Dr Catarina M Henriques
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
Sir Henry Dale Fellow
Full contact details
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
The Bateson Centre, Room D19
Telomeres and ageing have been a long-term research passion. Motivated by this, I embarked on a Molecular & Cellular Biology degree and graduated with a BSc (hons) at the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2005.
Ageing and cancer can be seen as two-sides of the same coin and so I complemented my degree with a PhD in immunology and cancer.
I was awarded a PhD individual Fellowship by the Portuguese Governmental Science Foundation to study Interleukin-7 receptor trafficking regulation and signalling with Dr. Joao Barata at the University of Lisbon, Portugal; in collaboration with Prof. Gerry Graham and Prof. Rob Nibbs at the University of Glasgow.
Following my PhD, I wanted to test the telomere hypothesis of ageing, in a vertebrate animal model that, like humans, depended on telomerase for health and lifespan. This motivated my post-doc, funded by a personal fellowship by the Portuguese Governmental Science Foundation.
I spearheaded the setting up of zebrafish as a model organism in Dr Miguel Godinho Ferreira’s lab at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, and we were the first in the world to establish the telomerase mutant zebrafish as a new telomerase-dependent vertebrate ageing model.
In 2015 I was awarded a CIMA Research Fellowship at the Human Metabolism Department at Sheffield University, which was quickly followed by the award of a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship to start up my independent research group.
My research at the Human Metabolism Department is bridging and complementing collaborations between immunity, stem cells and ageing in two key centres at Sheffield University: MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA), and the Bateson centre.
- Research interests
Tissue Repair and Immunity in Ageing (TRIA)
Why we age and whether we can therapeutically prevent associated diseases has been my continued research motivation. And this is because age is the greatest risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, frailty, muscle atrophy, arthritis and many others. This means we are living longer than ever before, but with a heavy burden of disease which impacts on our quality of life and poses serious socio-economical challenges we must meet.
Ageing is underlined by a progressive decline in tissues ability to repair and maintain themselves. This is what is called tissue homeostasis impairment and sets the ground for age-associated diseases.
A key mechanism contributing to this is telomere shortening and dysfunction. In organisms with restricted telomerase activity, which is the case of humans and zebrafish, telomeres shorten and get damaged with ageing, causing cells to die or become senescent.
Senescent cells no longer divide and secrete factors that somehow impair the repair capacity of our tissues and organs, thereby contributing to disease.
Tissue homeostasis requires a tight balance between the clearance of senescent and damaged cells by the immune system and the replenishing of new cells from the stem cell niche.
My research programme focuses on understanding the interplay between immune regulation and tissue homeostasis in health and with ageing, using zebrafish as a model.
My ultimate aim is to identify therapeutic targets that can be used to incentivate tissue rejuvenation and ameliorate multiple co-morbidities of ageing.
- View this article in WRRO Resident immunity in tissue repair and maintenance: The zebrafish model coming of age. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 7.
- The Zebrafish as an Emerging Model to Study DNA Damage in Aging, Cancer and Other Diseases. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 6. View this article in WRRO
- How to Catch a Smurf? – Ageing and Beyond… In vivo Assessment of Intestinal Permeability in Multiple Model Organisms. Bio-protocol, 8(3). View this article in WRRO
- Correction: Telomerase Is Required for Zebrafish Lifespan. PLOS Genetics, 13(3). View this article in WRRO
- Interventions for age-related diseases: Shifting the paradigm. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 160, 69-92. View this article in WRRO
- Short Telomeres in Key Tissues Initiate Local and Systemic Aging in Zebrafish. PLOS Genetics, 12(1), e1005798-e1005798. View this article in WRRO
- Consequences of telomere shortening during lifespan. Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 24(6), 804-808.
- IL-7 induces rapid clathrin-mediated internalization and JAK3-dependent degradation of IL-7Rα in T cells. Blood, 115(16), 3269-3277. View this article in WRRO
- Telomerase Is Required for Zebrafish Lifespan. PLoS Genetics, 9(1), e1003214-e1003214. View this article in WRRO
- Aberrant signaling in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia: biological and therapeutic implications. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 41(5), 344-350. View this article in WRRO
- Age-related degeneration leads to gliosis but not regeneration in the zebrafish retina. View this article in WRRO
- Centrifugal elutriation as a means of cell cycle phase separation and synchronisation, Subcellular Biochemistry (pp. 359-361). Springer Netherlands
Conference proceedings papers
- Abstract # 3231 Telomerase-dependent senescence and inflammation with ageing in the zebrafish brain. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Vol. 81(Supplement) (pp 7-7). Berlin, Germany, 4 June 2019 - 8 June 2019. View this article in WRRO
- Teaching activities
Communications in Conferences
- October 2017 (plenary talk): Catarina M. Henriques - "Telomeres, telomerase and inflammation in Zebrafish ageing". 3rd Zebrafish for Personalized/Precision Medicine Conference, Toronto, Canada
- Catarina M. Henriques, Madalena C. Carneiro, Inês M. Tenente, António Jacinto and Miguel Godinho Ferreira -"Telomerase is required for zebrafish lifespan" Cold Spring Harbour-Molecular Genetics of Aging meeting 2012, USA
- Catarina M. Henriques, José Rino, Robert J. Nibbs, Gerry G. Graham, João T. Barata “Chasing the IL-7 receptor: Regulation of interleukin 7 receptor α internalization, recycling and degradation by IL-7” Portuguese Society of Immunology (SPI) annual meeting, Porto, PT
- Catarina M. Henriques, José Rino, Robert J. Nibbs, Gerry G. Graham, João T. Barata “Chasing the IL-7 receptor: Regulation of interleukin 7 receptor α internalization, recycling and degradation by IL-7” SINAL- Portuguese annual meeting on Signal Transduction, Porto, PT
- Professional activities
- Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow
- CIMA Research Fellow
- Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow
- PhD supervisor
- PhD tutor