Rafael Dai Pra

PhD Candidate in Physiology at Yale University


Hi and welcome! 👋

My name is Rafael and I am interested in understanding the physiological mechanisms mammals developed to survive in extreme environmental conditions.

Currently, I am working with Elena Gracheva and Slav Bagriantsev to elucidate the neurophysiological mechanisms hibernating juvenile ground squirrels use to allow their sexual maturation process to initiate during their very first hibernation season, when they have no access to food, nor water during continuous exposure to very cold temperatures.

Beyond my dedication to science, I am also deeply committed to outreach initiatives. Coming from Brazil 🇧🇷, I have been fortunate to receive invaluable guidance and support from numerous Brazilian mentors throughout my journey. These wonderful individuals made my achievements possible, and now, I aspire to make a positive impact on the next generation of Brazilian scientists through Iniciativa Proxima. This program serves as an umbrella initiative, aiming to train and empower Brazilian students and foster their growth.

Furthermore, I have been actively involved in teaching and inspiring students from the New Haven area through Pathways to Science at Yale. My work involves developing engaging activities related to sensory physiology, allowing students to explore the wonders of science and physiology.

Outside of the lab, I really enjoy dancing! Especially tango, attending classes, practices, milongas and events with the Yale Tango Club. :dancer:


Dec 12, 2023 I gave a talk at the Proxima Symposium in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I had a blast interacting and discussing with so many talented Brazilian students. :brazil:
Nov 28, 2023 I presented a poster and was part of the organizing team of the Fall edition of the Physiology retreat. :chipmunk:
Nov 27, 2023 I presented some exciting updates of my project in the Yale Physiology Research in Progress series. :bar_chart:
Jul 11, 2023 I had a lot of fun teaching sensory physiology to talented middle schoolers and high schoolers of the New Haven area as part of the Yale Pathways to Science Program, in the Sensory Physiology Club! :book:
May 17, 2023 I presented a poster in the Physiology Retreat and Neuroscience Retreat. :loudspeaker:
Mar 16, 2023 A new study led by Sarah Mohr is out on biorxiv! :tada:
Mar 12, 2023 Volunteered in the brain education day at Yale teaching sensory physiology to middle schoolers and high schoolers of New Haven area! :book:
Mar 6, 2023 I gave a talk in the Yale Physiology Research in Progress series! :loudspeaker:
Jan 1, 2023 Updated website is live! :sparkles: :smile:

selected publications

  1. Current Biology
    Ground squirrels initiate sexual maturation during hibernation
    Rafael Dai Pra, Sarah M. Mohr, Dana K. Merriman, and 2 more authors
    Current Biology, 2022