L. Miguel Martins
Dr L. Miguel Martins is currently a tenured Programme Leader with the MRC Toxicology Unit. His research interests have focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms regulating cell death and survival. He conducted his Ph.D. Studies under the supervision of Professor William Earnshaw at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (USA) and the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). This work involved the characterization of caspase activation in apoptosis. Subsequently, his research focus shifted from the execution of apoptotic cell death to the modulation of this process by upstream signaling networks. He worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr Julian Downward at The Imperial Cancer Research Fund/Cancer Research UK in London, England. During this period, Dr L. Miguel Martins was involved in the identification of key mitochondrial proteins that regulate apoptotic cell death. Among several mitochondrial controllers of cell death, his work led to the characterization of a mitochondrial serine protease, Omi/HtrA2. Currently, the work in his laboratory focuses in dissecting signal transduction pathways that regulate mitochondria-dependent apoptosis and understanding how the abnormal activity of such networks might affect cell survival, leading to diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.