Associate Professor in Genetics,
Departamento de Genetica,
Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay.
1989 Lic. Ciencias Biologicas, Facultad de Ciencias, UdelaR, Montevideo, Uruguay
1997 PhD Biotechnology, Dublin City University, DCU, Dublin, Ireland
My background is in molecular biology, where I started studying proteases from parasitic worms. The main interest of these studies was identifying and characterizing the different enzymes involved in the interaction with the hosts, using diverse approaches such as biochemical studies, molecular biology, directed mutagenesis and bioinformatics analysis. Some of these studies led us to test some of these proteins as putative relevant targets for vaccine, and in this sense we obtained very high protection levels using the Leucine Amino Peptidase (LAP) from F.hepatica.
We have more recently analyzed the host/parasite interaction from a genomics perspective both structural and functional, by describing the transcriptomics of the invasive juvenile F.hepatica worm, using traditional EST approaches and now massive sequencing approaches. At the same time we started to develop tools for the functional characterization of the liver fluke genes, focalizing initially on RNA interference. These efforts continue in our lab. At the same time in collaboration with Dr. Carlos Carmona we keep our interest in evaluating the value of LAP as immunogenic target on its own or in combination with other antigens, applying novel strategies for these developments. Part of these efforts are central to the PARAGONE project, where we also be focusing on parasite variability in relation to vaccine responsiveness.