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Dr. Roberto J. Botelho

Dr. Roberto Botelho
Professor, Canada Research Chair in Organelle Function and Adaptation

Research Interests

Cell Biology

Innate Immunity

Phagocytosis

Lysosomes

Membrane Trafficking

Lipid Signalling

Course Code Course Name
BLG 411
Cell Biology II

The Botelho Lab, external link broadly studies the molecular mechanisms of organelle function and adaptation, especially in innate immune cells like macrophages. There are three main models that we study. First, we investigate phagocytosis and phagosome maturation, during which microbes are engulfed by phagocytes and sequestered within phagosomes. These phagosomes then are transformed into a highly degradative and acidic organelle called a phagolysosome by using with lysosomes. This effectively kills and digests the microbe, which then serves as a source of antigens.

Second, we investigate the function and adaptation of lysosomes themselves in response to stresses like infection and immune signals. This lysosome adaptation endows cells with a boost to help clear stresses like microbes and damaged proteins. Finally, we examine how phosphoinositide lipids help govern organelle identity, membrane trafficking and mediate signal transduction with implications towards immunity and cancer. Collectively, we employ various models including cell lines and mice models, diverse forms of imaging and image analysis, genetic tools, and biochemistry to achieve our research goals. Our lab is open to collaborations and exploring new directions.

Dendritic cells displaying a model antigen on their surface under resting or after stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharides at different time points of stimulation

Image shows dendritic cells displaying a model antigen on their surface under resting or after stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharides at different time points of stimulation. Grayscale signal shows the nucleus of cells and false colour represents the level of antigen presentation, where purple is low and yellow is high. Antigen presentation is essential to elicit adaptive immunity including generation of antibodies against the antigen and is at the heart of vaccination. Image by Dr. Victoria Hipolito. For more information see Hipolito et al., external link PLOS Biology 2019.

  • Canada Research Chair in Organelle Function and Adaptation (2014-2019, 2019-2024)
  • Dean's Service Award 2021
  • Early Researcher Award (2014-2019)
  • Dean's Teaching Award 2016
  • Graduate Supervisor, Molecular Science Graduate Program
Degree Year University
PhD 2004 University of Toronto