Mercio Perrin, MD, PhD

Mercio Perrin, MD, PhD

Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology



MD, Federal Medical School
PhD, Microbiology, Columbia University
Postdoctoral Training, Columbia University


Campus: Boston
Office: Jaharis 801
Laboratory: Jaharis 8

Contact Information

Office Phone: 617-636-2933
Lab Phone: 617-636-6788
E-mail   Send an e-mail


Research Website  Lab Research Page
Recent Publications  Abstract in PubMed

Graduate Programs

Immunology,  Pharmacology


Research Synopsis

Our studies concentrate on the obligate intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the cause of a chronic debilitating disease (Chagas' disease) that afflicts millions of people world-wide. In the central nervous system, T. cruzi invades a variety of cell types, including astrocytes, microglia, and neurons. T. cruzi infection of the brain of immunologically competent individuals is of short duration, and causes no symptoms or pathology despite the induction of strong inflammatory response. We have found that T. cruzi encodes mimics of neurotrophic factors that potently activate neuron and glial cell survival and regeneration. One of these mimics, called parasite-derived neurotrophic factor (PDNF) activates neurotrophin receptors TrkA and TrkC, resulting cell survival and parasite invasion. The potent induction of neuroprotective mechanisms by PDNF is being exploited as drug development for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.


Lab Members

Tamar Ledoux, PhD Student in Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Send an e-mail  Lab Research Page
Smaro Panagiotidou, PhD Student in Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Send an e-mail Lab Research Page

Apply to the Sackler School


The priority application deadlines are as follows:

December 1: Basic Science Division PhD Programs

February 15: Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences

March 31: Post-Baccalaureate Research Program

May 1: Clinical & Translational Science, MS in Pharmacology & Drug Development

June 15: Online Certificate in Fundamentals of Clinical Care Research