Antonio Bianco, M.D., Ph.D.
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Antonio C Bianco, MD. PhD. is a native of São Paulo, Brazil, where he attended the Dante Alighieri High School and College. He received his M.D. from Santa Casa Medical School in 1983 where he also completed two years of internship in Internal Medicine and Surgery. In 1985 Dr. Bianco was recruited as an Instructor in Physiology at the University of São Paulo where he later obtained a Masters Degree studying the role of stress on thyroxine (T4) metabolism and was appointed Assistant Professor. After completing a two year research fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School working on the mechanisms of thyroid hormone induced adaptive thermogenesis in the brown adipose tissue, Dr. Bianco returned to São Paulo in 1988, obtained his Ph.D. in human physiology and later became an Associate Professor of Physiology. In 1998 Dr. Bianco immigrated to the U.S. to be an Associate Professor of Medicine and later chief of the Thyroid Section, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He remained at Harvard for 10 years where he served as Director of Research for the Thyroid Section and the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, Co-Chair for the Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders Research Center. In 2008 Dr. Bianco was recruited to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to be Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Miami. Here he directs an NIH-funded research laboratory and group of about 30 faculty members involved in patient care, academic medical training and patient care.
Dr. Bianco’s basic research interests have been in the cellular and molecular physiology of the iodothyronine deiodinases, an enzyme that controls thyroid hormone action, about which he has contributed with over 130 papers, chapters and review articles, and delivered about 100 lectures nationally and internationally. Recently, he has focused on the fundamental aspects of the deiodination pathway as well as the physiological and pathophysiological role played by the deiodinases in health and disease. Among his fundamental contributions, Dr. Bianco’s studies have advanced our understanding of the molecular, cellular and structural biology of the deiodinases as a group. His work has defined the structural properties, topology and subcellular localization of these enzymes. His studies have also extensively characterized the ubiquitination, deubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of the type 2 deiodinase (D2), opening a whole new area in the field of thyroid hormone activation and metabolism.
Dr. Bianco was the first to isolate ubiquitinated D2 and made the breakthrough observation that ubiquitination inactivates the enzyme, and that this reaction is reversible. Ubiquitination thus functions not only as a pathway for its degradation but also as a posttranslational on/off switch mechanism controlling D2 activity and, thereby, local thyroid status. He showed Ubc6p and -7p were the D2 ubiquitin conjugases and that Von Hippel Lindau deubiquitinases-1 and 2 regenerate active D2. Dr. Bianco recently identified the SOCS- box protein WSB-1 as the D2-specific E3-ligase adaptor that ubiquitinates D2 and modeled its catalytic core complex as Elongin BC–Cul5–Rbx1 (ECSWSB-1). Of fundamental importance is his observation that the hedgehog proteins, critical mediators of development and metamorphosis, modulate thyroid status in the microenvironment by their potent induction of WSB-1. These exciting new insights into the complex molecular mechanisms regulating tissue thyroid status thus provide a model for local epigenetic regulation of biological systems which transcends the thyroid field.
Throughout his career, Dr. Bianco has maintained an active role as a mentor to more than 30 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the thyroid. His research accomplishments have been recognized by a number of honors, including the Manuel de Abreu Prize of the Santa Casa Medical School (as a medical student), the LATS Prize of the Latin American Thyroid Society, the Van Meter Award from the America Thyroid Association, membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Jack Oppenheimer Lecturer at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Bianco has served as a regular member in the NIH Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology study section and as ad hoc member in the Board of Scientific Counselors of the NIDDK. He was Secretary-Treasurer of the Latin American Thyroid Society for six years and has served as a member and chairman of a number of committees at the American Thyroid Association, where he currently serves as an elected member of the Board.