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Ana Paula Arez
Cross-cutting Issue Facilitator Diagnostics
Grupo GHTM: VBD PhD members, Vector-borne diseases and pathogens
Ana Paula Arez is Principal Investigator (with Habilitation) at the Medical Parasitology Unit of Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (IHMT) and at Global Health and Tropical Medicine Center (GHTM) of Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (UNL). She holds a PhD in Biology (2000) and a BSc in Biology (1992) by the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon.
She teaches at Biomedical Sciences, Parasitology and Global Health PhD and MSc courses of IHMT NOVA and supervises and/or co-supervises Post-docs, PhD and MSc students. She conducts expert review of scientific papers and projects in national and international journal and funding agencies on regular basis.
Presently at IHMT, she is vice-President of the Institute Council, member of the Scientific Council, Facilitator of the GHTM’s Cross Cutting Issue Diagnostics and General Coordinator of the GHTM biobank – Biotropical Resources.
Ana Paula Martins dos Reis Arez CIÊNCIAVITAE’s CV
Main lines of research: 1) Human host and parasite interactions (human factors of susceptibility and resistance against malaria), 2) Molecular epidemiology of malaria, and 3) Development of new diagnostic methods.
Her first interest has been malaria epidemiology, transmission dynamics, interactions and ecological relationships between different parasites co-infecting the same host and several research projects in malaria endemic areas, namely Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Equatorial Guinea were conducted. During the studies in Cape Verde (doi:10.1017/s0031182099003972, doi:10.1186/1475-2875-5-32), the observation that infected people developed mild symptoms in spite of their presumptive weak immune status and high parasitaemia aroused interest on the human factors of susceptibility to malaria. Some protective human variants are those involving the erythrocyte-specific structural proteins and enzymes so research on the association of enzyme disorders on the RBC glycolytic and pentose-phosphate pathways and protection against the Plasmodium parasite has been initiated. Population studies showed that malaria infection was the most likely selective pressure that seems to shape both the pklr and tpi genomic regions in individuals from malaria endemic countries (doi:10.1016/j.bcmd.2009.09.008, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08165.x, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047071, doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2015.03.020).
Looking then at biological processes involved, we hypothesised that the accumulation of 2,3-DPG due to a deficiency in pyruvate kinase could create an unsuitable environment for parasite and could be involved in the protection mechanism. Results showed an inhibition of parasite growth as significantly lower progeny from parasites subjected to treatment; no effect was observed on the host cell, instead, the metabolic profile of 2,3-DPG treated infected cells became closer to that of non-infected cells (doi:10.3389/fcimb.2022.840968, Carvalho et al. submitted).
Additionally, being aware that prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential to prevent a mild malaria case from developing into severe disease or death, she has been involved in studies to develop new simple, rapid and sensitive molecular diagnostic tests to characterise malaria infected isolates.
- Morais, I., Medeiros, M.M., Carvalho, M., Morello, J., Teixeira, S.M., Maciel, S., Nhantumbo, J., Balau, A., Rosa, M.T.G., Nogueira, F., Rodrigues, J.A., Carvalho, F.A., Antunes, A.M.M., Arez, A.P. (2022). Synthetic Red Blood Cell-Specific Glycolytic Intermediate 2,3-Diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) Inhibits Plasmodium falciparum Development In Vitro. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 12, 840968. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.840968.
- Guerra, M., Neres, R., Salgueiro, P., Mendes, C., Ndong-Mabale, N., Berzosa, P., de Sousa, B., Arez, A.P. (2017). Plasmodium falciparum Genetic Diversity in Continental Equatorial Guinea before and after Introduction of Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapy. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 61: e02556-15. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02556-15.
- 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.
- 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.
- Machado, P., Pereira, R., Rocha, A.M., Manco, L., Fernandes, N., Miranda, J., Ribeiro, L., do Rosário, V.E., Amorim, A., Gusmão, L., Arez, A.P. (2010). Malaria: looking for selection signatures in the human PKLR gene region. British Journal of Haematology, 149: 775-784. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08165.x.