Lourival Domingos Possani Postay Profile
Lourival Domingos Possani Postay is Mexican by naturalization since 1970. He holds a degree in Natural History in the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil; graduate studies in Biophysics and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics, both at the University of Paris; furthermore, a postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University in New York and at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
From 1974 to date, he has worked as a researcher in the fields of Experimental Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnologyat the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the same institution in which he has worked as lecturer in the aforementioned subjects and has held numerous academic-administrative positions.
Abroad, Dr. Possani has been honored as a visiting professor at Yale University, at the Institute of Cybernetics and Biophysics of the Italian Council of Scientific Research, at the Baylor College of Medicine and other academic institutions of international prestige.
Given the national and global statistics of people who are stung by scorpions annually, Dr. Possani decided to devote special attention to venom research; to fight against this public health problem.
His group has described the toxic venom peptides that affect the function of ion channels of excitable cells. He was the first who published the structure of the peptides that block potassium channels; the peptides with immune-modulatory function; the peptides with antibiotic and antiparasitic activity, as well as the important enzymes for the scorpions’ venom defensive or predatory functions.
Knowledge of the primary structure of these venom components allowed him to design and synthesize about a hundred peptides, aiming to obtain a vaccine against scorpions’ venom. Also, his group ventured in two areas directly involved with scorpions: one involves genetics (cloning genes encoding toxins and their heterologous expression); the other compromises protective monoclonal antibodies and fragments of human antibodies that defend against scorpion’s stings of Mexico and Latin America.
The first production line has been successfully commercialized and it is available in the market; while it is being currently pursued the introduction of a second one in Latin American, Caribbean, African, Middle Eastern and Asian markets.
Dr. Possani work has been reflected in more than 300 scientific articles published in international indexed journals, which have been cited over 7,340 times in the academic literature. Also, he has support the human resource development; as 84 thesis (25 undergraduate, 33 masters and 26 doctoral) have been completed in his laboratory.
Dr. Lourival Domingos Possani Postay has been granted the National University Award and the National Award of Sciences and Arts. He received the Redi Award from the International Society of Toxicology; has received donations from the Howard Hughes Institute USA, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CONACyT (the National Council of Science and Technology). He also received an honorary doctoral degree from University of Debrecen in Hungary, for his collaboration with Hungarian researches.