Ana Barroso Abecasis has a degree in Medicine and in Pharmaceutical Sciences. and a PhD in Medical Sciences at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium,
Assistant Professor of the Unit for Global Public Health, Ana teaches Research Methods in Health, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Health of the Vulnerable Populations and Global Health at IHMT-NOVA and at the Faculty of Medical Sciences-NOVA. Supervises PhD, Masters students and PostDoc researchers at IHMT-NOVA.
In 2012, received the L’Oreal Portugal FCT Unesco Medal of Honour for Women in Science, in 2016 and 2017 the prize of Gilead Génese programme and in 2019 the Ricardo Camacho Award from Associação Portuguesa para o Estudo Clínico da SIDA. In 2022, was nominated for the Activa Mulheres Inspiradoras prize in the Science cathegory.
Coordinates/ coordinated 6 national and international projects and participates/participated in 11 national or international projects, coordinates the research line of Global Pathogen Dispersion & Mobility of Populations at the Global Health and Tropical Medicine Research Center and is member of several European networks, including EUResist, European Virus Bioinformatics Center and European Society for Translational Antiviral Research.
Has published over 80 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, including PNAS, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Clinical Infectious Diseases and AIDS, 4 conference papers and 2 book chapters; around 40 oral communications and 75 poster presentations in national or international conferences. Accumulates 2585 citations with an h-index of 26 (Google Scholar).
Coordinates a Public Health Specialization Course for Medical Doctors in Portugal and Guinea-Bissau and is member of the Scientific Committee of the Master for Statistics in Health (IHMT-NOVA) since 2015, of the Masters for Public Health and Development (IHMT-NOVA) since 2018 and of the Masters of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (NOVA) since 2022. Is member of the Consulting Committee of the Fast Track Cities Initiative- Lisbon and of the Portuguese NGO Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos VIH (GAT).
Ana’s research interests include Virology, Microbiology, Antimicrobial and Antiviral Drug Resistance, Bioinformatics, Research Methods in Health, Transmission of Infectious Diseases, Evolution and Global Health.
Our work can tentatively be divided in three main topics:
- Pathogen Dispersion and Mobility of Populations
This research line aims to reconstruct the dispersal of pathogens and fast evolving viruses globally. It uses advanced phylogenetic and phylogeographical approaches to reconstruct the spread of viral organisms in a large scale. We have used this approach for example to understand the role of Angola for the early dispersal of HIV and to reconstruct the dispersion of Zika viruses during the pandemic. We also use this approach for other fast evolving viruses, such as arboviruses, HBV and HCV. Related Projects: ZikaAlliance (finalized), MARVEL (PTDC/SAU-PUB/4018/2021)
- Investigation and characterization of clusters of transmission of fast-evolving viruses, either for forensics or for public health purposes
For fast-evolving viruses, transmission clusters can be reconstructed using evolutionary and phylogenetic analyses, based on the amount of relatedness between viral strains infecting different individuals. The characterization of such reconstructed transmission clusters can be used to investigate determinants of transmission and propagation of particular viral epidemics in specific settings or can be used in court settings as a forensic tool in transmission investigations. These analyses are increasingly important to inform public health bodies about determinants of transmission of infectious diseases and to develop better prevention measures to target such epidemics. In the context of the EuCARE European Projects, we will investigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission in schools. Related Projects; BEST HOPE (finalized), MARVEL (PTDC/SAU-PUB/4018/2021), EuCARE (funded by EU Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement Nº 101046016)
- Drug resistance investigations
We are developing several projects in the field of HIV drug resistance in Portugal, Portuguese-speaking countries and worldwide. This has started with my own doctorate thesis, where I investigated the differences in drug resistance pathways between HIV subtypes. In 2014, we started a European project, where we set up a network of Portuguese-wide hospitals, that collect genomic, clinical and socio-behavioral information from newly diagnosed HIV individuals. This project has finalized and we are analysing the results. Other projects started afterwards, which focus on transmission of drug resistance in migrants, on the impact of late presenters for HIV transmission in Portugal and on HIV-1 genetic diversity in PALOPs. In another project we investigate drug resistance to integrase inhibitors, a class of drugs that is now recommended as 1st line therapy. We expect that many outputs will begin to come out in the next few months. Related projects: MARVEL (PTDC/SAU-PUB/4018/2021), INTEGRIV (PTDC/SAU-INF/31990/2017), BEST HOPE (HIVERA/0001/2011))
Currently Funded projects:
FCT PTDC/SAU-INF/31990/2017 – Characterization of HIV-1 Drug Resistance to Integrase Inhibitors in Portugal: clinical and economic impact for treatment and drug resistance testing guidelines (INTEGRIV)
Horizon Europe GA n. 6944397 – EuCARE – European Cohorts of Patients and Schools to Advance Response to Epidemics
FCT PTDC/SAU-PUB/4018/2021 – Minimizing the emergence and dissemination of HIV-1 drug resistance in PALOPs through an evidence-based portable high-throughput sequencing and computational approach.
- Victor Figueiredo Pimentel, Marta Pingarilho, Giordano Sole, Daniela Alves, Mafalda Miranda, Isabel Diogo, Sandra Fernandes, Andrea Pineda-Pena, M Rosário O Martins, Ricardo Camacho, Perpétua Gomes, Ana B Abecasis. Differential patterns of postmigration HIV-1 infection acquisition among Portuguese immigrants of different geographical origins. 2022. AIDS 36 (7), 997-1005. https://doi.org/10.1097/qad.0000000000003203
- Carla Mavian, Sergei Kosakovsky Pond, Simone Marini, Brittany Rife Magalis, Anne-Mieke Vandamme, Simon Dellicour, Samuel V Scarpino, Charlotte Houldcroft, Julian Villabona-Arenas, Taylor K Paisie, Nídia S Trovão, Christina Boucher, Yun Zhang, Richard H Scheuermann, Olivier Gascuel, Tommy Tsan-Yuk Lam, Marc A Suchard, Ana Abecasis, Eduan Wilkinson, Tulio de Oliveira, Ana I Bento, Heiko A Schmidt, Darren Martin, James Hadfield, Nuno Faria, Nathan D Grubaugh, Richard A Neher, Guy Baele, Philippe Lemey, Tanja Stadler, Jan Albert, Keith A Crandall, Thomas Leitner, Alexandros Stamatakis, Mattia Prosperi, Marco Salemi. Sampling bias and incorrect rooting make phylogenetic network tracing of SARS-COV-2 infections unreliable. PNAS. May 7, 2020, 117 (23) 12522-12523. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2007295117
- Sofia G Seabra, Pieter J K Libin, Kristof Theys, Anna Zhukova, Barney I Potter, Hanna Nebenzahl-Guimaraes, Alexander E Gorbalenya, Igor A Sidorov, Victor Pimentel, Marta Pingarilho, Ana T R de Vasconcelos, Simon Dellicour, Ricardo Khouri, Olivier Gascuel, Anne-Mieke Vandamme, Guy Baele, Lize Cuypers, Ana B Abecasis, Genome-wide diversity of Zika virus: Exploring spatio-temporal dynamics to guide a new nomenclature proposal, Virus Evolution, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2022, veac029, https://doi.org/10.1093/ve/veac029
- Abecasis, A.B., Wensing, A.M., Paraskevis, D. et al.HIV-1 subtype distribution and its demographic determinants in newly diagnosed patients in Europe suggest highly compartmentalized epidemics. Retrovirology 10, 7 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-10-7
- Abecasis AB, Vandamme AM, Lemey P. Quantifying differences in the tempo of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtype evolution. J Virol. 2009 Dec;83(24):12917-24. Epub 2009 Sep 30. PMID: 19793809; PMCID: PMC2786833. https://doi.org/10.1128/jvi.01022-09