Dr. Alberto Japp to receive Rare Autoimmune and Immunological Disorders research grant at 2019 Young Investigator Draft presented by CSL Behring


The Young Investigator Draft is the result of Uplifting Athletes’ ongoing commitment to cultivate resources that accelerate scientific advancements for rare disease treatments and potential cures while facilitating the next generation of rare disease researchers.

These Young Investigators will pursue rare disease research in one of five different areas: rare cancers, rare autoimmune and immunological disorders, rare blood disorders, rare genetic disorders and rare muscular and neurological disorders.

To learn more about the Young Investigator Draft and to purchase tickets click here.

Researcher: Dr. Alberto Japp

Category: Rare Autoimmune and Immunological Disorders

Education: Dr. Japp is a native of Brazil and went to Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) for his undergraduate work and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy. He then moved to Berlin, Germany and received his Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine from Charite. Dr. Japp stayed in Berlin and attended Humboldt University of Berlin where he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy – PhD, Biology, Immunology. His currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.

Research: According to Dr. Japp his research is focused on autoimmune disorders and how the body fights infections and this research is also powerful against cancer. My work here is focused on the de-regulation, how the immune system harms the body in different diseases including Castleman’s Disease and Type 1 diabetes. By studying the underlying mechanisms of the immune system we can learn more about the way to treat and cure these diseases. My work here is focused on human diseases exclusively. Research is also done on animals, but the work I do exclusively human research.

In Their Words: ““Doing research in different countries has been an amazing experience. Each country has a different style. In Germany, I have acquired huge technical skills and learned to be organized. In the U.S., I have learned to communicate with other researchers and apply those skills in highly collaborative projects. The excitement around research here in the U.S. motivates me to be more daring and try new and exciting things.” – Dr. Alberto Japp

Dr. Alberto Japp grew up in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil as the middle child with a brother and sister. He was always fascinated by science growing up – particularly biology and chemistry – and that led him to make a bold decision to leave his home country and family to learn more about how the body works.

He spent nearly a decade in Germany and he loved living in Berlin and furthering his education and abilities as a scientist but he was drawn to expanding his base of knowledge as a research scientist.

“I really enjoyed Berlin and was very happy there, but I had an opportunity to learn more and having another opportunity in science here in the U.S. fascinated me,” Dr. Japp said. “I really wanted to continue doing research and the U.S. is one of the biggest biomedical research centers in the world. My mentor in Germany knew the person who would be my mentor here in the U.S. and both thought it would be perfect because of my interest in immunology research.”

Dr. Japp’s wife Seda came to the United States six months early to get them set up. But For nearly two years Dr. Japp has been working in a collaborative and innovative setting doing cutting edge research.

“The environment at Penn is amazing. It has so many research groups using a lot of techniques and there’s a lot of interaction and collaboration with the groups here,” Dr. Japp said. “When I got here I met Dr. David Fajgenbaum and we started working together and it’s been amazing.

“Castleman’s Disease, being a rare disease, it’s hard to find samples to study. I hadn’t heard of the disease before this. But I learned about it and David has all the samples here at Penn for us to study. There’s so much interesting data to study and we’ve pursued it and are making some really interesting progress.”

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