Dr. Cunha is a senior research at the department of biochemistry of Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil. Dr. Cunha was trained at the Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil, first undertaking his B.Sc. in physical education (2001-2005), and holds a master (2007-2009) and Ph.D. (2009-2013), as well as post-doctoral fellowship in Neuroscience (2013-2015) at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). Dr. Cunha also received research training as a visiting scholar at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba (Cordoba, Argentina) and Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Madrid, Spain). He is currently a Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil). Dr. Cunha’s animal work deals chiefly with the neurobiology of exercise in the physiology process (cognition, mood and pain), as well as in the mental and neurological diseases (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, major depressive disorder and anxiety). Furthermore, the effects of supplementation with endogenous compounds, such as zinc and creatine, in the behavior and neuropathology are other aims in his investigation. As an educator, Dr. Cunha has developed numerous training programs for students in a variety of areas including: Psychiatry, Neurology, Biology, Molecular Neurobiology, Pharmacy Sciences, Physical Education, Physiology of Exercise, Biochemistry of Exercise, Complementary and Alternative Medicine as well as for a variety of Support Workers.
Dr. Cunha's research primarily involves examining the effect of exercise-induced myokines in health, as well as in mental and neurological diseases. The contraction of a skeletal muscle following exercise stimulates production, secretion, and expression of myokines and produces a communication between skeletal muscle cells and central nervous system. The focus of this research has been directed at neuroplasticity, mood, cognition, pain, development, aging, senescencence and mental and neurological diseases. Most recently, his specific interest has involved examining the role of myokine irisin as a driver of neuroprotective effect of exercise and/or of supplementation with ergogenic compounds, such as creatine and zinc. In the past he has used a variety of tools such as animal behavior (emotional, cognitive, motor and synesthesia) analysis, tissue slices, culture of neuronal cells, cellular viability measurement, oxidative stress biomarkers, mitochondrial function measurement, metabolic enzymes activity, cell defenses enzymes activity, western blotting, dot blotting, slot blotting, real-time PCR, high performance liquid chromatography, fluorescent, electronic and confocal microscopy, calcium analysis and nitric oxide measurement. Dr. Cunha is also chair of a variety of scientific advisory boards, on the editorial board for a number of journals, and has published numerous papers in the areas of Anxiety, Mood, Pain, Neurochemistry, Neurochemical, Neurotoxicity, Neurodegenerative diseases, Neuroprotection, Oxidative stress, and Neurobiology.