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Gustavo M. Silva

Assistant Professor of Biology
130 Science Drive, Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
130 Science Drive, 3103 French, Durham, NC 27708


The Silva lab ( investigates the underlying mechanisms by which gene expression is regulated at the transcriptional and translational levels in response to stress. We are also interested in understanding how the small protein modifier ubiquitin controls the dynamics of protein synthesis and degradation during stress, which are critical for physiology as proteins are the molecular effectors of the cell. Finally, we are elucidating mechanisms by which mutations to ubiquitin enzymes impair mitochondria function, energy metabolism, and cause cellular dysfunction and intellectual disabilities.

Our lab uses an array of cellular and molecular biology tools, proteomics, structural biology, and next generation sequencing to tackle these fundamental biological questions. Our lab also invests in genome-wide methods (e.g. CRISPR screens) to identify and characterize ubiquitin enzymes important for cellular physiology, as well as molecular tools to understand their cellular role. Our ultimate goal is to dissect these unique pathways and develop ubiquitin-based therapies to support cellular health. We have received several awards from federal and private foundations, including being recognized as part of the inaugural cohort of the Science Diversity and Leadership Award from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.

In addition to research, Dr. Silva is an advocate for diversity, inclusion, and transformation in higher education, serving as a member of the Maximizing Access Committee from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), as a Discipline leader and ambassador for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS), and as the co-founder and director of the Black Think Tank (, a Provost-sponsored initiative to promote the advancement of Black faculty at Duke. Dr. Silva is also the recipient of the 2023 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring at Duke University.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Biology · 2017 - Present Biology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Assistant Professor of Cell Biology · 2022 - Present Cell Biology, Basic Science Departments

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) · 2010 Ph.D.
University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) · 2007 Lic.
University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) · 2004 B.Sc.