Antonio Currais

Staff Scientist

Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory

Antonio Currais
Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Antonio Currais

Antonio Currais

I have always worked under the premise that science should ultimately serve society. This personal belief has guided me throughout my career and has kept me determined on the idea that the joy of expressing my creativity as a scientist must always overlap with the satisfaction of fulfilling myself as a human being. As such, my research has two complementary components: a fundamental one focused on understanding the basic molecular processes underlying aging and age-related neurological diseases, and an applied one aimed at developing treatments for those diseases that can make a difference. The rationale being that it is essential to understand the mechanisms responsible for the progression of these pathologies in order to develop effective therapeutic approaches. From a fundamental point of view, I am very interested in the relationship between aging, inflammation and mitochondrial metabolism for the onset of human neurodegenerative diseases, namely Alzheimer's disease. From a translational standpoint, I have been working with a new drug discovery paradigm for Alzheimer's disease based on phenotypic screening assays that reflect the biological complexity of the aging brain. The goal is to identify treatments that protect against multiple toxic insults characteristic of aging and neurodegenerative diseases, thereby increasing the chances of succeeding in human patients. My studies rely on the use of animal models of aging that manifest early events driving sporadic Alzheimer's disease. This approach is coupled with integrative omics that assess multiple physiological parameters (proteome, metabolome and transcriptome) and often lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets.


Postdoctoral Fellow, Salk Institute, CA, U.S.A.
Visiting Scholar, Osaka University, Japan.
PhD in Neuroscience, King’s College London, U.K.
BSc in Microbiology and Genetics, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
Undergraduate Trainee in Genetics of Autism, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), Portugal.

Awards & Honors

  • Junior Faculty Research Trainee at Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), UCSD (2019)
  • Nomis Fellowship Award from Salk Institute (2015-2017)
  • Pioneer Fund Postdoctoral Scholar Award from Salk Institute (2013-2014)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) (2012)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (Osaka, Japan, 2009)
  • PhD fellowship from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) (London, U.K., 2006-2010)

Selected Publications

  • Soriano-Castell D, Liang Z, Maher P, Currais A. Profiling the chemical nature of anti-oxytotic/ferroptotic compounds with phenotypic screening. Free Radic Biol Med, 2021 Dec;177:313-325.
  • Soriano-Castell D, Currais A, Maher P. Defining a pharmacological inhibitor fingerprint for oxytosis/ferroptosis. Free Radic Biol Med, 2021 Aug 1;171:219-231.
  • Soriano-Castell D, Liang Z, Maher P, Currais A. The search for anti-oxytotic/ferroptotic compounds in the plant world. Br J Pharmacol, 2021 Sep;178(18):3611-3626.
  • Kepchia D, Currais A, Dargusch R, Finley K, Schubert D, Maher P. Geroprotective effects of Alzheimer's disease drug candidates. Aging, 2021 Feb 6;13(3):3269-3289.
  • Huang L, Currais A, Shokhirev M. SUMMER, a shiny utility for metabolomics and multiomics exploratory research. Metabolomics. 2020 Dec 9;16(12):126.
  • Liang Z, Currais A, Soriano-Castell D, Schubert D, Maher P. Natural products targeting mitochondria: emerging therapeutics for age-associated neurological disorders. Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Nov 20:107749.
  • Maher P, Currais A, Schubert D. Using the Oxytosis/Ferroptosis Pathway to Understand and Treat Age-Associated Neurodegenerative Diseases. Cell Chemical Biol. 2020 Dec 17;27.
  • Huang L, McClatchy D.B., Maher P, Zhibin L, Diedrich J.K., Soriano-Castell D, Goldberg J, Shokhirev M, Yates III J.R., Schubert D, Currais A. Intracellular amyloid toxicity induces oxytosis/ferroptosis regulated cell death. Cell Death Dis. 2020 Oct 6;11(10):828.
  • Goldberg J, Currais A, Ates G, Huang L, Shokhirev M, Maher P, Schubert D. Targeting of intracellular Ca2+ stores as a therapeutic strategy against age-related neurotoxicities. NPJ Aging Mech Dis. 2020 Aug 24;6:10.
  • Currais A, Huang L, Petrascheck M, Maher P, Schubert D. A chemical biology approach to identifying molecular pathways associated with aging. Geroscience. 2020 Jul 23.
  • Ates G, Goldberg J, Currais A, Maher P. CMS121, a fatty acid synthase inhibitor, protects against excess lipid peroxidation and inflammation and alleviates cognitive loss in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Redox Biol. 2020 Jul 21;36:101648.
  • Maher P, Fischer W, Liang Z, Soriano-Castell D, Pinto A, Rebman J, Currais A. The value of herbarium collections to the discovery of novel treatments for Alzheimer's disease, a case made with the genus Eriodictyon. Front Pharmacol. 2020 Mar 10;11:208.
  • Currais A, Huang L, Goldberg J, Petrascheck M, Ates G, Pinto-Duarte A, Shokhirev MN, Schubert D, Maher P. Elevating acetyl-CoA levels reduces aspects of brain aging. Elife. 2019 Nov 19;8.
  • Fischer W, Currais A, Liang Z, Pinto A, Maher P. Old Age-Associated Phenotypic Screening for Alzheimer's Disease Drug Candidates Identifies Sterubin as a Potent Neuroprotective Compound from Yerba santa. Redox Biology. 2019 Feb;21:101089.
  • Schubert D, Currais A, Goldberg J, Finley K, Petrascheck M, Maher P. Geroneuroprotectors: Effective Geroprotectors for the Brain. Trends Pharmacol Sci. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2018 Dec;39(12):1004-1007.
  • Goldberg J, Currais A, Prior M, Fischer W, Chiruta C, Ratliff E, Daugherty D, Dargusch R, Finley K, Esparza-Molto PB, Cuezva JM, Maher P, Petrascheck M, Schubert D. The mitochondrial ATP synthase is a shared drug target for aging and dementia. Aging Cell. 2018 Apr;17(2).
  • Currais A, Farrokhi C, Dargusch R, Armando A, Quehenberger O, Schubert D, Maher P. Fisetin Reduces the Impact of Aging on Behavior and Physiology in the Rapidly Aging SAMP8 Mouse. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Mar 2;73(3):299-307.
  • Currais A. The origin of life at the origin of ageing? Ageing Res Rev. 2017 May;35:297-300.
  • Currais A, Fischer W, Maher P, Schubert D. Intraneuronal protein aggregation as a trigger for inflammation and neurodegeneration in the aging brain. FASEB J. 2017 Jan;31(1):5-10.
  • Currais A, Quehenberger Q, Armando A, Daugherty D, Maher P, Schubert D. Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids. Aging and Mechanisms of Disease. 2016 Jun 23;2:16012.
  • Currais A, Farrokhi C, Dargusch R, Goujon-Svric M, Maher P. Dietary Glycemic Index Modulates Behavioral and Biochemical Abnormalities Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;21(3):426-36.
  • Currais A, Goldberg J, Farrokhi C, Chang M, Prior M, Dargusch R, Daugherty D, Armando A, Quehenberger O, Maher P, Schubert D. A comprehensive multiomics approach toward understanding the relationship between aging and dementia. Aging (Albany NY). 2015 Nov;7(11):937-55.
  • Currais A. Ageing and inflammation - A central role for mitochondria in brain health and disease. Ageing Res Rev. 2015 May;21:30-42.
  • Currais A, Chiruta C, Goujon-Svrzica M, Costa G, Santos T, Batista MT, Paiva J, Madureira MC, Maher P. Screening and identification of neuroprotective compounds relevant to Alzheimer’s disease from medicinal plants of S. Tomé e Príncipe. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Aug 8;155(1):830-40.
  • Prior M, Chiruta C, Currais A, Goldberg J, Ramsey J, Dargusch R, Maher PA, Schubert D. Back to the Future with Phenotypic Screening. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2014 Jul 16;5(7):503-13.
  • Currais A, Prior M, Dargusch R, Armando A, Ehren J, Schubert D, Quehenberger O, Maher P. Modulation of p25 and inflammatory pathways by fisetin maintains cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease transgenic mice. Aging Cell. 2014 Apr;13(2):379-90.
  • Currais A, Maher P. Functional Consequences of Age-Dependent Changes in GSH Status in the Brain. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Sep 10;19(8):813-22.
  • Currais A, Prior M, Lo D, Jolivalt C, Schubert D, Maher P. Diabetes exacerbates amyloid and neurovascular pathology in aging-accelerated mice. Aging Cell. 2012 Dec;11(6):1017-26.
  • Canuet L, Ishii R, Iwase M, Ikezawa K, Kurimoto R, Takahashi H, Currais A, Azechi M, Aoki Y, Nakahachi T, Soriano S, Takeda M. Psychopathology and working memory-induced activation of the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia-like psychosis of epilepsy: Evidence from magnetoencephalography. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011 Mar;65(2):183-90.
  • Currais A, Kato K, Canuet L, Ishii R, Tanaka T, Takeda M, Soriano S. Caffeine modulates tau phosphorylation and affects Akt signaling in postmitotic neurons. J Mol Neurosci. 2011 Mar;43(3):326-32.
  • Hayashi N, Kazui H, Kamino K, Tokunaga H, Takaya M, Yokokoji M, Kimura R, Kito Y, Wada T, Nomura K, Sugiyama H, Yamamoto D, Yoshida T, Currais A, Soriano S, Hamasaki T, Yamamoto M, Yasuda Y, Hashimoto R, Tanimukai H, Tagami S, Okochi M, Tanaka T, Kudo T, Morihara T, Takeda M. KIBRA genetic polymorphism influences episodic memory in Alzheimer’s Disease, but does not show association with disease in a Japanese cohort. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010;30(4):302-8.
  • Canuet L, Ishii R, Iwase M, Ikezawa K, Kurimoto R, Takahashi H, Currais A, Azechi M, Nakahachi T, Hashimoto R, Takeda M. Working memory abnormalities in chronic interictal epileptic psychosis and schizophrenia revealed by magnetoencephalography. Epilepsy Behav. 2010 Jan;17(1):109-19.
  • Currais A, Hortobágyi T, Soriano S. The neuronal cell cycle as a mechanism of pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease. Aging. 2009 Apr 28;1(4):363-71.
  • Nunes A, Ohadi M, Rahimi A, Aghajani A, Najmabadi H, Currais A, Soriano S. A mutation in the calreticulin gene promoter in a family case of schizoaffective disorder leads to its aberrant transcriptional activation. Brain Res. 2008 Nov 6;1239:36-41.
  • Malik B, Currais A, Soriano S. Cell cycle-driven neuronal apoptosis specifically linked to amyloid peptide Abeta(1-42) exposure is not exacerbated in a mouse model of presenilin-1 familial Alzheimer´s disease. J Neurochem. 2008 Jul;106(2):912-6.
  • Malik B, Currais A, Andres A, Towlson C, Pitsi D, Nunes A, Niblock M, Cooper J, Hortobágyi T, Soriano S. Loss of neuronal cell cycle control as a mechanism of neurodegeneration in the Presenilin-1 Alzheimer´s disease brain. Cell Cycle. 2008 Mar 1;7(5):637-46.
  • Coutinho AM, Oliveira G, Katz C, Feng J, Yan J, Yang C, Marques C, Ataíde A, Miguel TS, Borges L, Almeida J, Correia C, Currais A, Bento C, Mota-Vieira L, Temudo T, Santos M, Maciel P, Sommer SS, Vicente AM. MECP2 coding sequence and 3´UTR variation in 172 unrelated autistic patients. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2007 Jun 5;144B(4):475-83.
  • Ferreira N, Meireles de Sousa I, Cunha Luís T, Currais A, Figueiredo AC, Barroso J, Pedro L. Pittosporum undulatum Vent. grown in Portugal: secretory structures, seasonal variation and enantiomeric composition of its essential oil. Flavour Frag. 2007 Jan;22; 1-9.