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Silvana Belo is Assistant Professor in Medical Helminthology/ Parasitology at the Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), Portugal, since 2000.
She has a Pharmacy degree from the University of Coimbra; post-graduate in Clinical Pathology (Hospital de Egas Moniz, Lisbon) and in Tropical Medicine & Public Health (IHMT/UNL); MSc in Medical Parasitology (IHMT/UNL); PhD in Biomedical Sciences, (IHMT/UNL). Researcher and teacher in Medical Helminthology and Parasitology (IHMT/UNL). She has been invited as teacher in post graduate courses in Faculdade de Farmácia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade Ciências e Tecnologia/UNL as well as in undergraduate courses in Escola Superior de Tecnologias de Saúde de Lisboa and in African institutions (Angola, Guinea-Bissau and S. Tomé & Príncipe).
She is the Head of the Laboratory of immunodiagnostic of Helminthology and coordinator of the Medical Helminthology and Malacology Group since 2010. Her main areas of interest are imunoepidemiology, diagnosis, therapeutic compounds and control approaches mainly addressed to schistosomiasis, filariasis and zoonotic helminthiasis.
She has led a multidisciplinary project and participates in various research projects as team member in those areas and supervised several postgraduate degrees. She is/co-author of various international and national peer reviewed publications.
The Medical Helminthology and Malacology Group (MHMG) centres on three research areas: knowledge of disease and transmission, drug resistance and improved diagnostics. To improve understanding of the biology of heminths, their vectors and intermediate hosts, we conduct molecular diversity and molecular epidemiology studies for snail-borne (schistosomiasis, fascioliasis) and vector-borne diseases (lymphatic filariasis and dirofilariasis, including their Wolbachia symbionts) and in concurrent infections. Our goal is to determine the genetic diversity within helminth populations and their relationship with host pathology, bio-ecology and prevalence both in mainland Portugal and African countries (e.g. Angola, Cape Verde).
Our research on drug resistance has been focused on schistosomiasis due to its significance for control programmes. The objective is to identify the mechanisms, genes involved and genetic markers of praziquantel (PZQ) resistance in laboratory sensitive and resistance strains and detect their presence in natural populations, such as in Angola.
We also conduct evaluation of plant extracts for use in the control of schistosomiasis at the intermediate host stage. Finally, we are also involved in development of new molecular tools for sensitive and specific diagnosis of helminth infections and species characterization.
- Pinto-Almeida A, Mendes T, Armada A, Belo S, Carrilho E, Viveiros M, Afonso A (2015). The Role of Efflux Pumps in Schistosoma mansoni Praziquantel Resistant Phenotype. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0140147. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140147.
- Baptista-Fernandes T, Rodrigues M, Domingues D, Monteiro L, Paixão P, Pereira P, Tavares R, Maurício I, Belo S, Toscano C. (2015). Dirofilariasis by Dirofilaria repens: the first clinical case diagnosed in Portugal and a brief review. Parasitology International. 64: 261–263. Link.
- Ferreira C, Mixão V, Novo T, Calado M, Gonçalves L, Belo S, Almeida AP (2015). First molecular identification of mosquito vectors of Dirofilaria immitis in continental Portugal. Parasites & Vectors, 8:139 DOI: 10.1186/s13071-015-0760-2
- Figueiredo J, Nilo B, Balaca M, Costa A, Richter J, Belo S, Grácio MA (2014). Prostate adenocarcinoma associated with prostatic infection due to Schistosoma haematobium. Case report and systematic review. Parasitology Research. DOI 10.1007/s00436-014-4250-9
- Alho AM, Landum M, Ferreira C, Meireles J, Gonçalves L, Madeira de Carvalho L, Belo S (2014). Prevalence and seasonal variations of canine Dirofilariosis in Portugal. Veterinary Parasitology. 206(1-2):99-105. Link