Alumnus in search of melanoma treatment

Juliano Tiburcio de Freitas

FIU alumnus Juliano Tiburcio de Freitas is one step closer to helping people suffering from melanoma.

He recently found Endothelin plays an immunosuppressive role in the melanoma microenvironment. This work on the marker for melanoma progression was recently published in the Pigmented Celle and Melanoma Research Journal. As a postdoctoral associate at the University of Miami, Tiburcio de Freitas further explored the immune aspect of melanoma biology. Now, he is investigating how Notch signaling influences the different populations of immune cells present in the melanoma microenvironment. This approach could eventually lead to novel therapeutic strategies to boost the immune response against melanoma, particularly those patients resistant to immunotherapy.

It’s been a busy year for the researcher who also was recognized during the Tumor Biology Research Grant for Trainees Competition at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC), presented his work at the Annual Tumor Biology Symposium at the SCCC and published a chapter in the Springer Nature’s Methods in Molecular Biology book series.

During the early years of his Ph.D. Tiburcio de Freitas, faced many challenges while establishing the groundwork of his study on metastasis in melanoma – one of the most aggressive types of cancer. On his initial project under the leadership of Lidia Kos, his mentor in Biological Sciences, he introduced a very innovative idea about the premetastatic niche concept.