About Us

We are a group of researchers under the leadership of Dr. Oliveira looking for answers on life processes and human diseases. We take our work seriously, but also with joy. Here, respect, diversity & inclusion are rules – we collaborate in prol of the LAB TEAM’s success & towards the science progress at UIC & around the world! Thus, enjoy the ride & let the pipetting begin!

Dr. Oliveira

Dr. Oliveira is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Vascular Immunobiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She earned a Ph.D. (Immunobiology/Biophysics) and an M.S. (Cardiovascular Pharmacology) from one of the best Latin America Universities – the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her research interests focus on uncovering the pathophysiology of vascular endothelium due to inflammatory cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, such as Schistosomiasis, Sepsis, Acute Lung Injury/Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Moreover, as an educator, she also devotes her efforts on how effectively communicating the scientific findings of this field of research to its community and society as a whole. As a Latin woman growing up surrounded by different economic and cultural backgrounds, she believes in diversity and inclusion as a crucial part of human development. This vision, along with her values, supports her mission of building a research program in pathogen-induced cardiovascular and pulmonary inflammatory diseases by engaging all voices in an inclusive and creative environment for global continuous scientific progress and overall educational excellence.

Ejehi Erewele

Ejehi earned her bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Health, Society, and Populations from the University of Kentucky in 2020. During her undergraduate career, she took several courses in topics such as advanced cellular biology and immunology which served as her first introduction to vascular pathology. Her experience as a MD candidate at UIC and anesthesia technician intern has galvanized her desire to learn more about the critical interplay between anesthesia, the pulmonary system, and cellular moderators that govern vascular diseases. Ejehi enjoys contributing to the scientific discourse surrounding pulmonary arterial hypertension as it gives her the opportunity to apply her clinical skills and knowledge in a fundamental research setting.  

Maricela Castellon

Maricela is an experienced Research Scientist with more than 10 years working as Lab Manager and Lab technician. She started her research and medical training at UIC in 1997, and six years later of active research and management training, she got her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. By 2011, Maricela earned a MS degree in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the same institution, and since then, her professional trajectory has been evolving incredibly, as indicated by her current appointment as the Assistant Director of the UIC Cardiovascular Research Core. Maricela is helping the Vascular Immunobiology Lab to get started by handling the animal colony, the Lab Biosafety, and providing essential support for in vivo animal experiments.

Elizabeth Villarreal

Lizzy is an undergraduate student on the pre-medical track at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC; Honors College). Her major is biochemistry, and she has already taken multiple biology and chemistry courses during her time at UIC. This is Lizzy’s first laboratory experience, and she is really motivated in learning about pulmonary arterial hypertension as well as helping to make a difference when it comes to vascular diseases. She thinks the experience in the laboratory of vascular immunobiology will provide her with an amazing opportunity to use the technical skills and scientific background she has been learning to gain crucial research experience for her future in medical school.

Omar Loya

Omar is an undergraduate student in Biological Sciences with a concentration in General Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He is also a recipient of the L@s GANAS Research Fellowship. What is L@s GANAS? L@s GANAS is a program, here at UIC, that strives to provide opportunities and support Latinx students in STEM. Although this is his first year in science, Omar has already gotten awards for Outstanding Achievement in Science and Biology at UIC.  Moreover, this is Omar’s first laboratory experience, and his interested in being a part of our research group is because he thinks the experience in the VI Lab aligns with his future career goals. 

Ygor Marinho

Dr. Marinho is a Postdoctoral Research Associate. He obtained his Ph.D. and M.S. in the field of immunology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil. He has more than 10 years of experience in scientific research. During his journey, he developed projects related to Gouty Arthritis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, with focus on the role of the purinergic signaling. Nowadays, he is starting a new phase in his career, working with cardiopulmonary diseases, a challenging and relevant field of investigation. As a young afro-American researcher, he believes in his responsibility and acts to change reality, create opportunities and promote inclusion.

Let’s make something great together.