José Manuel Faro Rivas

I obtained both my bachelor degree and PhD (1986) in Biology at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain). My doctoral studies, focussed in the murine immunoresponse to meningococci serogroup B, led to the discovery that the capsulated form of those meningococci can induce a T-cell dependent suppression of the 2ry response by altering the idiotypic component of the response to a particular epitope of the microorganism.

I made postdoctoral studies in two different labs for nearly 3 years. First, I worked with prof. Goran Moller in the University of Stockholm (Sweden). There I used a technique for “decorating” B lymphocytes with monoclonal antibodies to study B cell activation. Then, I moved for the rest of my postdoctoral activity to the Pasteur Institute, in Paris, to work with prof. Antonio Coutinho. There I was involved in a number of projects (studies on the Mls a antigen, characterization of thymic B lymphocytes, development of techniques to study serum antibody connectivity). While in Paris, I devoted part of my time to also work with the theoretical biologist prof. Francisco Varela at the University of Jussieu-Paris VI. I was introduced by him into the field of theoretical immunology and worked in theoretical and modeling approaches to describe the idiotypic network.

In 1990 I moved to the University of Salamanca and started as research fellow to work with prof. Santiago Velasco, head of the Applied Physics/Thermodynamics Unit. There I was teaching assistant and instructor of Thermodynamics lab for seven years. Later I got a teaching assistant position as instructor in Immunology lab in the same university. My collaboration with prof. Velasco ranged from theoretical studies in immunology (models of the immune idiotypic network, B cell activation, thymocyte selection), to studies of predator-prey systems with time delay, to development of new experimental methods for pedagogical demonstrations in the thermodynamics lab.

In 2002 I moved to the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Oeiras, Portugal) as PI of the newly created Systems Immunology group. There I started research projects (national) on theoretical analysis of T cell activation, T cell population homeostasis and tolerance, and the germinal centre reaction.

In 2005 I was awarded a 5-years Isidro Parga Pondal contract by Xunta de Galicia and moved to the University of Vigo within the Immunology group as senior researcher, and in 2009 I got a permanent position at this university as Profesor Contratado Doctor. Since my arrival at the University of Vigo I have been PI of several research projects (autonomic, national, european), deepening my previous international research collaborations and extending them to colleagues from Pasteur Institute, IGC, Humboldt University, University of Lisbon, University Pontificia Comillas and University of Leeds.

My current research interests involve: the role of ligand-receptor rate constants and mechanical forces in lymphocyte activation, lymphocyte dynamics in homeostasis and in immune responses, and the physiology and kinetics of germinal centres as well as the selection mechanisms leading to antibody affinity maturation.