Deciphering peripheral neuroimmune architecture by intercellular labelling

Henrique Veiga-Fernandes has pioneered studies on “neuroimmune cell units,” specialized regions of the body where neurons and immune cells gather and communicate to influence how the body responds to foreign threats, such as viruses and bacteria. He and his colleagues have found these special cell units in many parts of the body, including the gut, lungs, fat and skin. Veiga-Fernandes and his research team will develop two new techniques to measure how neurons and immune cells interact and communicate throughout the body. In one, the researchers will create special fluorescent tags to mark neurons that interact with certain types of immune cells, to facilitate studies of specific neuroimmune connections. In another, they will develop a special label that allows them to follow the fate of certain immune cells after they interact with neurons, potentially shedding light on how neurons directly influence the immune system.  

Affiliated Investigators

Henrique Veiga-Fernandes, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Champalimaud Foundation

Henrique Veiga-Fernandes studied Veterinary Medicine at Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal and at Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. In 2002, he obtained a Ph.D. in Immunology from Université René Descartes, Paris, France, before moving to the National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK, as a postdoc. In 2009, he returned to Portugal to set up his independent research group at Instituto de Medicina Molecular, where he became member of the direction team in 2014. In 2016, Veiga-Fernandes joined the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, Portugal, where he is currently a Senior Group Leader.

He was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2015, and he was made Commander of the Order of Sant’Iago da Espada by Portugal in the same year. He secured several European Research Council (ERC) awards (2007, 2013, 2015 and 2017) and has previously won the Pfizer Prize for basic Science (2014 and 2016), the senior research award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, USA (2014), the Innovator and Breakthrough Awards from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, USA (2013 and 2014), the National Blood Foundation Scholar, USA (2012), and he integrated the EMBO Young Investigator Programme in 2008.