Amalia is a PhD student based at University College Dublin. Her project focuses on the effects of Fasciola hepatica co-infection on other important livestock diseases, one of the subtasks of the PARAGONE project. In her research she uses in vitro cell stimulation, immunohistochemistry and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques. During a 3 months internship at the Pathology department of the Universidad de Córdoba, she analysed tissues from animals co-infected with F. hepatica and Johne’s disease (Fig 1). In addition, for her epidemiological studies she has collaborated with various institutions including the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), Animal Health Ireland (AHI), the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CVERA) and the Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVL) Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. To date she has published one review about the immunoregulatory effects of F. hepatica and two experimental papers focused on spatial patterns and risk modelling of liver fluke and rumen fluke infections in Irish cattle and sheep (Fig 2) (Lucena et al. 2017, The Veterinary Journal, 222, pp.9–16; Naranjo-lucena et al. 2018, Parasites & vectors, 11(531), pp.1–13; Lucena et al. 2018, Geospatial Health, 13, pp.118–126.).
Results have been presented at the Buiatrics conference (Dublin, July 2016) and at the World Association for Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology conference (Kuala Lumpur, September 2017). A liver fluke risk map developed by her was also included in the liver fluke winter forecast for the year 2018 (https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/press/pressreleases/2018/november/title,122100,en.html), which is published annually by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine offering a great opportunity to disseminate her research to various stakeholders.
In 2018 Amalia attended the XII International Symposium of Geospatial Health “Health Geography”, which was held in conjunction with the conference entitled “Practical Geography and the XXI Century Challenges”, from 4 to 6 June in Moscow, Russia. The conference was organized by the Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the institute. Speakers from all over the world attended, show-casting the latest applications of geospatial technologies in human and animal health research. Amalia presented her results on the spatial analyses and modelling of liver fluke and rumen fluke infections in Ireland. The attendants where especially interested in the methods used by Amalia for the identification of infected herds, the sampling periods and the algorithm employed during the modelling process. This was a very successful conference where Amalia had the opportunity to exchange ideas with leading researchers in the field.
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