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Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery


Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D.
Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D.

Dr. Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari was born in Lima, Peru. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2004 from Florida International University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. In 2004, he joined the University of Miami as a graduate student in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Robert W. Keane. Dr. de Rivero Vaccari obtained his Ph.D. in 2007 for his work showing that the NLRP1 inflammasomes is a multiprotein inflammatory complex in neurons that can be therapeutically targeted to improve histopathological and functional outcomes after spinal cord injury. In 2007, he joined the laboratory of Dr. W. Dalton Dietrich at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis as a postdoctoral fellow where Dr. de Rivero Vaccari continued his studies on innate immune responses after brain trauma. In 2010, he became a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami. Currently, he works on identifying biomarkers and therapeutic targets in the innate immune response to improve outcomes after central nervous system injury and disease as well as in the spine (intervertebral disc degeneration and back pain). In addition, Dr. de Rivero Vaccari’s work has resulted in the filing of several patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and abroad. To move inventions forward, he co-founded InflamaCORE, LLC., a company dedicated to treating and diagnosing inflammatory injury and disease, as a spin-off company from the University of Miami.

Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding early inflammatory events corresponding to the innate immune response, the first line of defense against tissue damage and infections.

The immune response is divided into two phases: Innate immunity and adaptive immunity. The innate immune phase corresponds to the early events of the inflammatory response and precedes the adaptive immune phase.  It is classically defined as the first line of defense against infections or damage. It is initiated by danger/damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) or by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) that are recognized by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). DAMPs are endogenous ligands such as ATP, DNA or RNA, whereas PAMPs include exogenous activators like bacterial lipopolysaccharide or bacterial flagellin.

PRRs include toll-like receptors (TLRs), NOD-like receptors (NLRs), RIG-like receptors (RLRs) and C-type lectin receptors (CLRs). Upon PRR-activation, there are a series of signaling events that result in the production of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1b, IL-18, TNF, IFNa or IFNb, among others. These cytokines contribute to tissue damage by mechanisms such as cell death and exacerbated inflammatory mechanisms.

INFLAMMASOMES: Of particular interest to us is the role of the inflammasome, a multiprotein complex involved in the activation of caspase-1 and the processing of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1b and IL-18. We have previously shown that the inflammasome is activated after spinal cord injury (de Rivero Vaccari et al. J Neurosci 2008) and brain injury (de Rivero Vaccari et al. J Cereb Blood Flow & Metab 2009). Accordingly, we have shown that the inflammasome can be inhibited in order to improve histopathological and functional outcomes after CNS injury by decreasing the inflammatory response (de Rivero Vaccari et al. 2016).

BIOMARKERS: We study biomarkers as therapeutic and diagnostic options that can be eventually used as therapeutic targets to improve outcomes after CNS injury and disease. The development of biomarkers for CNS injury and disease will be useful to determine the severity of damage to the CNS as well as the recovery potential. The predictive value of biomarkers early in SCI pathology is relevant in choosing a particular neuroprotective treatment in the acute phase. Therefore, an early and accurate diagnostic test designed to target neuroprotective strategies is a desirable prognostic tool.

My laboratory studies the innate immune response in the following conditions:

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): With a yearly incidence of approximately 12,000 new cases, considering that many patients with SCI are young adults, and that no-FDA approved therapy is yet available, SCI is devastating. The inflammatory response is part of the secondary injury cascade of SCI events and is partially responsible for the deleterious effects occurring after trauma.

Stroke: Stroke is a major problem affecting populations worldwide. It is the second most common cause of death in the world after heart disease. In the United States stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, and the societal costs are approximately 80 billion dollars, which are expected to double by the year 2030. As a result, it is important to identify new and better therapies aimed at successfully treating this patient population.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of disability in young adults, affecting approximately 5.3 million Americans. The inflammatory response after TBI contributes to neuronal death and progressive axonal loss over days to weeks after injury.

Inflammaging: As we age our brain develops an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response in part contributes to the cognitive decline associated with aging. Moreover, it also contributes to the development of neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease.


Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari, Ph.D.

  • The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
    1095 NW 14th Terrace (R-48)
    Miami, FL 33136
  • (305) 243-7113

Find out about the Laboratory of Juan Pablo de Rivero Vaccari



Industry and Academia: Inflamacore, LLC (10/19/2016)

Research Journal Feature (09/01/2016)

Dr. Dalton Dietrich and Colleagues Receive $1.6 Million NIH Award (06/30/2016)

Scientists Receive NIH Funding to Move Novel Therapy Targets Forward (04/09/2014)





American Heart Association



Method for Detecting Inflammasome Proteins as Biomarkers of Neurological Disorders
US Patent Application: 62/560,963 (Provisional)


Anti-Inflammasome Therapies for the Treatment of Lung Injury
US Patent Application: 62/440,180 (Pending)


Modulating Inflammasome Activity and Inflammation in the Central Nervous System.
US Patent Application: 15/337,265 (Pending)
CON of 14/219,857


Innate Immune Proteins as Biomarkers for Central Nervous System Injury.
US Patent Application: 15/214,868 (Pending)
Patent Application: National Phase of PCT/US2013/02494
Application number: 13746979.7

Patent Application: 2812697 (Granted)
Japanese Patent Application: 6170071 (Granted)


Methods of Modulating Inflammasome Activity to treat Inflammatory Conditions.
US Patent: 9/512,209 (Granted)
US Patent Application: 14/219,857 (Other version)
CON of 12/182,886


Modulating Inflammasome Activity and Inflammation in Central Nervous System Injury.
US Patent: 8/685,400 (Granted)
US Patent Application: 12/182,886 (Other version)