Neuronal Growth and Plasticity

In my laboratory we aim to dissect how neurons and glia integrate 3D information from intrinsic and extrinsic factors to orchestrate the formation of new synaptic structures. 

We use the model system Drosophila to uncover the genes and cellular mechanisms responsible for these structural and functional changes in order to understand the impact of external stimuli, such as changes in activity, in neuron and glial function.

  • In vivo mechanisms of axonal remodeling: neuron, muscle, glia 3D interactions
  • Role of Ral GTPase/Exocyst pathway in neurodevelopmental disoreders
  • Impact of infection in neurons and glia
  • Mechanisms of reinnervation after wounding

Fernandes AR, Mendes CS, Gomes ER and Teodoro RO* (2021). Motor neurons remodel through membrane blebbing. BioRxiv. 
* Corresponding Author

Carregosa D, Mota S, Ferreira S, Alves-Dias B, Loncarevic-Vasiljkovic N, Crespo CL, Menezes R, Teodoro RO and Nunes dos Santos C. (2021). Overview of Beneficial Effects of (Poly)phenol Metabolites in the Context of Neurodegenerative Diseases on Model Organisms. Nutrients 2021;13::2940.

Silva-Rodrigues JF, Patrício-Rodrigues CF, Sousa-Xavier V, Augusto PM, Fernandes AC, JP Martins, Farinho AR and Teodoro RO* (2020). Peripheral axonal ensheathing is regulated by RalA GTPase and the exocyst complex. Development Feb 4; 147(3). pii: dev174540. doi: 10.1242/dev.174540. * Corresponding Author

Patrício-Rodrigues CF and Teodoro RO*.  Postsynaptic RabGTPases and Exocyst: a screen at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. Science Matters. Jul 24th, 2018  · 10.19185/matters.201807000005. * Corresponding Author

Teodoro RO*, Pekkurnaz G, Nasser A, Higashi-Kovtun ME, Balakireva M, McLachlan IG, Camonis J and Schwarz TL* (2013). Ral mediates activity-dependent growth of postsynaptic membranes via recruitment of the exocyst. EMBO J. Jul 17, 32(14):2039-55. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2013.147.
* Corresponding Authors

Murthy M*, Teodoro RO*, Miller TP, Schwarz TL (2010). Sec5, a member of the exocyst complex, mediates Drosophila embryo cellularization. Development 137(16):2773-83. doi: 10.1242/dev.048330.
* Equal 1st Author Contribution.

Teodoro RO and O’Farrell PH  (2003). Nitric oxide-induced suspended animation promotes survival during hypoxia. EMBO J. 22, 580-587.
(Editor’s choice, Science Feb 14 2003: 979; DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5609.979a)  

Awards to Neuronal Growth and Plasticity Lab Students:

2021 2nd Place Oral Presentation AIMS Research Competition (to Margarida Rafael Cruz)
2019 Honor Mention Innovate Competition (iMED Conference 11.0) Poster award in basic research Astrazeneca Foundation (to Pedro Augusto)
2018 Portuguese Drosophila Meeting Runner-­up Talk Prize (to Joana Silva-Rodrigues)
2018 Portuguese Drosophila Meeting Runner-­up Poster Prize (to Andreia R. Fernandes)
2017 1st prize Innovate Competition (iMED Conference 9.0) Poster award in basic research Astrazeneca  Foundation (to Andreia R. Fernandes)

Awards to PI (Rita Teodoro):
2018    Travel Award EMBO Workshop Neuronal Remodeling
2013    FCT Investigator 2013
2013    Travel Grant Portuguese Neuroscience Society (SPN)
2008    Postdoctoral Career Development Fellowship Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital Eleanor and Miles Shore for Scholars in Medicine, USA
2004    Postdoctoral Fellowship  Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT), Portugal
1998    Doctoral Fellowship from FCT-Portugal, within the Gulbenkian PhD Program in Biology and Medicine (PGDBM) 

PhD Opportunities @ Rita Teodoro Lab
Collaboration between multiple NMS labs leads to joint publication

Research carried out by several of our laboratories is supported by the LYSOCIL project and has been published in Traffic magazine.

António Jacinto (CEDOC - NMS)
Cláudia Nunes Santos (CEDOC - NMS)
César S. Mendes (CEDOC - NMS)
Edgar Gomes (iMM - ULisboa)
Ilan Davis (Oxford, UK)

Principal Investigator

Rita Teodoro
Principal Investigator


Cátia Patrício-Rodrigues
PhD Student
Joana Silva-Rodrigues
PhD Student
Andreia R. Fernandes
PhD Student
João Pedro Martins
PhD Student
Catarina Tordo-Dias
MSc Student
Benedita Vasconcelos
MSc Student
Catarina Damião
MSc Student
Filipe Azevedo
MSc Student
Mariana Correia
MSc Student
Sara Mota
MSc Student
Tamara Filipovic
MSc Student