Marcelo Freire, DDS, PhD, DMSc

Associate Professor



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Marcelo Freire is an associate professor in the Genomic Medicine and Infectious Disease Department at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Prior to joining JCVI, Dr. Freire was an assistant faculty member at The Forsyth Institute and Harvard University (Division of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity). Early in his career, Dr. Freire worked on tissue biology of infectious diseases, biofilm-induced bone diseases and antibody engineering. As a dual-scientist and clinician, Dr. Freire’s initial training provided insights in human physiology and unmet clinical needs. As a current president of the Clinical and Translational Science Network (IADR), Dr. Freire is focused on applications of scientific innovations to health care. Dr. Freire’s research focuses on investigating biological deficiencies in chronic diseases. “By learning from complex host interactions, we are designing novel methods of diagnosis and therapeutics. We focus on pathways related to innate immunity, inflammation and overall tissue healing.”

Dr. Freire has extensive experience in host response, inflammation biology, transcriptomics and antibody engineering. Inflammation is a fundamental physiological process of normal and pathological conditions. Dr. Freire has led studies that developed novel therapeutics in control of chronic diseases. “It is interesting, but in retrospect not surprising, that several chronic conditions are related.” At JCVI, Dr. Freire plans to work on investigating links integrating microbiome, metabolism and immune response. In particular Dr. Freire’s lab is studying mechanisms controlling innate recognition, phagocytosis and activation signals of adaptive immune responses. “We plan to converge multi-disciplinary concepts and harness a competent immune response against global diseases.”

Research Priorities

Inflammation Biology

  • Basic physiology of inflammatory response, with specific interest on neutrophils and granulocytes.
  • Chronic inflammation pathology including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and periodontal diseases.
  • Activation of Phagocytosis
  • G-protein receptors regulation of inflammatory response.
  • Resolution of inflammation and tissue response.
  • Single cell heterogeneity.

Drug Discovery

  • Monoclonal antibody development.
  • Genomic and transcriptomic studies of novel biomarkers.
  • Engineering of agonist, antagonist and tethering therapeutics to host/microbial antigens.
  • Biomaterial and surface modification with biologics.
  • Phagocytosis of biomaterials.

Integration of Microbiome-Metabolism-Immune Systems

  • Host microbial interactions, including communications inducing metainflammation.
  • Evolution of immune sensing and responsiveness.
  • Transcriptional response regulation of cell plasticity.
  • Dietary perturbation of human/microbial biology.
  • Cell fate decisions in heterogeneous micro-environments.


Select Publications

ERV1 Overexpression in Myeloid Cells Protects against High Fat Diet Induced Obesity and Glucose Intolerance.
Scientific reports. 2017-10-09; 7.1: 12848.
PMID: 28993702
A bacterial-biofilm-induced oral osteolytic infection can be successfully treated by immuno-targeting an extracellular nucleoid-associated protein.
Molecular oral microbiology. 2017-02-01; 32.1: 74-88.
PMID: 26931773
Neutrophil Resolvin E1 Receptor Expression and Function in Type 2 Diabetes.
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2017-01-15; 198.2: 718-728.
PMID: 27994073
Staphylococcus aureus Shifts toward Commensalism in Response to Corynebacterium Species.
Frontiers in microbiology. 2016-01-01; 7.1230.
PMID: 27582729
Impact of resolvin E1 on murine neutrophil phagocytosis in type 2 diabetes.
Infection and immunity. 2015-02-01; 83.2: 792-801.
PMID: 25486994
Antibody-mediated osseous regeneration: a novel strategy for bioengineering bone by immobilized anti-bone morphogenetic protein-2 antibodies.
Tissue engineering. Part A. 2011-12-01; 17.23-24: 2911-8.
PMID: 21870943
Development of an animal model for Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans biofilm-mediated oral osteolytic infection: a preliminary study.
Journal of periodontology. 2011-05-01; 82.5: 778-89.
PMID: 21222546