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1997 …2024

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Personal profile

Personal information

Principal Investigator (with Habilitation in Biomedical Sciences, 2011) at the Medical Parasitology Unit and at the Research Centre Global Health and Tropical Medicine of Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, NOVA University of Lisbon (GHTM IHMT NOVA). PhD in Biology (University of Lisbon, 2000) and a degree in Biology (University of Lisbon, 1992).

Leader of the GHTM's Research Group Vector Borne Diseases, Facilitator of the GHTM's Cross Cutting Issue Diagnostics, Coordinator of the GHTM biobank - Biotropical Resources (BIOTROP) and member of the IHMT's Scientific Council.

Main areas of research activity have been Life and Health Sciences, primarily in malaria and other parasitic diseases focusing three main lines: 1) Human host and parasite interactions, 2) Molecular epidemiology of malaria and 3) Development of portable platforms for early and multifunctional diagnosis of malaria infection.

Also teach at Biomedical Sciences, Parasitology and Global Health PhD and MSc courses of IHMT NOVA, being member of Scientific Committees of two Master and one PhD courses; have supervised or co-supervised post-docs (3), PhD (12), MSc (15) and BSc/Other (18) students.

Research interests

The first interest has been malaria epidemiology, transmission dynamics, interactions and ecological relationships between different parasites co-infecting the same host and several studies in malaria endemic areas, namely Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Equatorial Guinea were conducted (doi: 10.1017/s0031182099003972, doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2003.68.2.0680161, doi:10.7150/ijbs.1.96, doi:10.1186/1475-2875-5-32, 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001192, doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-114 114 PMID:23537170, doi:10.1128/AAC.02556-15, doi:10.1186/s12936-018-2354-x).

During the studies in Cape Verde (doi:10.1017/s0031182099003972, doi:10.1186/1475-2875-5-32), the observation that infected people developed mild symptoms in spite of their presumptive weak immune status and high parasitaemia aroused interest on the human factors of susceptibility to malaria. Some protective human variants are those involving the erythrocyte-specific structural proteins and enzymes so research on the association of enzyme disorders on the Red Blood Cell (RBC) glycolytic and pentose-phosphate pathways and protection against the Plasmodium parasite has been initiated. Population studies showed that malaria infection was the most likely selective pressure that seems to shape both the pklr and tpi genomic regions in individuals from malaria endemic countries (doi:10.1002/ajhb.20819, doi:10.1016/j.bcmd.2009.09.008, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08165.x, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047071, doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2015.03.020).

Looking then at biological processes involved, we hypothesized that the accumulation of 2,3-DPG inside RBC due to pyruvate kinase deficiency could create an unsuitable environment for parasite and could be involved in the protective mechanism. Results showed an inhibition of parasite growth as parasites subjected to the artificial increase of 2,3-DPG in the culture medium produce significantly lower progeny and down regulation of genes associated to cell cycle control; no effect was observed on the host cell, instead, the metabolic profile of 2,3-DPG treated infected cells became closer to that of non-infected cells (doi:10.3389/fcimb.2022.840968, doi:10.3390/ijms24021336, doi:10.3390/ijms242316869).

Studies on other human disorders associated to malaria protection have also been done in collaboration with other researchers, highlighting an ongoing follow-up of a cohort of Angolan children with Sickle Cell Anemia (doi:10.1179/136485908X355238, doi:10.1007/s11033-020-05628-8, doi:10.1007/s11033-022-07831-1).

Additionally, being aware that prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential to prevent a mild malaria case from developing into severe disease or death, studies to develop new simple, rapid, and sensitive molecular diagnostic tests to characterize malaria infected isolates have been done. Previous work is currently being restarted in order to develop a platform test for the rapid detection of markers associated to antimalarial drug resistance (doi:10.1006/expr.2000.4496, doi:10.1016/S0035-9203(01)90175-0, doi:10.1016/S0035-9203(99)90177-3).

Keywords: malaria, Plasmodium sp., parasite-host interactions, human susceptibility/resistance, diversity, epidemiology, transmission, molecular markers, diagnostics, biological collections, biobanking

Education/Academic qualification

Biology, Doctorate, Molecular epidemiology in malaria. Transmission dynamics of mixed infections., Universidade de Lisboa

Award Date: 28 Nov 2000


  • Q Science (General)
  • Malaria
  • Diversity
  • Epidemiology
  • Transmission
  • Molecular markers
  • Plasmodium sp.
  • Parasite-host interactions
  • Human susceptibility/resistance
  • Diagnostics
  • Biobanking
  • Biological collections


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