During my career I have focused on discovering and characterizing conserved mechanisms regulating complex neuronal, nutritional, physiological and developmental processes at the level of the whole animal. My key contributions include: In the first ever whole genome neuronal RNAi screen I co-discovered the receptor for the Drosophila Sex Peptide providing an entry step into a circuit level understanding of how postmating responses are coordinated. I have established a value based, nutritional paradigm in Drosophila and showed that flies homeostatically balance specific nutrients such as amino acids. I have shown that nutrient decisions are regulated by mating status, characterized the molecular and circuit underpinning of this internal state input and shown that the nutrient sensitive TOR pathway can change these feeding decisions when manipulated in the nervous system. My laboratory has developed a novel, quantitative and automated behavioral setup which allowed us to characterize similarities of food intake regulation between insects and vertebrates, pointing to a common strategy in how the nervous systems of different animals control food intake. We have discovered a novel, conserved, neuronal TOR regulator mediating protein appetite. We have discovered and characterized the gustatory basis for protein and amino acid feeding and homeostasis. We have identified that specific commensal microbes regulate feeding decisions and reproduction.
Honours and awards
2014 Selected as FENS-Kavli Scholar - Founding member and board member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence
2011-2017 Award of two BIAL fellowships
2012-2016 Award of a Human Frontiers Science Program Grant 2012-2016 Award of a FP7 – Marie Curie Actions – Initial Training Network (ITN) - FLiACT
2012-2015 Award of an FCT – Portuguese Research Council Grant
2006-2009 Award of a Swiss National Science Foundation, Advanced Scientist Fellowship
2005 Award of a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship – Turned down in favor of the Swiss National Science Foundation, Advanced Scientist Fellowship
2004-2006 Award of an EMBO long term fellowship
2003 Graduation as “Dr. phil. ” with summa cum laude.
General administrative and organisational experience
I have participated in the organization of 7 meetings including the Champalimaud Neuroscience Symposium of which I was the chair. As one of the first recruited PIs I have been very actively involved in building up the Champalimaud Centre of the Unknown. I have also participated in building up the new Biology of Systems and Metastasis Programme at the Centre. This included organizational, recruitment and technical building planning. Furthermore I am an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple scientific journals including Nature, Science magazine, and the European Journal of Neuroscience as well as granting agencies including, the ERC, HFSP, SNF, ANR, and the BBSRC. I also serve as a member of the commission for the evaluation of the life sciences and health sciences strategic projects for the Portuguese FCT. I am a board member and the head of the Science Policy section of the FENS Kavli Scholars and as such I have been actively advising the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.
My laboratory works at the interface of behavior, metabolism and physiology and studies how nutrients and internal states act at the level of neuronal and physiological systems to generate the correct nutritional decisions needed for the survival and reproduction of organisms. We use the powerful genetics of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, to manipulate circuits and molecular mechanisms, survey neuronal function using activity imaging, and query behavioral outcomes using novel automated, quantitative methods. These approaches are complemented with precise nutritional and microbial manipulations to reach an integrated understanding of nutrition.
1 Corrales-Carvajal, V. M., Faisal, A. A., Ribero C. * Internal states drive nutrient homeostasis by modulating exploration-exploitation trade-off, eLife doi:10.7554/eLife. 19920
2 Leitão-Gonçalves, R. †, Francisco, A. P. †, Carvalho-Santos, Z. †, Fioreze, G. T., Elias, A. P., Itskov, P. M., Piper, M. D., Ribero C. * Commensal bacteria control food choice behavior and reproduction by buffering the effect of essential amino acids availability, PLoS Biology, in revision
3 Walker, S. J., Corrales-Carvajal, V. M., Ribero C. * (2015) Postmating circuitry modulates salt taste processing to increase reproductive output in Drosophila. Curr. Biol., 25(20), 2621-2630
4 Oest, A., Lempradl, A., Casas, E., Weigert, M., Tiko, T., Deniz, M., Pantano, L., Boenisch, U., Itskov, P. M., Stoeckius, M., Ruf, M., Rajewsky, N., Reuter, G., Iovino, N., Ribeiro, C., Alenius, M., Heyne, S., Vavouri, T., Pospisilik, J. A. (2014) Paternal diet defines offspring chromatin state and intergenerational obesity. Cell, 156(6) : 1352-1364
5 Itskov, P. M., Moreira, J-M, Vinnik, E., Lopes, G., Safarik, S., Dickinson, M. H., Ribeiro C. * (2014) Automated monitoring and quantitative analysis of feeding behavior in Drosophila., Nature Commun., 5:4560
6 Piper, M. D. W., Blanc, E., Leitão-Gonçalves, R., Yang, M., He, X., Hoddinott, M. P., Niemeyer, C., Kerr, F., Ribeiro, C. and Partridge, L. (2013) A holidic medium for Drosophila melanogaster, Nature Methods, 11(1) :100-5
7 Ribeiro, C. * and Dickson, B. J. (2010). Sex peptide receptor and neuronal TOR/S6K signaling modulate valuebased feeding decisions in Drosophila, Curr. Biol., 20(11), 1000-1005.
8 Yapici, N. †, Kim, Y. -J. †, Ribeiro, C., Dickson, B. J. (2008). A receptor that mediates the post-mating switch in Drosophila reproductive behaviour. Nature, 451(7174) :33-7. † authors contributed equally to this work
9 Keleman, K., Ribeiro, C., Dickson, B. (2005). Comm function in commissural axon guidance: cell-autonomous sorting of Robo in vivo. Nature Neurosci., 8(2), 156-163.
10 Ribeiro, C., Ebner, A. and Affolter, M. (2002). In vivo imaging reveals different cellular functions for FGF and Dpp signaling in tracheal branching morphogenesis. Dev. Cell. 2, 677-683.