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(Santiago de Chile) Host-Pathogen interplay: Mechanisms of congenital infection of protozoan parasites
Universidad de Chile
Anatomy and Developmental Biology (Morphology)
Dr. David Lemus
Dra. Ulrike Kemmerling
English, Spanish, German
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
The interaction between the host and pathogens, including Toxoplasma gondii and Trypanosoma cruzi is the most important factor in determining whether an infection is successful. Host-parasite interaction includes invasion of the host through primary barriers (such as the placental barrier), evasion of host defenses, pathogen replication in the host, and immunological capacity of the host to control or eliminate the pathogen. Pathogens can adjust their metabolism and trigger the expression of virulence genes, which allow them to benefit from their host resources. On the other hand, infected organisms are capable of sensing the intrusion by pathogens, and react by triggering host defenses. Interestingly, T. gondii and T. cruzi present, respectively, high congenital and low transmission rates. We have shown that T. gondii and T. cruzi induce a different expression of TLRs and consequently distinctive parasite- induced cytokine profiles. Therefore, the host-parasite interaction involves, in both, the coordinated regulation of gene expression.
What is the aim of the project?
The general aim of this project is to deepen the studies about the differential host- pathogen interaction of T. cruzi and T. gondii with the human placenta to understand the low (T. cruzi) and the high (T. gondii) infection efficiencies of these parasites.
What techniques and methods are used?
Histochemestry, immunohistochemestry, molecular biology (Polymerase chain reacton/PCR, Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling/TUNEL) and Western blot.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will mainly observe
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
To observe the ongoing experiments; to participate in selected experiments that do not include infective forms of the parasites, to study about our research area; to participate in our lab´ seminars and meetings; to read and study part of our published work in order to understand the ongoing research, to study the relevant literature of our research area (will be provided).
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Basic knowledge of cell biology, molecular biology, histology, embryology and biochemistry
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system - Students in biomedical fields
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- Acta Trop. 2015 Mar;143:47-50. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2014.12.006.
- Placenta. 2014 Dec;35(12):1035-42. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2014.09.017.
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