 deaths each year, more than any other fungal pathogen. Cryptococcal infection is incredibly difficult to treat, sometimes requiring lifelong therapy, and the best medical treatment cannot avoid a mortality rate as high as 30%. My primary research interest is to understand how cells from the innate immune system recognize and kill this pathogenic yeast. My focus is the recently discovered immune functions of mitochondria. By understanding what constitutes an effective fungicidal response, and why this effective response sometimes fails, we will be able to find better solutions to treat this killer disease.

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Journal articles

Francis VI, Liddle C, Camacho E, Kulkarni M, Junior SRS, Harvey JA, Ballou ER, Thomson DD, Brown GD, Hardwick JM, et al (2024). Cryptococcus neoformans rapidly invades the murine brain by sequential breaching of airway and endothelial tissues barriers, followed by engulfment by microglia. mBio, 15(4). Abstract.  Author URL.
Fang W, Coelho C, Cao C, Zhang L, Liao W (2023). Editorial: Immune interactions with pathogenic and commensal fungi. Frontiers in Immunology, 13
Camacho E, Coelho C (2023). Getaway car: Fungal HscA steers human phagosomal p11 into an escape route. Cell Host Microbe, 31(3), 324-327. Abstract.  Author URL.
Jung EH, Park Y-D, Dragotakes Q, Ramirez LS, Smith DQ, Reis FCG, Dziedzic A, Rodrigues ML, Baker RP, Williamson PR, et al (2022). Cryptococcus neoformans releases proteins during intracellular residence that affect the outcome of the fungal-macrophage interaction. Microlife, 3 Abstract.  Author URL.
Coelho C (2022). Itaconate or how I learned to stop avoiding the study of immunometabolism. PLoS Pathog, 18(3).  Author URL.
Jung EH, Park Y-D, Dragotakes Q, Ramirez LS, Smith DQ, Dziedzic A, Williamson PR, Jedlicka A, Casadevall A, Coelho C, et al (2021). <i>Cryptococcus neoformans</i> releases proteins during intracellular residence that affect the outcome of the fungal-macrophage interaction. Abstract.
Zhang L, Zhang K, Li H, Coelho C, de Souza Gonçalves D, Fu MS, Li X, Nakayasu ES, Kim Y-M, Liao W, et al (2021). Cryptococcus neoformans-Infected Macrophages Release Proinflammatory Extracellular Vesicles: Insight into Their Components by Multi-omics. mBio, 12(2). Abstract.  Author URL.
Freitas MS, Pessoni AM, Coelho C, Bonato VLD, Rodrigues ML, Casadevall A, Almeida F (2021). Interactions of Extracellular Vesicles from Pathogenic Fungi with Innate Leukocytes. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol, 432, 89-120. Abstract.  Author URL.
Zamith-Miranda D, Peres da Silva R, Couvillion SP, Bredeweg EL, Burnet MC, Coelho C, Camacho E, Nimrichter L, Puccia R, Almeida IC, et al (2021). Omics Approaches for Understanding Biogenesis, Composition and Functions of Fungal Extracellular Vesicles. Frontiers in Genetics, 12 Abstract.
Zhang L, Zhang K, Fang W, Li H, Li Y, Jiang W, Hu D, Coelho C, Liu X, Cai L, et al (2020). CircRNA-1806 Decreases T Cell Apoptosis and Prolongs Survival of Mice After Cryptococcal Infection by Sponging miRNA-126. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11 Abstract.
Bürgel PH, Marina CL, Saavedra PHV, Albuquerque P, de Oliveira SAM, Veloso Janior PHDH, de Castro RA, Heyman HM, Coelho C, Cordero RJB, et al (2020). Cryptococcus neoformans Secretes Small Molecules That Inhibit IL-1β Inflammasome-Dependent Secretion. Mediators Inflamm, 2020 Abstract.  Author URL.
Coelho C, Vij R, Smith DQ, Brady NR, Hamacher-Brady A, Casadevall A (2020). Study of Microbial Extracellular Vesicles: Separation by Density Gradients, Protection Assays and Labelling for Live Tracking. Bio-protocol, 10(2). Abstract.
Coelho C, Casadevall A (2019). Answers to naysayers regarding microbial extracellular vesicles. Biochem Soc Trans, 47(4), 1005-1012. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hatanaka O, Rezende CP, Moreno P, Freitas Fernandes F, Oliveira Brito PKM, Martinez R, Coelho C, Roque-Barreira MC, Casadevall A, Almeida F, et al (2019). Galectin-3 Inhibits Paracoccidioides brasiliensis Growth and Impacts Paracoccidioidomycosis through Multiple Mechanisms. mSphere, 4(2). Abstract.  Author URL.
Hawk CS, Coelho C, Lima de Oliveira DS, Paredes V, Albuquerque P, Bocca AL, Correa dos Santos A, Rusakova V, Holemon H, Silva-Pereira I, et al (2019). Integrin B1 promotes the interaction of murine IgG3 with effector cells. Journal of Immunology, 202(9), 2782-2794. Abstract.
Coelho C, Camacho E, Salas A, Alanio A, Casadevall A (2019). Intranasal Inoculation of Cryptococcus neoformans in Mice Produces Nasal Infection with Rapid Brain Dissemination. mSphere, 4(4). Abstract.  Author URL.
Coelho C, Camacho E, Salas A, Alanio A, Casadevall A (2019). Intranasal inoculation of<i>Cryptococcus neoformans</i>in mice produces nasal infection with rapid brain dissemination. Abstract.
Coelho C, Drummond RA (2019). Kupffer Cells Mediate Systemic Antifungal Immunity. Trends in Immunology, 40(12), 1071-1073.
Coelho C, Brown L, Maryam M, Vij R, Smith DFQ, Burnet MC, Kyle JE, Heyman HM, Ramirez J, Prados-Rosales R, et al (2019). Listeria monocytogenes virulence factors, including listeriolysin O, are secreted in biologically active extracellular vesicles. J Biol Chem, 294(4), 1202-1217. Abstract.  Author URL.
Almeida F, Rodrigues ML, Coelho C (2019). The Still Underestimated Problem of Fungal Diseases Worldwide. FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 10  Author URL.
Casadevall A, Coelho C, Cordero RJB, Dragotakes Q, Jung E, Vij R, Wear MP (2019). The capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans. Virulence, 10(1), 822-831. Abstract.
Maryam M, Fu MS, Alanio A, Camacho E, Goncalves DS, Faneuff EE, Grossman NT, Casadevall A, Coelho C (2019). The enigmatic role of fungal annexins: the case of Cryptococcus neoformans. Microbiology (Reading), 165(8), 852-862. Abstract.  Author URL.
Freij JB, Fu MS, Rodriguez CMDL, Dziedzic A, Jedlicka AE, Dragotakes Q, Rossi DCP, Jung EH, Coelho C, Casadevall A, et al (2018). Conservation of Intracellular Pathogenic Strategy among Distantly Related Cryptococcal Species. INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 86(7).  Author URL.
Fu MS, Coelho C, De Leon-Rodriguez CM, Rossi DCP, Camacho E, Jung EH, Kulkarni M, Casadevall A (2018). Cryptococcus neoformans urease affects the outcome of intracellular pathogenesis by modulating phagolysosomal pH. PLoS Pathogens, 14(6). Abstract.
Casadevall A, Coelho C, Alanio A (2018). Mechanisms of Cryptococcus neoformans-mediated host damage. Frontiers in Immunology, 9(APR). Abstract.
De Leon-Rodriguez CM, Rossi DCP, Fu MS, Dragotakes Q, Coelho C, Ros IG, Caballero B, Nolan SJ, Casadevall A (2018). The Outcome of the <i>Cryptococcus neoformans</i>-Macrophage Interaction Depends on Phagolysosomal Membrane Integrity. JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 201(2), 583-603.  Author URL.
Hommel B, Mukaremera L, Cordero RJB, Coelho C, Desjardins CA, Sturny-Leclère A, Janbon G, Perfect JR, Fraser JA, Casadevall A, et al (2018). Titan cells formation in Cryptococcus neoformans is finely tuned by environmental conditions and modulated by positive and negative genetic regulators. PLoS Pathogens, 14(5). Abstract.
Rossi DCP, Gleason JE, Sanchez H, Schatzman SS, Culbertson EM, Johnson CJ, McNees CA, Coelho C, Nett JE, Andes DR, et al (2017). <i>Candida albican</i>s <i>FRE8</i> encodes a member of the NADPH oxidase family that produces a burst of ROS during fungal morphogenesis. PLOS PATHOGENS, 13(12).  Author URL.
Coelho C, Brown L, Maryam M, Burnet MC, Kyle JE, Heyman HM, Vij R, Ramirez J, Prados-Rosales R, Lauvau G, et al (2017). <i>Listeria monocytogenes</i>virulence factors are secreted in biologically active Extracellular Vesicles. Abstract.
Saylor Hawk C, Coelho C, Lima de Oliveira DS, Paredes V, Albuquerque P, Lorenzetti Bocca A, Correa dos Santos A, Rusakova V, Holemon H, Soares Felipe MS, et al (2017). Integrin alpha 4 / beta 1 (CD49d/CD29) is a component of the murine IgG3 receptor. Abstract.
Coelho C, Casadevall A (2016). Cryptococcal therapies and drug targets: the old, the new and the promising. CELLULAR MICROBIOLOGY, 18(6), 792-799.  Author URL.
Stamatiades EG, Tremblay M-E, Bohm M, Crozet L, Bisht K, Kao D, Coelho C, Fan X, Yewdell WT, Davidson A, et al (2016). Immune Monitoring of Trans-endothelial Transport by Kidney-Resident Macrophages. Cell, 166(4), 991-1003.
Stukes S, Coelho C, Rivera J, Jedlicka AE, Hajjar KA, Casadevall A (2016). The Membrane Phospholipid Binding Protein Annexin A2 Promotes Phagocytosis and Nonlytic Exocytosis of <i>Cryptococcus neoformans</i> and Impacts Survival in Fungal Infection. JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, 197(4), 1252-1261.  Author URL.
Coelho C, Oliveira Souza AC, Da Silveira Derengowski L, De Leon-Rodriguez C, Wang B, Leon-Rivera R, Bocca AL, Gonçalves T, Casadevall A (2015). Macrophage mitochondrial and stress response to ingestion of Cryptococcus neoformans. Journal of Immunology, 194(5), 2345-2357. Abstract.
Grguric-Smith LM, Lee HH, Gandhi JA, Brennan MB, DeLeon-Rodriguez CM, Coelho C, Han G, Martinez LR (2015). Neutropenia exacerbates infection by Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates in a murine wound model. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6(OCT). Abstract.
Gandhi JA, Ekhar VV, Asplund MB, Abdulkareem AF, Ahmadi M, Coelho C, Martinez LR (2014). Alcohol enhances Acinetobacter baumannii-Associated pneumonia and systemic dissemination by impairing neutrophil antimicrobial activity in a murine model of infection. PLoS ONE, 9(4). Abstract.
Coelho C, Bocca AL, Casadevall A (2014). The intracellular life of Cryptococcus neoformans. Annu Rev Pathol, 9, 219-238. Abstract.  Author URL.
Asplund MB, Coelho C, Cordero RJB, Martinez LR (2013). Alcohol impairs J774.16 macrophagelike cell antimicrobial functions in Acinetobacter baumannii infection. Virulence, 4(6), 467-472. Abstract.
Miranda I, Silva-Dias A, Rocha R, Teixeira-Santos R, Coelho C, Gonçalves T, Santos MAS, Pina-Vaz C, Solis NV, Filler SG, et al (2013). Candida albicans CUG mistranslation is a mechanism to create cell surface variation. mBio, 4(4). Abstract.
Manepalli S, Gandhi JA, Ekhar VV, Asplund MB, Coelho C, Martinez LR (2013). Characterization of a cyclophosphamide-induced murine model of immunosuppression to study <i>Acinetobacter</i> <i>baumannii</i> pathogenesis. JOURNAL OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY, 62, 1747-1754.  Author URL.
Coelho C, Tesfa L, Zhang J, Rivera J, Goncalves T, Casadevall A (2012). Analysis of Cell Cycle and Replication of Mouse Macrophages after <i>In Vivo</i> and <i>In Vitro Cryptococcus neoformans</i> Infection Using Laser Scanning Cytometry. INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 80(4), 1467-1478.  Author URL.


Palacios A, Coelho C, Maryam M, Luque-García JL, Casadevall A, Prados-Rosales R (2020). Biogenesis and function of extracellular vesicles in gram-positive bacteria, mycobacteria, and fungi. In  (Ed) Bacterial Membrane Vesicles: Biogenesis, Functions and Applications, 47-74. Abstract.
Coelho C, Farrer RA (2020). Pathogen and host genetics underpinning cryptococcal disease. In  (Ed) Advances in Genetics, 1-66. Abstract.
Coelho C, Bocca AL, Casadevall A (2014). The Tools for Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. In  (Ed) Advances in Applied Microbiology, 1-41. Abstract.

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