My research interests focus on the transmission cycles of leishmaniasis, a
parasitic disease that affects millions of people in tropical and subtropical
areas of the world. The ultimate goal of our laboratory is to identify
strategies that decrease the burden of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. We
take advantage of animal models, principally hamsters, to understand the
immunopathogenesis of disease and evaluate new candidate antileishmanial
molecules. We have explored different vaccination strategies in this laboratory
animal and also in dogs, which are the principal domestic reservoir of visceral
leishmaniasis. We are evaluating the comparative advantage of treating
susceptible hosts based on early molecular diagnosis versus treatment initiated
upon serological or clinical diagnosis. We believe that strategies aimed at
decreasing the parasite burden in dogs, mainly through immunoprophylaxis, could
interrupt transmission to humans.
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