Dr. Maria Febbraio received her Ph.D. from Cornell University Medical College-Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City. Her thesis involved the cloning and characterization of two lysosomal glycoproteins (LAMP-1 and LAMP-2) that upon activation, translocate to the platelet surface. This was followed by post doctoral appointments at Rockefeller University and then Cornell, where her projects involved manipulation of the mouse genome to create transgenics to probe regulation of liver genes and generation of a knock-out to better understand the biology of the macrophage scavenger receptor, CD36. Research on CD36 expanded to the platelet, endothelial cell, brain, muscle and fat, as phenotypes were uncovered in the KO. CD36, also known as glycoprotein IV (gpIV), has proven to be a most interesting subject, and research in Dr. Febbraio’s lab continues to center around its functions. Dr. Febbraio made her way through the ranks at Cornell, from Instructor to Associate Professor, in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. In 2004, she moved her lab to the Cleveland Clinic, Departments of Cell Biology and Molecular Cardiology. In 2013, she relocated to the University of Alberta, Department of Dentistry.
Through the study of CD36, research in the lab centers around the more global themes of inflammation, innate immunity, fatty acid uptake and metabolism, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This work is facilitated by the use of mouse models, and the continued development of tools for CD36 in vivo research on disease and maintenance of homeostasis. Animal models also allow translational approaches to be tested. Currently, the two major research projects focus on the interaction of CD36 and Toll-like receptors in increased atherosclerosis as a result of periodontal disease, and the impact of tissue specific CD36 expression on metabolism and diabetes. A major emphasis is on mechanistic insight by probing cell signaling pathways, protein-protein interactions, and changes in gene expression/regulation.
Dr. Febbraio has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, mentored trainees at all levels, and is an active and engaged member of the scientific community. She has served on numerous grant review committees, reviewed articles for many journals in her field, and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Lipid Research. She is a member of the American Heart Association, the Canadian Society of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and the North American Vascular Biology Organization.