Biochemistry of Protozoan parasites in animals and humans
- View All
Parasites may cause not only significant health problems in animals and humans, but also huge economic losses in the animal industry. Many important parasites are unicellular protozoa (also known as protists). This HATCH project will focus on studying the molecular and biochemical features of several protozoan pathogens including those within the phyla Apicomplexa (e.g., Cryptosporidium and Eimeria) and Sarcomastigophora (e.g., Giardia) for potential drug discovery and development.Apicomplexans are a group of parasitic protists belonging to the Phylum Apicomplexa. This group of protists contains many pathogens threatening the health and welfare of humans and animals, which include Plasmodium, Babesia, Sarcocystis, Toxoplasma, Isospora, Eimeria, Cyclospora, and Cryptosporidium spp. Some apicomplexans are insect-transmitted (vector-borne), while the others could be food-, water-, and/or air-borne pathogens.Among apicomplexans, Cryptosporidium can cause severe watery diarrhea in humans and animals, and is recently identified as one of the top 5 diarrheal pathogens in children in developing countries. Because autoinfection occurs within the gut epithelium, this parasite can cause prolonged, life threatening infection in immunocompromised individuals (e.g., AIDS patients). Like other intestinal coccidia, the infectious oocysts are highly resistant to chemical stresses including the chlorine treatment applied to the community water supplies.........