Dr. Joao Pedra is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He leads a research program directed towards understanding the molecular and cellular events that enable host and arthropod vector immunity. His laboratory uses modern techniques available in biochemistry, molecular, structural and systems biology to comprehend fundamental interactions between the arthropod vector, the pathogen and the mammalian host. Dr. Pedra has been federally funded to study tick-borne diseases since 2007 and has published approximately 50 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Pedra determined the existence of a novel Immune Deficiency circuit in the Ixodes scapularis arthropod vector. He spearheaded a study group with 12 other investigators to tackle the problem of genetic manipulation of obligate intracellular bacteria. He discovered that eicosanoids regulate an atypical NLRC4 inflammasome pathway upon rickettsial infection. Finally, Dr. Pedra demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of a tick salivary protein on Nod-like receptor signaling pathways during pathogen colonization of the mammalian host.