Profile of Dr Augusto Barbosa
Research | Current
Protozoan parasites and eukaryotic evolution
The amitochondriate protozoan parasites Trichomonas vaginalis and Giardia lamblia are the focus of our research. They cause neglected but important human infections worldwide. Therefore, therapeutics and vaccines are desirable. These single-cell eukaryotes are claimed to have diverged very early in the evolution of eukaryotes and lack mitochondria (termed ‘amitochondriate’). Our group currently works on two different lines of research: i. the study of basic mechanisms of gene expression in these organisms will help us understand the evolutionary origin of eukaryotes and ii. the understanding of virulence of the parasite and how it relates to the host and to the surrounding microbiota (in particular to T. vaginalis) will help us identify molecules involved in virulence and microbial interaction. This knowledge can be used to develop novel drugs and vaccines.