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Dr. Guerra is researching innovating therapies to treat β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia and use lentiviruses as a tool. Her work aims to discover new biological targets that can be used to treat β-thalassemia and other forms of anemia.
Dr. Guerra began her scientific career studying retinal channelopathies at Temple University. During her studies, she became part of a collaboration with a group at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine that worked on developing gene therapies to treat day-blind dogs that harbored mutations in cyclic nucleotide-gate (CNG) channel subunits. For her thesis project, she tracked cone cell development in canines affected by mutations in the CNGB3 gene before and after gene therapy. Working with this research group equipped her with an arsenal of molecular tools and sparked an interest in gene therapy. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Guerra became interested in the use of gene therapy to treat hemoglobinopathies. She found the opportunity to explore these interests within the Rivella laboratory at the CHOP. Dr. Guerra is presently working on innovating therapies to treat β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia and use lentiviruses as a tool. Her work has focused on investigating the role of the activin receptor IIA and IIB, along with TFG-β ligands on differentiation and proliferation in erythropoiesis. Her long-term goals are to understand how TFG-β ligands impact erythropoiesis at the erythroblast level and how they modulate iron homeostasis. Additionally, Dr. Guerra is also interested in gaining deeper insights into the regulation of transferrin receptor 2 by mono ferric forms of transferrin on erythroblast and immune cells. Her work aims to discover new biological targets that can be used to treat β-thalassemia and other forms of anemia.