Diana Tavares Ferreira

Diana Tavares Ferreira

Assistant Professor

Research interests: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of axonal integrity; studying the role of RNA transport and non-coding RNAs in neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases using multi-omics and computational approaches.

BSB 14.609
Axon Biology and Neuroinformatics Lab
Curriculum Vitae

Currently accepting graduate students

Tags: Cognition and Neuroscience Computational Neuroscience Neuroscience-Faculty CAPS-Faculty Axon

Professional Preparation

Postdoctoral Researcher - Neuroscience
University of Texas at Dallas, USA - 2023
PhD - Neuroscience
University of Sheffield, UK - 2018
PharmD/MS - Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Coimbra, Portugal - 2013

Research Areas

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of axonal integrity
Sensory neurons are highly polarized cells with axons extending for a large distance. Maintaining and restoring axonal integrity is crucial to prevent nerve degeneration and for regeneration after nerve damage. With the nucleus and soma far away, how do sensory neurons maintain axonal integrity? The Tavares lab is interested in investigating how axons communicate with the soma and with neighboring cells. We are particularly interested in understanding how RNA transport occurs and identifying the RNAs that localize to distal axons.
RNA regulation
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by binding to target mRNAs, either promoting their degradation or inhibiting their translation. Recent studies have also shown that miRNAs play a role in mRNA sub-cellular organization. We are interested in characterizing miRNA function in sensory neurons.
Computational approaches
We are dedicated to improving algorithms for the analysis of omics data. This involves using and developing tools for the integration of single-cell and spatial data from different conditions and species and modeling the specificity of RNA-protein interactions. We are also interested in developing and applying machine learning to transcriptomic data and image analysis.


Sex-differences in prostaglandin signaling: a semi-systematic review and characterization of PTGDS expression in human sensory neurons, Scientific Reports 2023 - publications
Spatial transcriptomics of dorsal root ganglia identifies molecular signatures of human nociceptors, Science Translational Medicine 2022 - publications
Sex Differences in Nociceptor Translatomes Contribute to Divergent Prostaglandin Signaling in Male and Female Mice, Biological Psychiatry 2020 - publications
Correlation of miRNA expression with intensity of neuropathic pain in man, Molecular Pain 2019 - publications


Peter J. Dyck Abstract Prize Winner for Diabetic Neuropathy research - Peripheral Nerve Society [2022]
Catalyst Studentship - Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) [2016]


Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
University of Texas at Dallas [2024–Present]

News Articles

Researchers Map Human Sensory Neurons
Map of pain neurons may lead to more effective drugs for chronic pain


Data Core UTD PRECISION Pain Center (U19)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [2022/09–2027/08]