Vania Braga is currently a Reader in Cell-cell Adhesion Signalling. She graduated in Biology from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil and did her post-graduate studies in Biochemistry at the same university. Her post-doctoral training was at Imperial Cancer Research UK (now Cancer Research UK). She started her own lab in 1995 at the MRC-Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Biology, University College London. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious MRC Non-Clinical Senior Fellowship and moved to the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London. She was later promoted to Senior Lecturer (2005) and Reader (2008). In 2012, she was appointed South Kensington Campus Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and Deputy-head of the Molecular Medicine Section, NHLI. Vania Braga is a Post-graduate tutor for the National Heart and Lung Institute and heavily involved in post-graduate teaching, mentoring and supervision. Outreach activities and support for undergraduate students (national and international) such as mentoring and lab experience are also part of the ethos of the lab.
Her research interests include understanding the signalling pathways required for epithelial specification and how these processes are subverted during diseases and tumour progression. In particular, her lab focuses on signalling triggered by E-cadherin-dependent cell-cell contacts and small GTPases of the Rho and Rab subfamilies. The lab investigates the mechanisms via which E-cadherin contacts co-regulates different cellular and signalling processes to enable assembly and maintenance of tight adhesion, epithelial function and differentiation.
Publications from the Braga Laboratory are highly cited and provide extensive mechanistic insights on epithelial signalling. She is frequently invited to write reviews and commentaries in top international journals. Dr. Braga participates in a number of editorial boards of scientific journals, review panels and grant agencies in Europe and the UK and is regularly invited to present talks in well-recognised international conferences in Europe, USA and Asia such as Gordon conferences, Keystone Meeting and FASEB. She has organized a number of conferences and workshops in the UK, Europe and the USA.
Work in the lab is currently funded by Cancer Research UK (C1282/A11980); Medical Research Council (MR/J007668/1), The Wellcome Trust (GR081357MA) and Brunei Government Studentship (JPLL/A/4:A/J1(703)).