Over one century ago, Russian immunologist Élie Metchnikoff deduced that a healthy gut environment could help combat senility and suggested that the good bacteria found in yogurt would increase a person’s longevity, contradicting the idea that “the only good microbe is a dead one”. Based on a close functional and anatomical link, the immune and nervous systems act effectively in a highly reciprocal manner, evidence that justified the wider credibility gained by this relatively new branch of science, called psychoneuroimmunology.
It is precisely in this field that José Oliveira has done a fascinating work on how our immune system can determine our mental health. After obtaining his graduation in Medicine, at the University of Coimbra (Portugal), he started his residency in Psychiatry at the Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa. Interested in the immunogenetics of psychiatric disorders and on its potential interactions with environmental risk factors – such as perinatal infection and childhood adversity –, he completed his PhD thesis in the Translational Psychiatry laboratory at the Mondor Institut for Biomedical Research, in Paris. In 2014, José Oliveira won a travel grant to the 22nd European Congress of Psychiatry (taking place in Munich, Germany), owing to the scientific merit of the abstract submitted. According to ResearchGate, he has authored/co-authored eighteen publications.