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Ana Paula Arez is Principal Researcher in Medical Parasitology, at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (IHMT/UNL), since 2013.
She graduated in Biology by the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon in 1992, completed a PhD degree in Molecular Biology by the University of Lisbon in 2000 and obtained the title of Agregado in Biomedical Sciences/Parasitology by IHMT/UNL in 2011.
AP Arez works in the area of Life and Health Sciences, mainly in research related to malaria and other parasitic diseases. Currently her main areas of research are 1) Susceptibility of the host to disease/infection [on-going studies: i) Erythrocyte enzyme deficiencies and their association with malaria – population, proteomic and metabolomic studies and ii) Evaluation of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate toxicity and Plasmodium falciparum susceptibility] and 2) Characterization and dynamics of transmission of parasite populations.
She has published 32 articles in international peer-reviewed journals (h- factor 13, Scopus) and have participated in 16 national and international research projects, coordinating 4; she also has supervised 4 PhD thesis (3 concluded) and cosurpevised 2; supervised 5 MSc thesis (4 concluded) and cosupervised 3; supervised 5 BSc thesis and cosupervised 3, besides starting research training grants in Health and Biological Sciences.
Malaria has exerted a strong selective pressure on the recent history of the human genome. Over the last decades, evidence has emerged revealing that genetic variants influence the onset, progression, severity and ultimate outcome of malaria infection in humans. The genetic component of susceptibility to malaria is complex and multigenic with a variety of genetic polymorphisms reported to influence both pathogenesis and host response to malaria. The most common and best characterised protective polymorphisms are those involving the erythrocyte-specific structural proteins and enzymes. Therefore, my group’s main focus of research is the study of human factors of host susceptibility to malaria disease/infection, mainly erythrocyte enzyme deficiencies.
Another line of research relates to the characterisation of parasite populations and transmission dynamics. Concomitant infections may have affect pathology and infection dynamics and if they attenuate falciparum disease severity remains controversial. So, it is important to clarify the infection dynamics and clinical implications of mixed infections. We aim at characterising circulating parasite populations, at describing interactions between them and with the two hosts (humans and mosquito vector), at analysing selective pressures and spreading patterns of mutations on genes associated with the resistance to antimalarials. Finally, the integrated analysis of all these variables through new mathematical modelling approach may contribute to better assess implications for malaria infection and transmission dynamics.
Team: Tiago Vaz, Mónica Guerra, Maria de Lurdes Francisco
- Guerra M., Machado P., Manco L., Fernandes N., Miranda J., Arez A.P. 2015 – Triosephosphate isomerase gene promoter variation: -5G/A and -8G/A polymorphisms in clinical malaria groups in two African populations. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 32: 271–279. DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2015.03.020 URL
- Escobar C., Pateira S., Lobo E., Lobo L., Teodosio R., Monteiro F., Fernandes N., Arez A.P., Varandas L., Nogueira F. 2015. Polymorphisms in K13-propeller in Angola and Mozambique after the introduction of the ACTs. PLoS ONE, 10: e0119215. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119215 URL
- Mendes C., Salgueiro P., Gonzalez V., Berzosa P, Benito A, do Rosário V.E., Sousa B., Cano J., Arez A.P. 2013 – Genetic diversity and signatures of selection of drug resistance in Plasmodium populations from both human and mosquito hosts in continental Equatorial Guinea. Malaria Journal, 12: 114. DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-12-114 URL
- Machado P., Manco L., Gomes C., Mendes C., Fernandes N., Salomé G., Sitoe L., Chibute S., Langa J., Ribeiro L., Miranda J., Cano J., Pinto J., Amorim A., do Rosário V.E., Arez A.P. 2012 – Pyruvate kinase deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa: identification of a highly frequent missense mutation (G829A;Glu277Lys) and association with malaria. PLoS ONE, 7: e47071. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047071 URL
- Mendes C., Dias F., Figueiredo J., Gonzalez V.M., Cano J., de Sousa B., do Rosário V.E., Benito A., Berzosa P., Arez A.P. 2011 – Duffy negative antigen is no longer a barrier to Plasmodium vivax – molecular evidences from the African West Coast (Angola and Equatorial Guinea). PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 5: e1192. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001192 URL